4 Steps to Get Unstuck and Do Something You’re Not Quite Ready to Do

When asked about all her success, Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo, says: “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

Do something you’re not quite ready to do.

I find this mantra inspiring. I try to live my life this way and want to challenge you to do the same.

But HOW do you push through those scary moments when you feel stuck and not really sure you can do it?

A few thoughts…

First of all, doing something you’re “not quite ready to do” DOES NOT mean that you don’t prepare at all. Preparation and consistent, disciplined practice will ultimately lead to greater growth & results…in juggling!…and in work & life.

Famed golfer Arnold Palmer said: “It’s a funny thing. The more I practice, the luckier I get”

Practice is critical to progress and success, BUT…it can be tricky to find the balance between time spent in preparation and knowing when to take action. We each have to learn to recognize when our preparation turns to procrastination and we let fear stop us from taking that leap of faith.

Before I got into entertaining & speaking, I had to leave my corporate structural engineering job. How hard was it to walk away from a stable office job with good benefits at a top engineering firm that I went to 4 years of college to earn a degree for?!

It wasn’t easy, but honestly, at the time, it wasn’t that scary because I knew it was what I had to do, and that I’d figure it out. I don’t remember one defining moment where the heavens opened and lightening struck and I had this realization that it was time to make a change. It was more like falling asleep…a gradual process where I began to realize that I wasn’t where I was meant to be (and was literally falling asleep at my desk…haha!…shhh!)

Before I left to become self-employed, I did prepare: I worked to put some savings away, went to all my important doctor visits, moved to smaller & cheaper apartment with a Craigslist roommate, and I timed it to stay on part time for one year. I booked a few steady jobs teaching with the Big Apple Circus, in after school programs, and performing at FAO Schwarz.

I didn’t have it all figured out, but I knew I couldn’t stay contained in the cubicle any longer. We often put ourselves in cubes or boxes with hard lines and rules about the order we should do things in or when we will be ready. WHY?

It’s pretty uncomfortable to be stuck in a box…yes, I speak from experience as I was once a magician’s assistant!…


…so I want to offer some strategies to get unstuck. Looking back at my experiences and what helped me take the risk to break out of my engineering cubicle, it boils down to this…

(Dork alert! Here comes my favorite new acronym…I love puzzles and fitting information into a concise, easy-to-remember formula makes me a little giddy!)

Break out of your C.U.B.E. by putting these 4 steps into action:

1. Connect the dots in new way…Hone your creative problem solving skills. Identify your strengths and brainstorm how you can combine them in an innovative way. Envisioning a new path is the first step in taking the leap.

Action: List the things you love to do. The things you are best at. The things everyone takes notice of. Start to draw new lines of connection between those strengths and interests.

2. Understand Your WHY…What is your true passion, your life purpose? When that’s defined and strong, you’re willing to take risks for it.

Action: Figure out WHY it’s important for you to take action. Reflect, meditate, envision your reason for doing this. Take time for yourself to tap into your creativity and discover what really motivates you.

3. Believe in Yourself AND Build a Support Team…Surround yourself with people who will uplift and support you. Forget the naysayers. Look for team members with complementary knowledge and experience. Ask for help and offer help.

Action: Reach out to 3 people you’d like on your team and ask how they could contribute to your goals AND how you can help them achieve their goals.

4. Expect to make mistakes and work hard…Mistakes are part of the never-ending learning process, and little will be accomplished without consistent, disciplined practice. It’s a constant challenge!

Action: Write down the most recent mistake you made or outcome you wish was different. Now write down what you learned from it and what you will do differently next time. Mistakes are stepping stones to success and can lead to creative solutions.

These 4 steps may be over-simplified here, but put into action they can empower you to take the risk and make the leap towards something great…to get “unstuck” and do something you’re not quite ready to do, whether it’s starting a new business, asking for a job promotion, or taking the next step in a relationship.

Tony Robbins said: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” 

Do something different.