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5 ways to get out of the Rut

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5 important life lessons I learnt from visionaries




"When you're in a rut, you've to question everything except your ability to get out of it." - Twyla Tharp


Have you ever felt stuck in life? Like you couldn’t get where you wanted to go? That you couldn’t break free of the chains of your current circumstances? When you couldn’t move up to the next level in your life? Maybe you were in a rut, and maybe you feel like you’re in one now!


If this is the case, you need to be willing to do something to get out of it. Why? Because as writer Ellen Glasgow said, “The only difference between a rut and a grave is in their dimensions.” If you allow yourself to stay in a rut too long, it could result in the slow death of your dreams. Do you want that? I don't think so!


If you’re in a rut and you want to break out of it, then I encourage you to reflect upon the following advice:


1. Accept responsibility for your own life.


I've observed that most of the people, when get stuck, see elsewhere to put the blame for their difficulties and challenges. But, the truth is that the older you are, the more responsible you are for your circumstances. Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility.… Think about your life; where are you shirking responsibility or playing the victim? Have you blamed others for bad choices you made in life? Are you failing to follow through on anything that you know you should be doing? Are you doing things that you should never have agreed to do? Is your definition of success and happiness is to fulfill the expectations of others around you?


Getting out of a rut begins with the acknowledgement you must make the choices to do so.


2. Know what you want and where you want to be.


I know a lot of people who hoped and dreamed of being successful, but their goals never become more specific than that. Hope is not a strategy. Someone wise rightly said, “If you don’t know where you want to go, you might end up somewhere you never wanted to be and the problem is that you will only know this when you get there.”


You must define where you want to go and what you want in life; it’s not a guarantee you will reach your goals or achieve your visions, but if you don’t define them, it’s almost guaranteed that you will reach nowhere.


What are you going to spend your life for? Is it something you really want to do? Have you given yourself a clear target? Have you developed and written out long term visions? If not, you need to.


3. Break-down your long-term visions into short-term visions.


One thing that often paralyzes people is having a vision or even a big goal with no realistic way of achieving it. How do you solve that? By breaking it down into bite-sized pieces that you accomplish with focused effort.


As Tom Hopkins advised, “Take it in steps. If you’ve never made more than the minimum wage, don’t aim for a half-a-million-dollar goal the first year in selling or with a new company. Always aim for the earnings level that excites you a lot and only scares you a little.” And figure out the smaller steps necessary to get there. Break it down from your long term visions, to intermediate visions, to annual goals, to monthly or weekly steps, and on down to what you need to do today.


4. Do not procrastinate and take action today.


Now you’ve arrived at the next step: taking action. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” All the dreaming, hoping, planning and goal-setting in the world won’t do a thing for you if you never follow through.


I meet people all the time who say, ‘I am an IT expert ’ or ‘I am a teacher’ or ‘I am an Accountant, and I want to do something great, but they don’t actually do anything. They just dream and that's it. It’s very frustrating. At Timelenders, we’d like to develop a community of people who not only envision but actually do things with right prioritization to bring positive change in their lives.


What small action can you take today that will start moving you out of your rut and take you one small step closer to your vision? It doesn’t have to be a big step. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a significant step. It just needs to be a small step in the right direction.


5. Grow into your tomorrow.


While the steps you take today don’t need to be earth-shattering, you don’t want every step forward to be small and insignificant. You want your steps to be progressively bigger, smarter and more strategic. The only way I know to make that happen is to be intentional about getting better every day. Striving for excellence all the time.


In John Maxwell's book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential, the last law, the Law of Expansion, says,"Growth always increases your capacity. Tenure won’t make you better. Experience isn’t any guarantee of success. Having the best resources doesn’t automatically help you improve. The only thing that guarantees that you will be better tomorrow is growing today."


If you don’t have a highly intentional plan for personal growth, you might get out of today’s rut and dig yourself a new one tomorrow. Don’t do it. If you keep getting better, keep climbing higher, you’ll never find yourself stuck—at least, not for long.


My one final piece of advice is to get help from experts. Too often we are so embarrassed about where we are that we become afraid of admitting to someone else that we’re stuck. That shouldn’t be. There’s no shame in getting stuck—only in continue that way when you have a choice to change and have people who can help you become better.


There have been times in my life that I’ve had to ask others to give me a hand to move forward when I couldn’t figure out how to do it. And there have been times when others have asked for my help. And this process is still going along. That’s the way it ought to be. I believe that Allah (swt) has given us number of qualities with which we can help each other and move in the direction of our visions.


Stay blessed.


Yameenuddin Ahmed has been associated with Timelenders since 2004 as one of its key leaders in the area of life transforming trainings, coaching, and counseling. To date, Ahmed has helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations in developing worthy and powerful visions and in bringing order, enhancing character, and improving performance in personal and professional living. (Read more)


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