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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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Monday
Sep232019

One Surprising Success Strategy to Get You Unstuck

It’s normal to get stuck in life. This can show up in many ways. Sometimes it’s a matter of identifying one tiny next step as a springboard for movement. Taking that small step can be just what’s needed to propel you forward. However, there are times when we desire a significant change, but we haven’t defined it. In those circumstances, that type of stuck makes it more challenging to identify the next step because we lack clarity. If you find yourself in this situation, I have something that can help. Lean into different things success strategy.

Over the next several weeks, set a goal to experiment with trying some new activities you wouldn’t normally do. Alternatively, you can play with things that you regularly engage in but try them differently. The idea is by testing a variety of opportunities, you open your mind to possibilities you might not have considered. As my coach, Jane Pollak encouraged me to do . . .

 

“Expand your universe in ways that are comfortable.”

 

She added a crucial qualifier to try at least one thing that is outside of my comfort zone.

I recently had fun with this strategy and found the experiment fascinating. You can design your own experiement and choose activities that interest you. Maybe you’ll hire an organizer to help you with that closet you’ve been struggling to tame. Perhaps you’ll alter your sleep pattern and wake up two hours early to work on your book project you never find time to write. Maybe you’ll take a single class in something you’ve always wanted to learn about like making jewelry, decorating a cake, practicing meditation, or using social media. There are no limits to experimenting. Pay attention to what sparks and excites you. Stay curious.

I’m new to this, but after engaging in just one experience, I understood the value of this exercise. I had a eye-opening first experiment, and am excited to dream-up more. I went to buy a sandwich at a place I often go to. I was planning on eating it by the river in a spot I frequently sit. So far, nothing was different. But after lunch, I decided to take a walk over a local bridge that I usually drive on. It has a spectacular view of the reservoir, and I wanted to experience it slowly on foot.

 

Things didn’t go as expected.


The sandwich shop was closed, and it never is. Since I had committed to the trying-something-different mindset, I used this as an opportunity to expand my experience. I went to a different food place that I rarely visited and selected a sandwich I would never choose which included hot peppers and artichokes. I accompanied it with a bag of cheddar cheese, horseradish flavored potato chips, which I never ate before. And if that wasn't enough of an experiment, I opted to eat my lunch at a park I rarely go to.

Just to recap, I bought food I don’t usually eat, at a place I rarely go, and brought it to a spot I never frequent. Different, different, and different. You may think this sounds stupid or insignificant. But what I realized is how much I gravitate towards my routines. I like the food I like, and that’s often at the exclusion of trying other foods. I enjoy the places I frequent, which sometimes means that I'm not always motivated to discover other inspiring spots. So it wasn’t just a new sandwich or bag of chips. It was about the significance or willingness to expand what's familiar and comfortable.

I plunked myself down, sandwich and chips in hand, before the Hudson River. I spend a lot of moments near the river. This time, however, I was seeing it from another park, a new vantage point, and perspective. I was struck by how vast the expanse was, how the birdcalls, people noises, and tree rustling sounded unfamiliar. I noticed how quickly my heart was beating as I breathed in this beautifully gracious view of the water.

 

The undulations of the river moved towards me, mirroring the changes I was sensing within.

 

I never took my walk over the bridge. I’ll save that adventure for another day. I’m curious about what will arise as I expand my universe one “different thing” at a time.

Have you ever tried this strategy for getting unstuck? Is there another technique you’ve found valuable? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation. 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (10)

This is a great way to gain new perspectives! I’ll give this a try!

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- I'm glad you like this one and can't wait to hear about what you discover...if you feel like sharing.

We missed you in Orlando. I hope that things in Houston have calmed down and that you are safe. I'm sorry that you weren't able to get out because of the extreme weather.

September 23, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

My life is very quiet and routine, so I try to have adventures from time to time. For me, an adventure isn’t sky diving or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail – it’s anything I’ve never done before, or that I don’t usually do. For example, my adventures in 2017 included going to the local shopping mall on a weekend (as opposed to during the week when it's quiet), visiting a local conservation area for the first time (by myself!), seeing Mamma Mia on stage at a local theatre, and wandering around the Royal Botanical Gardens with a friend. Thank you for reminding me how important this is.

September 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

I'm feeling convicted by this one, Linda. I am SUCH a person of routine that even eating in a different spot with food from a different place actually does feel like a bit of a stretch for me. This is a good challenge. Sometimes we sense that there is a change coming, but we don't know when or where. This is a way to be "open" to what that change might be, to be available to the message. If we are always "nose down" in our regular routines, we may miss the nudge!

September 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Janet- What beautiful examples of how you bring "adventure" into your life. I recognize the importance of routines. Without them, life can be extra chaotic. However, adding exploration into our days adds some unpredictability, surprise, and growth that we could have otherwise missed. I appreciate how you honor the adventurer in you.

September 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- You chose a strong word, "convicted," to describe your reaction to this post. I deeply relate to being "SUCH a person of routine." When I pushed myself to eat something different, from a new place, and in an alternate spot, it made me realize how deeply my habits go. I often say, "I love what I love." And in saying that, it's my justification for always ordering the thing I love most on the menu (every time.) It's my justification for not trying some new food. But this experiment made me realize that if I push myself rather than settle on the "but I love what I love," I may open my world to other discoveries to love and enjoy. Baby steps. So like you, I'm going to respect the routines that are helpful but lean into ones that present opportunities for change and growth.

September 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Encouraging us to try little changes , what we eat, where we it , and showing us how that can impact our mind is so important. Many times we think we need to make big changes and that is scary and we stay stuck. It is always the little changes that open unexpected doors because we do them. Making a start is the key to making a change..

September 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I love the exercise of looking at things differently. A new perspective is always good.

September 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

@Julie- I am with you on the idea that BIG changes can seem scary or unattainable. But practicing change in small ways builds a muscle and momentum for opening us up. From there, we become more agile and ready to step outside of our comfort zone and embrace new opportunities.

September 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet S.- I'm glad to hear that you love the "looking at things differently" exercise. As I discovered when trying this first experiment, it's easy to keep things as they are because it's what we know and prefer. However, making a small change in some of my decisions, presented an opportunity to test out a different perspective. And who knows where that might lead. Exciting!

September 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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