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  • Writer's pictureDean Moyer

Three Realms of Stuck - Part Two

Three Realms of Stuck - 2

“You’re not stuck. You’re just committed to certain patterns of behavior because they helped you in the past. Now those behaviors have become more harmful than helpful. The reason why you can’t move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get a different result.” (Emily Maroutain) What do you think? Is getting unstuck and back on the road toward flourishing as simple as a “formula” change? Or is there more to it?

Where Are You Stuck? It may be helpful to first identify where or how you are stuck. For the sake of clarity and simplicity, I’ve summarized the predicament of being stuck into three realms: Stuck Up, Stuck In and Stuck Out. While these might bring a smile to your face (not a bad thing) perhaps they will help you identify where you are. To follow are some scenarios to consider. You might visualize these as concentric circles moving from the center outward. After each take a moment and evaluate your situation.

Are you stuck UP? More clearly, are you stuck from moving upward or forward? If you are in this category you may identify with one or more of the following: You feel like you are not growing personally or in your work. Your vocation is no longer meaningful or significant. As a leader you have lost momentum or maybe reached your ‘leadership lid.’ You don’t feel you are contributing. Or, it is quite possible you are completely stuck because of job loss or “reallocation of personnel.” There is often a heaviness or even cloudiness that accompanies being stuck UP.

Doesn’t sound like me                              O

Some of these are me                              O

You are reading my mail?                         O

Are you stuck IN? Moving to the middle ring, I’ll identify this as “team-stuck.” Your team is flat and unproductive. They are not working well together. There is persistent conflict. You are often frustrated and even angry at your team. You wonder if you might have the wrong people on the bus or a least in the wrong seats. There is evidence of lack of trust, stability, compassion or hope in your organization.

Doesn’t sound like us                                O

Some of these describe us                       O

Were you in our last team meeting?       O

Are you Stuck Out? Finally, the outer ring finds you and your organization stuck from outward influence or profit-generating movement. As an organization you have plateaued. You’ve become ingrown and a lack of clarity of mission, vision, values and strategy is evident. The golden days are in the past and the future looks bleak. You've lost sight of what really matters?

No, we are flourishing.                             O

We are struggling in some areas.           O

We are spiraling out of control.               O

How did you do? Did you find any of your responses to land on the second and third choices? No surprise. In fact, given our current state of affairs, I would not be surprised for you to resonate with all three. While I don’t want to give COVID-19 all the credit for disrupting our lives and work, it has, at a very minimum accentuated many areas of vulnerability and challenged our sense of normalcy. According to a survey from, “80% of small business owners accepted that COVID-19 has hurt their businesses.”[1] It is also true these realms of stuck are rarely isolated. Each affects the other is some way.

So what next?

Stop. Take a few slow, deep breaths. No, really, you’ll find it helpful.

In my case, and I suspect everyone who is experiencing stuck, a certain amount of fear is present which gives way to our natural fight or flight response. I’m not claiming to be a psychologist in any sense of the word, but I do know these responses to be real. You’ve seen them. You’ve experienced them; maybe even now. For me, it was an inward flight – retreat, give up. Some personalities are more prone to fight; they start swinging hoping to hit something. Which is it for you? Neither one is productive or helpful. So, stop. Breathe. Let’s take a moment and consider a more reasonable response that holds the possibility of getting you unstuck – and FREE. FREE is a framework we can use to address specific problems. It employs these four verbs:

F - Frame

R - Reimagine

E – Execute

E - Enjoy

We’ll dig into these next time.

Make it a great day…for someone.

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