How To Get Unstuck

How to get unstuck

I recently read an article about a man who got his arm stuck in a toilet while he was fishing for a dropped cell phone. He was stuck there for hours, but it could be worse. There’s the French grandmother who got trapped in her own bathroom for over three weeks. Or the 18 people who got stuck upside down on a roller coaster, where 30 minutes can feel like a lifetime.

Just as there are a million ways that someone can be physically stuck, let’s count the ways we can get metaphorically stuck:

  • Self: “I thought I’d be farther along in (work, personal growth) at this age.”
  • Work: “My company can’t make progress because every (department, business unit, leader) has their own agenda.”
  • Society: “Our (country, family, political system, world) is so divided that we can’t make any progress without pissing people off.”

I suspect most of us can relate to at least one of these sentiments that relate to being stuck in one place, wheels spinning, going nowhere. It’s a problem I’ve been confronting and tackling for the majority of my adult life, both personally and professionally.

While there are many causes and solutions for getting unstuck, I have found a recurring theme: stuckness resulting from fragmentation or lack of coherence. Even if it’s not THE cause, it’s probably a major contributing factor. And so “defragging” is my philosophical basis and process for getting pretty much anything unstuck (you can read more about the defragmentation concept here.)

No matter where or how you’re feeling stuck, the best place to start is with the self; if the house is shaky, let’s check out the foundation and make sure it’s solid.

We can’t address the problems at work, or in our relationships, society, or planet until we come to grips with all the ways we’ve fragmented our own sense of identity. The fragmented self not only inhibits personal progress but it gets projected out onto the world. Like looking at the world through a prism, it’s nearly impossible to see the seamless whole; instead, we see pieces, tribes, differences. Us versus them. We can’t heal the fractures out there without healing the fractures and unifying the fragments inside ourselves.

At this point, you might be asking, what fracture? I don’t see no stinkin’ fracture.

Well, internal fractures are, by and large, invisible. The human brain is magnificently capable of juggling reality; it can hide and suppress what we don’t want to see or deal with, and it can skillfully maintain a facade underneath which our authentic self withers. We can only notice the side effects, which can include, but not limited to: Feeling stuck.

Saying the word “should” frequently with regards to yourself. Short and/or unsatisfying relationships. A rising sense of discontent. Disproportionally caring what other people think. Seeing certain people, or groups of people, as bad or wrong or distasteful, reinforcing an “us versus them” dynamic.

Any of these sound familiar?

Be honest.

If not, wow. I want to meet you. Please contact me so that I can find out what your secret sauce is, and let’s share it!

I’ve encountered several folks who knew me a few years ago, noticed how much has changed since then (not only physically, but emotionally and energetically) and have asked me about my secret sauce. Why do I seem so dang happy, and how did I get to this place?

Well, here’s how…

I finally got fed up after years of trying and failing to be someone I’m not. When you’re truly fed up, you’re willing to consider ideas that previously you might have rejected out of hand. You’re willing to do the work instead of just thinking and journaling about it. That work might include:

  • learning how to trust your gut
  • doing the thing you said you’d never do (within the bounds of legality)
  • recognizing that saying “I should ___” is just a nice way of lying to yourself
  • finally seeing that the things you really love or hate or deny are really projections of yourself, and choosing to own it. All of it.

By reconnecting with your truest, most authentic self, you eliminate the need to juggle reality (and other people) to make yourself feel better.

As Buddha may or may not have said, embracing what is is the surest path to happiness.


Whole, healthy organizations are created by whole, healthy leaders. If you’re a game-changing leader or entrepreneur who feels trapped by overwhelm or is simply tired of playing the game, let’s talk. You can book a complimentary session here.

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