Stuck and frustrated, countless inventors have approached me: “How do I keep moving?” they ask. “Where do I go from here?”
Hitting a roadblock is inevitable. They pop up and distract us, time and time again. They’re unavoidable. And at times they may even seem impossible to overcome. Learning how to keep yourself from veering off your path is crucial to reaching your goals. These are the steps I’ve taken to escape roadblock pitfalls.
Book a travel guide. Find someone who is doing what YOU want to do. Someone who has achieved the specific type of success you’re hoping to, or is considered an expert in his or her field. Befriend them. There are few roads that haven’t been taken before; use the experience and knowledge of others. Ask frankly, “How did you do it?” Even if their path doesn’t exactly match or work with yours, the light they shed on the experience will be invaluable and essential to developing your own plan. You can find these mentors through a variety of ways, including research on Google, personal contacts, or calling companies. The power of simply asking is greatly underused.
Create a roadmap. It is from the information you gather that you will form your roadmap. Your roadmap is essentially the “big picture” – it includes the ways, means, and plans by which you are going to achieve your goals. Recognize that change is inevitable; you are still going to encounter detours no matter how sound your roadmap is, or how hard you try to avoid them. The important thing is to simply keep moving. Let your roadmap morph to accommodate the changes that occur, but use it is a guide to keep you on track. If your roadmap is written down clearly, your goals will become more tangible and more real.
Specify your actions. Think big, but realize that the small, bite size steps are going to get you there. Cut the vagueness. I make a list of tasks for myself every single day, and the distance from my goals is visibly shortened. Doesn’t checking off or striking out that action feel so good? It’s an accomplishment, regardless of how small or menial the task may seem. These accomplishments are going to keep you motivated during the long, long haul.
Keep on truckin’. Don’t lose faith. Easier said than done, I recognize. But I try to surround myself with like-minded people, people who will support and lift me when I need it most. People who share your goals are more likely to understand where you’re coming from and keep you motivated: feed off their energy and spirit. Inventing groups and communities can be found online. I also rely on books to keep me moving forward; the pages in my copy of David Schwartz’s “The Magic of Thinking Big” are worn thin from so many readings. Schwartz’s stresses the importance of other people and the relationships you form with them along the journey; no man can stand or act alone. It’s helped me reach out to others and get the help I need.