How To Get Unstuck: 3 Strategies To Kick It Back Into High Gear

How To Get Unstuck: 3 Strategies To Kick It Back Into High Gear

Today I want to share with you something that’s near and dear to my heart… the idea of getting unstuck.

Recently I was sitting down with a friend of mine and I was asking him what his plans were for the rest of the year – since we were already half way through the year – and he told me that he just didn’t feel connected to his business anymore.

His business was doing well – he actually hasn’t worked a whole lot – and his business continues to go along. But what really threw me off was that he used the word “comfortable”… he said, “I just feel comfortable.”

I was like, ok, I can get that, I know sometimes when you actually do the things that work and you get to a certain point, it can be hard to always keep yourself motivated.

The more we talked about it, I really thought through some areas he could look at to get re-energized and re-excited about his business.

That’s what I’d like to share with you today… 3 strategies that I shared with him, to really get him re-connected with his purpose

…To get back to why he started the business, to define where he wanted to go, and who he was in his life (he wasn’t even happy with the approach he was having personally).

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5 Year Day: Fast Forward And Visualize

The first thing that I want to share is something that I think is pretty profound and is something I do in interviews when I hire people.

Ask yourself, “What does my life look like in 5 years?”

Sit down and describe as you wake up in the morning: the place you’re living in, the things you’re doing in the morning, your routine, the people in your life, the relationships that you have, the quality of those relationships, the kind of work you are doing, etc.

Talk me through – in a 5 year scenario – what your day looks like.

I just think it’s such a powerful visualization!

There’s this great quote that says… “Begin with the end in mind.”

I feel like that’s the first step, because if you don’t know where you’re going, then any path will do.

It’s really important to get crystal clear on what you want your day and your life to look like 5 years from now.

Start talking about it, write it down, draw a picture, visualize who the people are from a relationship point of view, visualize how your health is and even how your business is… what have you accomplished?

Your Dream 100 List

If you know where you want to go, then think about the people who are going to support you in making those decisions. People are the bi-product of the people they spend time with.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Any time I’ve started a new project – especially a company in an industry I’ve never done before – I make a list of 100 people that I call my “Dream 100 List.”

These are 100 people who may invest in my company, people who have had success in the same area, people who inspire me and could teach me new ideas (advisors), and also some potential friends, or a peer group of people I’d like to spend time with.

So if you are trying to get healthy – who is the healthiest person you know?

If you’re trying to get better in business – who’s one of the strongest entrepreneurs you know?

Ask them to do coffee once a week!

There are also a bunch of structures – you can join mentorship groups or hire a business coach (and those are all great things) but I really think it can be as simple as asking yourself, “Who are the people that are going to support me in this decision?”

Take Action every day: Regardless Of Size

Some people call it the slight edge… some people call it the compound effect.

I learned this when I was 21 from a family friend named Wayne – and at first, I totally dismissed it.

He was an entrepreneur and a business person, so one day I asked him, “If there was one thing you could suggest to an up and coming entrepreneur (at this point I had failed twice already), what would you suggest?”

He thought about it for a few minutes and then he just said, “Habits.”

I was expecting something deep and profound or maybe a magic formula… and he just said “habits.”

He explained it, but unfortunately, it took me another 5 years to figure out what he was saying.

What I suggest you do is think about the thing you could do every day – that seems mundane – that over time will allow you to accomplish a lot.

I think that most people are looking for the next big thing, the big idea that’s just going to make their business work or the next fitness fad or cleanse (or whatever it is) to get their health in order.

I think it can really be as simple as choosing one action for 90 days in each area of your life that you’d like to see improvement (ex: relationship, business, health, etc).

For your health, it could be something as simple as drinking 10 glasses of water a day or a gallon of water a day (and I’m going to suggest doing this!).

I’m not even talking about food or anything else, I’m just talking about choosing that one action that will start to inspire you in other areas of your life.

You could wake up and go for a 20-minute walk – that’s it – just a 20-minute walk – I’m not talking about going to CrossFit or running a marathon in 6 months, just choose something simple.

For your business, it’s the same thing. If you realize you don’t have a good marketing strategy then maybe every day for the next 90 days you’re going to write a blog post (if that sounds daunting – maybe write a blog once a week and just work on it every morning for 10 minutes).

Whatever it is, choose something that you can take action on every day for 90 days that is in line with your 5-year plan. If you miss a day after 10 days, start again on day 11 and just get as many days in doing those simple actions for 90 days. It can take as little as an hour total in all of those areas.

For me this is a really simple, tactical strategy that will help anybody get unstuck when they’re feeling like things are comfortable or they can’t find their mojo again.

So here’s the plan…

Begin with the end in mind, start thinking about the people who will support that, and put together a very simple action plan (so you don’t feel overwhelmed), something that you can do for 90 days.

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If there’s something in those areas that you do every day that you feel is just “the thing” that works for you, then I would love to hear from you in the comments below… I personally reply to every one of them.

  • Roy Opata Olende

    Thanks for the advice, Dan.

    It’s so odd that you gave the example of someone trying to improve their marketing (and building the habit of writing blog posts). I write a post about once a week but was feeling so bummed out this morning and wasn’t going to do it. This video gave me a little kick in the butt.

    Off to write – cheers, Dan.

    • Dan Martell

      Roy, glad I could help get re-aligned.

      Trust me, I come into those moods as well.. but I know that daily actions (or weekly, like these videos) over time is what creates greatness.

      It’s less about missing a week and more about loosing momentum.

      The way I see it… my job is to keep momentum and not miss something only to have to work twice as hard to get it going back again.

      Here’s to momentum!!!

      All the best.


  • Paul Berkovic

    Hey Dan – Firstly, let me say I really like the short form videos. Their brevity makes them easy to consume and more likely to have an impact. Secondly, I want to reaffirm what you said about visualizing outcomes. I’ve recently started asking myself ‘what does success look like?’ more and more…and I’ve never been more productive and effective. For me, it’s not necessarily about the 5 year plan (that’s important too), but the exercise of visualizing an end goal for anything, is very powerful. e.g. it might be, what does success look like for this week? or, what does success look like for the email I want to send to a difficult supplier? etc… I think once you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, your instincts kick in and drive you towards it. That’s a habit I’ve taken up.
    One takeaway I’ve had from this post is…I need form a dream list… this is great clarity. On that note, if you know any top gun SAAS marketers here in Australia…please let me know!

    • Dan Martell


      Great strategy … love that… what does success look like.

      Also feels like that would help you make a tough decision quickly … great stuff.

      re: SaaS marketers in Australia… I would suggest doing 2 things.
      1) Widen your reach to the world. I’m friends with amazing entrepreneurs via FB / Skype from all parts of the world and even though we only chat 2-3 times a year on Skype, they’re part of my list.
      2) Find the best SaaS companies you admire, then research who runs their marketing … that’s a great way to add onto your list.

      Hope that helps.


      • Paul Berkovic

        Thanks for the quick response Dan, and good advice. No shortage of top SAAS companies in the US!

        Cheers, Paul.

  • Bobby Berger

    Hi Dan,

    Great post. I first learned to ‘begin with the end in mind’ after reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. This book has been around a long time, but the lessons in it are as relevant today as they were back then – I still refer to this book and try to practice many of the habits.

    Your section on habits really resonated with me. The last 1.5 years I’ve taken a very
    disciplined approach to practicing habits in areas of my life that I wanted to
    improve. I’ll share one of them and they key takeaway from that experiment. Your
    friend Wayne was absolutely correct about the power of habits. There are many
    things we cannot control, but we can control establishing and practicing good
    habits. And those habits will lead us to improve any facet of life we apply
    them to.

    The key takeaway is to give oneself a longer time horizon for a habit to become naturally

    I’ve struggled with weight my whole life and I’ve have tried many different diets and programs but in Jan 2014 I joined a year-long online program called Lean Eating by Precision Nutrition which has changed my life. There are many dimensions to this program but a major component and the underlying framework is practicing good, daily habits. They have you focus on the habits instead of the outcome, as they know that if you practice the habits, the outcome you seek will be achieved. I’ve lost 50 pounds; my doctor tells me I have the blood pressure of an athlete and I haven’t felt this good since I was 18.

    Years ago I read somewhere that research indicated that practicing a habit for 21 days is the ‘magic’ number for a habit to become natural. This never worked for me. The Lean Eating course was 1 year in duration and finished Dec 2014. The amazing
    thing is that unlike most diets (and Lean Eating is not a diet), my healthy
    eating/training habits have become natural – and I credit that to them coaching
    me and instilling in me the importance of good habits – and I stress again – for a full year.

    I met a new acquaintance as I was finishing the program who was impressed with my results but wondered how I would do once the coaching program was finished as most people regain weight after ‘dieting’. Unlike many diets I tried in the past where I
    had yo-yo weight gain and loss, I haven’t put on weight since the end of that
    program. In fact, in the last 6 months since it ended I’ve lost more weight because
    the habits are now natural to me. So the question I’ve been asking myself (yeh I admit I talk to myself) is why is this time different – and I truly believe it is. My desire and passion for the results weren’t any different, so I believe the key reason was that the new health-focused habits needed more than 21 or 90 days to become natural; it took months and possibly a year.

    I have no research to back up the reason why I think that is, but anecdotally I believe it may have to do with neuroplasticity. I believe that I’ve created new synapses or changed existing paths and have re-hardwired my brain. In all other diets I felt like I was missing or depriving myself of something I wanted. I’m now wired to actually not want the same food I used to eat. I will indulge and enjoy less-healthy foods occasionally but I have absolutely no desire to get back into the habit of eating crap or overeating. I can’t believe I can happily say ‘no’ to eating foods that I would never have been able to pass on before. This has become effortless for me for the first time in my life.

    If you don’t feel your new habits are sticking or working, give yourself a longer time
    horizon – a year or more. Like everyone else, you will probably ‘fall-off’ from those habits during that time, but when you do “fall-off” – as Lean Eating teaches – just ‘clean the slate’ and continue with your new good habits and you’ll achieve whatever goal
    you had set for yourself.

    • Dan Martell


      Thanks A LOT for the detailed comment and suggestions.

      Super proud of you for taking your health into your own hands and doing it right.

      I can’t stand diet and workout fads… when it comes down to psychology and habits.



      • Bobby Berger

        You’re welcome Dan and thank you for your continuing to provide valuable and insightful motivation and inspiration

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