Once upon a time there was a frog named Fred who fell into a deep wagon rut. Though he tried and tried, he just couldn’t hop out. He hopped along the length of the rut but it seemed to go on forever. Then his friends showed up and though they coaxed and encouraged, he just couldn’t hop out of that rut.
Frank, one of his friends, asked him what he was going to do. “I guess I’ll just be stuck here forever. I just don’t feel very motivated anymore.” It seemed hopeless.
A few days later, Felicia saw Fred on a lily pad. “What happened, Fred?” she asked. “How’d you get out of that rut?”
“Well, after you guys left, a wagon came along and I HAD to get out!” explained Fred.
We’ve all been in a rut, stuck in an endless circle of circumstances that we couldn’t seem to shake off. Sometimes, those circumstances change on their own, but most of the time, we have to change them ourselves. Some people say a rut is simply a grave with the ends kicked out. If Fred hadn’t gotten out of his rut, that certainly would have been an accurate description!
How do I get out of a rut?
– Set short term goals. When I set a short term, easily achievable goal, I get to experience the rush of success that makes getting out of a rut seem possible.
– Reduce my fear of failure. When I’m afraid of failing, I seem to freeze up but it’s helpful to remember an old saying in Silicon Valley: “If you’re going to fail, fail fast, and fail cheap.” The quicker I recognize that things aren’t going well, the more money I save and the sooner I can get on to something that works.
– Hedge my bets. I hedge my bets by always having a plan B and sometimes a C and a D! I find that having a backup plan reduces a sense of hopelessness.
– MAKE momentum. Once I get one step under my belt, I’ve found it important to take TWO more steps, not just one. Two more steps moves me much further along.
Of course, the first step to getting out of a rut is to recognize you’re in one. You may be stuck in a “busy-ness” rut, or a lack of studying rut, or a job rut. You may need to make extra money, repair a relationship with a spouse, or update your resume. To get out of these or any other rut, set some short term goals, fail fast and cheap, hedge your bets, and take two more steps and you’ll be back on the lily pad in no time.