How to Break Out of A Rut

pigeonhole-rut

We’ve all been there… you start off going in one direction and soon everyone recognizes you for it, and it’s hard to break free.

For example, if you’re known as the go-to expert in furniture design, it might be hard to get the world to recognize you as a talented chef.

If you’re here, it’s because you have many talents and passions.

How to Break Out of A Rut At Work or in Your Business


And often the world at large doesn’t appreciate someone who doesn’t fit in a neat box… there’s sayings like “Jack of all trades, master of none” that make you feel like you should only ever learn one trade.

Luckily, you’re not alone. Author Barbara Sher talks about us multi-passionate people in her book Scanners, and she has a few different recommendations for expressing all your interests.

One of the first things I need to do is give you full permission to not turn all your passions into businesses.

It’s totally okay to have hobbies and things that you’re interested in learning and pursuing in a non-monetized way. This could be a personal blog all about your latest knitting projects, photography, or martial arts.

Your hobbies will be different from everyone else’s: some people might be highly profitable businesses from their knitting blogs, doing professional photography, or opening a martial arts studio.

The trick is to recognize which passions of yours need to be a business, and which ones need to be just for your own pleasure.

Next, you’ll want to observe your preferred engagement style… if you geek out on a new topic for 3 years, it might be something you can incorporate into your business.

If your interest cycle is much shorter and your attention span is shorter like just one month, then you need to build that change into your business model… perhaps by working with clients in different fields regularly.

Now the trick to breaking out of your pigeonhole once you’re known for something is to announce it to the world.

One word of warning: if you tend to change businesses or ideas on a very short cycle (there’s nothing wrong with that) but you don’t want to freak your people out by switching things up on them so quickly. If that’s the case, then I say only make announcements when things are really changing, otherwise you might confuse your audience lose them.

Otherwise, when you’re making a big change – get very clear and direct about your intentions with the new direction and announce it to your email list and on social media.

Change is the only constant, so embrace it and let your business evolve over time.

I’d love to know what rut you’ve escaped, and what you did to break free… leave a comment below to let me know!

6 Comments

  1. Jessica on September 2, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I just escaped a HUGE rut in my business. I was lacking motivation, I was frustrated, I was thinking of giving it all up (even though I’ve been in business for 5 years with a comfortable 6-figure income).

    Then I went to Montreal to meet with my mastermind group, and since I got back, everything’s changed. I make a To Do list, nail it, make another one and nail that. And I’ve been inspired to create a new Business Ignition Club for people who are just getting ready to launch new companies, or are in their first 6 months of business. It’s really exciting :)



  2. Kathy Pine on September 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for the perspective. I think we all get in ruts too. And, it’s amazing how easy it can be to “dream” about a change or “plan” but not actually make the change. I think your advice about announcing it to the world is spot on. Stop hiding behind plans for the future and jump in now! Yet, it still happens to the best of us and I especially like the personal note that you too have experienced it. I was doing web design for 10+ years before I realized what else I could do, switched it up and added in consulting and coaching… I thought that would satisfy me for the next 10 years… but I now feel the need to do even more… to truly tie in what I am most passionate about into my business mix. Thanks!



  3. Christi Daniels on September 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for this video, Nathalie. It was really insightful to think about this topic and how it plays out in my own life.

    I’m currently shifting more of my time to building my passion into a business. I’ve been known as a behind the scenes, organized, tech savvy support person from my corporate days to my current transition role as a VA for select clients. I’m shifting more time and focus into the work I do assisting women in stepping into their power. I’ve found that I tended to hide one from the other and found out recently that I was showing up as only half of who I am. For example, when I was doing personal development work with women, I didn’t really call out my geek/tech side, which I learned made me come across as airy fairy :) . When I was working with VA clients, even though they were in airy fairy businesses, I didn’t own all of what I was doing in the personal development side. I’m finding that it’s okay to show up as all of me, with all of my talents and interests and at this point, I’m focusing them on the personal development work with women. That would be my suggestion, to own all of it and find a way to leverage what you were known for in service of what you’re moving into.

    Also, love Barbara Sher! I worked with her during a retreat and follow up program called write/speak. Also with one of her coaches since then. I can say that working with the coach assisted me in ways that I’m not sure I understand. I jetted from interest to passion to idea and was all over the place, but with her assistance, I began testing things out, seeing what I liked in practice, playing with small experiments to see how it worked for me and those I was serving. I agree with what you’re saynig about not announcing this exploration to the world, but keeping it to a tight circle. In the process of circling around and around back to those that still held my interest, the core of them all seemed to rise up and from there, I feel like I can shift into whatever is calling me as I proceed in business and not freak out about the change because I know it relates to the core. So, knowing what the core is gives you as the ‘scanner’ business owner confidence to evolve, but also a way that you can extend what you were doing and explain the transition to others. My core is all about designing, creating, and facilitating, uplifting experiences that expand a person’s belief in what’s possible and what they are capable of being, doing and having. In the past I’ve done this behind the scenes and now I’m embracing more visible roles.



  4. Veronica Bower on November 3, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Again, I agree with your issues and concerns. I too suffered from feeling like I was talented in so many fields, but which one do I prioritize? Which one is needed more than the other to teach and explain the logistics of paint, furniture, (something I also learned from the veterans in furniture in North Carolina), and how to simply just start a new life with a new setup.
    The biggest thing I can emphasize when I teach seminars, is to be compassionate with what you do….it always shows on my face how much I love what I do. That will reflect to others that are listening to you.



  5. Jerry Costa on January 4, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I just escaped a HUGE rut in my business. I was lacking motivation, I was frustrated, I was thinking of giving it all up (even though I’ve been in business for 5 years with a comfortable 6-figure income).



  6. Rita Bernardo on March 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    personally I like to have a routine, I am much more productive as well. But of course, from time to time, we need to break this. Changes are always necessary =) tks for your post.