Posts tagged: Winning Quality

How to turn empathy into your secret strength

Growing up I was constantly labeled the “good listener.” Being a highly-sensitive person gave me the gift of being able to sense other people’s emotions, often without them saying a word. Over the years I’ve come to realize what a powerful strength empathy can be. Now as a coach and licensed social worker, it’s part of my job description.


What is empathy, really?

In a world where life is busy, complex, and filled with stress, empathy is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the ability to detect other’s emotions and understand their perspective. When we feel accepted and validated, it builds trust, heals, and leads to greater happiness.

Empathy isn’t reserved exclusively for our personal lives, either. It’s what you need to comfort a grieving co-worker, get people on board with your ideas, or diffuse tension
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Why the best confidence is built

At Unstuck, we were recently inspired by this story about Girls Build, a summer camp in Oregon that teaches young girls to complete elaborate construction projects using (big, intense) power tools like drills and chopsaws:

Girls wear hard hats and tool belts wrapped twice around their tiny waists. They’re divided up into stations, working on everything from pouring concrete planters to shingling the roof of a sandbox. With every project they’re learning they have the power to turn a pile of raw material into an actual structure.

Like most summer camps, the goal is to help children develop their skills, be it social or physical. But the idea of learning to build something sturdy and awe-inspiring struck us as a poignant metaphor for something else — namely what it means to become confident.


We often think of confidence as a naturally-occurring phenomenon (perhaps in terms of those annoying people who can
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Instant Insight: Our right to be wrong

Even the noblest, most empathetic people in the world are no match for the moment when a person has done them wrong. It happens to all of us and, regardless of whether it’s a big moment or a split-second, something intentional or inadvertent, how we react when we’ve messed up (or someone else has) always requires perspective and
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8 great quotes for Nelson Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela Day, July 18, was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2008 as a call to action to make the world a better place. An unarguably worthy pursuit.

At Unstuck, we believe that pursuit starts with ourselves. As we each strive, individually, to be more patient, understanding, and open, as well as less critical, prideful, and resistant, we can’t help but contribute to a better world.  

In celebration of Mr. Mandela, and all of us who seek to be our best selves, we offer eight inspiring Mandela quotes, paired with some actionable Unstuck advice.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Read this: How to boost your stick-to-it-tiveness


“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Read this: Are
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How to make yourself more resilient


How is it that some people try again and again, while others get perpetually stuck at the first roadblock? The difference is resilience — an adaptive trait that enables us to bounce back when faced with difficulties.

Resilience doesn’t mean we escape feelings of pain and hardship, but rather meet those uncomfortable feelings so we can work through stressful situations. Here are some attributes of a resilient spirit:

  • An ability to bounce back after setback
  • A more positive outlook on life
  • Heightened problem-solving abilities
  • Greater decisiveness in day-to-day actions
  • An ability to manage strong feelings and stress with a clear mind
  • The confidence to try new things without worrying about every little detail that could go wrong.

A recent study links  resilience with physical benefits like a stronger immune system  and better cardiovascular health.  In other words, the less time spent
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Get your gratitude glow on

get gratitude

When prompted to think about gratitude, and list the things we’re grateful for, it’s easy to give the same answers every time:

“My family”
“My health”
“My family’s health”

These things are undoubtedly important — we should be grateful for them. But that pesky word, “should,” can be telling. Anything with a “should” attached to it can feel heavy. Pure gratitude, on the other hand, feels light — like a warm glow spreading through you.

Plus, when we recite the same list of things we’re thankful for over and over again, our authentic feelings of gratitude can get stale.

So how can we tap into gratitude in a way that feels fresh each time?

We’ve put together a printable exercise that helps you do just that. (Click the link or the image below to print the exercise.)

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Does being humble get us anywhere?

Does being humble get us anywhere

In a world that seems to reward those who shout the loudest, humility can feel like an outdated virtue. In fact, it’s an essential quality to cultivate as we try to get (and stay) unstuck in all areas of our lives.

At its core, humility is the absence of arrogance. We like humble people. They’re not trying to impress anyone. They’re at ease with themselves. They can take a compliment without letting it go to their head. They think inclusively. They give people the benefit of the doubt. They share things rather than showing them off. They say thanks, and they mean it.

Humble people aren’t attached to being the best. They know what they’re good at, and what they aren’t so good at. Humility, then, is actually the truest form of confidence. And it’s liberating.

Humility doesn’t always come naturally. But it’s a skill we can practice and learn. Often, being humble
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Most likely to succeed? It comes down to grit

fear of failure

That person’s got what it takes to succeed.

What is the “it”? Smarts? Vision? Creativity? Those are great qualities, but they can’t make a full impact without another ingredient: determination to get things done — in a word, grit.

Grit keeps us going when things get tough. It pushes us toward the finish line when we’re too far away to see it. When we get stuck, grit insists there has to be another way.

Psychologists have recently found that the grittier a person is, the likelier they are to succeed. The connection is so strong that grit is a better predictor of success than raw talent or high IQ.*

Whether or not you’re naturally gritty, it’s the kind of mettle you can develop. It comes down to believing that change — in your abilities and circumstances — is always possible through your own actions.

This is what goes on in a gritty frame of mind:

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How to keep going when you really don’t want to

In the days after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, many of us focused on what was missing. The New York City skyline felt bare. The world felt altered. And, in the quiet Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights, an out-of-work actor named Delissa Reynolds sought comfort in the ways she knew best — food, friends, a sense of belonging.

“It was a very tender time,” says Delissa. “People in the neighborhood really drew in together. We’d have weekend gatherings, usually at my house, where anyone could come to hang out, sometimes just over rice and beans.”

These “Sunday dinners” helped transform the experience of loss into a celebration of togetherness. And, for Delissa, they became the spark for Bar Sepia, a pioneering neighborhood bar and restaurant she’d open three years later. Next month, her dream project turns 11 — a milestone unimaginable back in those “tender”
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Gratitude is great — paying it forward is even better

We’re in the season of gratitude, and thank goodness for that.

The air’s turned colder and it’s dark by 4 pm, giving us sufficient fodder for complaints (on top of our usual stuff). So remembering to get a little grateful really does helps. If we’re busy reflecting on the love we feel for mashed potatoes, there’s no room to hate on a 3:54 sunset. It’s replacement thinking; it doesn’t make the bad stuff go away, but it makes it less important.

Plus, practicing gratitude is easy. All we have to do is lean back and think about what’s good in our life. It brings on a sense of contentment to beat the band. What could be better than that?

Paying it forward.

Paying it forward matches gratitude (it makes us happy) and multiplies it (it makes other people happy and perpetuates the happiness).

Just so there’s no confusion, let’s define what the phrase means. Paying it forward
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