See that image above? That’s a snippet from “Where’s Waldo?” – the kitchy cartoon that causes you to spend minutes, hours, days or weeks hovering over a single image looking for a dude in glasses with a red and white striped shirt.
I used to play “Where’s Waldo?” when I was a kid. Back then, it was kind of fun. I mean, Waldo was always hiding there somewhere – I just had to find him. And he was always doing something interesting, like going to the beach or hanging out at the amusement park. A good way to spend time on a rainy day.
Now that I’m all grown up (though some people would debate that point…) Waldo just isn’t as much fun. Sure, if I had the time I’d love to sit down and show it to my kids. I’m sure they would be able to find him pretty quickly! But now, Waldo has become a metaphor for life in the modern world.
There is so much going on, so much to see and do and be, that the one specific thing you’re looking for can be rather hard to find.
In the past few days, I’ve had the great privilege of speaking with a few entrepreneurs who are struggling, like I did as a little Waldo-loving kid, to find their focus.
They feel stuck, like they can’t move forward without finding that missing piece.
They feel frustrated, because they can’t find what they’re looking for.
They feel overwhelmed with the amount of information to take in along the way.
In short, they’re discouraged. They need guidance. They need help. They need focus and clarity so that they can take action and move forward.
They need to find Waldo.
If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged, there is hope. This little exercise will help you move past whatever it is that is keeping you stuck, and get you into action!
Follow along on a sheet of paper. This might be a bit confronting, and the first few times it may take you a bit more than 5 minutes. This takes some self-awareness to achieve, so you may have to work toward it. Have faith though, you will get there!
Step 1: Write Down Your Ultimate Goal
When you don’t know what to do, and you’re finding it hard to focus (perhaps procrastinating?), you need to pinpoint what you’re trying to achieve.
What is your ultimate goal?
What will your current task help you to achieve?
Write down your goal.
It can be hard sometimes to distinguish between where you’re stuck and the true goal – for example, writing your copy vs. launching your website. What you really want to do is launch your website so you can get customers, your web copy has you stuck.
There will be a dependant relationship between your goal and where you’re stuck. You will feel you have to complete X to achieve Y. “Y” is your ultimate goal.
Example: My ultimate goal is to launch my website.
Step 2: Identify the Distractions
What are you doing instead of what you want to accomplish? This could be anything from taking phone calls from your mother in the middle of the day, to organizing your desk, or yes – even spending too much time on your copy.
Write down everything you’ve done today, this week, and even this month instead of accomplishing your goal. Include anything you can’t seem to finish, even if you believe it will help you move toward your goal. Write down everything you can think of.
Example: My distractions are writing and perfecting my copy, redoing my graphics, researching my family tree, folding laundry, fixing the blinds and going to the grocery store.
Step 3: Acknowledge Them
The first time you go through this process, you might start to feel bad on step 2. You might even judge yourself. I myself used to think, “Why can I accomplish all of this other stuff but I can’t seem to finish X?”
I know from experience, that isn’t going to help. Everyone has a life, and we all have things that must get done. We all have other things we want to do. That is not only okay, but it is necessary! Your business would die if you couldn’t have a life outside of it.
Step 3 is all about acknowledging what had to get done, what you wanted to do, and what were the true distractions. The key to doing so without judgement is simple – gratitude.
Example: I acknowledge that I had to write my copy, fold the laundry, and go to the grocery store. I am grateful that I had the time and space to complete these important tasks. I acknowledge that I distracted myself by perfecting my copy, redoing my graphics, researching my family tree, and fixing the blinds. I am grateful for these activities, as they will help me to move forward.
Step 4: Look for the Resistance
Now that you know what you’ve been doing to distract yourself, you get to look for “why”. Why are you distracting yourself in the first place? What haven’t you addressed? Where are you experiencing resistance?
Go back to your initial goal, and imagine it is happening right now – is there something you are afraid of? Is there something in your imaginary scenario that is going wrong? Is there something missing?
Probably 99% of the time, lack of confidence is the core of the resistance. You’re not confident enough in your abilities, your methods, your choices, or some other aspect of yourself or what you’re doing to be able to move forward without fear.
Where are you lacking confidence? What are you afraid of?
Example: I distracted myself with those activities because I am afraid that my website will suck.
Step 5: Acknowledge, Release, and Move On
Now that you understand the true reason behind your lack of focus, which is a lack of confidence in one particular area, you need to practice gratitude. Be grateful that you have fear. If you didn’t care whether or not your website sucked, it probably would.
Then release the resistance. Make a commitment to use that fear in constructive ways (to drive you to achieve your goal), and understand that confidence will only come from putting it out there and watching it work.
Finally, commit to moving forward.
Example: I am grateful for my fear about the website. By using that fear in a constructive way, I will make this website better. I understand that confidence will only come from achieving my goal. I commit to moving forward and completing the website by 06/06/2014.
The key to this exercise is repetition. Yes, the first time you do it you will be able to release some resistance and make progress – but if this is a big, recurring issue for you, chances are you will get stuck again.
Every time you feel stuck, unable to move forward and make progress, complete this simple 5-minute exercise. It is almost magical the way this process can make things happen.
Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments!
P.S. If energetic alignment is important to you, I highly recommend this exercise. Alignment with your goals through the acknowledgement and releasing of resistance is where the real magic of manifestation happens!