Whether you’re in business for yourself, or working for someone else, there’s no shortage of ways to feel stuck.
Maybe you’re spinning your wheels on that process improvement project that your manager recommended you take on to increase your “visibility” during next year’s talent planning. Or maybe you feel handcuffed to your current “data jockey” job because, although it grossly underutilizes your talents, it pays for the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to. Or maybe you know that you should be spending more time networking, but somehow the weeks and months go by without you making a single connection.
Whatever your brand of feeling stuck, it’s no fun. And yet we can sometimes stay stuck for a long time. Why do we do that?
If being stuck is no fun, why do we stay there?
We often get stuck around subjects that we’d rather not think about too much. Subjects that bring up painful thoughts and feelings about how we’re not good at something, or how we always end up banging our heads against the same wall in that area.
One area where I tend to get stuck as a business owner is marketing. I tell myself, “I don’t like this”, “I don’t know how to do this well”, “I wish I didn’t have to do this”… all of which tends to make my marketing efforts grind to an unproductive halt. I know how important marketing is in a business, so it’s not that I don’t understand that at an intellectual level. And yet, somehow, if left unchecked, my tendency is to feel stuck to the point of inaction.
Practice self-care: allow yourself to need help
In my most recent marketing “block” around social media marketing, I practiced a bit of self-care and allowed myself to need help. What?! If you’re stuck, of course you need help, right? Well, maybe… But what if you’re beating yourself up for needing help, and that’s what’s keeping you stuck?
Here’s what I did. Instead of bemoaning that I was stuck, and wishing that I weren’t, and that maybe if I were better, or different, or worked harder, I wouldn’t need help, I allowed myself to need help. I imagined how my business would run if I had the help I needed so that the social media marketing part were well taken care of.
I didn’t sweat the details at that point. I just imagined a nondescript, “black box” marketing machine that, even though I didn’t know how it worked, brought in more than all the clients I need to be successful in my business. Then I worked backwards from my vision into the present and acknowledged that I not only need help—I truly WANT help to help me achieve that vision. It became a positive thing.
Turn getting help into a positive thing
Once I made a shift from feeling bad about needing help to acknowledging that I wanted help, the logjam began to loosen up. I started by adding an item on my to-do list that read, “Find someone to help me with marketing”. That’s it. I didn’t know who that should be, or exactly how they were going to help me, but simply adding it to my list set the intention.
Next thing I know I’m having a couple conversations with people, and I’m connecting with someone who’s interested in helping me and we’re off and running. I experienced some forward motion where a few days earlier I was feeling completely stuck.
This week, take a few minutes to consider where you’re stuck and where you could use help. What area of work or life have you been ignoring because it’s painful to think about? What help would you WANT in order to get unstuck and achieve your vision?