You know the feeling … you want so much to move forward on a project, but somehow, you just can’t budge. Frustration mounts and time passes. Wouldn’t you LOVE to step beyond stuck?
Sometimes, you can work wonders by exercising your mind’s innate flexibility. Asking unexpected questions can help your brain transition from old ruts to new routes!
Many states of mind contribute to feeling stymied, of course. Fear, self-criticism, perfectionism, and resentment are just a few contributors. But they tend to share distortions that the right questions can help evaporate.
Here are 5 of my favorite questions:
1) How would I encourage SOMEONE ELSE to proceed?
Sometimes, once you remove yourself from the equation, the next step seems quite straightforward. That’s because you call on a neutral, benevolent part of yourself to offer advice. This is a wonderful voice to cultivate throughout the rest of your project, particularly if you have been feeling helpless or self-critical!
2) What’s the next TINY step I can take?
It really doesn’t matter how small this step seems to be; what is important is that you are mobilizing yourself. You may well find that insights eluding you now will pop up once you’re fully engaged.
Chunking projects down to their smallest increments also helps you to assign a realistic time frame. This is an excellent antidote to overwhelm!
3) What is this impasse GIVING me?
This is a great question for when you’re REALLY stuck. Friendly curiosity is the key here – no blame! Your goal is simply to recognize that you are ALWAYS exercising power. And you can redirect your energy to moving forward on your project, once you weigh the actual pros and cons of spinning your wheels.
This question also helps you to revisit bargains you may have made long ago. Once you put words to them and see how circumstances have changed, rewriting those old scripts can proceed quite quickly!
4) What does my stuck place LOOK LIKE?
Calling on the creative part of your brain can provide you with a wealth of fresh insights. What image seems to fit? A roadblock? Quicksand? Or is it a menacing figure or animal? Look for clues. Try a fast drawing to concretize your vision and to help inform you.
Play with this intuitive exercise, and use your ingenuity to proceed beyond this visualized obstacle that blocks your progress. Can you translate this approach into a strategy that might move you one step beyond your impasse? If the project is a long-range one, you might even ask yourself at bedtime for a dream that sheds further light on the issue.
5) Where am I HIDING MY POWER?
It’s in there SOMEWHERE – your insights, courage and persistence to succeed! All you need to do is find your power, and discover what is covering it up. Again, envisioning your power calling out to you as you explore beyond the resistance, resentment and conditionality can be very inspiring!
You may even decide to dispense with some of what stands between you and your progress. Maybe you will discard an unrealistically high standard, or an excuse you no longer wish to rely upon.
Moving beyond stuck points is really self-actualization. You emerge with more confidence, clarity and enthusiasm! If you like these questions, try printing them out, so you can refer to them the next time you start spinning your wheels.
Learn to spot the self-talk that keeps you stuck.
Self-sabotaging messages rely on stealth delivery. When you detect the message and scrutinize it, you rob it of much of its power!
Listen for these voices so you can intercept them.
* “I can’t!” signals overwhelm. Break your task into small chunks and enter each step on your calendar.
* “It’s too upsetting!” indicates that you are empowering your feelings. Bring in a supportive mantra and talk yourself through the rough spots.
* “Oh no! What if … ?” reveals a tendency to see some challenges as catastrophes. Reframe this challenge as an opportunity – and keep going.
As you consistently quell your nay-saying voices, you grow more proactive. That is because you are giving your grounded, realistic voice the last word, then backing it up with constructive action!
You may even experience a shift in your psychic center of gravity. Instead of hanging back, you’re steady on your feet, and ready to move straight ahead.
One of the finest rewards for wisely governing this inner village of voices is feeling less threatened by life’s ongoing changes. When you actively welcome challenges, you become more skilled at perceiving new developments. So you have more time to prepare for what is coming your way.
You can see how moving one step beyond stuck can turn into a profound exercise in embracing life!© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.