What do you do when you’re stuck?
I was stuck the other day…
I took part in an online class, Day Schildkret’s offering on impermanent earth art, and found myself blocked—unable to move forward because of my preconceived notion of what I should be doing/creating.
Day’s beautiful work is symmetrical—and his creations often look like a kaleidoscope though they are made from petals, leaves shells, stones, and more. I entered my design stage of the workshop experience with a vision of what the final product should look like.
The vision of my goal got in the way of moving forward!
When I stepped back and looked at my materials, I felt symmetry would be impossible, certainly in the time I had to complete the task, maybe in any amount of time. With that revelation in mind, I turned to another aspect of the guidelines we had been given, and that was to think of to whom or to what I was dedicating the artwork. With a new lens for viewing the task, I had another avenue for interacting with my materials. I shifted my focus to meaning and not structure, and it led me to my final creation. (If you’re curious about to whom I dedicated my creation, visit my instagram page, @jillig to learn more. While you’re on insta, check out Day’s work too, @morningaltars.)
What about you?
When were you last stuck? How did you work through it to a successful result? As you reflect on how to move forward, does your approach depend on what kind of stuck you are? Perhaps you are
- feeling anxious about how to start a project
- a conflict with a colleague, friend, or family member
- a technique you are seeking to improve or master
In reflecting on just these few examples, I notice that I would use different approaches to get unstuck
- I’d work to move through the overwhelm at the beginning a project by referring to processes I’d used in the past or by taking a small step on the path that I have visualized. (I like George Kao’s thoughts on visualization of the process and not just the goal, in his book, Joyful Productivity)
- I would work to find some common ground with the person I’m having a conflict with, as suggested in one of my favorite books, Dynamic Relationships by Jacqueline Stavros and Cheri Torres. The focus on Appreciative Inquiry in relationships is powerful!
- In the instance of working with a challenge in drawing or facilitating with a group, I would keep putting myself in the situation of having to consciously practice new behaviors. Sometimes I ask a colleague for observations and reactions about what I’m doing well and how I might enhance my work.
While there’s a saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything” that’s not true of me… for me, it’s more nuanced. I endeavor to discover what the circumstances need and create differentiated responses.
What are your thoughts?
And if all this chat about a new lens for viewing you, your work, or your relationships feels important and worth your time and energy, please reach out to me for a complimentary call about my Appreciative Coaching work. I believe that this work and play of how we see ourselves, others, and the world is one of the most crucial and exciting challenges we all face.