On Getting Unstuck

For Your Interest – August 2014

A doctor walks into his waiting room to see a chicken sitting in one chair, and an egg in another. "Okay," he asks, "Who came first?"

Waiting rooms aside, when talking about getting unstuck – or more specifically remembering what you did the last time you were stuck to get unstuck – it’s not always clear who (or in this case, which) came first: 
  • Was it a change in ATTITUDE that somehow allowed you to change your behavior – like intentionally increasing your sense of gratitude – or a change in BEHAVIOR – ‘faking it til you make it’ – that somehow got you to shift your thinking? 
  • Was it something you did more of – like actually writing down all the things you needed to do – or something you stopped doing – like hiding your to-do list because it was overwhelming you?
  • Was it a new thought that occurred to you – like coming up with something you hadn't considered before – or remember an old idea that seemed particularly relevant, again? 
  • Did you get more strategic? Or more tactical?
  • Did you focus more on what you had to do? Or more on what you’d get to do, once finished? 
Prevailing wisdom says we need to know these things. After all, if we don’t learn from our past, how are we ever going to create a more powerful future? If we don't fully understand how we got unstuck the last time, how are we ever going to get get smarter about getting unstuck the next time? 

Is Prevailing Wisdom What's Needed?

The (often) hidden truth – the crux of the matter, if you will – is that when we’re stuck, we’re often too far inside it, and too much consumed by it, to have the perspective we need to remember how we got unstuck the last time. And once we get unstuck, we tend to be so engaged in doing what we hadn't been able to do just a few short moments earlier, that the idea of stopping ourselves just to engage in a 'what happened here?' exercise seems absurd and counterproductive. 

But that’s okay. Because even if we knew exactly what we did (or didn't do) to break the logjam, odds are that it probably wouldn't necessarily work the next time, anyway. Why? Because while ‘sameness’ can be familiar and rewarding, it can very quickly flip to insufficiency and ‘ho-hum-ism’. 
  • Think TV: We enjoy watching summer reruns, but usually just as a placeholder until the new episodes of the fall season start. 
  • Think pie: Lemon Meringue is delicious, to be sure, but not after 5 days-in-a-row of it.
  • Think SiriusXM radio: That there are so many stations is awesome, but that so many of them have such limited play lists? Not so much.
We need ‘newness’. We need variety. And when it comes to getting unstuck, that’s really excellent news because anything that sparks a sense of ‘newness’ for us could be just what’s needed to capture our attention, re-frame our ‘stuckness’, and help us get going again. Yes, it’s true.

Newness is What's News

So rather than looking back, the key to getting unstuck may very well be in looking anywhere but there. So to that end, here are a number of resources about getting unstuck that hopefully you haven't seen before: Surely something in there will help. But if not, know that there are plenty more ideas out there waiting for you, just an internet search away.

Eggs-ellent News!

Oh, and circling back to the chicken and egg thing at the beginning of this piece, if you like eggs for breakfast, here’s a great resource should your eggs ever get stuck...to the pan! :) – http://www.ehow.com/how_4474884_clean-stuck-pans.html

P.S. For my latest haiku about leadership, please visit my Leadership Haiku Twitter account: http://twitter.com/leadershiphaiku.

P.S. And don't forget to visit the LeadershipTraction blog –  www.leadershiptraction.com/blog. I added several new posts this month. 

- bz
Barry Zweibel | 847-291-9735
LeadershipTraction® | www.ldrtr.com

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