Guest blog from Andrea Adler and Sheila Lewis, authors of Spanda Cards for the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Bridging Ancient Wisdom and Business Acumen
You’re in the middle of a dream project, and all of a sudden, your momentum peters out. You feel tremendous pressure, but you’re panicked about completing the project. Writers call it “hitting the sagging middle.” How do you keep going until completion? One answer is to make friends with Spanda , the creative impulse that precedes taking action; this is vital for the entrepreneurial spirit and business people. And before either giving up or acting impulsively, think about a few questions:
Physical: Are you plain tired? Pushing yourself too hard? Will a short rest re-energize and reinvigorate you?
Emotional/Mental: Are patterns, feelings, or past failures, being triggered? What can you do about it?
Situational: What are the obstacles delaying your progress? How could you tackle each one? Can you get help?
Stalling in the middle is not a usually a matter of life and death. Complex projects have ups and downs, ebbs and flows. It’s often just a matter of sticking to a task until you are done.
A copywriter recalled his first year as the junior member of his team. He found it hard to stay motivated throughout the creative process and spent a lot of time by the water cooler. One day a colleague posted a sticky note on his desk that read “T.I.C.,” which stood for “Tush in Chair.” “Just put your butt in the chair and write,” he was told. It seemed so silly and obvious, but he tried it and it worked.
We surpass tedium when we follow our own version of T.I.C., like the hero in the tale Getting to the Finish Line:
A selfish, demanding king pushes a royal juggler to exhaustion. The juggler is about to give up when his wife reminds him the end is in sight. He perseveres and a higher power intercedes. The juggler is rewarded, and the king mends his ways.
When enthusiasm wanes, keep the end goal in mind as you plug away. If this doesn’t seem to work, know that getting stuck in midstream could also be related to the mind’s dislike of tedium and its preference for novelty. Many of us need to learn to deal with boredom and to prioritize our ideas when too many are flooding our brains. Jumping to the next shiny object instead of sticking with the project at hand is a problem that leads to procrastination, another version of stuck.
So what do you do? It’s helpful to envision completion or keep a hard stop in mind. Dangle a reward in front of yourself. Schedule something you like to do on a break or at the end of the day. An artist we know shoots pool to refresh her focus, and a business consultant gets a haircut to recharge. Playing music, doing sports, going to a café, and so forth are breaks that double as quick boosts to clear the mind and come up with solutions.
When the overworked brain rests, new mental territory opens up. Time itself can function in our favor, and ideas seemingly prioritize themselves when we need them to. Athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, inventors, and artists often report time standing still, or being in Flow or the zone.
To accomplish what you set out to do, find what swiftly shifts you into the zone from a stalled lane. Embrace the pride and pulse of completion. Getting unstuck can’t be forced. Find what works for you, on or off your butt. There is no roadmap but your own.
For a boost, contemplate Spanda card 10:
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