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Overcoming The Doldrums of Life and Business

Do you feel stuck, stagnate or like you’re spinning in circles? Are you desiring a course correction to get back on track, a reset, to keep moving forward in your business, life or purpose? Are you searching for fuel to feed your mission? Are you facing a tipping point, needing clarity with decisions for next steps in cash flow, human resources or updating systems? Allow me to unpack a perspective and then explore action steps to consider overcoming the doldrum.

“The tests we face in life’s journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.”  ~ Kemi Sogunle


Defining Doldrums

There is a nautical term called “doldrums.” Doldrums refers to an area on earth near the equator where there can be a gap between the winds from the north and the winds from the south. If you were sailing many years ago experiencing the waves of momentum from the trade winds blowing into your sail and got a bit off course, you could get caught up in the windless area called the doldrums. You would be sitting idle, so to speak, waiting for the current of trade winds to fill your sail. What can we do if we experience the doldrums in business or in life? Let’s continue to explore the possibilities to get out of the doldrums!


Newton’s First Law (Law of Inertia)

Newton’s First Law of Motion in basic terms states, “An object at rest will forever stay at rest, as long as there is not a force internally or externally that moves it.” Think for a moment of a parked vehicle; it will remain parked unless it’s moved by some internal or external force. The reality is that the object will remain at rest forever unless it’s moved. This is a simple snapshot of being in a doldrum without active, intentional movement or momentum! Perhaps you’re asking, “What are some some things to be aware of or warning signs to look for?”

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”  ~ Winston Churchill


Resistance To Change

Many times resistance to change, growth, or new ideals can look and feel like inertia. Even resistance to teammates or resistance to new opportunities can feel like a doldrum. I heard a term many years ago, “What We Resist Will Persist!” What is the resistance in your business or life where you can take the first step towards exploring solutions? What roadblock, competing commitment or mindset could be delaying movement or momentum? Is there resistance around that sales call? That next growth idea? That unresolved conflict? Embracing that new growth habit? Take a moment and ask, “Is there a reoccurring mindset or habit pattern that seems to manifest when growth or change starts to take place?” Make a list of what you may be resisting and flip the switch listing positive solutions beside it!

“Let us not be surprised when we have to face difficulties. When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger, Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist.”  ~ Amy Carmichael


What Are Your Navigation Instruments?

We may want to ask, “Are our feelings and emotions really the truth about our destiny?” A sailor cannot trust their feelings and emotions in a storm. In navigating through a storm of uncertainty, the sailor must rely on their instruments and compass to get through the storm. Without steering correctly into the waves, the sailboat can roll over! What are some instruments you can put in place to chart a successful course, avoiding the doldrum? What consistent growth habits can be implemented for the next three months?


Navigating the Fog

Many years ago, I was about 30 miles out in the ocean on a fishing boat. On the way back, a sudden heavy and dense fog settled in over the water. We could barely see past the edge of our fishing boat. For me personally, I was a bit unsettled until I looked into our captain’s eyes! For one hour, with a smile, our captain continued motoring through the fog, simultaneously balancing his thermos of coffee! He exuded confidence that he had done this before! The fruit from trusting his instruments, his ability to navigate through the fog, he parked our boat perfectly at the pier. I asked him, “You smiled the whole time, sipping your coffee. How did you do this?” He replied, “I trusted my instruments, not my feelings.” He said, “The fog can play tricks on your mind.” A discovery I had was the importance of being around other captains who know how to navigate through the fog!


A Few Tips Overcoming The Fog of Doldrums:

1. Take Action Today: Take steps forward in any area of life or business! This activates motion! Take that first step, make one call, call a client and thank them, read your goals, look at your dream board. In other words, what one thing could you do to take action today?

2. Phone a Friend: Ask them to remind you of your purpose, vision, mission or identity! Be vulnerable with where you’re at, and they will pour encouragement on you! Isolation is a doldrum trap!

3. Trust Your Instruments: A few basic instruments:

A). Your core values.

B). Your team.

C). Read your vision, purpose and mission.

D). Measure your numbers and finances. Avoidance will feed the doldrums.

4. Gratitude: Take out a pen and begin to list what you are grateful for. Like walking, taking the first step of action begins to fill your sail and moves the sailboat. Gratitude is a powerful instrument to not take the bait of Entitlement or Offense. Both of these will send a person into the doldrums.

5. Read a Rainy Day Note: Read a note from a customer, client or friend. Go through and read cards, texts, and kind words! Read your why, mission, and purpose!

6. Speak Your Goals Out Loud: Speaking positive life into your goals, vision, business, and team begins to fill the heart with a wind of inspiration. Remember our words form worlds!

7. Focus – Celebrate WINS: Write your daily WINS! Focus on the wins in your conversations. Highlight and celebrate things going well. Focus on what is working! What are the positives within your team? Write a WIN list!


Moving is Medicine – Taking The First Step

Have you ever heard a doctor or physical therapist say, “Moving is medicine”? Have you ever noticed in a simplistic way, that when you start walking, you begin to feel more energy? At first, you may feel a bit stiff or sluggish. But the more your body moves, it feeds a momentum so to speak! Research has found that when a person walks, they experience more energy and ideas and creative thoughts begin to manifest. You may even notice the motion of walking is melting away apathy, negative thinking, and stress. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding to take the first step! What if today is your decision day? What one step of action could you take in your business?

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.”  ~ Zig Ziglar


Catch The Wind With Your Sail

Sailboats are designed and built to catch the wind and sail the vast oceans! Maybe you’ve experienced waves of momentum before. I want to invite you to put your sail up high and catch the wind without looking back! This may look like reading those goals out loud, making that sales call, meeting with a coach, or even doing something you may have been avoiding! Get rid of indecision by beginning to declutter.

“Dream big, start small, but most of all, start.”  ~ Simon Sinek


Force Multiplier

This next season has the potential to be a force multiplier! You are not your doldrum! I want to encourage you to challenge your thoughts and step through the enemy called average! Focus on your strengths, not your weakness! Feed life-giving inspiration to your mind, will and emotions! Continue to work on and grow yourself, as if you were going to grow your finances or portfolio! There is only one you, and you are carrying the solution!

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”  ~ Dale Carnegie


TRUFORTH would be honored to explore the possibilities with your personal and business vision! Contact us at

You were born for greatness,

Ed Garner

CMC, Business Coach, Leadership Trainer, Speaker, Strategist, Coach Trainer, Consultant