The 3 steps to get unstuck

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No matter how much we plan and prepare, things go wrong. Jobs are lost, flights get canceled, people ghost you, and project deadlines get pushed up. It’s not the most fun part of life, but there’s no reason you must feel stuck when hard things happen. Join us this week as we dive into the 3 steps to take to get unstuck from any problem. Learning to apply these steps will help you get start taking action sooner to get what you want. Listen and Learn.

Want to get help with your specific situation? Let’s schedule a coffee chat. I offer a limited number of 1:1 coffee chats each week. There is no charge for this call so spots fill up fast.  Grab time on my calendar at https://lindsaylymancoaching.com/call and let’s get you feeling unstuck today.

Hey y’all, how you doing? Still another heavy, hard week. There’s a lot of hard things happening, and it’s hard to know what to do to help. But what I would offer to each of us is to look for ways that we can help immediately in the environment that we’re in. Help that person at the grocery store, give someone a smile, let the car in, be nice, tell someone thank you. There’s a lot of heavy, big things happening in the world right now, and it’s okay to not be okay through this. But I believe in goodness and loving and doing what we can and the ripple effect that can have throughout the world. So, if each of us just tried to be kinder, help more, look for a way to just love and support someone around us every day, I think it could have a really great impact.

 

Today, we’re going to dive into the three steps to get unstuck. This three-step process is kind of magical because it really does work in any situation, whether that’s at work, in your personal life, with your family, with your kids, with your neighbors, with your self-esteem. It doesn’t matter what problem you’re feeling really stuck in, these three steps can help you get unstuck and start moving some progress forward.

 

So, before I tell you what these three steps are, I want to tell you about a couple of experiences I had recently and a few years ago.

 

It’s 10:30 at night, and I’m with my three kids looking for an address for our Airbnb. It’s cold, we’ve traveled all day, we played hard with our cousins, we ate too much junk food, everyone is exhausted and lacking patience. I type into the GPS where the house is supposed to be, and it’s nowhere to be found. I get out of the car, I’m looking up and down the street, I’m going into people’s backyards, looking on the side of their house, thinking maybe it’s an apartment in the back and I just can’t see it. It’s nowhere to be found. I message my Airbnb host saying, “Can you help me? I can’t find this address.” I’m knocking on the doors of neighbors’ houses, worried that I’m waking people up but not sure what else to do because it’s late and we’re tired and we need to get to bed. About 45 minutes later, I still haven’t found the house. I’ve kind of given up, and I’m sitting in the car and I’m just angry. I get a message from the host saying, “Oops, sorry, I gave you the wrong address.” I was so ticked off, I was livid, I was so mad, and I’m in the car with my kids so I’m trying to hold my cool, but I wasn’t doing a very good job about it. My kids knew I was upset, they were just quiet trying not to distract me and let me just be angry. So, the house we were close, it was across the street, so we go across the street and I go to get in, and the code doesn’t work. I’m thinking, “Of course it doesn’t, of course it doesn’t.” I am livid, I have no patience at this point. I’m messaging the host, not being kind, really frustrated. Luckily, they messaged me back quickly, we get the new code, we get into the place. It reeks extremely strongly of food, but by this point it’s around 11:30, and I’m like, “I don’t care, we just need to go to bed.” The listing indicated there were accommodations to sleep four people, so there was a bed and two couches where the backs kind of fold down. So, I’m folding down the couches, trying to get my kids settled, get them ready for bed as everyone is very quickly melting down, and I am still just irate and ticked off. I start searching the place, and there are no sheets, there are no blankets, there are no pillows, and I am so angry, I’m literally clenching my teeth and talking to myself and swearing under my breath, and I am so pissed off. I message the host asking, “Where are all the things for people to sleep with?” And they reply back to me about 20 minutes later, indicating something had happened with the cleaners, and there were no sheets, blankets, and pillows, but they could get them to me in the next two hours. Well, it’s midnight by this point, and I am done, I am at my wits’ end. I pack up my kids, and we go get in the car. I send an extremely rude message to the host, letting them know this was not acceptable, and that I would be filing a complaint with Airbnb, and give myself a minute just to have a little quiet cry in the car. I was so tired and so mad. We found a hotel, we went and checked into the hotel, my kids were more than excited to be in a place that didn’t smell like food, that had a bed for everyone that they could go to sleep in. We went to bed, and the problem was solved.

 

Another experience I had was when I was working at Amazon, and it was Prime Day, and I was part of the marketing team that was running some promotions within the group that I was working on. These promotions were important as they were a key part of us reaching our yearly goals, as we expected an increase in sales. So, if you’ve worked at a company where there’s a large event like this, what typically happens is all of the team and the key players, you bring your laptops, you bring your chargers, you bring your snacks and your Diet Coke, and you hunker into a conference room so that we can all be working as efficiently as possible to troubleshoot any issues and help drive sales to hit our goal. So, I’m in a conference room, side note, they call them a war room, which is terrible branding in my opinion, because we are not at war, we are here to work together, but I digress. So, we’re in a conference room, it’s about 30 minutes before the sale is supposed to start sitewide, we’re all set up and ready to go and excited to see how the day progresses. Well, noon rolls around and all of a sudden, Amazon.com goes down. We are getting the 404 error with a dog posted on it, and people are freaking out. This was supposed to be a huge sale day across the company, and people were not able to browse or shop or purchase. In the room, it was actually surprisingly calm, but through our ticketing system where you can indicate if there’s an issue or we need to communicate with other teams, things were blowing up. No one knew what the problem was, but everyone had the same problem, and people were replying to tickets and plus-one-ing them and adding their details and their information, and people were adding so much information on these tickets so quickly, you couldn’t keep up with them, and you couldn’t really read between the lines to understand where potentially the problem might be. There are also probably millions of people that were online as well, putting extra strain on the servers, trying to access the sale to get the best deals, knowing that the good ones sell out quickly. Vendors were calling, they were scrambling as they had invested a lot of money, ordered up additional inventory, and it was rough.

 

Now, things like this happen, and usually, we’re able to recover pretty quickly. But by the time 2:00 rolled around and this error hadn’t been resolved and there was no clear indication as to when it would be resolved, it was pretty apparent the sale wasn’t happening that day. By this point, the news is reporting on it, that this has been a dead that we’re having problems, and it’s just not a great solution.

 

So eventually we got to the point where we were like, “Okay, well, now what?” We all left the conference room, we went back to our desks, we continued to check and monitor to see when things went back online, and ultimately, they were able to resolve the issue and we extended Prime Day for a half-day further than we had anticipated. This meant we needed to go in and update promotional tools, shift things around in the warehouse and who was working when, so that we could continue to support the orders. We needed to update vendors. Amazon is an agile environment, so we’re used to being flexible like this, and we all kind of jumped in and did our thing to make it as successful as possible.

 

What I want to show you with these two different stories is life happens. There are things outside of our control, and it can be rough. In my 43 years of existence, it has yet to go according to plan. But I want to teach you the three steps as to how you get unstuck when you find yourself in moments like this, or even smaller moments throughout the day where you feel stuck.

 

The very first step you want to focus on is awareness. This is where you need to get really clear and honest with yourself. What is happening? What’s working? What’s not working? I think of awareness as a little bit of like a map. If you are located someplace and you want to get to another destination, if you’re going to call an Uber or a Lyft, they need to know exactly where you are, what side of the street you’re on, so they know precisely where to pick you up. With this awareness phase, you want to get that specific. With the Airbnb, the awareness was, “I don’t have a place for my kids to sleep, and this is not what I thought was going to happen.” That is the reality. That is the truth of the situation. With Prime Day, the awareness, the being clear and being honest is, “Something is broken. We need to communicate an update to a lot of different people, and we don’t have a solution yet.” Okay, the awareness phase is usually getting really clear on the problem statement. And awareness doesn’t feel good. This is where the anger and frustration and resentment and annoyance and stress comes from because we are acutely aware of what is happening, and it’s usually not good. We didn’t want it. We didn’t plan it. It’s going to create more work. It’s a problem for some reason.

 

Okay, step number one when we’re trying to get unstuck is get really clear on the awareness. Be really clear on the problem statement, and it’s okay to not be okay in this step. Okay, we’re going to be pissed and angry and frustrated.

 

Once you’re at the awareness phase, you start moving into the Second Step, which is acknowledging what is. This is where you want to look at what you’re telling yourself about this awareness you have, about this problem statement, about this truth. When we’re looking at what is, we want to allow ourselves to get to a place where we are telling the truth, but it’s not highly emotionally charged. Awareness is “This thing is happening, and I’m not okay.” Step two of what is is “This thing happened, and I have come to terms with it.” It doesn’t mean we love it. It doesn’t mean we’re excited. It doesn’t mean we’re even at peace with it. But it means we have accepted what is, and we’re no longer resisting and trying to push away and just being so frustrated that this thing happened that we’re angry and annoyed. It takes some time to be in this what is stage. You have to give yourself permission to feel all the frustration, all the annoyance from that awareness phase. The faster you can give yourself permission to feel it, the faster you can get through this. You don’t have a people problem. You don’t have a work problem. You don’t have a sleeping problem. You don’t have a Prime Day problem. You have a lack of ability to feel your emotion problem. The what is phase is where you allow yourself to feel all that and come to terms with reality. You may need to grieve some things in here. You may need to be worried, be frustrated, be stressed. The only way out of the awareness phase is to go through all those emotions and get to a place where you can be really truthful and honest with yourself. And the story you tell yourself about that problem statement is simply acknowledging what is. What is the reality?

 

Most of us are terrible at learning how to process and deal and allow those emotions. We try to shove it down. This is where you hear people when you ask them how they’re doing, they’re like, “I’m fine, I’m fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine,” and you know very well they are not fine. We need to stop pretending we’re fine. Once you give yourself permission to not be fine and go through it, this is where you’ll be able to get to that third phase.

 

So, when I look at these two stories I shared of the what is phase: in the Airbnb experience, my what is is, “Guess I need to find someplace else to sleep. There’s nothing I can do about it right now.” I gave myself time to have a little cry, to be a little frustrated, to message some harsh things, to swear under my breath, to take a few deep breaths, and I got to the reality of, “Okay, this is what’s really happening.” When we look at that Prime Day experience, the what is phase, we thought, “How can we be honest and transparent and human with our customers?” Maybe we were going to send them an email that was kind of funny and humorous and telling them we’re aware and we’re working on it and we apologize. This is where we were able to figure out, “Let’s just extend the sale on the back end. We wanted to be humans and connect.” The what now phase for leaders in this situation is where they were able to figure out, “Okay, how do we lead a team through this? How do we keep them hyper-focused on solving the problem and documenting it and not repeating? How do we not get into the yelling and angry and throwing people under the bus because there’s kind of a big problem happening and we’re not sure what to do?”

 

The what now phase is where the growth happens, is where we get out of the problem and we start moving forward.

 

So, think about something you are feeling really stuck in. The reason you’re feeling stuck is because you are not able to give yourself permission to feel all the things you feel about it and get to that now what phase. The very first step you want to focus on is awareness. This is where you need to get really clear and honest with yourself. What is happening? What’s working? What’s not working? I think of awareness as a little bit like a map. If you are located someplace and you want to get to another destination, if you’re going to call an Uber or a Lyft, they need to know exactly where you are, what side of the street you’re on, so they know precisely where to pick you up. With this awareness phase, you want to get that specific. With the Airbnb, the awareness was, “I don’t have a place for my kids to sleep, and this is not what I thought was going to happen.” That is the reality. That is the truth of the situation. With Prime Day, the awareness, the being clear and being honest is, “Something is broken. We need to communicate an update to a lot of different people, and we don’t have a solution yet.” Okay, the awareness phase is usually getting really clear on the problem statement. And awareness doesn’t feel good. This is where the anger and frustration and resentment and annoyance and stress comes from because we are acutely aware of what is happening, and it’s usually not good. We didn’t want it. We didn’t plan it. It’s going to create more work. It’s a problem for some reason.

 

Okay, step number one when we’re trying to get unstuck is get really clear on the awareness. Be really clear on the problem statement, and it’s okay to not be okay in this step. Okay, we’re going to be pissed and angry and frustrated.

 

Once you’re at the awareness phase, you start moving into the Second Step, which is acknowledging what is. This is where you want to look at what you’re telling yourself about this awareness you have, about this problem statement, about this truth. When we’re looking at what is, we want to allow ourselves to get to a place where we are telling the truth, but it’s not highly emotionally charged. Awareness is “This thing is happening, and I’m not okay.” Step two of what is is “This thing happened, and I have come to terms with it.” It doesn’t mean we love it. It doesn’t mean we’re excited. It doesn’t mean we’re even at peace with it. But it means we have accepted what is, and we’re no longer resisting and trying to push away and just being so frustrated that this thing happened that we’re angry and annoyed. It takes some time to be in this what is stage. You have to give yourself permission to feel all the frustration, all the annoyance from that awareness phase. The faster you can give yourself permission to feel it, the faster you can get through this. You don’t have a people problem. You don’t have a work problem. You don’t have a sleeping problem. You don’t have a Prime Day problem. You have a lack of ability to feel your emotion problem. The what is phase is where you allow yourself to feel all that and come to terms with reality. You may need to grieve some things in here. You may need to be worried, be frustrated, be stressed. The only way out of the awareness phase is to go through all those emotions and get to a place where you can be really truthful and honest with yourself. And the story you tell yourself about that problem statement is simply acknowledging what is. What is the reality?

 

Most of us are terrible at learning how to process and deal and allow those emotions. We try to shove it down. This is where you hear people when you ask them how they’re doing, they’re like, “I’m fine, I’m fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine,” and you know very well they are not fine. We need to stop pretending we’re fine. Once you give yourself permission to not be fine and go through it, this is where you’ll be able to get to that third phase.

 

So, when I look at these two stories I shared of the what is phase: in the Airbnb experience, my what is is, “Guess I need to find someplace else to sleep. There’s nothing I can do about it right now.” I gave myself time to have a little cry, to be a little frustrated, to message some harsh things, to swear under my breath, to take a few deep breaths, and I got to the reality of, “Okay, this is what’s really happening.” When we look at that Prime Day experience, the what is phase, we thought, “How can we be honest and transparent and human with our customers?” Maybe we were going to send them an email that was kind of funny and humorous and telling them we’re aware and we’re working on it and we apologize. This is where we were able to figure out, “Let’s just extend the sale on the back end. We wanted to be humans and connect.” The what now phase for leaders in this situation is where they were able to figure out, “Okay, how do we lead a team through this? How do we keep them hyper-focused on solving the problem and documenting it and not repeating? How do we not get into the yelling and angry and throwing people under the bus because there’s kind of a big problem happening and we’re not sure what to do?”

 

The what now phase is where the growth happens, is where we get out of the problem and we start moving forward.

 

So, think about something you are feeling really stuck in. The reason you’re feeling stuck is because you are not able to give yourself permission to feel all the things you feel about it and get to that now what phase. The very first step you want to focus on is awareness. This is where you need to get really clear and honest with yourself. What is happening? What’s working? What’s not working? I think of awareness as a little bit like a map. If you are located someplace and you want to get to another destination, if you’re going to call an Uber or a Lyft, they need to know exactly where you are, what side of the street you’re on, so they know precisely where to pick you up. With this awareness phase, you want to get that specific. With the Airbnb, the awareness was, “I don’t have a place for my kids to sleep, and this is not what I thought was going to happen.” That is the reality. That is the truth of the situation. With Prime Day, the awareness, the being clear and being honest is, “Something is broken. We need to communicate an update to a lot of different people, and we don’t have a solution yet.” Okay, the awareness phase is usually getting really clear on the problem statement. And awareness doesn’t feel good. This is where the anger and frustration and resentment and annoyance and stress comes from because we are acutely aware of what is happening, and it’s usually not good. We didn’t want it. We didn’t plan it. It’s going to create more work. It’s a problem for some reason.

 

Okay, step number one when we’re trying to get unstuck is get really clear on the awareness. Be really clear on the problem statement, and it’s okay to not be okay in this step. Okay, we’re going to be pissed and angry and frustrated.

 

Once you’re at the awareness phase, you start moving into the Second Step, which is acknowledging what is? This is where you want to look at what you’re telling yourself about this awareness you have, about this problem statement, about this truth. When we’re looking at what is, we want to allow ourselves to get to a place where we are telling the truth, but it’s not highly emotionally charged. Awareness is “This thing is happening, and I’m not okay.” Step two of what is, is “This thing happened, and I have come to terms with it.” It doesn’t mean we love it, doesn’t mean we’re excited, doesn’t mean we’re even at peace with it, but it means we have accepted what is, and we’re no longer resisting and trying to push away, and just being so frustrated that this thing happened that we’re angry and annoyed. It takes some time to be in this what if stage. You have to give yourself permission to feel all the frustration, all the annoyance from that awareness phase. The faster you can give yourself permission to feel it, the faster you can get through this. You don’t have a people problem, you don’t have a work problem, you don’t have a sleeping problem, you don’t have a Prime Day problem, you have a lack of ability to feel your emotion problem. The what is phase is where you allow yourself to feel all that and come to terms with reality. You may need to grieve some things in here, you may need to be worried, be frustrated, be stressed. The only way out of the awareness phase is to go through all those emotions and get to a place where you can be really truthful and honest with yourself. And the story you tell yourself about that problem statement is simply acknowledging what is. What is the reality?

 

Most of us are terrible at learning how to process and deal and allow those emotions. We try to shove it down. This is where you hear people when you ask them how they’re doing, they’re like, “I’m fine, I’m fine, it’s fine, everything’s fine,” and you know very well they are not fine. We need to stop pretending we’re fine. Once you give yourself permission to not be fine and go through it, this is where you’ll be able to get to that third phase.

 

So, when I look at these two stories I shared of the what is phase: in the Airbnb experience, my what is is, guess I need to find someplace else to sleep. There’s nothing I can do about it right now. I gave myself time to have a little cry, to be a little frustrated, to message some harsh things, to swear under my breath, to take a few deep breaths, and I got to the reality of, okay, this is what’s really happening. When we look at that Prime Day experience, the what is phase, we thought, “How can we be honest and transparent and human with our customers?” Maybe we were going to send them an email that was kind of funny and humorous and telling them we’re aware and we’re working on it and we apologize. This is where we were able to figure out, “Let’s just extend the sale on the back end. We wanted to be humans and connect.” The what now phase for leaders in this situation is where they were able to figure out, “Okay, how do we lead a team through this? How do we keep them hyper-focused on solving the problem and documenting it and not repeating? How do we not get into the yelling and angry and throwing people under the bus because there’s kind of a big problem happening and we’re not sure what to do?”

 

The what now phase is where the growth happens, is where we get out of the problem and we start moving forward.

 

So, think about something you are feeling really stuck in. The reason you’re feeling stuck is because you are not able to give yourself permission to feel all the things you feel about it and get to that what is State. You are stuck in this awareness and you continue to be aware and you’re hyper aware and you’re more and more aware and we’re just angry and resentful and frustrated. It’s okay. I see this a lot with people feeling stuck in their job, they have low motivation, they’re not sure where to go next, they’re feeling trapped. Okay, step one, let’s look at awareness, let’s get honest, what’s the problem statement? The job has changed and it’s not what I want to do. Leaders are not backing up what they’re saying. Return to office is happening and I don’t think it’s fair and they changed the rules on me. I don’t know how this is going to work out. I don’t love my job, I’m not challenged, I don’t believe in what I’m doing or the product I’m selling. I’m not interested in getting to the next level here. I’ve gotten lazy and coming up with new ideas is and pushing leaders to help grow me. This is the awareness phase. There’s a lot of emotions that come up with believing these thoughts. Let them come to the surface, the more the better. Moving to the what now phase, maybe you need to grieve the previous job, the previous team, the previous leader that you had. It’s sad, it’s hard, it’s scary, it’s okay, give yourself permission to grief. Maybe you need to be pissed off that the company’s changing policies in their favor and not yours. Maybe you need to go be disappointed that leaders are not putting people first, they’re putting the company first. Maybe you need to go and feel scared and insecure about your ability to find something. It might take some time, it’s okay, keep feeling it. If you find you’re angry, that’s telling us you are resisting all these feelings and emotions that are coming up. If you find that you’re tired of feeling bad and you want it to go faster, this is a sign you’re not actually allowing yourself to feel all of those emotions that are coming up. We are not in a rush when you are in the what is Phase, the rush and the pressure of it is gone. The what is phase is knowing this is the reality and I can figure something out, it’s very low emotion. Moving to that now what phase, if you’re struggling with your job, you’ll know you’re in this phase when you’re like, “Okay, enough, let’s go figure something out, what’s one thing I could try today? This might work, I’m interested in this.” When you’re in that now what phase, you’re managing your brain, you’re choosing the story you tell yourself about the thing you’re stuck in on purpose. The truth might be you actually want this job that you have right now today because it’s paying for your bills and it’s giving you benefits and insurance, and the truth is you don’t want it long term. Okay, tell yourself that in the now what phase. You believe emotionally you can figure this out, that there’s something out there that you can go and make it up and find another job. When you’re in that now what phase, this is where you’re going to start taking action in a way that’s congruent with who you are as a person and most likely to get you the result you want. You’re going to update your resume, you’re going to go Network, you’re going to go swing wide, go listen to that episode if you haven’t, you’re going to hire a coach, you’re going to hire someone to help you manage your brain and feel and process these emotions, you’re going to talk to a friend, to a partner. We’re not in a rush when we’re not in a hurry because we’ve come to terms with what is. You’re doing it right, and your brain will be open to what’s coming next because here’s the thing, it’s not better here or there, your brain is going to go with you. You can do crazy things to get unstuck and get out of situ situations, but if you don’t know how to have that acute awareness, give yourself permission to get to a calmer place of realizing what is and moving your brain to now what, this problem will continue to show up again and again, and you will just cycle through it. You’ll rush into something new, and it won’t solve the problem because guess what, the problem is not outside of you, the problem is learning how to manage your nervous system and your brain, it’s as simple as that.

 

So the three steps to getting unstuck is one, having awareness of what’s going on, getting clear on the problem statement, and allowing all of those feelings to come. The second is getting to a place of what is, telling yourself the truth, giving yourself permission to feel those feelings as long as you need, and getting to a place of acknowledging the truth of the situation. And third, moving to a place of now what, through calm, through curiosity, through openness, through focus, through driven and being future-focused as humans, you will continue to get stuck, it’s part of life, it’s part of what makes it fun actually and really frustrating at the same time. The more you learn to apply these three steps, the faster you’re going to be able to get unstuck and keep moving forward towards that thing you want. Go be aware, go get to a place of what is so that your brain can start focusing on the problem of now what. Alright, you’re amazing, you got this, we’ll talk soon. If what you’re learning from this podcast is helping, this is just the beginning. Each week, I offer a limited number of coffee chats so that you and I can connect one-on-one and talk specifically about what’s going on for you. You’ll leave this call feeling more hopeful and motivated, but I’m also going to teach you a few things to try right away to get unstuck. Space is very limited, and these are free, so grab your spot before they’re gone. Click the link in the show notes or go to lindsaylymancoaching.com/chat and sign up today. You got this!

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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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