For four blissful weeks I was visiting friends and family back in Idaho, Oregon and Washington State (USA). Since May 20th however, I’ve been back in New Zealand stuck in the Mire. Stuck good and tight. Mute. Helpless. With nothing to say.
However, as life deliciously often does, I was thrown a lifeline in the form of a client who was also stuck. We get to teach that which we must learn.
So, now I’m unstuck. Back on the page, communing with you with enormous joy and I figured I’d share my teaching about getting unstuck. I’ve boiled it down to six steps. (I love steps….as if you’ve not noticed that about my little teachings by now!) But hey – I’ve seen nothing quite like this and I have to say, it works. Not just for me and my client of this past couple of weeks. But for others upon whom I’ve tried versions of this before. I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this too. So – here goes.
Step 1 ~ EXPLORE STUCK
OK – so you’re stuck. What kind of stuck? While being stuck usually means you’re not doing something you wish you’d do, as long as you’re alive, you are actually doing something else instead. So, get curious about what you are doing. Could be something like this:
- I’m spinning my wheels not writing
- I’m hanging on to this old relationship
- I’m too cuddly for my own good
- I’m parked in this dead-end job
- I’m overly accommodating to my overbearing boss
Step 2 ~ APPRECIATE STUCK
Counter-intuitive maybe, but we tend to do things because they work for us in some way. Look at what you noticed you are doing in this place of stuck, and ask yourself,
“How is this benefiting me?”
- I’m spinning my wheels not writing, which is actually giving me a chance to turn over some new ideas and examine what it is I want to say next.
- I’m hanging on to this old relationship, which means I don’t have to be alone on weekend nights and I have someone to go to parties with.
- I’m too cuddly for my own good, and I get to enjoy being the Bon Vivant everyone knows me to be, pooh-poohing those skinny Minnies and living wholeheartedly.
- I’m parked in this dead-end job, which I can do with my eyes shut so all my creative juice is pent-up and ready for my music when I come home.
- I’m overly accommodating to my overbearing boss and she really likes me and I never get into those power struggles I see the others enduring.
Step 3 ~ EXPLORE UNSTUCK
You’ve uncovered the judgment about stuck (Step 1) and the benefits of being stuck (Step 2) so now it’s time to explore what life would be like if you were not stuck.
- If I stopped spinning my wheels not writing, I’d be back in the service game, adding content to my Blog and providing useful resources for clients and readers.
- If I stopped hanging on to this old relationship, I’d discover more about myself — my feelings, needs, anxieties and desires now, after this stressful 3 year on again / off-again relationship.
- If I stopped being too cuddly for my own good, I’d listen to this emerging new me who loves food and parties as much as anyone, but who wants to be slim and healthy as well.
- If I stopped being parked in this dead-end job, I’d take that risk to work in the music world.
- If I stopped accommodating my overbearing boss, I could practice being assertive and work toward a promotion out from under this boss.
Step 4 ~ MEET THE TWO YOUS
You have now identified two inner voices – right?
Inner voice #1 (let’s call this person Fearful Self) is all too familiar with the safest path and fully understands (indeed, advocates for) the advantages of being stuck. Inner voice #2 (let’s call this Wholehearted Self) sees (and advocates for) the bigger picture that would unfold with becoming unstuck.
These voices uncover the very real possibility that you have two selves. Two ways of being. Each version of you is lovable and perfect in its own way, but they promote different paths simultaneously.
And this is a problem.
The road ahead Ys and you are trying to make forward progress down both arms of the Y at the same time. Fearful Self is pulling you toward the safe path. Wholehearted Self is pulling you toward the wide new horizon… meanwhile you’ve stopped in at the agreeable pub on the corner to duke it out.
(Thanks to Steve Reed from whom I adopted this photo)
Step 5 ~ CHOOSE
Let’s just track back to reality, shall we.
You’ve had the guts to name it (Step 1)
You’ve had the insight to see why being stuck feels good (Step 2)
You’ve had the wisdom to see why getting unstuck is so appealing (Step 3)
You’ve identified that you have mixed feelings, two voices, two yous with valid opinions. (Step 4)
How you get unstuck is to climb up on a platform above your debating selves and choose a winner.
Right there in the pub – as you knock back another “for the road” – you get to decide whose view of the future you are ready for.
And the way to decide is simple.
You’ll know when you answer the following question.
Which “me” do I want to be right now?
Do I want to be Fearful Self who plays a small, safe, easy, low stress but wickedly constricting game?
Or do I want to be Wholehearted Self, who is ready to expand, to play a bigger game, to bust out of dodge and show up with your whole united, brave, courageous self?
Step 6 ~ BE KIND
It may seem as though I have scripted this as though there is a right answer: Wholehearted Self ought to “win” right?
But here’s the magic of this approach.
This is not always true.
When you do yourself the favour of really listening to yourself, you’ll know where you are in your own process. There is a time for fallow. For stuck.
And when you are ready to allow Wholehearted Self to take the reins, you’ll do so whilst simultaneously comforting Fearful Self. You’ll have met with your shadow, bought him/her a drink, acknowledged the fears, mitigated the pitfalls.
Now, when Wholehearted Self announces it is time to show up, your two selves will link arms and stride down the path toward the bold new horizons, taking comfort in the understanding, union and determination. And when that happens – world watch out!