Is Your Business Stuck? Try This Brainstorming Exercise

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You’re stuck. Something’s amiss in your business but you’re not sure what. Your business feels stuck and stalled. The business routine you’ve fallen into is no longer creating the traction you want, it’s dull and worn out. You know that something has to change…but you’re not sure what to change. Hmmm….but your inner voice is persistent and continues to nag at you telling you there is a “something else” in the way of a solution. Bad news, you have absolutely NO idea of what that “something else” is and what tactic to try next.

After trying (forcefully) to figure out which way to go when my business seemed to be at a fork in the road, my coach suggested a tool that was the catalyst for shifting the energy, getting me re-connected again, and clarifying my thoughts.

Yep, I know you’ve already guessed it…a timer!

Here’s how it works:

1. Get rid of all distractions

Turn off the phone, TV, computer and take yourself somewhere you can be alone and uninterrupted for 15 minutes. If the weather permits — go outside and sit under a tree. Bring a notebook and pen.

2. Relax and simply listen to the sounds around you

If you’re outside you might hear birds or the wind moving through the trees, or inside you may be more aware of the clock ticking or the sounds in your office. Set your timer for 15 minutes.

3. Start Writing

Write down (without over-analyzing) 100 things that you want to do, people you’d like to work with, products you’d like to create……….write down the first ideas that come to you.  Write down everything that comes to mind, especially if it’s those wild and crazy ideas that we usually push away.

Notice what happens halfway through the exercise. Is your writing coming fast and furious as things start to hum?  Are you starting to feel gooey and loosened up inside? Hopefully you begin to connect with a different energy from “stuck” and stuff starts to bubble.

Ding! The timer goes off. Put the list away and try not to look at it, or *god forbid* revise it in any way, for a day or two.

The point here is not to create some dang-foolish list that never sees the light of day…BUT to open your mind to the idea that anything is possible.

Take out your list a few days later. Is there anything on the list that you hadn’t really thought of until you were forced to write 100 things down? Any surprises?

When I did this exercise a common thread surfaced — I wanted to connect to and have my voice heard by a wider circle. I took two actionable steps that helped me out of my business rut and eased my frustration. I joined Ocean State Toastmasters to hone my skills toward speaking at conferences and I started writing a book.  I’m happy to report that this Fall I’ll be a featured speaker at the Reinvention Convention and my book is nearing its launch.

And it all started with my timer and 15 minutes!

So, here’s my adventures to transformation™ challenge to you: Take the time to try this simply, yet amazing, brainstorming exercise. I’m betting that you’ll be surprised at how effective this simple exercise is!

Make your business an adventure to transformation!

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9 thoughts on “Is Your Business Stuck? Try This Brainstorming Exercise

  1. Congratulations, Karen!

    It’s amazing what a little unbridled writing can do for the mind. I like to do this when I need blogging topics. I just sit down and write everything I can think of. Later, I find that I came up with some great and not-so-great ideas.

    Thanks for this!

  2. @Terez
    Journaling and brainstorming are two other great ways to unleash the mind. Good to see that you’re not editing yourself as you go but are just allowing for the “mind dump” and getting it all out on paper.

    Shifting through and editing out later is the next step.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Karen

    When I’ve used the timers for writing, projects and just keeping the discipline it’s been surprisingly effective. I’m so glad to hear it’s worked for you.

    The other thing for me has been setting breaks so that I know I have something to work towards and cant just let my work fill my time – otherwise we’d work forever!

    Excited about your upcoming book – congrats.

    Natalie – Founder of WomanzWorld

  4. @Natalie
    Yes, thanks for bringing up another way to effectively use the timer– setting parameters around work projects. Especially great as solo business owner to manage our time.

    Thanks for bringing your voice to the conversation.

  5. Quiet is the only way I can do my best work. As for writing, I remember taking my first writing class in elementary school and the teacher told us just to write without pausing. I didn’t understand it then, but now when I blog I just start writing, then re-editing as I go along. It works great to get ideas out “unfiltered.”

  6. Hi Karen! I love your idea to get things flowing again. I find that my thoughts start moving the moment I change the “scenery” — whether I take my dog for a walk, stand under the water in the shower, or close my eyes for a few minutes and just allow quiet to wrap it’s arms around me. I have not tried to write down 100 things I want to do, but will happily try your exercise and see what comes out. 🙂

  7. I tried it and it has helped! Although my business was not stale, (actually quite the opposite) I was becoming overwhelmed with the amount of work and where to start. This excercise helped me channel all my thoughts and reconfigure my task lists. Shoot… she had me at go outside and take in the fresh air!

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