Life is full of ups and downs. You land the big piece of business; you lose a bigger piece of business. Your relationship is on Cloud 9; you can’t stand to look at, let alone compliment your partner. You have a blast on vacation; you feel like work is a never ending grind. Every day is a new experience, and for a lot of folks that last instance of being stuck in a not so pretty grind can come up often and last for a LONG time. It sure doesn’t help that your brain is hard-wired to keep you in that funk for as long as it wants. It’s one of your unhelpful default settings; your brain craves safety over progress. And in this case, safety means bing miserable and progress means actually enjoying life!
I’ve seen folks who get in the rut and just can’t get out. Even worse, they feel like they just need to work harder to get out of it. I’ve also seen people who never seem to get into that rut to begin with. Turns out they DO get into that rut, they just have a great tool at their disposal; the “Slumpbuster”.
A Slumpbuster can come in many different forms and say many different things, but the end result is the same. It should be a pop of positivity that zaps you back on track really quickly. When it comes to successfully navigating (or avoiding) the rut; here are the top four ways to put this tool to work for you:
1. Anchor back to a clear vision and long-term goals.
Ever notice that the people who complain a lot have a lot to complain about? On the same note, have you noticed that the most enthusiastic people have the most excitement happening in their lives? It is simply a matter of focus. The latter ALWAYS have a big picture goal or vision that they are chasing down. They are focused on what they really want in their lives. Whenever I find myself teetering on the edge of the rut, I take a step back and ask myself, “Is what I am frustrated about even related to my bigger goals? The answer usually shows up pretty quickly.
2. Get grateful
This one has been said over and over, but I think it gets said over and over because it actually works. When you find yourself pissed at the world or at some external thing or person, use the immortal words I learned from Tom Weber: “You better find yourself something you are grateful for REAL quickly and focus your energy on that for a while!” Again, shifting your focus from problems to gratitude will help you right the ship incredibly quickly. Struggling to find something? Start with being grateful for the ability to move on!
3. Have a Ruth in your life…or at least in your inbox
Author John O’Sullivan shared a wonderful story of a woman whom he met and told him that his advice on how to support her child in athletics was essentially crap (I’m paraphrasing). A while later, John received a hand-written letter from this same woman thanking him for his advice and telling the story of how much it impacted her relationship with her child. John had that letter framed and it’s hanging in his office as a reminder of the good he does in peoples’ lives. Eric Plantenberg has a copy of an email that he got from someone 10 years after he had met that person thanking him for the lessons he shared. I have Ruth. Ruth has been through a bunch of our programs. She writes me the sweetest emails and repeatedly thanks me for walking in the door of her office and for being a catalyst in helping change her life. You think I don’t open up that email on the days I get repeatedly hung up on making calls? You BET I do!
4. Last but not least…Film the Slumpbuster video
When you land that big piece of business. When your relationship is on Cloud 9. When you feel like you can do no wrong. It’s time to film yourself giving you a pep talk. I know it seems cheesy, but who are you going to listen to? A motivational speaker whom you have no relationship with or someone who knows you better than anyone in the world? Shoot a quick 2-3 minute video reminding yourself how good you feel in that moment. Remind yourself how amazing you are and how you got there. When you find yourself in the rut or questioning yourself, watch it. I shot one of these last year just in case. WARNING: It’s rated PG-13 with some adult language. Note that as of this posting it had 3 views; Once when I shot it, once when I shared it with Eric (who suggested I do it) and once when I looked at it before writing this post.Invalid LeadPlayer video - ID not found!
When you find yourself in a slump or a rut, how do you get out? I’d love to hear your technique(s)!