No matter where you are in your career, no matter how successful your business is, the law of inertia can stop your momentum, stunt your growth and cause you to miss fulfilling your potential.
The pull of the comfortable, of “good enough,” is almost irresistible. Inertia is actually more powerful, and dangerous, the more successful you are. Because resting on your laurels after finally getting that hard-won success is so easy.
You lose your hunger for success and either stop fighting to move forward or you assume you’ll magically stay ahead. But the world around you doesn’t stop, so neither can you.
Recognize the Struggle
While escaping the power of inertia is hard, at least everyone faces the same temptation. Getting sucked in isn’t a sign of weakness on your part. So acknowledge that the struggle against inertia is universal and avoid unnecessary self-recrimination or guilt. Stay focused on the road ahead.
Awareness is the first step to defeating inertia. Know the risk of becoming restive and learn to recognize the signs that you’re giving into inertia.
Start with a diagnostic of yourself and your company. Sit down and take a good hard look at your business practices, your habits and the trajectories of your career and business.
If you’re honest and thorough, you’ll almost certainly find signs of inertia. That’s good. That means that your diagnostic has been successful. You’ve set yourself up to conquer this common obstacle.
Write down what you find and make a plan to fix the bad habits. Don’t throw out your notes after you’ve solved the problems you found in your diagnostic. They’ll help you recognize future signs of inertia in your business.
After you’ve performed your diagnostic and start to fix the issues you’ve found, periodically check in with yourself. Regularly monitor your business behavior so you catch the effects of inertia before they affect your business.
The best way to proactively avoid inertia is to fan the flames of your ambition. Keep reaching, keep adapting, advance your career and grow your business.
Think about next steps. But don’t just think, actively plan for them and making them happen. Don’t daydream about what could be for your organization. That’s just another form of inertia. Look at what you can do today to make those dreams a reality.
Another key to avoiding inertia and maximizing ambition is to look for weaknesses in your organization or gaps in your expertise. Rounding out your abilities prevents you from getting pigeon-holed and stalled.
To be more specific, think about the new market you want your business to break into or the new client you want to bring on. What gaps do you need to fill in to make that happen? Answer that question, and you’ll find you have the beginnings of a plan to realize your next ambition.
So keep looking at the horizon, and check your feet every once in a while to make sure you’re on the right path. You’ll leave inertia in the dust.
Get off your duff!
image credit: Bigstock/Constantinos