What I found myself doing this past week was worrying. I'd go over and over things that I had to do. I didn't sleep well and woke up feeling exhausted. Most of my routine things got done, but I got stuck with writing and planing, and I had a lot to do.
I made two attempts at writing this article yesterday and they both led to dead-ends, mixed-up ideas and lame concepts.
Wow, was this the end of my run of unstuckness I've experienced for more than four months? What was going on anyway?
But I woke up this morning with some hope. I knew what to do; I'd do an Unstuck Process Worksheet. After all, I'm just as susceptible to stuckness as anyone else. Somewhere a week or two ago I got triggered by something and my energy, mood, and attitude about things in general took a plunge.
I think this happens to everyone in different ways. We all have our own brand of stuckness. We find ourselves thinking limiting, fearful thoughts, feeling inadequate or beating ourselves up. And we don't even know why or how this took hold of us.
This "stuckness pattern" takes on a kind of momentum and doesn't let go. Often it's only acute and doesn't last a long time; you snap out of it in a day or two. But it's not unusual for a stuckness pattern to become chronic. It permeates our lives, sometimes subtly, sometimes quite pronounced.
For instance, some of my clients have shared that they've been stuck on avoiding certain marketing activities for years. Just thinking about this activity makes them feel unconfident, uncertain, anxious, or even paralyzed.
This kind of stuckness pattern can be so pervasive that we think it's normal and that the marketing activity that we're avoiding is inherently unpleasant or distasteful. So of course, we avoid it. We don't realize that we are manufacturing that unpleasant or distasteful feeling because of a limiting or fearful belief.
This is exactly what I was doing.
The first thing this morning I took out a worksheet and started to explore. I won't go through the whole process, but here are the main highlights:
I was stuck mostly with writing and planning. It's as if my natural flow of writing had taken a vacation. I felt stuck, frustrated, distracted, forgetful, worried and overwhelmed. And all my actions followed those feelings.
Finally I came up with two beliefs under all of this: "There's just too much to do and I won't do it right." Looking closely, it was clear that these beliefs weren't true. In fact, the exact opposite was much more true. Clearly, these beliefs weren't working for me. Instead, they were undermining me.
The costs were clear: I wasn't getting the writing done that was essential to my business, and I was worrying about the future of my business, sabotaging myself with all this this worrying.
As all that became crystal clear, I looked at the payoff. After a few stabs at it, I saw it clearly: "My payoff was avoiding the pain of possible failure." I've set up some pretty big projects for the coming year that are somewhat risky. I honestly can't know for sure that they'll work out. So the fear of failure started to creep in. But instead of facing up to that fear, I pushed it off to the belief that there was just too much to do and that I won't do it right anyway.
It was also clear that this payoff was largely imaginary. Failure is not that likely and if I don't succeed right away, I know how to fine-tune, correct and get back on track; I've done it hundreds of times.
Wonderful thing the mind is! It's always trying to keep us safe, so it makes up stories that are pretty nutty. But those stories take hold like a virus and don't let go easily.
Then I asked the last few questions in the process: If I could no longer believe those thoughts anymore, who would I be? First, I'd be thinking clearly, I could see that those beliefs were false. And without those beliefs, I could move forward confidently and get the things done I needed to get done.
And by the time I'd answered the final question in the process, the stuckness, worry, fear and overwhelm seemed to just melt away.
About a minute after completing the Unstuck Process Worksheet (it took less than 15 minutes) I felt energized, unstuck and fearless. And then I wrote this article in about 90 mites with no resistance, doubt or second-guessing myself.
And you can do the same.
Feeling Stuck, off track, sabotaging yourself? Then print out an Unstuck Process Worksheet at this link, set aside 15 to 30 minutes and answer each of the questions on the sheet. If a question isn't clear to you, then read the chapter in the Unstuck Process book that explains it in depth.