Sucks to Be Stuck

When you head home after a day’s work, how are you feeling about what you’ve accomplished? Hopefully you feel energized, positive, confident, or fulfilled. Hopefully you don’t feel worn down, pessimistic, doubtful, or disconnected. OK, sure, there’s something in between. Maybe we end some days feeling “OK.” But the sad truth is that too many of us, too often, for too long find ourselves stuck in a pattern related to our work that we know needs to change. And it sucks to be stuck.

I know this is true because of my experience doing leadership coaching. It’s no surprise, is it, that pretty much all of my coaching clients have been “stuck” in some way? But maybe what will surprise you to hear is that I could sum up what they needed pretty much the same way: they all needed to be more courageous. More courageous in speaking with their boss. More courageous in asking for what they need. More courageous in proposing their big ideas. More courageous in taking on a new role or making a whole new career move. Courage, courage, courage. Ultimately, that’s what these coaching conversations boil down to.

What, you don’t believe me? Maybe you’re thinking of people you know who you believe were stuck because they needed better communications skills, or greater emotional intelligence, or sharper strategic insight. These are some of the most common “issues” leadership coaches hear when starting work with a new client in their workplace. But when you go deep down inside and find out what’s really going on with people, the key to getting unstuck and breaking the pattern of ending too many days feeling worn down, pessimistic, doubtful, or disconnected is…courage.

Let me make a confession: I’ve become restless in the coaching work I do. Coaching people is always quite rewarding and can lead to good results. BUT, many times (between you and me) I feel like people don’t need a months-long coaching process. What they need most is a catalytic experience. They need a challenging wake-up call. They need to kick their own butt to break out of being stuck.

Am I describing your experience? Are you a stuck professional? If you are, I can give you a quick exercise. Sounds so simple, but I bet it will help. Here’s what I want you to do:

  • Take a blank piece of paper. Hold it landscape.
  • On the left side write, “Here’s where I’m stuck now…” And name it.
  • On the right side write, “Here’s what I need to get to next…” And name it.
  • In the middle write, “Here’s what I’m afraid of…” And name it.

Don’t argue with me and tell me, “I’m not afraid of anything at all.” Yes you are. If you weren’t afraid of something you wouldn’t be stuck! You’re not stuck because you’re lacking information (even though you may be), not because some person is getting in your way, and not because you don’t have enough time/money/help. If you can articulate a “stuckness” and desired place you wish to get to, then you can identify some fear in between.

Stating matter-of-factly that you’re stuck now, where you need to get to next, and what’s the fear in between–all that takes some courage. It’s a great beginning. Good for you! Maybe that’s enough of a catalyst to get you rolling, or maybe you need more.

So, in my desire as a coach and consultant to help professional people get unstuck by accessing much more of their courage, I turned to a couple of like-minded, skillful, soulful friends–Lois Kelly and Jillian Reilly–to collaborate. We came up with the idea for Courage Camp.

Courage Camp will happen August 17th and 18th at the historic Mt Hope Farm. It’s for people who want to:

  • Reconnect with “want to” professional goals and imagine new possibilities.
  • Navigate career transitions and all the associated fears and uncertainty with more ease, confidence and a sense of adventure.
  • Learn practices and habits that develop the necessary courage and resiliency “muscles” to challenge what no longer works and step into new possibilities.

You can learn program details here and register here. Let’s get together, get unstuck, and go from “now” to “next.” ‘Cause it sure does suck to be stuck!