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People get stuck for a reason—we just don’t always know what that reason is. Then we get so hung up on being stuck that we become even more stuck. And so, the cycle perpetuates itself.
What I’ve discovered from coaching hundreds of people is that there is a wealth of wisdom imbued in every moment we are stuck: That perhaps we’re stuck simply because we’re moving too fast, we’re off purpose or our lives are leading us instead of the other way around.
How do we change all that, you ask? How do we shine like a stadium light when we feel like a refrigerator bulb? How do we get unstuck?
Enter, SCRAM! I’ve used SCRAM for the past twenty years—it’s a way to get back on track when it looks like the car you’re supposed to be driving is moving on without you.
In the beginning of your journey back to yourself, it’s important to follow these steps in the prescribed sequence. Once you’ve begun to listen to your gut, trust yourself, and follow your unique leadership path, then hop around as you please. Here’s how SCRAM works:
Sit still I’ve worked with so many people who have gotten stuck just so that they (unconsciously) have an excuse to stand still. We live in a culture that richly rewards action junkies. We rally to ‘do’ more and more and we receive accolades for exhausting ourselves. We work harder and faster at the things that don’t work rather than stop, stand still and examine the overall workability of our lives.
If we’re willing to consciously press the pause button on our lives, sit still and access the intuitive voice within us, then often we receive guidance and peace that will direct us to a more purposeful (and unstuck) place.
Choose your focus Our society is pathology-centered, emphasizing the things that need to be fixed, changed or obliterated from existence. I’d suggest that…
“Focusing on your weaknesses is like pumping up the flat side of a tire.” – Solomonism # 26
I find it much more useful to steer my clients towards their strengths. Our gifts and talents are the things that are most natural, easy and enjoyable to us. Focusing on these gifts and talents will inevitably help us to discover what’s right with us, thereby changing the entire focus of our lives.
And, as you’ve probably heard a zillion times—what you focus on, you get more of. That has to do with the Reticular Activation System in your brain, but I’ll leave that for another article.
Remember who you are Competition can be lethal medicine—it can destroy our creativity and talent on contact. When we walk our own path without looking at the other side of the street, when we live from the inside out, we are happiest and most joyful because we’re fulfilling our purpose and making a meaningful contribution.
Frequently we get stuck because we’re imitating life instead of living it—we’re living someone else’s vision for us. I’d strongly urge you to have at least one person in your life who will remind you of who you are when you forget. And you will.
Ask the important questions The simplest way to become unstuck is to ask ourselves the really difficult questions—the ones that we absolutely, positively do not want to know the answers to. Inherent in every question lies the answer. Questioning evokes change. Period.
We have a tendency to ask ourselves about the concrete and physical results we want when, paradoxically, the real currency we seek is emotional and spiritual. The latter is counter-intuitive to our culture. For instance, if we’re stuck in a job we don’t like, we will normally ask ourselves “What job do I want to do?” or “What’s the next logical move I should make?” or “I wonder if I should change careers?” Those types of questions, however, will often generate a different form of the same hell.
It is far more productive to ask yourself how you want to feel in that new position, or what emotional experience you want to achieve (respected, valued, appreciated, acknowledged). When we focus on the feeling, the opportunities will be more abundant and fulfilling.
Move forward one step at a time Take a step—it doesn’t even matter which one or how teeny it is—movement begets movement.
Growth begins with the willingness to do so. When we find the courage to do one little thing differently, to look forward instead of wallow in our ‘issue,’ it sends a gigantic message to the world. It says, I’m ready to put some energy behind the resolution of this concern. Our small steps also send a message back to us that we’re ready to break the pattern of stuckedness. We have control over one enormous thing in our lives and that one enormous thing is midway between our two ears. Yup it’s our mind and it’s our attitude.
Lastly, I would remind you of three things.
#1 When we’re in the shadow of inertia, when it seems impossible to move a millimeter, it’s remember that you have been stuck before and that, at some point, you became unstuck. It is very rare to find someone, (least of all someone reading this article) who has remained stuck indefinitely.
#2 We are not the problem we have. When we say, “I’m stuck” it makes us the problem when it is true more often than not that it is external forces that thwart our movement. Outside opinions or expectations cause us to judge and second guess ourselves, both of which cause us to put the brakes on in order to question our reality.
#3 We need to give ourselves permission to be stuck to begin with. The only thing ‘wrong’ with being stuck is that, well, we think it’s ‘wrong’. What if, instead, we celebrated being stuck because our internal alarm alerted us to the fact that things are off kilter, and being stuck gives us an opportunity to make things right? I’d venture to say that if we re-framed ‘stuck’ it wouldn’t ‘stick’ as long as it does.
S Sit still C Choose your focus R Remember who you are A Ask the important questions M Move forward one step at a time
What’s the ONE THING you do to get unstuck in your life?
Please share in the comment section below– we’d love to learn from you.
*A version of this article was originally published in Barbara Stanny’s Anthology: Breaking Through—Getting Past the Stuck Points in Your Life