Brad was up the creek without a paddle. That’s what he thought anyway.

Like many guys who work with me, Brad was feeling stuck. He was lost — there seemed to be no available options.

When we discussed solutions, Brad was quick to point out “how” they may not work. The ideas were shot down with blazing speed and accuracy. Brad was left holding a warm gun and a chilling terror in his belly.

HOW Was He Going to Get Out of This Rut?

There is the villain. Did you catch it?

Brad was solely focusing on “The How.” Not knowing “how” he was going to move forward kept him stuck. Brad needed to know “how” he was going to move forward was a sure thing.

Brad needed to feel safe above all else.He needed to have it all figured out before he would take any steps forward.

If “The How” didn’t pass his scrutiny, then “The What” was tossed aside. Sound familiar?

What is “The What”?

The What is what you want. It’s the desired outcome. It’s the hunch. It’s the thing that lights you up. It’s the tiny flame flickering in your soul. It’s the bold idea that needs to be nurtured and trusted.

In my personal and professional experience (and from watching ordinary folks accomplish some amazing feats), I’ve noticed that “The What” is — by far — more critical than “The How.”

Committing to The What — what you want — separates the men from the boys. Allowing The How to be the roadblock is a symptom of small thinking.

Shifting the Focus

I challenged Brad.

“Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend you don’t have to know how you’ll get there. Let’s even pretend it’s completely okay to screw the whole thing up. What do you want to do?”

He had a few ideas, some of which made him smile. He quickly wanted to shoot these ideas down. I reminded him that we were simply playing a game.

Over the next few sessions we cut through the weeds and honed in on what he truly wanted. Something that was exciting, a little daring but also realistic. He really didn’t know how he was going to arrive at the outcome, but we didn’t let that stop us.

We trusted it — and that’s when the real fun started.

Rubber, Meet the Road

I challenged Brad to talk about his idea with his supportive friends and co-workers. He felt vulnerable revealing his idea without “the perfect plan” to back it up. He didn’t want others to shoot it down.

He sacked up and did it anyway.

The more he talked about what he wanted, the more two amazing things began to happen:

First, he began to get more comfortable with the idea. It didn’t seem so scary anymore. The tiny flame was finding fuel and air.

Second, he was offered constructive opportunities — people to meet, solutions to emulate, resources to explore.

By speaking about what he wanted, The How constructed itself. The next steps became obvious and I held Brad accountable to follow through.

Brad is well on his way to reaching his desired outcome. He is no longer stuck. He is lit up. He feels alive.

So What?

The bottom line is that “how” we do something is less important than “what” we want to do. If we choose to squash what we want because we lack the perfect plan, we end up going nowhere. We die inside.

By focusing on what we want and speaking it in the world, ideas and solutions come to us. Not all of them will be great. But we can let go of the constipating burden to figure it all out ourselves.

Following through on the commitment, we create a plan and execute.

What About You?

Are you stuck with seemingly few options?

Are you exhausted from trying to have it all figured out?

If so, CLICK HERE to fill out a coaching questionnaire. We’ll set up a time for a free 30 minute assessment and discuss some ways for you to get out of your rut.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Remember to have fun,


Special thanks to Adam S Doyle for the artwork