"I'm stuck" recently came up in my own journaling. I wrote that and then immediately felt like my body and mind were frozen. I noticed it and stopped. My mind felt a bit scattered at that moment. I reflected for a while about the thought "I'm stuck." In one of the businesses I run I had a goal in February of making drastic changes in the structure and then we know what happened in March of 2020. I had to make other changes to the business instead. The result is still a successful business with happy clients. What was making me still feel stuck? The actions I took were not what I wanted to do at that very moment, they weren't my original goal. I was having some serious self judgement now about how privileged that sounded after realizing that was why I still felt stuck. I then played around with my thoughts and when I said "For right now I am choosing to run this business in this way." Now I noticed feeling more neutral and less tense in my body. I sat with that for a bit. The only thing that changed was my thoughts.
During a walk with my dog this morning I was listening to a podcast "Mind Your Business Podcast." James Wedmore was talking about when people say they are stuck. I loved what he said in response. "I'm stuck means the only options I have are options I don't like." (Episode 427). Then he talked about getting still to hear other options. I immediately thought about my own recent journaling about being stuck, when just changing the language to "I'm choosing this path right now" reduced how resistant I felt. The only things that changed about the situation were in my own head and heart.
This keys me into the moment we can take to pause, pause in the automatic thoughts, negative spiral or worry of a situation. Just pause and find some calm in our heads. How many different possibilities can we create when we aren't limiting ourselves? How can we think differently? What if you thought the exact opposite about something dragging you down? What if you let that be true instead? How many different ways can you think differently about a situation where you feel stuck? Play with those possibilities until you find the one that aligns with where you want your life to go. Try it on and see what thoughts arise after that. How does that change your results? An "I'm stuck" doesn't have to be the end of that path, but a start to new possibilities.
Smart Growth in Business
In community development Smart Growth is “planned economic and community development that attempts to curb urban sprawl and worsening environmental conditions.” (Oxford Language Dictionary).
Why am I talking about community development on a coaching blog? The same principles of smart growth can be applied to our business development. I want to highlight the words from above: Planned Growth to Curb Sprawl (Sprawl is considered unplanned geographic development with no thought to the environment or really the human experience., britannica.com).
We live in a bigger is better and more-for-more's-sake world. We do things because we can, often without thought about how we could do it. I ran my own business for seven years growing larger each year, more profit, more staff, more clients, a bigger office, more overhead, then more clients (to support more overhead) and thus more pressure and more stress. I found myself asking is this success? Yes, in the typical definition this was success. We all did meaningful work, we always had clients, we had a beautiful office and great reputation. I worked myself to the brink of exhaustion each year and usually past to sustain this success. At no point did I ask did I want my business this big (this successful), at no point did I sit down and plan what I wanted it to look like in 5 years or 10 years. The work was coming and we did it well. Was the business set up sustainably though? Was it planned out with considerations to the human cost of its size and production? No, the answer was always hire more staff.
In February of 2020 I was to the point of no return with the effect of the business on my life. I was ready to shut it down. I had been working with a coach for 6 months at that point. We had identified what was not in alignment with my life and my business and a plan for moving ahead. By June of 2020 I had shrunk the business by 2/3 - yes 2/3! While the Covid-19 did help with offering me a slower time to think and plan I could have jumped back into the business in 100% mode by July. Instead I took a planned approach. This wasn’t without chatter in my head between my Type A tendencies and my more Soulful Side. I created discussions between the two to negotiate how to move ahead to create a sustainable business.
I want to offer you some of the questions I now ask myself:
- Who is my ideal client? Paint a picture, make a list, be crystal clear about who do you really want to work with.
- Now imagine saying no to everyone who is not your ideal client? What are your thoughts and feelings about saying no? About saying yes? What’s getting in the way of saying no?
- Imagine what would your work day/week be like if you only worked with your ideal clients?
- Now what skills do you need in your office to best serve your ideal client?
- What traits are a must with your staff? What’s negotiable? What’s not negotiable?
- Imagine yourself working with only your ideal staff on your ideal projects. What do you imagine your workday/week would be like?
- How would this transfer to the rest of your life?
- What thoughts do you need to work though to give yourself permission to say yes to only your ideal clients and staff?
I would love to work with you to create a sustainable business that supports your life.
When so much is going on in the world, sometimes we just want to pause and cocoon for a bit. Yes, it feels safe and secure and in our control, a bit of hiding. Does hiding actually get you what you want? Cocoons can be a place of transformation. A safe buffer from the world as we lose one tough outer shell to grow a new one for the next steps. That space in between can be so deep and enticing if we let ourselves use our cocoon for change and not just hiding. We often need to give up where we are to get where we want to be. Think of the beauty of fall. Plants hibernate, trees transform from fiery colors to bare branches. Nature pauses and draws inside, just waiting for spring. They are working internally. We can too.
Let’s consider a few questions:
- When you look at your life what’s no longer working for you?
- What are you hiding from acknowledging?
- When you look at those areas, what are you not willing to let go of?
- What might happen if you do let go? Is there some fear? Some unknowing? Some discomfort?
This answer to this will tell you why you haven’t let go.
Now consider what will happen if you keep doing what you are doing? What will life be like a year from now or 5 years from now if you keep doing what you are currently doing?
What’s possible if you let it go? Make a list of all the possibilities, every one of them, if you let that go. How many different possibilities are there? 5, 10, 20…?
Picture your future self when this is behind you. Paint a clear picture of how life is different for you, what are you thinking, feeling and doing?
What’s it like to imagine your future self?
Let’s talk about how you can get there.
The Balance Wheel
In coaching we use a tool called the balance wheel. Think of the spokes on a bike wheel. We use this wheel to assist you in identifying what’s working well, what’s not working well and the interaction between the two. Take a look at the picture of the wheel. When you use this balance wheel you rate each area of your life from 1-10 on the wheel. 1 being no alignment or no satisfaction and 10 being totally aligned and satisfied. I also encourage people to shade in the blocks to get a clear visual. This is a great tool for someone who has a vague sense of things not being ok or being off but not able to clearly identify it. Being ok doesn’t actually bring contentment or joy. In addition, a ranking of a 5 or under most like is causing you pain, discomfort or draining your energy.
For example, it’s common that career dissatisfaction often results in higher stress, lower self-care and financial stress. We work too much without satisfaction and payoff, we lack energy to work out, we feel blah, we don’t take care of ourselves and often we gain weight. These four areas cover ½ of the wheel of your life. Overworking in one area often drains energy from other areas. We only have so much energy each day. The wheel is unbalanced. Life doesn’t feel exciting or even satisfied.
Coaching works to target the areas that are not adding to your life. I work with you to find different ways to increase the energy in the areas you identity. Focusing on your thoughts, feelings and your actions are clear ways for you to actively to identify what’s getting in the way of more energy and balance in life. You can create a clear path for change.
Try this balance wheel out in your own life and look at what you experience each week. Where are you now on the wheel? Where do you want to be?
Let’s talk about the gap.
Stuck in a Rut
The times in my life that I have been stuck in a rut I often feel trapped, like I have no words and I lack energy. I am functioning just “fine” on the outside. How many times do we respond to “How are you doing?” with “Good”, when we really aren’t? I know on the inside I am not living a life that really excites me. Some of us live our entire lives this way. One foot in front of the other. “That’s Life...” is the saying. What does that really mean and is that really a way to live the few years we have on this earth? Sometimes that’s ok, a speed bump in life where we need to slow down and pause until we clear what’s in front of us; other times we get stuck in the mud or it feels like we are in a hole. It can be a vague sense there is something more to life that we are missing or it can be something significant like a relationship to a partner or our career that is out of alignment.
Coaching is like a tow truck helping you pull yourself out of the mud or offering a ladder so that you can climb out of the hole. Once you are on the other side, you are moving along the road again. We all get stuck now and again. Working with a life coach helps you target where you are stuck. Working in partnership with a coach can help you learn new ways of thinking so that you can take action and create the momentum for tremendous self-directed change in your life.
Yes, it is safer to put one foot in front of the other. It is safer to wait to be rescued when you don’t know if it’s a speed bump or a ditch ahead. For a moment, consider what it would be like knowing you can create the skills to navigate any road and a new direction is always just a choice away.
What’s keeping you from taking the chance on a new path?
Procrastination, um well yeah I think a few people have said I have that problem... I’ll work on that tomorrow.
Procrastination is something we all deal with at some point. When we procrastinate we are delaying what we need to do now even when we and others are telling us that things need to get done now. The consequences can be intense, like losing a job, a relationship or amazing opportunity.
Procrastination isn’t always negative. Sometimes we just need more information and time to think things through before we act. We take that time and then follow through. There is a sense of the delay being planned. Then we make a decision or act and move on. That sounds pretty wise.
What we are talking about here is when a person’s thoughts and behaviors create a pattern of not following through, sometimes no matter the cost. This could look like being chronically late with reports for work or school, not honoring promises, or avoiding tasks that then pile up. These behaviors end up costing relationships, leading to issues with anxiety, depression and self esteem. Many never achieve what they set out to in life.
Procrastination all comes down to our thoughts, though. There are six different types of procrastination with underlying belief systems. While the end result is the same, each one has a different flavor of underlying thought. If you know you put things off to the detriment of your life and those around you, let’s talk. And I don’t mean tomorrow or someday. Let’s schedule a 30 minute free consultation to see if coaching would be helpful for you.