Getting Unstuck

Havi Brooks, over at The Fluent Self, was talking about getting unstuck today. For a coach, a client is stuck if they can’t finish a creative project, keep having the same problems at work or at home, choose the same damaging relationships, or can’t move toward a goal.

Getting stuck is common, getting unstuck requires some help. That’s what coaches do–help clients find a way to get over, under, around or through the stuck-ness.

Havi is an expert at stuckedness, and getting away from it. Her article is wry, useful, funny.

When I was reading it, I realized that getting stuck is very much like having hard water. Hard water, if you don’t have it, is strange. It leaves stains in sinks and tubs, and deposits calcium carbonate–a white, scratchy residue, it its wake. Water is considered hard if it has a measure of 3 grains. In my area, the Sonoran desert, our water has about 2o grains. That’s hard.

I’m thinking that getting stuck is sort of like fighting hard water. Dissolving ‘stuck’ is hard–like getting hard water stains off the water faucet. Lemon juice  works well, but leaves scars on metal faucets.

Elbow grease–scrubbing hard water scale off– works, because you don’t mind working for such a necessity as water, but all that scrubbing can be exhausting, because you have to do it often and you know it will always come back.

Shutting the door and not looking at it is great, but it doesn’t get rid of it, just hides it. It’s still there.

I’ve found a kind of interesting way to get unstuck that I’m trying myself before trying it on my clients: letting it go. Not focusing on it. I got this idea while I was scrubbing the faucet down to the nub, while the kitty litter was needing scooping, the rug needed vacuuming, and I needed to call clients. But the faucet was in front of me.

I was scrubbing the faucet because I could, because I knew how, had done it so often before. Because I was so focused on it, it was way more important to me than anything. (Only slight exaggeration here).

So I let go of the hard-water scale obsession. I purchased a tool that solved the problem–a water softener. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, it requires maintenance. But like any tool we use, the maintenance is not as bad as the scrubbing.  The tool also brought savings–soft water uses less soap–about half as much. Half as much dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, shampoo. Clothes last longer and the color doesn’t strip out of your hair as fast.

The tool that solves getting stuck is coaching. It may cost you a bit, but you learn how to build your own unstuck tools, and you’ll save a lot of time, effort and heartache in not repeating the same mistakes again, and trying to figure out why you  did it this time.

Coaching is an investment, no doubt, but it is well worth the getting unstuck and the benefits of moving ahead in your life.

-Quinn McDonald is a life and creativity coach. She teaches people how to write clearly. She also teaches people how to keep an art journal even when they don’t know how to draw.