I’d rank the unnecessary baggage that I see entrepreneurs and executives carry around with them among the top three obstacles to self-growth. Most often it takes the form of unproductive mental tapes about unresolved relationships, situations, or events that they play in an endless loop. These tapes sap energy and dilute their ability to focus on the businesses and their lives.
Does that sound familiar to you?
I worked with a serial entrepreneur who for over two years was unable to let go of a perceived negative incident and move on with her life. Season after season, she carried the burden of guilt like a stone-filled backpack that strained her shoulders and spine and prevented her from moving freely. She paid a hefty price for her inability to stop the brain noise, such as reduced productivity and stress-related health challenges. It was only when she took the time to stop, make sense of the situation, and successfully resolve it that she was able to end her self-imposed torment and to say, “I’m ready to move on.”
Here’s the advice that I give clients whose unwanted baggage slows them down or prevents them from moving forward in one or more aspects of their lives: stop the tapes, identify and focus on the unresolved issue, create a plan to address it, and implement the plan. This process enables them to release the issue, get the closure they need, and move on with their lives.
Though this is sound advice, many find it challenging to implement. Why? They can’t get beyond the first step: STOP what they’re doing. The single hardest thing for any human being in the world to do is: Stop. Change. Re-start. Not slow down, not tweak, not pause but STOP.
It may sound counterintuitive to stop in order to move forward. Yet if you’re stuck, the fastest way to get unstuck is to stop, get closure on unresolved issues so you can put a permanent end to the unproductive tapes, and re-calibrate. People have been known to experience a re-birth after they release their unnecessary baggage.
Everybody wants to get rid of something. If there were one thing in your life you had to say had been open a little too long, that you cannot seem to close, what would it be?
Examples might include:
- Should I expand or exit my business?
- When do I quit my job?
- I can’t seem to end this divorce!
- I can’t get over the fear.
- I’d stop grieving over a lost relationship.
- I still can’t erase the image of my aunt dying of cancer.
The prerequisite for a new beginning is the release of unwanted baggage i.e., reaching closure on open issues. The principal obstacle that inhibits people from stepping forward is their failure to achieve that closure.
Here is my three-step RCA formula to help you master how to stop and reach closure on open issues:
- Reflect. What issues in your life are outstanding that you would like to close, or have closed for you Download and list these.
- Choose. Which issue contains the highest value and importance Define what it will take for you to stop.
- Act. Where and how will you get what you need to enable you to stop List those tasks in your calendar and treat them with the highest priority.
The morale of the story: hurry up and STOP!
The quicker you learn to stop, the faster you’ll re-start, and the greater the progress you’ll make toward achieving your goals. What endless loops do you want to close? Let me know if I may help you become as successful as my clients who have learned the secret of stopping in order to move forward.