How to Think Better: unstuck

I have a question for getting unstuck that works every single time. Without exception.

  • I’ve used it to start and sell a company.
  • I’ve used it to figure out my own style of networking and grow my community.
  • I’ve used it to navigate my father’s illness and establish a new norm in the world without him.
  • I’ve used it to thrive after intentionally downsizing my square footage by half.
  • I’ve used it to reinvent my career and fall in love with what I do for a living.

In short, I’ve used it to fully show up in my life.

I’m happy to share—with one caveat: It doesn’t work if you don’t use it. While that sounds obvious, the reality is we often know what we need to do, but fail to actually do it.

Awareness isn’t enough. The real payoff comes when we pair awareness with action.

So here’s my question for getting unstuck: Imagine you are at your most resourceful and ask yourself, How can I make this easy?

The dual superpowers: Resourceful and easy

Imagine you are at your most resourceful… This doesn’t let you off the hook if you’re not actually feeling all that resourceful. Or don’t think of yourself as a resourceful person. This question skips right past your comfort zone and self-doubt and gets to the juicy, good stuff: What you would do IF you were resourceful.

How can I make this easy? This yields results no matter how challenging your issue or complex your situation. Regardless of how long you’ve been stuck or how hairy you think your problem is, How can I make it easy? has the power to move you forward.

Tap into resourcefulness

You at your most resourceful is all about beliefs and strengths.

What do you need to believe about yourself to get unstuck? Your behavior always follows your belief about who you are and what you’re capable of. Which means it’s time to reframe limiting beliefs that aren’t serving you. If you walk around thinking, “I’m no good at marketing” and the task at hand is to market your business, you’re not going to feel resourceful. Become a master at thinking thoughts that serve you.

Practice: Start noticing the stream of thoughts in your head. Practice picking one and asking, Does it get me where I want to go? Does thinking this way empower me to take action? Does it expand or constrict what’s possible? Your thoughts are not facts. If a thought doesn’t serve you, be willing to do the heavy lifting to swap it with one that does.

What strengths can you leverage? Have you made it a habit to focus on your weaknesses? I’m not good at this. I don’t know how to do that. We all have gaps in our knowledge and skills, but shift your focus: What strengths, gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the table that can help get you unstuck and moving forward?

  • Is brainstorming your thing?
  • Are you a master at connecting the dots?
  • Do you love bringing people together?

Whatever you’re naturally good at—go there and play. Stop discounting the value of what comes easy. Start leveraging what comes naturally because your strengths are where it’s easy.

Practice: Start each day by writing down a couple of your strengths that will help you move through the day with effectiveness and ease. For instance, today I wrote down: Curiosity and problem solving. Don’t duplicate strengths for 30 days and you’ll be amazed. Strengths you only guessed might play a role have a way of showing up front and center. Somehow that one-minute spotlight in the morning has a way of helping them shine bright as the day unfolds.

Make it easy

How can I make this easy? is about what’s possible and asking for help.

What can you do? Often our default setting is what we can’t do and what’s not possible. I witnessed this recently with a client who was preoccupied with not having the budget or connections for a certain type of marketing campaign. Even when asked, “What can you do?”, she wanted to stay focused on obstacles in her way and actions that weren’t possible. Focusing on what’s not possible is not a way forward. Obstacles are not building blocks.

Practice: Practice scanning your environment and asking:

  • Instead of what’s not possible, what is?
  • Instead of what can’t be done, what can?
  • Instead of what’s wrong, what’s right?

As with any practice, this becomes easier the more you do it.

What support do you need and how will you get it? We all need help. Don’t be a martyr or misguided hero and try to go it alone. Maybe you need a thinking partner or external accountability. Maybe you need someone to tutor you on how to use WordPress or read a P&L statement. It’s this simple: Figure out what kind of support you need and ask for it. Most people get stuck because they see asking for help as a sign of weakness. Nonsense. Some of the smartest and most successful are the ones who know how to raise their hand for help.

Practice:

  1. Survey your current landscape to figure out what kind of support you need.
  2. What—specifically—is your ask? A vague understanding of what you need will end up with a muddled request and result.
  3. Brainstorm how you can get the help you need. Who do you know who can help?
  4. How will you make the request—in person, via email, by phone?
  5. When will you reach out?

Get unstuck: Move from awareness to action

Next time you’re stuck, need clarity or could use a little forward momentum, rely on the question that moves you from awareness to action: Imagine you are at your most resourceful and ask yourself, How can I make this easy?

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