Stuck in a Rut

Stuck in a Rut post image

I don’t remember how it started, probably with Taylor Pearson.

In early 2016, we had been working on a long article (booklet?) for a month or so. 1,000s and 1,000s of words.

It, like most of the writing and podcasting projects I was taking on, was turning into hard-drive filler.

Half-finished stuff that would never get published.

I was getting increasingly stressed out about it.

And I could only point the finger in one direction. Clearly the problem was me.

So I tried to toughen up and work harder.

But under the pressure of managing a team, working with the community, and emails everywhere, it was easy to let myself off the hook.

So, as the years went on, we just put less stuff out into the world.

And, since everyone else on the team had their own jobs too, it felt like the solution had to come from me.

In 2015, I only published one blog post that wasn’t an invitation to one of our events.

Which is a bummer, especially because so much energy had gone into so many draft articles and business ideas that had potential.

I would have assumed that the longer we did something, the easier it would get. But for us, it was becoming the opposite.

I’m not sure if I realized it at the time, but I turned, during that period, to something I’ve relied on my entire career: A mastermind. A small group of people, all with similar goals. I was lucky enough to have been working with Taylor already, so he invited me. “Want to join this mastermind? We’re going to be focused on online publishing.”


So last year, every two weeks, I would get on the phone with Taylor Pearson, James Clear, Jodi Ettenberg, and Mark Manson.

I know what you’re thinking. “Man, you got lucky.”

Yep. These people are incredible professionals. I can’t reach their standards, on so many levels, but I didn’t find that discouraging. I found hearing from them inspiring. And I used their advice, and input, to find a way to improve on my own terms. Instead of Googling for advice, I talked through my challenges with them. And I did my best to offer value to them in return.

That mastermind, and the people who were in it, had a huge impact on me.

Since mid-last year this blog has published every Tuesday morning. And last year was the first, since 2009, that we’ve put out a podcast episode every week. We even revived our efforts to email TMBA subscribers.

I joked with Mark, Jodi, Taylor and James that, “I stole everything I could.”

This year I feel I’ve got the publishing anxiety sorted — or at least enough to spend some time focused on other challenges.

This year, aside from helping 100s of other entrepreneurs join their own masterminds, I’m taking a fresh look at other aspects of our businesses.

What a difference a year makes. It’s exciting .. exhilarating even.

When I look back, last year at this time, I was full of anxiety about my inability to fix the problem and to take action. Why? Because every time I tried to take action (on my own) to solve the problem I felt I was losing ground elsewhere.

So, this is a thank you to those fellow entrepreneurs for their advice, and input, and fellowship.

And a reminder of something that can easily be forgotten — if you’re having trouble getting the results you want, it’s easy to isolate yourself. Maybe you just need put yourself around better people.



PS, be sure to check out the podcast this week, it’s one of our first few stabs at a ‘documentary’ style show and it’s been really fun to produce.

Published on 02.28.17
  • Brother I feel ya.

    A year ago i was in New Zealand, days away from my son’s birth, living month to month on my consulting/coaching revenue & scared as hell.

    I was in a rut & didn’t know how to get out.

    A year later I am a partner in a software company, building sales teams, doing the work I was always built to do.

    I finally figured out how to turn my “corporate” skill-set into an entrepreneurial one, but only by surrounding myself with brilliant people and being open to change.

    Looking forward to DCATX! :)

  • Scary even how much change can happen in a business year…looking forward to the update, I’ve never been so excited to go to freaking Texas!!! :D

  • Adrijus Guscia

    Weird how many people I know who had rough year in 2016.. rough maybe not in traditional sense of ‘not enough’ but just that rut… crazy… even in DC.. seeing this is very interesting. You’d think that folks who have achieved a lot wouldn’t have this problem at all but it looks like it cycles and is like an onion, layer after layer things happen and go around.

  • makes sense to me, perhaps we’re self selecting because for many of us a sense of dissatisfaction drove us in the first place, so I guess it’s not a surprise that we’d end up back there eventually! :D

  • Adrijus Guscia

    Yeah. Makes sense… hopefully, it still means improvement. haha

  • Trevor Pirtle

    “That mastermind, and the people who were in it, had a huge impact on me.”

    What changed for you? What exactly was the impact?

    “This year I feel I’ve got the publishing anxiety sorted — or at least enough to spend some time focused on other challenges.”

    What specific sticking points did you overcome? What’s different now?

    I appreciate where you’re going with this, and it’d be better if there was more specifics on how the mastermind helped.

  • I’m tempted to try and answer straight on but I keep running into a few barriers, mostly the complexity of pulling together a specific story that’s a ringer or a breakthrough moment. Examples like every time I would have a new offer in my business I would show it to them first and talk through the details with them. It’s hard to say which comments lead directly to which outcomes but I guess not impossible. These conversations were complex, included 5 people, and unfolded over a year.

    So perhaps the specifics that this post was trying to point to is not what but how. That having a group of peers that effectively act like a board of directors, who aren’t directly invested in your business or getting paid by you, and who have detailed knowledge of your business, can speak some truth to you (in the best case scenario).

    So you can hear tips on the web that are specific like “do this to your mailing list and you’ll get a 30% conversion increase” and that stuff can be valuable, but there’s a value in discussing those things in detailed, contextualized, and private contexts.

    I know that’s a bit of dodge, and I agree that this post would be improved if I teased out a specific story from that group. I’m putting it on the “podcast ideas” document now :)

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