You’re not the first to get stuck. And while it feels like an awful state to exist in, I’d like to remind you that you have great power within you to get yourself unstuck, and even—excited about your work again. Even if it has been years since since you felt the drive and passion behind what got you started in your current business or career, it is possible to not only get back there, but even to surpass your best at work. I’ve seen this happen for many professionals during my career and the second wind is often stronger than the first. The second wind is a force powered by experience and self-confidence developed after breaking through many obstacles, once unforeseen.
If you think this is impossible, just think of what it is like to reconnect with a close friend or family member after years of being out of touch. The way you pick up without skipping a beat. That same thing is possible when you meet again with the love of the game that is your work. Before we get into the how to, let’s first analyze what happened.
Why Do You Feel Stuck?
Sometimes it’s because of lacking focus, clear goals, or time management. Sometimes it is overwhelm and sometimes it’s because of change. Change can be a major factor in getting stuck. How can this be?
Ideally, we want to be in a state of flow. We want to have the Midas touch. We want to be booked solid and working on things that excite us. Very often, when starting out, we get there and it is exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming. We let it ride. We coast. We get into the groove. We get busy about the work we brought into the business while working on the business. The trouble with this is, we stopped doing the thing that brought us the work in the first place. We engage for years with a handful of “good clients” who keep us busy and while we’re busy, the world changes around us. We take our eye off the ball. We don’t focus as hard on business development and selling. We experience brand drift. Brand drift is the gradual movement of our brand from its original focus. The world, the industry, our target market, our competitors all begin to change while our heads are down doing the work.
By the time we look up and a client or two moves on, we go into panic mode, unprepared for replacing the work. Or perhaps we have a major shift in our personal life that shakes us to the core, but we still have to perform at work. While none of this is easy or fun to deal with, you can rest assured you’re not alone and that all hope is not lost. You can turn this around and be genuinely excited and passionate about your work once again.
Maybe you aren’t even sure what it is you do anymore. This can be especially painful, I can tell you that from experience. I have spent years pitching website projects into the void but realized the most sought after work that I do relates to sales process, branding, and marketing. Do I still sell websites to clients who need them? Heck yeah. But I don’t focus on that. I focus on what’s going on under the surface and come up with the best answers for their situation—whatever they may be. If that includes a website, great. We’re more than capable. Did your career path or business evolve into something new? Or did your brand drift take you into unfamiliar territory and you’d like to get back to where you belong? Do you have years of specialized experience that you’re not tapping or charging for at the moment?
If any of this resonates, you have probably experienced brand drift. The good news is, it’s totally curable and rarely fatal, if caught early.
What service brings you the most profit and the most joy? Do that.
I could end this here, but let’s unpack that just in case you need some help identifying that service. I acknowledge that you probably have some current business that you need to keep going. So go ahead and keep that going the way you have been for now. But now, you need to create a “side hustle” that looks more like your ideal business. I don’t mean starting a new business. I mean, from now on make sure all of your services and activities outside the existing work you have are aligned with the two criteria I set out above: highest profit + most joy in the work.
Here’s How To Get Excited About Your Work Again
- Review your past and present client list for anything that makes you smile or feel good about the work. What made you the most money for the least effort? What gave you the best feeling before, during, and after the work was completed? This is the type of work you need to commit yourself to doing going forward.
- Create a plan for finding clients who fit the profile you’re now targeting.
- Spend all of your time and effort when working on servicing your current clients and finding new ones.
- Don’t deviate from the plan.
Revenue is the best medicine and as long as you’re going to focus on revenue, make sure what you’re doing in exchange is for the best clients for your business and that the work is profitable! You can do this. Get yourself unstuck by ending brand drift, getting clear on who you want to serve, and find a new client as soon as possible.