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Getting Stuck, Unstuck and Taking Your Turn

In 2014, I took my turn.

I wrote a book.

I stayed up all night.

I woke up early.

I worked.

I pushed.

I grinded.

I struggled.

I fought.

I finished.

I shipped.

Then I got stuck.

Getting Stuck


That’s not supposed to happen. I created the thing. I shipped the thing.

Isn’t this when all my wildest creator dreams are supposed to come true?

Writing Content Warfare was the most difficult creative project I’d ever undertaken (at that point in my career). When I first began the journey, I could not have fully grasped the enormity of self-publishing.

However, on the last day of my book’s crowdfunding campaign, when the little meter read “Successful,” the reality of what awaited me sunk in.

Time to walk the talk.

And like a good creative, I embraced the challenge. I took to the keyboard.

I bleed on the keys… and over the course of the next four months, my soul was drained into those pages, and my great project was ready for physical manifestation to begin production.

Feeling satisfied, I took a two-week break from creating over the Christmas/New Year holiday to recharge. I felt I was due this break, this respite, from the weight of creating.

We assume the muse will always come back to rest on our shoulder.

For four months, I was dialed in.

Have you ever felt this way?

Like every time you sat in front of the keyboard, your fingers and brain were perfectly in sync, and the cadence of your voice flowed into the world.

I was dialed in.

My mistake, which inspired this post, was assuming that after four months of hard writing, I could step away and then step back in without missing a beat.

The arrogance.

The ego.

The immaturity.

Who am I to deny the muse her fickle nature?

Had I not learned anything after five years of writing online?

Three weeks later, I woke up early and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Having to wake up in the middle of the night to attend to my newborn son (oh yeah, I had a newborn while writing Content Warfare) over the last year has trained me for instant alertness (unfortunately, ten years later I’m yet to shake the habit).

Cup of coffee in hand, I sat down at my computer, prepared to create something… “Something?”

I sat down to write, “Something?”

What the hell is “something?”

How does “something” benefit my audience?

Why would anyone ever want to read “something?”

After four months of creating more value for my audience than I had ever provided, I sat down at my computer and was prepared to create “something.”

It’s shameful to share this with you.

READ NEXT: The Antidote to Motivation

Getting Unstuck

For years, I’ve preached VALUE FIRST.

If you’re an executive leading a team, deliver value to your people first, then ask for the extra effort.

If you’re an entrepreneur, deliver value to your customers first, then ask for them to believe in your product.

If you’re a creator, deliver value to your audience first, then ask them to pay for your exclusive content.

I let the arrogance of completing a great project weaken my resolve always to deliver value to my audience.

My penance?

The Block…or the Resistance, as Steven Pressfield calls it.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t create but that I was stuck on crappy ideas.

The funny thing about being stuck is we all know the solution: Work through it.

“The only way out is through…”

~ Robert Frost

That hard part isn’t overcoming The Block, but realizing you’re stuck in the first place.

It took me three weeks to figure it out. Three weeks of doing everything I could to NOT create. After finishing Content Warfare every subsequent attempt to create felt trite and contrived.

Like I was trying to recreate magic that hadn’t existed in the first place.

I began to feel unworthy to the task. I’ve written thousands of blog posts, thousands of videos, and over a thousand podcasts in my career and suddenly I felt unequipped and inadequate.

I was stuck.

Very stuck.

Have you ever been stuck?

Then something happened. I was forced to write.

My next big project after the book was, Agency Nation, and we needed to produce content. There was no getting out of it. In order to achieve the success we wanted at launch and thereafter we needed to build traffic and acquiring that traffic required content.

I stopped thinking about being stuck.

I stopped feeling stuck.

I stopped being stuck.

In two days I banged out three high quality articles and launched the podcast.

I was unstuck.

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The Rub

Sometimes, the hardest thing about taking your turn, is what comes after.

Getting stuck is going to happen, whether you do it to yourself (like I did) or by some external force.

The only way to get unstuck is to do the work.

That’s it.

There is no magic formula.

Getting unstuck is simple, just not easy.

Take your turn and then take your turn again.

Show up.

Do the work.

Do the work even when every fiber of being is fighting you. That’s the Resistance. Don’t let the Resistance win.

Make “Taking your turn” a habit.

It’s the best advice I have.

This is the way.


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