Goal Setting, Part 3: What Do We Do When We Get Stuck?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in your career for a year or for twenty years… we all get stuck from time to time. Maybe it’s a rejection that cuts a little too deep, the fear of not knowing how to do something, the fear of failure, the fear of success, a conversation in our head that tells us we can’t, or that the time’s not right, or that we’re too old, or the economy is bad. Whatever it is for you, it feels real and true and most importantly, it stops you!
Let’s talk about goal setting. The best goals, intentions, timelines, strategic plans… they all go out the window when we’re stuck. What do we do? How do we handle it? How do we get back on track? And how do we get back on track quickly?
I had a friend who, during an audition, had a bad experience where the director was very rude to her. It was three months before she went on another audition. My film partner and I had a similar situation happen to us. We had successfully produced films in other countries and were planning to produce our first film here in the U.S. We did a fantastic business plan and movie poster, had a great investor’s package, had everything organized and were ready to go out to investors. That was December of 2004. All of a sudden it was March 1st 2005! I had gone unconscious about the project and didn’t even know that I was stuck. The fear of raising the money stopped me cold!
I think getting stuck from time to time is inevitable. The question is, how do we deal with it and how do we get back on track in record time. Here are a few ideas from some of my entertainment industry guests who joined me for my MTT video. They’ve experienced being stuck first hand and they have some valuable advice for us.
CREATE A VISUAL DISPLAY: CEO of Now Casting, Bob Steward, feels that having your goals clearly plotted and broken down into a timeline with milestones is key. “But most importantly,” he says, “have it clearly visible at all times. That way you’ll stay conscious and engaged in your career and you’ll notice if something is wrong. So you’ll find out ‘oh, my foot’s stuck’ as opposed to ‘holy cow, I’m knee deep in quicksand.’
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE: Actress Mary Stein says that for her the best and fastest way to get unstuck is a daily practice of staying in touch with her vision. “Stay focused on the big picture,” she says, “and keep your eye on the prize.”
FACT VERSUS FICTION: Director/Writer Mark Rosman suggests that we look at the facts. “When I notice that I’m stuck,” he says, “I look at what is the story that I’m telling myself and I write it down. For example, after a producer called and said he didn’t want to option my script, I thought, oh, I’m not talented enough… I can’t write dialogue, and a whole ton of crazy things went through my mind. I wrote the long list on a piece of paper and then I compared it to the facts. The fact was, that producer didn’t want my script… period! That was the fact. So instead of looking at my interpretations of what I made it all mean, I decided to just look at the facts. All the drama disappeared in an instant and I got back on the phone and started pitching again.
HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Comedy Central Executive Kris Emery suggests that we have a buddy that we stay in touch with on a regular basis. Kris and her accountability partner speak (or blog) daily or weekly supporting each other with their goals and all the ups and downs that go along with reaching them. And they’ve been doing this for over 20 years!
IT’S A GOOD THING! IT MEANS YOU’RE GETTING BIGGER:
So says TV and feature writer Alison Lea Bingeman. She believes that “if you’re stuck, that means that you are breaking through to some new ground… some new level. She says that “there’s something new that you’re learning and that you’re processing and that you’ll come out on the other side with a lot more knowledge and a lot more wisdom.”
As I’ve mentioned, we are all going to get stuck from time to time, whether from internal reasons or external sources. We’re human. It happens. The question is… for how long are you willing to stay stuck? Minutes, days, weeks, years? How about seconds? Wouldn’t that be a whole lot better? Let’s cut down, way down, on the time we spend being stopped and stuck. Start using these suggestions and get masterful at getting back on track immediately.