Stuck in a rut? How to move forwards

Entrepreneur Shaa Wasmund’s new book is described as a straightforward guide to a better life, aimed at inspiring people to stop settling for a life they don’t want.

Moving forward


Settling for a job you hate or a relationship that isn’t fulfilling impacts your children, according to a new book which argues that the courage to try to make your life better is the greatest gift a parent can give their child.

In How to fix your sh*t entrepreneur and author Shaa Wasmund says that children absorb all the things their parents don’t do as well as what they do do, whether that is not following their dreams or staying in a job they don’t enjoy rather than rocking the boat.

“When our kids see us settling in any area of our lives, that sets the bar for what they think they are worth, too,” she writes. “So if you think you’re unworthy, your kids are likely to grow up thinking the same thing about themselves.

They see you putting your dreams on hold for other people; they’ll never pursue theirs. They see you wasting your time and your life; they’ll do the same. They see you up all night gaming or surfing the web with no real direction in life; they’ll do the same.

They see you thinking that, because I come from this background, with that history, this is all that is possible for me; they’ll think the same. They see your world as small; so will theirs be…”

The book draws on Wasmund’s own story and she didn’t have it easy. She grew up on a council estate, her father was a drug addict and an alcoholic. She started work early and lost her partner and father of her son in her 30’s. In 2015, she gave up her business, her board positions and her salary and decided to reinvent herself as an author, teacher and speaker.

Change your mindset

Wasmund has written two best-selling books and is passionate about inspiring women to create a life and business on their own terms. Her new book is all about taking responsibility, ditching excuses and pursuing what makes you happy rather than living life on autopilot.

What makes you happy, what you really want rather than what you simply prefer, can change over your lifetime and knowing what that is is vital.

Wasmund argues that the main barrier to pursuing it once you know what it is is your own mindset which throws up all sorts of reasons why you can’t change directions. She advises writing down all the daily excuses we make about everything from keeping fit to surrounding ourselves with negative people, analysing them and writing an alternative to each of them and practising that every day.

Her approach is very much based on doing, edging forwards every single day and, as she views it, creating hope.

She outlines some of the common excuses for not moving forwards. A big one is not having time to do things differently. Wasmund advises keeping a time diary and being honest about how you use – and waste – your time. Other excuses include saying it it not the right time to change or saying you can only change things when something else happens later down the line.

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Wasmund is a firm believer that fear of failing or feeling uncomfortable are the main reasons for settling, but she says that fear and a lack of courage can make us a “bystander” to our own life.

For her, luck is something you can create for yourself by hard work and being consistent in driving towards your goal. She has no patience with self pity or what she sees as a victim mentality. Hers is a get up and go approach to life, based very much on her own personal experience. It is about asking for help when you need it and seeing experiences such as redundancy as an opportunity.

There’s a big focus on physical and mental health – Wasmund describes her experience of getting fit and of how mindfulness has helped her. For her getting out and taking action are important in helping get you into a better frame of mind.

Her book ends with a section on reinvention, which advises considering everything, for instance, whether you need to develop new skills, repurposing old skills and experience, not waiting for the perfect moment and using social media to share your journey and move yourself forward. Wasmund, a well-known entrepreneur, says that not everyone can start a business, but she believes everyone would benefit from a more entrepreneurial mindset, for instance, through creating extra income on the side such as selling old clothes or toys. She argues that entrepreneurial skills are vital in any workplace, for example, for planning and getting a promotion.

Going the extra mile

Her final chapter is entitled ‘we are all made for more’. It talks about how seeking out people who believe in you and cheer you on helps you to become a better version of yourself. How do you find these people? Wasmund says you start by being one of those people yourself. “Put yourself out for the people in your life. Go the extra mile…” she says.

“If there is one piece of advice I could give over everything else, it is this. The quality of the people you allow in your life and who you allow to stay in your life will have a greater impact on you anything else. If you want to fix your shit once and for all, take heed. We are what we choose, the people who we let stay and the things that we keep.”

*How to fix your sh*t is published by Penguin on 26th September, price £12.99.

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