Posts tagged: Story

How to leave when you know it’s time to go


My first marriage was to someone who turned very quickly from composed, passionate, and loving into someone else. Helplessly, I watched as she struggled with countless and difficult challenges. She always perceived herself as a victim, suffered from low self-esteem, was absolutely terrified of abandonment, lived in constant chaos, and more.

How did I fall in love with and marry her? Aside from her two adorable kids, she had another complicating trait— she is a chameleon, always being who you want her to be. She became the woman I wanted to marry…only, beneath it all, she wasn’t really that someone.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on. But, at the same time, I came to love her two children; I became a father figure to them, which was something that I craved, and I thrived in that role.

Despite these reasons, it still took me three years
read more

What to do — when you don’t know what to do


Lesley Ware

Lesley Ware moved to New York City for her dream job. As the new project manager at a national nonprofit serving girls, she envisioned working with a team of smart, liberal women to improve the world. What she experienced was slow-moving bureaucracy.

“Everything about our mission told girls to follow their dreams and learn and grow,” Ware says, “but that’s not how it felt for me in that job.” After five years of yearning to explore, innovate, and develop her skills, she knew she had to find a better fit. The trouble was, she didn’t know where to begin.

Reluctant to give up her steady paycheck without a plan, Ware decided to take baby steps while keeping her day job. It wasn’t a straight line to success, but her steady boldness paid off. Today, she is the author of two books and runs her own business. Here are the three big lessons
read more

How any of us can find extraordinary motivation


Extraordinary motivation comes down to grit

Why do some of us give up on our goals while others have the grit to see them through? How do some people manage to persist in the face of repeated rejection and other setbacks?

To crack the nut of extraordinary motivation, I decided to study the example of Rebecca Skloot. Skloot is the author of the 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which spent seventy-five weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list, won a slew of awards, and has been turned into a film starring Oprah Winfrey, due for release in April on HBO.  

In hindsight, this success seems inevitable. (Success often does, and rarely is.) In reality, the first-time author spent ten years reporting and writing her book, during which time she encountered barrier after barrier:

Divorce! Job loss! How yoga helped me release the grief


yoga

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, author and writing coach Jen Violi explains how yoga helped her move through the shock of loss. 

On the hallway floor of my new apartment, I sat and leaned against the closet doors. It felt safer down there, in part because moving around meant I would see painful reminders of my husband, now in a different state, now not living with me. Last month: us. This month: me.

In this moment, moving around also meant I might step on broken glass. Because, of course, the front of the frame of a picture collage of us had shattered when I tried to put it in the closet, out of view. Of course. Metaphors can be so distressingly obvious.

A grain of hope

Eventually I got up, led by a need to pee, as well as the
read more

When old friends feel like a threat to the new you


Alma Bahman on when old friends threaten the new you

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, multimedia journalist Alma Bahman shares a story about confronting old friends who knew the old her she’d tried to leave behind.

I’ve started over many, many times. Moving somewhere new has given me a clean slate on which to reinvent myself. The potential for a better iteration of myself is tantalizing, hopeful. With each move, I shed the old, hide the scars, buff and shine the pretty parts, and try to build a me that’s more me than ever.

Amidst all this change, I’ve managed to keep in touch with three of my best friends from elementary school. Every couple of months, someone will send out a group email asking for updates. We emoji, we catch up, we “ha-ha, I miss you guys!”

Then, last year, they decided to visit me.

These people, who knew the me
read more

Taking the blinders off


Kimberly Wilson on tunnel vision

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, writer, psychotherapist, entrepreneur, animal rights activist and yoga teacher Kimberly Wilson talks about feeling stuck as a Tunnel Visionary.

I find myself daily sitting at a desk surrounded by books on writing and Moleskines filled with ideas. There’s also a pile of study materials for an upcoming licensing exam and a nearby shelf overflowing with business books. The feeling of stuckness permeates, so I recently worked through the Unstuck app and was diagnosed as being stuck in this moment as a Tunnel Visionary — blinded to possibilities outside my direct line of sight.

For someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and zest for making things happen who tends to operate with a five-year plan in hand, the future feels cloudy at the moment — out of focus. I’m
read more

Making decisions in pencil


making decisions in pencil

A few years back, I was at a career crossroads and fortunately had an insightful coach to guide me.

I’d always imagined my life as a chess game where I could see multiple moves out — if I do this, it puts me in position for that, which will ultimately land me at my goal. My crisis was that I no longer saw the chess board and I couldn’t tell how the opportunity I was considering would play out in the long
read more

Diary of a procrastinator


diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.

Bingo.

Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left
read more

Being scared is brave


Lauree Ostrofsky on real-life monsters

In high school, I was afraid to walk across the cafeteria to throw out my trash. All of those unforgiving teenage eyes watching and judging. I had mastered being anonymous just about anywhere, and then the tumor happened. Even after hair had grown over the scar and I learned to hide my hearing loss and shaky balance, people still saw me for something I’d rather they’d forget, and I felt them seeing me.

And now I was going to stand up in front of all of them to talk about “How My Brain Tumor Will Change Your
read more

How I changed careers (and found work that is truer to my nature)


Rachel Cohen is a licensed New York social worker, freelance writer, and Fordham grad. She currently works at the Association of Community Employment (ACE), assisting the homeless population in finding full-time jobs. She loves writing about social work, self-care, mental health, and vocational development.

* * *

For the last three years that I worked as a digital editorial director, I loathed not only my job, but also my career. “Loathed” is a pretty strong word, but it’s accurate. I felt dread at the first hint of my alarm clock every day. What’s worse, I felt despair every night, thinking that I was powerless and that this feeling would never end.

Depressed, I tried to eat away my problems — my typical solution — which led to major weight gain. I was sick and lethargic, often from the stress.

I didn’t have the nerve to quit, and instead I fantasized about getting
read more