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Do you feel stuck?

If you run a up-and-coming creative studio, you’re in familiar territory.

It’s ok. Every studio / production company gets stuck in the Painful Season at some point. (My studio Impossible Pictures was stuck there for its first 7 years!) Some get stuck there indefinitely.

You’ll know you are in the Painful Season when:

  • Your studio’s revenue is below USD $1 MM per year.
  • You are wearing way too many hats.
  • You are producing good work… but not great work.
  • The idea of taking on even more projects / clients / responsibilities doesn’t excite you… it concerns you.

Yet deep down inside, you sense your firm is capable of much more. So what do you do?

The breakthrough comes when you dream bigger. Much bigger.

This advice may strike you as glib. Or maybe unsympathetic.

Let me explain. What I’ve observed consulting hundreds of studios (and running my own business) is the pesky tendency in humans to extrapolate one’s current reality as if it largely defines one’s future reality.

This tendency can land you in Painful Season as you get stuck in what I call “incremental thinking.” Here you find yourself imagining your future reality in terms of small improvements to your current reality:

“We just need to try a little harder…”

“We just need to get in front of the right people…”

“We just need to keep going…”

If this sounds all too familiar, I have both good and bad news for you.

The good news: incremental thinking is precisely what fueled your past success. Since it got you this far, that’s good. You’ve learned a lot.

Now the bad news: all your future growth depends upon you letting go of incremental thinking.

Yes, that’s right; you can’t tweak your way out of the Painful Season. As the book title by Marshall Goldsmith eloquently says it, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

At first, this concept is disheartening. I know. But I want you to realize that you’ve been here before. Remember your life before you launched your business? You dreamed bigger. And look what happened.

So today if you’re feeling stuck, perhaps it’s time you resisted the seductive call of incremental thinking and instead, dream bigger. Once again.

Cheers,

Joel

P.S. Need more inspiration on getting un-stuck? Watch a re-broadcast of my 40-minute masterclass.


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