Moving beyond stuck to successful
If you are really honest with yourself you would admit that there were times in your life when you felt stuck. It could have been in a relationship that was not serving you; a job that was not fulfilling you; a business that was not what you thought it would be; or, for some, a life that was generally not meaningful or purpose-driven. There is no shame in that acknowledgement. We’ve all been there. Allow me to share a bit of my story – that felt more like a saga – of being stuck.
My passion for change and transformation came when I was pursuing graduate studies in 2001. One class in particular covered change models. It was the catalyst that transformed my life forever and it wasn’t for any noble reason other than my life was stuck and it presented clarity on why I was where I was and where I needed to go. We defined change, identified what an ideal state looks like, discussed why the status quo is so enticing yet frustrating and how to make the bold and scary transition to one’s ideal state. This new information washed me in an ice-water bath of reality to wake me up from my stuck stupor, to realize that there was a better reality than the one I was content living in. Moreover, it prodded me to make the necessary changes to move toward that reality. The truth is, I had realized a few years before that there were things I needed to change, but that knowledge alone was not enough to get me to move. It’s like a story of the moaning dog that I heard transformational speaker Lisa Nicolls (credit Les Brown) tell. The story goes that a man was walking down the street of his neighborhood and, as he passed the home of an elderly couple, saw a dog lying on the porch between the couple as they sat relaxing. The strange thing about the dog is that it was moaning as if in pain. After a few days of passing the same scene, the man resolved to ask the couple about the dog’s behavior, which he did the following day.
“Why is your dog lying there moaning, if I may ask?”
They replied: “Oh him? He’s lying on a nail. It hurts him enough to make him moan but not enough to make him move.”
To me, there are two telling lessons here. One: no one is responsible for getting you unstuck but you. People remain stuck because they are waiting for someone to be their savior and hero and take them out of their mess. Usually what life does is show you a picture of what freedom looks like and sends teachers along to support your exodus. The teachers do not carry you across the Red Sea; they lead you to it.
Secondly, the dog became content and made the pain bearable enough for him to stay right where he was, even though it was uncomfortable. This is why people can marvel that someone would stay in an abusive relationship or continue self-destructive behaviors. “Why don’t you just leave?” is the logical question. But as we can see, pain is not always a catalyst for movement for all people. For various reasons like fear, inadequacy, lack of clarity, comfort, status, a person decides that there is a level of pain he or she can live with. In fact, some people thrive on pain and self-torture, believe it or not. It is a form of shame and guilt so that they feel they are punishing themselves for sins committed. They feel they deserve pain.
Suffer no more! You don’t have to be stuck. You can be successful and I’d like to share a few stages I’ve gone through to getting unstuck on my journey to personal success.
The first stage is awareness and acceptance. I had to come to the place of awareness of where my life was and realize there were aspects of my life that needed to change. I struggled with letting go of people and activities, holding on to them for dear life as if I would be left with nothing if I let them go, no matter how they hurt me. I had to acknowledge that this was an area of struggle, and if I wanted to fly and live up to the potential I already had a glimpse of, I needed to make some serious adjustments. I accepted this reality without guilt or shame. It is what it is and the great thing is, ‘it’ could change.
The second stage is crafting a new vision of reality. I got a new habit of keeping a journal and writing down the reality I wanted. I wrote goals. I wrote affirmations that spoke to who I knew I was. I wrote to-do lists and action steps to push me toward that new picture of freedom and authenticity. These all help to give the clarity you need and shows in a startling way how far from the mark you’ve been up to this point. This is a good thing, because if you didn’t have a picture of the future to compare with your present, you would remain comfortable living below your possibilities.
Stay connected for part two and get the last two stages to move you from stuck to successful.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, and mentor who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals diagnose their people and performance problems and implement strategic solutions. For comments, queries or to book a consultation, email email@example.com.