To Move Forward, First Let Go

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner feeling stuck or stalled out, it may be time to get out of your comfort zone. Here are some tips for moving forward.

To Move Forward, First Let Go
[Image: Flickr user Rupert Ganzer]

You may recall that in order to advance on a monkey bar, you have to let go of one rung to reach for the next. If you don’t let go, you cannot move forward on the bar–after your hands tire, you simply drop to the ground a few feet below.


Many entrepreneurs face a similar dilemma–they seem either unable or unwilling to let go of where they are in order to move forward, even though they know they are stuck. They may not understand exactly why they are stuck, yet they are reluctant to reach for assistance to gain the insights they need to move beyond where they are.

As all consultants know (or should know), the most difficult business to consult on is your own. As my mentor Dr. Alan Weiss says, it is all too easy to end up “breathing your own exhaust.”

It’s easy to reason your way out of asking for help. You may think, “How complicated can this be? I’m a smart person–I ought to be able to figure this out on my own.” You may question whether seeking outside assistance will yield the results you need. Or you could turn to your own team as a way to avoid spending money for outside assistance.

Invariably, inaction will keep you frozen in place. Sure, you may be able to make incremental progress on your own, but this progress pales in comparison to what an outside opinion can offer.

It’s a consultant’s job to help you clearly see things that you are too close to. When you give them full control, they are guaranteeing you a result–but you must trust them and accept that it may not be delivered quickly.

As Vickie Sullivan says, “Cause overcomes fear.” When the cause you are championing is big and transformative enough, and you know you aren’t getting the market penetration you could or should, this can be a powerful catalyst for seeking assistance to get to the next level.


So the next time you are stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no way to move forward without first letting go.

Dave Gardner can be reached on Twitter at @Gardner_Dave and via his website at Gardner & Associates Consulting. Check out his video describing why he’s in business.

About the author

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, blogger and author based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world.