How to Breakthrough StuckJun 24, 2021
Stuck happens. It happens to the most driven, the highest achievers and the enthusiastic go-getters. The problem occurs when we realize we aren’t progressing. We, the driven achievers, have a mini meltdown.
Most would call it a breakdown but we call it stress, a pause, a challenge, an obstacle, a set-back or maybe even a speed-bump. Yet we are having an internal panic that we aren’t producing, progressing, growing or developing.
We (achievers) don’t like to be at a standstill. It goes against our hardwiring. Whether it is the sales in the business, the tasks for the day, the bookings for next week or the words produced on the page- when there is a halt in production our brain has a tantrum.
We thrive on the production. We love the dopamine hit that comes from seeing that we are on the right track toward our desire. When we aren’t seeing gains we get really uncomfortable. Stuck happens.
That is how I felt when I closed my business of 16 years and started 2 new businesses. My workhorse brain just kept ploughing forward with action but I quickly realized that I was addicted to the action and wasn’t making the progress in growth, sales or business foundation that I desired.
The achiever in me didn’t want to acknowledge that I was spinning in place or that the progress might take longer than the inhuman timelines I imposed upon myself. I had so much success in my past business by taking massive action that I naturally repeated the same pattern.
But what if I was progressing in the wrong direction? What if my actions were getting me the same results despite that I changed my business specifically to get different results? No matter how fast the wheels are turning, if you aren’t going anywhere, you are stuck.
So how do we break through the stuck? Sounds exciting yet elusive. These 6 steps should do the trick. One or any combination of these steps are likely what is missing in your current approach. The first 3 steps are my adaptation from a mentor of mine Tony Robbins . The last 3 are what I have found to fill the gaps.
- Strategy- You can be following the best strategy but it may not be working. Why? Because what you are personally attempting to overcome is unique to you. So, the strategy needs your secret sauce. Your trial and error. Your specific adjustments to create your desired success. However, be sure to only add your secret sauce once you have truly attempted the tried and true strategy/strategies of those who have come before you. For example, when making homemade pizza dough there is a strategy (aka recipe). Starting without a recipe is not only going to be a very slow way to start - it won’t lead to the desired outcome (aka pizza dough). Once you have tried a recipe or ten, only then can you decide how you will replace or adjust ingredients to get the desired consistency, flavour, or density (aka your unique desired outcome). Having a strategy that you know has worked for someone in a similar situation is a great way to start if you are stuck. If you have been using that strategy and the outcome isn’t just right it might be time to add your personal flavour to the mix!
- Story- We create a story about everything. The weather, our relationships, our past and of course why we did or didn’t achieve our desired results. Shifting the story can be the fastest way to get unstuck. Simply deciding that the pause or set-back is simply part of your path to the outcome you want is a game changer. Once, at a low point in earnings early in my first business, I had an epiphany. “Ohhhh…” I thought “THIS is what all the business books meant when they kept saying ‘pay yourself first’”. I was making sure I had all of the funds necessary to pay overhead and employees and was reducing my pay in order to meet all the business, customer, contractor and employee needs. Instead of dramatizing the low earnings, my story became one of being clearly on the right path. If I was experiencing what was described in multiple business books, then of course, I must be doing “it” right. Someone else’s story might have made that scenario mean that they financially failed. My story helped me continue powerfully with confidence that the earnings I wanted were right around the corner...and it turned out that they were. My story got me unstuck.
- State - We can breakthrough stuck with incredible effectiveness when we become aware of our state and choose to shift it. State is researched more than emotion. It has a beginning, middle and an end and can be measured physiologically. These characteristics make it easier to study than emotion which can be far more subjective. States of stress, relaxation, excitement and sleep have common elements that can be studied. When we break it down into physiology, focus and language we can shift our state quickly from one of stress to calm. Personally, I notice my state in my physiology and language first. To shift quickly I decide what to focus on and use my language to powerfully change my state to one that will breakthrough the stuck!
- Scenery- When stuck we are typically focussed very specifically on what is not working. To breakthrough we can gain so much perspective by slowing down, stepping back and taking in the bigger picture. The scenery around what we are stuck on often carries the answers we haven’t been able to see. For example, at one point I was working on a real estate deal that was going to be part of the future business. Negotiations were at a standstill and I was frustrated. I stepped back, looked at what it would be like not to have the deal go through as well as all of the advantages and disadvantages. Most importantly I explored why I wanted the deal to proceed. It turned out that I was so committed to what I wanted to accomplish beyond the real estate deal that it didn’t matter whether the deal worked or not. That perspective allowed me to relax, have patience and confidence no matter what the outcome was. I broke through being stuck. The deal happened.
- Scientific- If you have been strategy bouncing (throwing out one strategy to jump to the next) you may have missed an important opportunity to refine your strategy. To break through what you are stuck on we can narrow in and use a scientific approach. This is the opposite of step 4’s scenery. This time, we want to try an approach and if it doesn’t work then change only one aspect of the approach. For example, when rehabbing a back surgery there are so many things that can cause a setback in recovery… an arm movement, a leg movement, too much time sitting or standing, or even just the walking surface. Several years ago I was rehabbing a professional athlete back to play on a tight timeline. After the back surgery he couldn’t walk. After a few weeks we progressed to walking forward, backward and stepping up but we needed to make more gains to get him back to playing his sport- and quickly. He was ready for more so I had him start stair marching for 4 flights. That was plenty and he felt great. The next day though he was struggling- his back was in pain and he was really down. That is the moment where we might have thrown out that strategy and said “we better try something different- stairs don’t work”. Instead we used a scientific approach. Used other exercises while the back calmed down and 2 days later went back to the stairs. This time for 3 flights. He felt great. Next day felt great too. It wasn’t the stairs - it was that they were new. 'Too much new' was the problem- not the stairs. Within 10 days he was running stairs and it was one of the fastest ways to get him ready for his sport!
- Small- People think of breakthroughs as momentous, life changing events. And they certainly can be. However, even the tiniest breakthrough or epiphany can be all that is required to get unstuck. We can especially find small ah ha moments when we put ourselves in the shoes of others or use lessons from other situations. You can imagine how counterintuitive it is when we are looking for massive change and the breakthrough comes in a tiny realization. For example, for my marriage when we were feeling stuck in an argument it all disappeared when one of us realized we each valued the thing we were arguing about differently. So small. So simple. He didn’t value the thing that I did in the same way and when we both realized this we broke through our disagreement.
If you are stuck these steps will see you through. It may just be one small adjustment or a combination of these steps but either way you will be back on your path of producing, progressing and growing. Remember, that whatever way we get stuck, there is always something to learn from the experience. Despite how much we want the breakthrough it is in the stuck that the lesson and growth occurs.
Listen in to the Empowered TEAM Podcast 5 Steps to a New Level
or Podcast 2 Rules for Better Performance
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Learn more about Kari Schneider and what she is all about here
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