Posts tagged: Ask Unstuck

Ask Unstuck: I can’t decide between two options

When college student Elizabeth wrote Unstuck about feeling torn between pursuing a promotion at work or staying in school to finish her degree, we couldn’t help but think of Robert Frost’s poem about forks in the road, “The Road Less Traveled.” That poem, like Elizabeth’s stuck moment, is all about choices that seem equally good, but for different reasons. And that’s exactly what makes her nervous about making a choice.

Elizabeth, you’re having a classic Waffler stuck moment, overthinking your options until you’re frozen with indecision. You’re probably getting lots of feedback, too, from people with definite opinions about the “right” thing to do. Combine all those voices with a notion that this is a make-or-break decision, and no wonder you’ve lost sight of what you really want.

First, trust us when we say that there ain’t no out-of-the-box “right” answer. And rarely is a decision irrevocable. That’s our two cents.
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Ask Unstuck: My dream seems unreachable

When Joel wrote to us with his stuck moment, we were so awed by all that he’s done in his 43 years that we needed to take a step back to see what the issue really is.

Before finishing his PhD in economics, he spent five adventurous years at sea and three years abroad as a researcher. In graduate school, he worked with an engineering friend to create and sell a computer-controlled router that cuts shapes and patterns. And now, he’s gainfully employed as an economist in New Delhi. Impressive!

The thing is, Joel doesn’t like his economic work. He dreams of returning to the U.S. to buy back his tools and start a furniture-making business. At first blush, it sounds like he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. And maybe he did, but that’s not what has him stranded in India. It’s more a case of acting like a Lone
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Ask Unstuck: How do I get past my creative block?

Two notes came to us asking how to follow through on creative impulses. The first was from Jean, a 71-year-old woman who says she’s a good writer but perhaps not good enough. Her letter was thoughtful and mostly hopeful that she would put pen to paper again.

Joel is 18 and calls himself a creative enthusiast. He has all kinds of ideas and is ready to make an impact. But he doubts his abilities so his momentum is fading, despite a recent and totally inspiring trip to Spain.

Each is stuck in their own way, Jean as a Waffler and Joel as an Ad Libber. But at the core for both is a lack of confidence strong enough to stop them in their tracks — it’s just showing up in different ways. So our goal is help to Joan and Joel take action, which will boost their confidence, which will spur
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Ask Unstuck: What if I don’t know what I want to do?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” As kids, we answered this dozens of times, and not always the same way. A doctor by day and superhero by night. A teacher who travels on a magic school bus to other planets. A tap dancer… and a brain surgeon! The inquiring adults would smile or chuckle — no one was taking our answers too seriously. Plenty of time to figure it out. But what if we don’t?

Melanie, a 40-year-old working single mom wrote to us because she’s asking herself that very question. She wants to discover her “passion and mission” in life but feels shackled to a dreary office job (anyone relating to this?). And somehow she convinced herself to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field she’s not even interested in. At the end of her day, any energy to date or socialize has evaporated.

Melanie, we’re not
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Ask Unstuck: Plan, yes. Action, no.

READY! SET! fizzle.

How frustrating is it when we can’t pull the trigger on our plans? It’s like an invisible force is blocking our progress and we can’t fix it because we can’t see it. That’s the kind of stuck moment Debbi and Maria wrote to us about.

Debbi recently divorced and wants to sell her house. She’s got everything down on paper: declutter, pack, clean, get maintenance done. But she’s too overwhelmed to actually start. Maria also has an organized agenda, with a clear goal, set priorities, and a schedule — but she doesn’t stick to it because she let’s herself get distracted.

Both of you well-intentioned women sound like you’re having an Idle Achiever moment. You actually have started by making a plan, but you aren’t following through, which, unlike Avoiders, is not typical for you. Likely, you’re nervous about what it will mean to put your plan in
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Ask Unstuck: How do I find more time?

For a couple of months, we’ve asked you to let us know what you’re stuck on. And have you ever! Now it’s our turn to respond. First up, trying to find time or energy for pursuits outside of work. While Monica and Adam emailed us with different situations, their struggles are similar, and something most of us can relate to.

By the end of a day full of household chores, Monica lacks the energy for cherished creative pursuits, such as reading, writing, and painting. Adam wants time to develop his own business. But he’s committed to a day job he doesn’t like to pay the bills. Plus, his proposed business can only run during the same hours he’s at work.

As much as we’d like to possess super-human stamina or add more hours to the day, we can’t. What we can do is rethink our priorities and
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