When You Find Yourself In A Hole, Stop Digging!

This seems so simple. And yet. And yet! 

We are so often

off the rails

so we’ll

toss the baby out with the bathwater

while we’re

going down the rabbit hole


throwing good money after bad

on our way

down the slippery slope.

There are so many quotes because it’s our human nature to take the downward path, once we’ve started down it. Where are all the songs about the high road? Nope. It’s all about falling off the narrow and virtuous path because it’s what we do.

But we don’t have to stay in the ditch, acting as if it was our original destination.

How do you snap back your brain, grab a lifeline, re-focus your energy and attention?

First, forgive yourself. If you don’t forgive yourself, you dig the deeper hole of shame and regret, from which it might feel like the best next steps are to move that project to the bottom of the pile, take a nap, an early happy hour, pretend it doesn’t matter.

So forgive yourself.

And then, because it does matter, use a lapse as data. I’ve learned that if I’m procrastinating, it’s (usually) for a reason. And if I give myself time and space to accept that, and listen to myself give the reasons, they’re usually good ones! So instead of adding guilt to the negativity, I can make a note of the reasons, see which ones hold water, re-align my priorities, and come back at a better time, in a better frame of mind. The loop of recrimination serves no purpose. 

Have the courage to ask yourself the hard questions!

I spend a great deal of time working alone, and in an effort to be a more effective (my own) boss, I post nearby what I occasionally need to hear. This I always come back to:

“Start where you are

Use what you have

Do what you can.”


Did you ever play with model trains, or racing cars? It might help to physically envision the work of lifting the wheels back on to the track. Remember the good feeling of setting it right, ready for a fresh start? Hold on to that feeling, make the space you need, and then re-focus and dig in.

It’ll be good enough, I promise. 

And I’ll say this, since you’re here. If you are a brilliant entrepreneur planning a dream, a business, a next stage of growth or a way through a mess, remember: this is my job, my work, my calling. Let’s talk and see if I can help you figure out where you are, what you have, and and what you can do. Be in touch!

PS: A brilliant former colleague shared this quote from Rollo May: "It is an old and ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way"