Posts tagged: Unstuck in action

Unstuck in action: Setting the stage for a very big conversation

Mark Silberberg has a tough nut to crack. As the middle school principal for Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City, he leads his faculty and students on a progressive education journey. Naturally, curriculum is at the heart of it. But for the last few years both Silberberg and his teachers have come to believe that the school schedule is at odds with the values embedded in the curriculum.

“For a school that has a value of integrated curriculum driven by inquiry, we have a schedule structured very tightly around the different disciplines,” says Silberberg. His team is in favor of changing the school day format, but feels overwhelmed by the topic. “When you say, ‘Let’s do something about it,’ the reaction can be ‘well, it wasn’t so bad,’ because the idea of change can be overwhelming.”

But “not so bad” didn’t cut it for
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Unstuck in Action: Just the right kick in the pants

Name:  Brian O’Donnell

Age:  39

Location: New York City

Occupation: Electronic musician, engineer, producer. “Since I was a teen, I’ve been working in music, so I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. I’ve produced everything from heavy rock to teen princess pop. I do music full time and I also teach Bikram yoga part time.”

What are you working on now?
“My current album is an electronic dance album. I write the music, perform all instruments, vocals, produce, engineer — I do everything. This is my first under the name ‘Fits of Genius.’

“The first track is titled ‘Say’ and is available via for free. The track is also available on iTunes and Amazon as well a deluxe version on the website.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?
“One of my best friends in the world noticed I was looking for clarity on how to finish a project and passed it on
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Unstuck in Action: Practicing mindful productivity

Name: Mike Vardy

Age:  38

Location:  Victoria, BC, Canada

Occupation:  Writer, talker, and productivityist. Recently published “The Front Nine: How To Start The Year You Want Anytime You Want”

What is a productivityist?
“It’s a person who is a productivity enthusiast. It kind of started out as a joke. I was doing sketch comedy, holding a job at Costco as a department supervisor, and had a family. Trying to manage all of my time, I needed to adopt some systems. But I found that I didn’t get anymore productive, I just learned about more and more systems. So I started to parody productivity the way Stephen Colbert parodies politics. The site got noticed by David Allen [author of “Getting Things Done”] and I asked him to write for it. Soon after, I got really into the topic and became the very thing I was making fun of. At that point, was
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Unstuck in Action: Time for a culture change

Name:  Meredith Caraher

Age:  33

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Occupation: Currently, owner of MZCDesign, which provides logo design, graphic design, photography, retouching, and strategy to startups in the fashion and music industries. Previously, creative director at a fashion company.

Passionate about:  “Creative problem solving. What I really like to do is work with people and come up with solution to problems. It’s where I’m happiest. I like to apply abstract ideas to real problems.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?“A friend told me about it and it rang a bell with the way I approach my own work and life. I was curious to see how it worked.”

How often do you get stuck?“Everyone gets stuck. Sometimes you can be a little stuck or really stuck. I don’t get really stuck all that often, but there are little things that come up in my day to day.” 

How do you know when you’re stuck?“I have a hard time concentrating. I
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Unstuck in Action: Exploring the options

Name: Michelle

Age:  28

Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Current job: Office manager at a financial firm

Previous job: Exercise specialist at a boutique health care fitness facility

Passionate about: Her neighborhood, Pilates, breathwork, and music. “I took classical piano lessons for eight years but now I want to learn more jazz and blues. I’m addicted to Spotify to find new music!“

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?My fiancée recommended it to me after I quit my job and was looking for another career. I didn’t know what to expect, but the great thing about the app is that it’s very guided.”

How do you know when you’re stuck?“I get very withdrawn and depressed. Then I know awareness needs to be brought to the situation.”

What’s it like to get unstuck?“It’s empowering. Even if you don’t have an exact answer of what your next step will be, it’s empowering to pinpoint where you are.”

What was your stuck moment?“I
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Unstuck in Action: Living more purposefully

Name: Michael Abata

 Age:  30

 Location: Minneapolis

Occupation: Trend and competitive intelligence manager for Target. “I spend much of my day combining the empathy and data of consumers with macro environmental, economic, and competitive trend research to develop relevant and innovative business growth strategies for many of our internal business teams at Target.“

Passionate about: The arts, kayaking, and volunteering. “I’ve been volunteering for nine years with Ten Thousand Villages, which works with artisan groups in third-world countries to bring their products to stores. Right now, I’m helping with their social media strategy for the St. Paul store.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app? “At the PSFK Conference [in October 2011] when Keith Yamashita spoke about it. I was sitting next to him for most of the conference, and didn’t realize he was speaking there. I was like, ‘Holy buckets! That’s what I need!’ When somebody can put together a framework
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Unstuck in Action: Career-change crisis

Name: Ariel Finkelstein

Age:  30

Location: Riverdale in the Bronx, by way of Louisville, Kentucky.

Current job: Digital media executive recruiter at AC Lion, NYC.

Previous job: Senior administrator at a nonprofit.

Passionate about: Time with my family, NY sports, craft beers, nature, traveling, and Education Technology.

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?“I read about it in December in TechCrunch and I said ‘I’ve got to have it!’ ”

What was your stuck moment?“I worked in nonprofit for a good nine years alongside individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and I loved it for a long time. I went from direct care to manager to a senior admin role. It was the only career I knew.

“But when I became a senior admin, I realized I wasn’t happy. I love helping people with my own hands and I was detached from that. But I had no clue what I wanted to change to. Zero
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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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Unstuck in Action: Pushing toward completion

Name:  Sameedha Mahadkar

Age: 30

Location: Loughborough, England

Family life: Single, lives with a friend

Occupation: Researcher for HaCIRIC, which is funded by the European Physical Sciences Research Council. She is working on a project aimed at developing a framework to support and improve healthcare infrastructure planning and integrated service provision within the healthcare sector through optimizing decision-making processes.

Sam is also in her fifth and final year as a part-time PhD candidate, building on her degree in civil engineering. “I want to become an expert in strategic asset management—how to manage and optimize a healthcare facility." 

Interests: Works out at the gym every other day and bakes at home (“It’s a way of relaxing and trying different things”). Until recently, she also served as subwarden on a college campus, looking after 300 undergraduate students. “It took a lot of my time. Students would call in the middle of the night saying ‘I’m drunk and
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