Posts tagged: How to get unstuck

What a Netflix show taught me about my break-up


In the aftermath of a recent break-up, I managed to binge watch the entire second season of the Netflix show Master of None over the course of a weekend. The show stars Aziz Ansari as Dev Shah – a struggling, 30-something actor who lives in Brooklyn and whose life has some eerie similarities to my own.

Dev is obsessed with food, dating apps, and, at the end of the first season, goes through a devastating break-up. One huge difference is that, as season two begins, Dev has responded to his heartache and professional struggles by moving to a small town in Italy to work as an apprentice pasta-maker while I had only moved from my living room to my kitchen and back to get another three bowls of Fruit Loops.

At the end of my terrible, anti-social weekend of television and self-imposed sadness, I didn’t feel any better about my life. More
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The one word getting in your way


As you probably remember from when you first heard should as a kid, that little word packs a hefty wallop. You should brush your teeth. You should go to bed at 10pm. You should finish all your homework and your broccoli.

We use it on ourselves and others, because it works. There is a guilt attached to it. Whatever you should do usually is good for you. As if someone knows better, as if you wouldn’t make a good decision on your own behalf without the insidious coaxing.

It’s so pervasive, you might not realize it’s the reason you might feel stuck.

When you’re making a decision or trying to figure out your next step, your brain can jump to the should first. Well, you know you should do this. The underlying message: There is a universal right answer, everyone knows what it is, and we’ll all also know if you don’t choose
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You’re overwhelmed — so why won’t you ask for help?


Lone Leader overwhelmed

Leading by doing — we could write the book. We see the big picture, organize the details, meet the deadlines, and never let them see us sweat.

Yep, we’re on top of it all the time…except when a task veers beyond our arsenal of expertise. But that rarely happens. And since we’re so good at figuring things out, we soldier on, on our own. Until we can’t.

Sometimes the task is too foreign, the time too short, the energy too finite to pull it off. And then we’re stuck acting like a Lone Leader, trying to operate without the necessary support.

There are at least three reasons a Lone Leader prefers to operate solo, even when overwhelmed. Knowing which one you’re prone to is the first step toward being able to issue an SOS. Take our mini-quiz to find out your
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The best tips for getting Unstuck


For our four Tip Card Decks (available here), we condensed, distilled, unpacked, and repacked our very best tips into potent bite-size actions designed to get you unstuck. But it’s not a random deal of the cards.

The decks include Stuck Moment cards to help you zero in on the right tips — and that’s what makes them so powerful. When targeted correctly, your efforts don’t have to be big or showy or imported from Mars. They just need to trip the right wires in your head and heart.

But don’t take our word for it.

Read through four of our favorite tips, one from each deck, based on common Stuck Moments. If you like what you see, buy a deck or two. At $25, they make a thoughtful gift for someone (or yourself).

*    *    *

From: Conjure Your Creativity Tip Card Deck

Stuck Moment: “I
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Empathy: The single best way to get unstuck


empathy

When we feel stuck, at the heart of it, we feel lonely. We’re not understood. We’re not connected. Our worries sap the energy and imagination necessary to see our way out.

We need empathy. Stat!

We need someone to acknowledge us and show that they understand how we feel. To give us a sense of unfettered belonging that will unclog our stuck thoughts and feelings.

At the same time, we’re obliged to engage in empathy ourselves.

We need to truly understand the people involved in our stuck moment: This will broaden our perspective and open up possibilities. Otherwise, it’s too easy to pigeonhole situations, which only narrows our vision.

What empathy does for us
Empathy, in a nutshell, is the ability to hear and feel what someone is saying, verbally and otherwise, without casting judgment. It is the act of letting others know that you understand them and their situation. You feel what they feel.

The results
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How to play your way out of a stuck moment


Play kite

As we grow older, the world of horsing around and letting our imaginations run wild slowly fades to sepia tone. We may feel nostalgic for those carefree days, but the demands of the adult world make play a tiny footnote to our schedules. In School of Life 101, we learn that a serious mind is prized over a playful one. That, when in doubt, it’s better to button up and sit still than to let loose. That focus — not free-styling — is what gets us into the flow.

But actually, play is all about flow. It puts our brains and bodies into a joyful place where things just click. And that’s when magic can happen. This playful state of being can have amazing benefits in life and work:

• Play fires the brain, revealing patterns and creating connections that drive creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

• It’s a social glue that helps us
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Best of Unstuck 2013 printable and pin-able tip cards


VIEW THE TIP GALLERY >>

What fun it’s been this year creating the weekly Unstuck Advice dispatches. Better yet, it seems we struck a chord with many of you by offering a stream of practical tips and fresh perspectives to get unstuck.

We’ve tried to keep things light but at the same time useful — with not even a hint of finger wagging. We all get stuck in all kinds of ways, and there is no single method to push through a moment. That’s why we offer a variety of tools and lots of tips; we want you to have an ample toolkit at the ready.

Naturally, we have favorites from our 2013 posts: The questions and tips and quotes that made us think twice about how we go about things. As a year-end gift, we gathered them into a series of 16 Tip Cards that you can print, pin, and
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Why gratitude makes life better + 40 ways to get started


Gratitude

There’s not a single downside to gratitude — except that it’s easy to ignore.

When put into practice, gratitude creates a virtuous circle. It fosters contentment, joy, respect, and connection to our world and the people in it. You might say it’s a recipe for happiness.

Gratitude makes us feel good inside. And when we share it, other people feel good inside. And you know what happens then: The feel-good-insiders send their goodwill to more people, who in turn start feeling good inside. Good feelings boomerang everywhere.

Now if that sounds too absurdly optimistic, consider this: Free-flowing gratitude can help you get unstuck. “Feeling good lubricates mental efficiency, making people better at understanding information and using decision rules in complex judgments,” writes psychologist Daniel Goleman in his book Primal Leadership. Translation: It makes you smarter.

The rub is, we can’t just hit-and-run with gratitude — you know, give a little to get a
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The ultimate idea fine-tuner


In business, the elevator pitch is meant to get a listener’s attention in 30 seconds or less. For our purposes — getting unstuck as a Fuzzy Forecaster — we use some of the pitch principles to sharpen an idea to a fine point.

Think about 3 key messages
• What makes your idea different from similar ideas?

• What is the primary benefit of your idea?

• What do you want from the listener? Is it to gain understanding of your idea? Do you want the listener to help you in some way?

Consider these pointers
• Imagine your listener knows nothing about you. What do you need to convey about yourself?

• Speak in plain language, which means no jargon or highfalutin words. How can you clearly describe your idea so that it paints a picture in the listener’s mind?

• When you first start writing, put the 30-second time constraint aside. Get all your ideas
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5 steps to get crisp about that idea floating in your head


Getting stuck as a Fuzzy Forecaster is like playing a game of tag with a wisp of an idea — and you’re always “it.” You can never quite grasp the full picture, no matter how fast you run.

So stop running. Catch your breath. Then come at your idea from various angles, putting the picture together piece by piece. In writing. It’s almost uncanny how thoughts get clearer when we write them down.

Angle #1
What do you see as the end result? In other words, when this idea comes to be, you’ll know because….

Angle #2
What problem are you trying to solve? How is this problem being solved now?

Angle #3
Who will care about this idea? Why will they like it or not like it?

Angle #4
How is this idea different from other ideas about the same topic or issue?

Angle #5
What does this idea require in order to get off the ground?

Get as specific as
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