Something was in the air last week week. I spoke with several colleagues who were struggling with different facets of the same problem:

One was trying to write a sales pitch for an offering she was confident about – but she couldn’t get motivated to write the copy, despite being an excellent writer.

Another was struggling with sales copy, too; she was so anxious about the potential consequences if her launch didn’t succeed, that she was paralyzed and couldn’t begin.

Tara Mohr wrote a wonderful Op-Ed in the New York Times, and followed that with a blog post about how terrified she was to write it.

And in a conversation with Paul Jarvis this week, he told me that lately he’s been experimenting a lot with feeling the fear and doing it anyway. That feels like one way in – when we’re feeling stuck, to notice the fear, simply witness it and then proceed anyway.

But another hack I’ve been experimenting with is flipping the script: so when I notice fear – which typically stems from the fear of losing my connection to others, whether that’s through rejection or loneliness or some other variation – the question that has repeatedly gets me unjammed is: Who else will benefit if I do this?

I suspect the reason it works is that it gets me out of being afraid for myself, and into purpose; it gets me into the real reason I’m doing something. Once I am convinced that what I’m doing has a benefit to others, I’m far more motivated to push through any resistance I’m feeling.

So here’s your curiosity experiment for this week: If there’s a project or task you’re feeling stalled on, ask yourself:

  • Who else will benefit if I do this?
  • What will it do for them?
  • What else becomes possible if I succeed at this?