Leading Forward Into Momentum

imgresHave you ever felt stuck?

I remember a time driving on a bus with a bunch of young people, and the bus slid off the road because of black ice, and we were stuck in a ditch. I was thankful for the ditch in that it kept us from sliding off the side of the mountain, but for a brief moment in time, we were STUCK.

We got out of the bus and pushed and pulled, we tried to back the vehicle up, we tried to lay things on the road, but we were at a standstill…. until another bus came along full of military cadets. They jumped out of their bus, and in a single motion, working as a team, they put our bus back on the road and we were on our way again.

We had lost momentum. We we’re moving towards our goal. We couldn’t even back up. We were STUCK.

Have you ever felt STUCK, either personally or in your leadership? You literally stopped moving forward and for a time you didn’t go anywhere.

I often tell that that stopping to evaluate, stopping to define your direction and stopping to take a deep breath is good for you, however being STUCK isn’t.

Dan Rockwell, from leadershipfreak talks about momentum in this way:

“Momentum is the result of a series of successful endings not beginnings.”

Rockwell goes on to share these 5 truths about momentum:

  1. Momentum magnifies success
  2. Momentum shrinks problems and obstacles
  3. Momentum energizes
  4. Momentum enhances performance
  5. Momentum makes change easier

He goes to to say that “successful leaders build momentum. Lousy leaders destroy it.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being STUCK. I want to be moving constantly forward towards the goal, towards the prize. Sometimes my pace changes as I adjust, as I redirect and as I make mistakes, but I like to be moving forward.

When I’m STUCK, there are a couple of things that have helped me find that “traction” again:

First, I do a quick “self-evaluation”:  Am I moving in the right direction? Have I lost my way? Am I distracted? Have I forgotten what is most important? (It’s easy for me to get lost!)

Second, I get some help: There are people in my life that I can ask for help from. There are people in my life smarter than me that will give me a different perspective. There are people in my life that have been where I am that have some good advice for me. I ask for help and I listen.

Third, I take a small step forward: When I’m stuck, I have to begin moving again. I start slow. I take a baby step, then I pick up speed. I try not to be moving so fast that I can’t track all that’s going on around me.

Leadership requires momentum. If you’re STUCK, figure out what you need to do and take a step forward again.

Back to the bus trip. We did make it to our destination. It took a little longer than we had anticipated, but we got there and had an incredible time.

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