How to Get Going When You Don't Know What to Do
by Jim M. Allen
In his poem "The Road Not Taken" Robert Frost compares Life to a road in the woods. . . . Some paths are clear and smooth, others bumpy and filled with obstacles. While Frost's poem encourages us to be bold, take risks, and explore the unknown, the truth of the matter is that no matter which road you choose, the time will come when you get stuck. --A problem will come along that is outside your realm of experience or a situation will startle you and you just won't know what to do.
When you don't know what to do, it's very easy to end up in a "Now what?" rut: A non-productive cycle of asking "Now what?" and answering "I don't know. Now what?"
If this is familiar to you, I encourage you to escape the "Now what?" rut by considering the following:
PAUSE, DON'T STOP
Take time to reflect on the situation at hand, but don't let it stop you. Keep your momentum and press on with what you need to do. (Remember your science class: Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. . . .)
DO WHAT YOU'D DO IF YOU DID KNOW WHAT TO DO
Whenever someone tells me they don't know what to do, I ask them what they would do if they did know what to do. And you know what? Most of the time they can answer me!
Go to lunch.
Take a nap.
Flip a coin.
Do anything that gets you going and helps change your perspective. If it's not the exact right thing to do, you can always change what you're doing. But, in most cases, it's better to correct a decision than to make no decision at all.
One of the most difficult things to do is simply to ask for help. Go to you family, your friends, your co-workers, or your coach. Get their input, try on some of their ideas, you may find one that fits.
Keep these ideas in mind the next time you find yourself in a "Now what?" rut and get back onto your road to success!
Jim Allen is a professional life coach, speaker, and writer. Get more great ideas in you email every week by subscribing to Jim's weekly newsletter, THE BIG IDEA, by sending a blank email to: mailto:Subscribe@CoachJim.com (©2001 Jim Allen & CoachJim.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)