by Dave Anderson
Some ruts are so powerful you don’t even realize you’re in one. You get so wrapped up in routine that business as usual is forever, business as usual. Here are five warning signs for ruts. Look at these points honestly and objectively because deluding yourself is a sure sign you’re headed toward-or calcified in ‘rutdom’. You can’t take ruts lightly because if you stay in one long enough it can turn into a grave. In fact, the only difference between a rut and a grave is how deep it is and how long you’re in it. As you read through these five signs of ruts pay attention and make adjustments because the first rule of ruts is to stop digging.
1. You might be in a rut if you can’t remember the last time you tried something for the first time. This includes your business and personal life. You visit the same restaurants, order the same food, shop at the same stores, wear the same clothes, watch the same television programs and listen to the same music. You play it close to the vest at work, immersing yourself in the safe routine and your production, attitude and track record are consistent: consistently average.
2. You might be in a rut if you compare yourself to others more than to your former self. You let yourself off the hook because you’re better than average, even though you aren’t much better, or perhaps even worse, than you used to be. You work hard on your job but no longer work on yourself. You climbed a mountain and built a retirement home there rather than look for a higher mountain. You can’t overcome acrophobia so you plateau and maintain a life designed to be stretched.
3. You might be in a rut if you’ve become comfortable living a life filled with goals mostly unrealized. You spend more time watching others live out their dreams on television and in the tabloids than you do pursuing your own aspirations. You’ve settled too early, too cheaply. You spend more time varnishing the past than constructing the future. Average has become acceptable and because you’ve settled for a good life you will never live a great one.
4. You might be in a rut if find yourself playing the victim. You spend more time focusing on what you are owed rather than what you owe to others. You blame your state more on outside conditions than inside decisions. You haven’t come to grips with the fact that you are reaping the consequences of the behavior you sowed, instead decrying your bad breaks and envying those around you who seem to get them all.
5. You might be in a rut if you haven’t made a big mistake lately. You’ve stopped playing to win and, instead, play not to lose. Just about the time you are within striking distance of something great you let up and break your own momentum. No one blocks your path to greater things; you just can’t get out of your own way. You don’t make major errors, but you never have a breakthrough either.
If you are in a rut, the answer to morale is action. Set new goals and redesign your life. Your age doesn’t matter because if you’re not going to do anything with your life, how long you live is irrelevant. And if you do decide to do something significant with your life it doesn’t matter how late you start. You simply must start. Work and live with a sense of urgency and positive expectation. Make each day a masterpiece. Pay more attention to and renew gratitude for the little blessings that come your way. Start giving more to others. Look harder for possibilities than problems and since you cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with how you see yourself, see yourself as an unstoppable. No one can get you out of a rut and that’s good news because it means you are in control. You must start. Take the first step and the next is easier. When you leave your rut you start to fulfill your promise and potential. And when you do so you don’t do it simply for yourself. You fulfill your potential because your family deserves it. You do it because your organization needs it. And most importantly, you do so because the God who created you expects it.
© Copyright 1999-2004, The Dave Anderson Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Dave Anderson is the author of over 50 sales and management training programs and the book, Selling Above The Crowd: 365 Strategies For Sales Excellence. He writes a monthly leadership column for Dealer Magazine and publishes the newsletter, Leading At The Next Level. Dave is president of the Dave Anderson Corporation, and LearntoLead.com, a sales and leadership training organization.
You can reach Dave at:
The Dave Anderson Corporation
PO Box 1119
Los Altos, CA 94023
Phone: 800-519-8224 650-941-1493 (Canada, Int’l)