I often talk about creating breakthroughs. While it is fulfilling to accomplish a breakthrough, what do you do once the breakthrough is realized? Too often the thought is to do it more, better or different of the same thing. This could be a strategy that has a high probability of getting you stuck in a rut.
For example, in the early 1900s, Henry Ford declared most households would own a car. At that time, automobiles took 9 months to build by hand and the cost was around $1,500. In a country where the average annual income was about half that, cars were still for the wealthy. However, Ford’s assembly line made it possible to build a car in 9 days. In 1906, he charged $806 for an automobile.
By 1924, his Model T cost $247 and at that time, most households owned a vehicle. To top it off, Ford had 60% of the market share. And what did Henry Ford want? He wanted to further reduce the cost of buying a car. At the same time, GM went beyond Ford and provided consumers with different colors and models. By the 1950s, GM had 60% of the market.
Although we still celebrate Henry Ford’s breakthrough, at some point, he became stuck in a rut of trying to make cheaper cars. His declaration of ensuring most households owned a car was accomplished in the 1920s. And that was the time to explore new possibilities and declare a new future.
That leaves one question
What do you do once the breakthrough has been accomplished? Unfortunately, too often this is the dilemma of high performers. It does not mean you do not enjoy the fruits of your labor. The successful accomplishment of fulfilling a bold future opens the door for you to declare a new future. Instead of doing more of the same, it’s the time to ask what you stand for and make a declaration for the future that will shape an entirely new set of actions.
The declaration is a way of showing something as missing. Ford’s declaration about all households was bold and there were no structures to fulfill it until the invention of the assembly line. Once the declaration was fulfilled, there was no longer anything missing.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, it may be the proverbial comfort zone. High performers sometimes hit this wall of frustration. They are focused on doing more, better or different things they already do well. To get out of the rut, allocate time to sit back and think about what’s next for you in your life or career. Ask questions like who do I want to be in the future? What’s missing to get me there? What structures do I need to put in place to bridge the gaps between where I am and where I want to be? It also helps to brainstorm with someone. It will help you vet thoughts and more clearly articulate what you would like to accomplish.