This year, let’s get stuck

January 13, 2015

What? Get stuck on purpose?

As counterintuitive as it sounds for a group called Unstuck to promote stuckness, we have a sound reason.

Yes, getting stuck hurts. It’s uncomfortable. Embarrassing. Shameful, even. Or is it?

What if we looked at getting stuck as a starting point rather than a stalled one? What if getting stuck was a sign of better things to come? What if never getting stuck meant that life never got better?

When you think about it that way, being stuck takes on a more positive light. It means we have the courage to admit that something is wrong. It means we have the drive to solve that problem, even if it’s a little bit at a time. It means we can be heroes in our own life.

What’s your lingering stuck moment?

Since we’re at the start of an untarnished new year, it feels like a good time to identify a stuck moment that we’ve gotten really good at ignoring.

  • What have you been putting up with for so long that you’ve ceased to feel the rub?
  • What desire have you squashed in favor of practicality?
  • What’s that “someday” pursuit whose time never arrives?
  • Is there a simple improvement to be made that you systematically put off?
  • Which of your habits or behaviors tends to get in the way of progress?

We’re a big fan of that last question. Working on behaviors that block us is a sweet spot for getting unstuck because the results are often far-reaching. Here are some common stuck behaviors to help provoke your thinking.

  • Busyness. As stressful as it may be, living an overly demanding life tells us that we’re important or needed or that we belong. We complain about it, yet we’re reluctant to give up the status it brings.
  • Hedging your bets. When we keep too many options on the table, whether it’s what to order for dinner or who to spend our life with, a lack of commitment lowers our chances for satisfaction or success.
  • Wrong is not an option. The fear of making a mistake can stop us in our tracks. Or, on the flip side, we’ll go to any length to prove we’re right. In either case, we’re not allowing ourselves to learn.
  • Confrontation allergy. It’s a disservice to ourselves when we don’t speak up. It compromises what’s important to us. It puts someone else in the driver’s seat. And it gives the wrong impression that we don’t know, don’t care, or both.

Grab the stuck moment that you feel ready (or almost ready) to address. It’s doesn’t have to be a mammoth undertaking, just something that holds the potential to increase joy or relief or peace or motivation in your life once you’re unstuck.

Got it? Good. Now curb your impulse to take action. No declarations. No list-making. No shopping for accessories to a plan. Simply mull your stuck moment around in your brain until you can fully own it. How does it get you stuck exactly? How does that make you feel? What role do you play?

When the prospect of getting unstuck is so compelling that you can’t ignore it any longer, you’re ready to do something about it. Start by figuring out how you’re acting in this stuck moment.

You can review the 11 different ways we all get stuck, below, or use the free Unstuck app for iPad or web app. Either way, you’ll find guidance to start moving forward.

Here’s to a great 2015!

11 ways we get stuck

  1. If you’re not sure what’s important to you, you may be acting like a Drifter.
  2. If you can’t decide, you may be acting like a Waffler.
  3. If you can’t make your idea happen, you may be acting like an Idle Achiever.
  4. If you’re actively putting off something, you may be acting like an Avoider.
  5. If you’re taking on too much by yourself, you may be acting like a Lone Leader.
  6. If your usual strategy stops working, you may be acting like a Perplexed Planner.
  7. If the idea of change conjures huge amounts of fear, you may be acting like a Reluctant Adapter.
  8. If all you can see are the negative implications, you may be acting like a Tunnel Visionary.
  9. If your ideas aren’t crystal clear, you may be acting like a Fuzzy Forecaster.
  10. If your motivation has gone missing, you may be acting like a Deflated Doer.
  11. If you’re winging it, you may be acting like an Ad Libber.

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