Posts tagged: Idle Achiever

Why can’t I finish what I started?

Idle Achiever

There’s great satisfaction in getting things done.

We get involved. We learn things. We find order in chaos. And the ultimate reward: We make progress that is appreciated (even if it’s just by us).

This kind of soul-nourishing effort rates as high as money, if not higher, when it comes to motivation. It helps define purpose and give us the ambition to stick with it.

But every so often, almost unwittingly, our ambition withers and things languish half finished. At Unstuck, we call this acting like an Idle Achiever. We’re unable to commit to the project or the person or the mission at hand. Instead, we start and stop like we’re driving a stick shift for the first time.

To smooth out this herky-jerky moment, it helps to understand how we got there in the first place. Take our mini-quiz to find out what type of Idle Achiever you tend to be. Then,
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Silver Linings Playbook: Pat Solatano gets unstuck as an Idle Achiever

His stuck moment: After losing his job and his wife, and spending eight months in a mental health facility, Pat Solatano wants to transform his life and get his wife, Nikki, back. But each time he comes close to stability, new trouble crops up.

He commits: Pat finds a kindred spirit in Tiffany Maxwell, who convinces him to partner her in a dance competition. He agrees, thinking it will impress Nikki, and unexpectedly enjoys the consistency and progress that comes with their practice sessions.

Unstuck result: For each step he takes to reconcile with Nikki, Pat takes two steps back. By shifting his goal for stability from Nikki to Tiffany, he finds the reciprocated love he
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Question: You know you want to, so what’s stopping you?

You’ve got an idea that you’re all fired up about. This is it! you think. The answer I’ve been looking for. But you’re stalling for some reason. And that’s not like you. Until you discover what’s at the core of your hesitation, you may get caught in a start-stop cycle.

Unstuck’s “Tell Me Why” tool can help you get to the bottom of it by deliberately drilling past the first excuse, er, reason. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck iPad app
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10 do’s and don’ts to help you regain confidence

The power of our life stories

Truth: Confidence ebbs and flows for all of us, even those with the biggest swagger. It can feel especially diminished when we find ourselves stuck in an Idle Achiever moment, unable to accomplish a coveted goal.

No doubt you will rebound in time, but if you want to accelerate the process, take these small but powerful steps to coax back confidence sooner.

  1. DO something you are good at to get a sense of accomplishment. Exercise is one of the best activities because it boosts feel-good endorphins.
  2. DO think about the things in life that you are grateful for. Often.
  3. DO put on your Sunday best and mingle with other people. Looking good will make you feel better about yourself, and people are naturally attracted to an air of assurance.
  4. DO lend a hand. By helping someone, you get healthy doses of structure and purpose.
  5. DO think back to all the challenges you’ve overcome — a
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How to boost your stick-to-it-tiveness

When we act like an Idle Achiever, we temporarily misplace our perseverance to get something done. On the surface, it may seem like we’re procrastinating, but there’s an important difference. Procrastinators, a.k.a. Avoiders, are waiting for something to give them the will to get started. Idle Achievers, on the other hand, have the will, but can get overpowered by the task and its details.

To re-inflate your staying power, mix and match any of these tactics to help you commit to getting things done.

• Find a rhythm. You’re 10 minutes into stacking the cobbled stones that you know will create an awesome wall around your backyard. You glance over at the remaining two pallets of rock you need to move. “Really?” you think. “It doesn’t seem possible.” That’s because you haven’t been at it long enough to develop a system. When the first wave of defeat comes, hang in for
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How we get stuck acting like an Idle Achiever

There’s a group of us who see things that the rest of us don’t. Some are visionaries, big picture thinkers, like Steve Jobs. Others are consummate doers, who make it a habit to solve life’s everyday problems. In both cases, they get things done. And when the norm is full speed ahead, getting stuck in neutral can be especially uncomfortable.

It’s what we call acting like an Idle Achiever. We see the solution but something stops us from making it materialize. We start…then we stop. Start. Stop. It’s very uncharacteristic of us, which makes it so vexing. If this sounds familiar, it’s because 24% of people who use the Unstuck app fall into this category at one moment or another.

At times like these, even if our vision is 20/20, we need to shore up our belief in the task at hand so we can truly commit to it. Instead of
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Unstuck in Action: Committing to a dream


Rachel Miller

Age: 30

Location: Yuma, AZ, a small farming community near the Mexican border

Day job: Executive chef and manager for From the Farm kitchen and store in Yuma, AZ  

Aspiration: Own and operate an online bakery; become a food writer and photographer

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?

“I’m sure I read about it somewhere and thought ‘Oh, I have to check this out,’ so I downloaded it. I don’t think I used it at first. But then I was in a transition period, struggling with what I was going to do with my career.

 “I was reading Daniel LaPorte’s ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’ on my iPad and something triggered that I have the Unstuck app. I thought I’d just play with it and see what it does. I was like ‘Holy crap! This gives me the little bit that I need to fix my thinking and complete the
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Unstuck in Action: Fearless choices

Name:  Keaton Brownstead

Age: 20

Location: Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY

Home life: Lives in a campus dorm, serving as a full-time resident assistant

Occupation: Beginning his junior year of undergraduate study with a double major in economics and religious studies

Interests: Technology, camping, hiking, disc golf, bicycle racing

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?“It came up on my Genius list for the app store. It sounded interesting and I gave it a download, but I didn’t use it right away.

“To be honest, the whole concept sounded silly. If I can’t figure things out on my own, how can I expect an app to do that for me? But the point I was at, I thought surely anything is better than what I have been doing, so I decided to give it a try.”

What were you stuck on?“I have a lot of irons in a lot of different fires: Freelance writing,
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Mark Twain’s Stuck Moment as an Idle Achiever

His stuck moment: His investments in new inventions, and his own publishing house, left his finances in ruin.

He commits to his belief: Twain filed for bankruptcy, which absolved him of much of his debt. But, he was determined to make good by embarking on a world lecture tour to pay his creditors in full. 

Unstuck result: In the six years that he toured and lectured, he also wrote “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and “Tom Sawyer Abroad, by Huck Finn.”

(All information comes from public sources and does not imply endorsement of
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