We’ve all been there–so stuck in the mindset of one approach, we can’t imagine doing things any other way. Getting stuck in a rut in our personal lives is bad enough, but when we fall into ineffective business habits, we prevent our own success. But by taking a different approach, you’ll find there’s always a way forward!

Don’t be afraid to shake things up

You don’t always need to follow the path of A, B, C, just because that’s the way things have “always been done.” As an innovator and entrepreneur, that idea should bother you. There’s a fine line between traditional wisdom built on experience and actions that at best don’t make sense anymore and at worst have a chilling effect on innovation. What if in your company, you only need to do B and C or A and C. If you just stick to the way you were taught, you will miss the opportunity to truly disrupt your industry. So don’t be afraid to step back and question even the basics. Think about the best way to approach a problem or product, not just the expected way.

Shift your focus from the short-term to the long-term

We are instinctually hard-wired to focus on the short-term. And doing things as they’ve always been done makes us more prone to focus on what’s right in front of us rather than what lies in the future. But remember: you should be thinking 10 steps ahead. Constantly ask yourself “what are the long-term consequences of this decision?” Don’t focus so much on the now that you surrender strategy to instincts.

Don’t copy your competition

I see this a lot. Companies with problems look to their competition as models for how they should solve problems. Don’t do this! There may be some similarities in your product, but what works for them may not work for you. Their challenges, corporate culture, goals and needs are different from yours. Ask yourself where you want to go, who your customer is and how you should move ahead. And when you feel stuck, that’s when you need an outside perspective!

The best time to take a different approach is before you get stuck doing the same tired process and getting the same tired result. So don’t be afraid. Stop, take a step back, and question everything. Your decision to make a change is the first step on your path to finding the best way forward.

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