Recently, we’ve been talking about being stuck—specifically, about how we can get unstuck and move forward with greater ease than we have before (instead of lingering in that place and losing time, energy, and motivation).
I believe this is totally possible, and while lots of factors go into how we naturally get unstuck, I think an intentional approach to a greater ability to get unstuck requires two important things.
The first, which we talked about, is a well of resources you can turn to when you get stuck. This list of ideas is there when you need it, so that instead of spending time and energy (that you likely don’t have) trying to think up ways to get unstuck, you can turn to the list, try a few things, and get moving again.
And this week I want to talk about the second thing required for an intentional approach to getting unstuck: the ability to realize when you’re stuck, so you can take action and move on.
Often, when we’re stuck, we don’t realize it (and we may not figure it out until much later). When that happens—when we don’t have awareness around being stuck—our plans and dreams and projects get totally derailed, maybe even abandoned, without us even realizing it.
Now sometimes we feel that what we were working on wasn’t the right thing anyway, or that it wouldn’t have worked, or that this new thing we’re working on is much, much better.
And of course, sometimes that’s true. I’m all for abandoning things that aren’t working. Realize a project you’ve been hanging onto is now holding you back? Ditch it. Realize an email was cathartic to write but unnecessary to send? Keep it private. Have ideas that are fun but that would distract you from the path you know you should be on right now? They’re outta here (at least for now).
But what all of those examples have in common is intention. There's a moment of realization and a decision is made. You’re actively looking at a situation and thinking, Hmm, no, that’s not the right thing after all. I’m glad I gave it a shot, but now it’s time to move on.
That’s not what I mean when I talk about being stuck. I’m talking about pursuing something that feels right, and then hitting a roadblock—fear, lack of inspiration or knowledge, and so on—and then not knowing how to move around that roadblock.
And abandoning something because you’re stuck and don’t realize it carries no intention. You’re not walking confidently away; you’re just sort of sliding further and further away, averting your eyes, trying not to think directly about what’s happening.
Does this sound familiar? I’ve certainly been there. And man, that’s not a good feeling.
But I believe there’s a way to work against that feeling. A way to recognize when you’re stuck and make an intentional decision, whether that means you abandon something or you work through the issue and keep moving forward.
Of course, like anything that brings true growth and change, learning to recognize that you’re stuck isn’t simple. It involves intention and preparation and work and experimentation and probably some frustration. But if you’re up for the challenge, I think the rewards are totally worth it.
Because we get stuck on a regular basis. We’re working on an exciting email…and doubts about our message creep in. We’re writing what we hope will turn into a book…and writer’s block hits. We’re drafting a client proposal…and fear creeps up.
These things come up all the time. And the truth that I want you to think about today is that we get to choose how we handle them.
Will we let that email languish, unread, half-remembered as we send something “safer”? Or will we take a deep breath, review our mission statement, give ourselves a pep talk, and keep going?
Will we sit and stare at the blinking cursor for so long we lose heart and walk away, saying we’ll come back “someday” but never returning? Or will we take a walk around the block to clear our minds, make a mind map of all the ideas we’ve thought about so far to see where new connections could be written about, and return to the page?
Will we lower our prices on the proposal with a sinking feeling that we’re not getting paid enough but convinced that no one will pay us more? Or will we take a minute to examine the story we’re telling ourselves about money, take a dance break, call a friend for reassurance, and then send out the proposal with the fair price for all the hard work we do?
We get to choose.
But we have to be aware that there’s a choice to be made. And that’s a big part of what my new guide, Stay Unstuck, addresses.
Inside, you’ll find a detailed, four-part plan for raising your awareness around when you’re stuck—so you can address the problem head on and then keep moving rather than languishing in stuck-land or abandoning your project altogether.
Here are the four steps:
• Reflect on past experiences and look for clues
• Review your current projects and apply the tactics
• Recognize more quickly when you're stuck
• Remind yourself to pay attention and use the tactics
Inside Stay Unstuck, you’ll get instructions for working through each of these steps, along with worksheets to help you think things through and take action.
Once you have your well of get-unstuck tactics and you’re working toward gaining greater awareness around when you’re stuck, I think you’ll find you’re moving forward with more purpose and ease than ever before.
I hope you’ll join me as soon as Stay Unstuck is available. You’ll get an email the moment it’s ready, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Until then, let’s build on what you’ve created over the last few weeks.
Set an alarm on your phone for two times a day (or more if you’re ambitious). When the alarm goes off, ask yourself a simple question: What am I working on and where might I be stuck?
Pay close attention to what you hear from your inner wisdom. Then use the tactics you brainstormed last time to address any places you’re stuck, working until you feel you’re ready to move forward again. I hope you’ll find yourself making greater progress this week!
To being unstuck,
With much love,