Feeling Stuck? How to Regain Momentum

Are you feeling stuck with some area of your blogging or business life? If so, today’s episode is for you because I’m going to talk about getting unstuck and building momentum.

158: How to Get Moving Again When You're Feeling Stuck


What we are going to talk about today applies to many areas of life, but we are going to focus particularly on blogging and business. I am going to share with you a simple tip to help you get unstuck.

Take imperfect action is a theme that came up numerous times at the ProBlogger event.The first time I heard this term was a few years ago from Jadah Sellner of Simple Green Smoothies at the World Domination Summit, and it has stuck with me ever since.

Many bloggers can relate to getting stuck. Whether it is fear, perfectionism, or analysis paralysis stopping us. Taking imperfect action can get us moving forward again.  

Further Resources on Feeling Stuck? Here’s How to Get Moving Again

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Are you feeling stuck with some aspect of your blogging business or life? If so, today’s episode is for you.

My name is Darren Rowse and welcome to Episode 158 of the ProBlogger podcast where today I want to talk about getting unstuck, building some momentum. What I want to talk about today really applies to many aspects of life but I guess we’re particularly focusing in on blogging and business. I want to share with you a simple tip to help you to get unstuck.

One of the themes at this year’s ProBlogger event that we didn’t plan but came up in many of the presentations that happened was take imperfect action. It came up numerous times. The first time I heard the term or the phrase was at the World Domination Summit a few years ago where Jadah Sellner from Simple Greens used it. I’m not sure where it originated from, I’d love to credit the original source of it. Ever since I heard Jadah use it, it stuck with me. I shared about it a couple of years ago at the ProBlogger event. Ever since I shared it, it’s been a recurring theme at the event as well because many bloggers really relate to this feeling of getting stuck.

Many times as bloggers, we feel paralyzed with different aspects of what we do. As I said before, this applies to many areas of our life. It’s a human feeling in many ways. For some of us, it’s fear that stops us and paralyzes us. For others, it’s perfectionism, that’s a big one for me. Sometimes, it’s analysis paralysis. We get so stuck in trying to work out how to do something that we never actually take action. For some of us, it’s because we don’t have a clear idea of the big picture of where we’re headed, sometimes we can’t take action because we don’t know our final destination.

For others of us, we feel we need to know more. We need to develop a skill or we need to develop confidence or we need to meet more people or we need more money before we can take a certain action. For others of us, it’s a problem of comparing ourselves with others, it’s a problem of feeling like what we want to do has already been done by everyone or everyone else does it better than us so we can’t achieve a certain standard. For some of us, it’s just an overwhelming feeling not knowing what to do first.

There’s a whole lot of different reasons that we could be stuck in not taking action and for some of us it’s a combination of these things. I really relate to a lot of the things I’ve just run through there. For me, I guess I sometimes get so many ideas that I feel a little bit confused about which ones to do first. That’s a strong one for me. Another one for me is fear, I often worry about what people will think about me, how I will sound, how I will come across, what if I make a mistake.

The other big one for me as I mentioned before was perfectionism, I have a tendency to get things perfect inside my head, to get them just right there in my brain to imagine things perfectly but then action feels a little risky. To do what I’ve dreamt up and perfected in my mind is a risk that things might not quite turn out the way I imagined them. As a result, I tend to be pretty good at perfect inaction. I get things so perfect in my mind that I don’t actually take action because I could never measure up to the way that I imagine things.

Whatever the reasons, whether it’s one of the ones that I’ve mentioned or something else, getting stopped in your tracks is a real problem when you’re in business of any kind. But particularly in the online space where things move so fast, it’s particularly important that you keep active and keep moving. Momentum really is very important in the business that we’re in.

Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction every single time. In fact, it turns out that imperfect action is the only kind of action there is if you really think about it. No one ever takes perfect action, nobody ever takes perfect action. The only kind of action there is is imperfect action.

There are a few benefits of imperfect action and this isn’t really rocket science but I want to go through them because I think it can hopefully help you through this little hump that maybe you’re feeling at the moment. Imperfect action gets things done, action is the main thing that separates dreamers from those who accomplish great things. Imperfect action gets things done.

Imperfect action creates momentum. Very often when you take a small imperfect action, the following next steps reveal themselves. I mentioned before that some people don’t take action because they can’t see the big picture, sometimes you will never see the big picture until you start taking steps, the next steps reveal themselves once you take that first small step. For me, sometimes when I take that first step towards a fuzzy goal, it’s where the goal becomes clear for me. It’s also where I get energy to move me even further towards that goal.

Related to this is that imperfect action builds confidence and courage. I love this quote from Dale Carnegie, he says, “Inaction breeds doubts and fear, action breeds confidence and courage.” If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it, go out and get busy.

Imperfect action teaches you the best way to learn something is to do it. Don’t feel you have the skills? Take imperfect action, you’ll quickly learn a lot. The day I started my first blog was the day I probably learned the most about blogging ever since. In the last 14 years, it was that first day when I took a step out of my comfort zone and started a blog. I learned so many skills about blogging, I understood so much more than the day before. You learn so much, you learn skills, you gather knowledge by taking imperfect action.

Related to this is that imperfect action leads to self discovery and self improvement as well. You will learn so much about yourself through taking action, stepping out of your comfort zone will force you to think about who you are and how you react in those types of situations. For me, again, starting my blog helped me to develop my ideas. It helped me to develop passions that I never would’ve even known I had within me simply by starting, by putting myself out of my comfort zone in that way.

The last thing I’ll say about imperfect action is that it’s relatable. This is something I think a lot of bloggers and podcasters and online business people should really understand. Sometimes, the temptation is to get everything perfect when we’re creating products and we’re creating blog posts and we’re creating sales material, when we’re putting ourselves out there. We want it to be perfect. We’re told that it should be excellent, it should be as perfect as it can be. Sometimes, we get things so perfect that it’s actually not relatable because it loses some humanness.

One of the things I’ve realized is that with this podcast particularly is that I know my episodes aren’t perfect, I stumble, and I don’t edit out some of my mistakes or most of my mistakes. I think that makes me a little bit more real, it makes me a little bit more human. I’m flawed, I’m just like you are, we all make mistakes. I think sometimes by leaving out imperfections in, it makes us a little bit more relatable. It shows that you’re human.

This is what people are looking for increasingly online. In an age where everything is so polished and professional, I sometimes think that humanness, vulnerability, imperfection stands out and can be a little bit relatable. I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t aim for excellence, you do want your blog posts to be edited, you do want things to come over as slick and as professional as you can, but don’t edit out your imperfection. Sometimes, imperfection is relatable and it makes you stand out from everyone else. Imperfect action gets things done, it creates momentum, it builds confidence and encourages, it teaches you, it leads to self discovery and it’s relatable.

Here’s my call to action, take your next best step. You don’t need to arrive at your destination today, you just need to take your next best step. The best of your ability is all you can really do.

I came across a really interesting little article by Donna Arrogante. As I was doing a search before for imperfect action, I came across a post that she wrote with some steps into how to take imperfect action. She goes through six steps. I thought it might be helpful to go through them really briefly.

She says here’s six steps to help you gracefully take imperfect action. Step number one, identify what you’re feeling stuck about. Step two, what are one to three ways you can move forward, even if you don’t have all the pieces together yet? Just come up with three things that can help you move forward, even small steps forward. Step three, choose one of those three ways that you are willing to take action on now. It could just be a tiny, small thing. Step four, what are resources and information that you need that will give you more confidence to take the next step? What do you need to gather in order for you to take that step? Step five, what imperfect action will you take next once you’ve taken that first step? Step six, repeat step four and five until your goal is accomplished.

I’ll probably add a couple of little things into Donna’s list there. Firstly, I like to tell people what action I’m going to take. For me, accountability, even if it’s just a little bit of accountability with someone who’s going to encourage me can go a long way into helping me to get things moving. Telling someone the step I’m going to take and most importantly for me, telling them when I’m going to take that step, gives me the accountability.

Another thing I like to add into the process is celebration. Sometimes, I think a little celebration can be in order after you’ve taken some kind of action. High five, a fist bump, some sort of an acknowledgment of the steps we take can be good particularly when we have push through fear and it’s a big step for us taking us out of our comfort zone. Don’t celebrate because it may actually stop you from taking the next step as well.

Last thing I’ll say is that remember, as I said before, action is a risk. It’s usually going to be accompanied with some fear but that’s normal. It’s a sign that you’re doing something important.

One last little tip for you, I sometimes think if you’re really stuck, it can be useful to set aside a longer period of time for burst of imperfect action. Late last year, I realized I was losing a bit of momentum in a number of things in my business. I’ve been putting off and procrastinating about a few different tasks, in fact a lot of different tasks. I’ve been putting things on my someday list. I talked about this at the event recently.

I decided to set aside a whole week to get things done, to move things off my someday list onto my today list. I came up with a list of about ten things that I really needed to do, things that I’ve been avoiding and that I wanted to achieve over a week. I set aside a whole week to start ticking those things off. They were all ten relatively small things, thing that I could achieve in half a day or less. That week turned out to be a really great week, I also in that week turned off a lot of the input in my life. I decided to stop consuming for that week, no reading blog posts, no listening to podcasts, no social media, and very limited email. I turned off a lot of those instant messaging tools as well. I didn’t watch Netflix that week, I decided to stop consuming for a week and start creating for a week.

For me, actually putting that time aside and putting some boundaries around it, protecting my week in that way, really helped me to achieve a lot and to get momentum back. I achieved a lot in that week but I found that the second week, the week after, was also a really productive week because I was in creating mode, I was actually in getting things done mode. I confronted some of those things that I was avoiding because I was scared of them or because I thought they were too overwhelming and I got things done.

Let me finish with a small quote from Mark Twain. He says, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Take imperfect action.”

Are you feeling a little bit scared about the action that you know you need to take? I’ve got one more podcast for you to listen to, it’s Episode 54. In it, I give you three questions to ask yourself when you’re facing fear. That’s in iTunes, PB54 or problogger.com/podcast/54.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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