Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Get Unstuck

Hey friends! Have you ever been at work and felt as if you were getting stuck mentally? In other words, you thought: "This can't be done," or "Hitting that goal seems impossible!" Of course you have, because we all have. We all tend to limit ourselves at times -- we get stuck in a comfort zone, and some irrational fears start chattering.

Here's a principle of human nature that we can use in these moments. NLP shows us that questions are the answer. When our brain hears a question, no matter how unreasonable the questions may be, it automatically imagines an answer to it. Try it for yourself. Pick something that you feel like you cannot do, or never do very well. Then, ask yourself this question: "What would it be like if I could do ____ really well?"

Example: "What would it be like if I could sing really well?" Or "What would it be like if I took action instead of procrastinated on my to-do lists?"

Your brain automatically shifts into imagination mode as to what it would be like. It can't help it. It's an automatic function. Your mind begins moving from the frozen positions of "impossible" to one of, "what would it be like if...?" That's a much more resourceful state to be living in. 

Belief is a funny thing. Our brains always look for evidence to support our thoughts. We must be careful what we think about in our own abilities or potential. When we make statements to ourselves like, "I could never ___ like they do," we tend to believe it. To ask yourself, "What would it be like if I could ____?" immediately shifts our brain from stuckness to unstuckness. We imagine possibilities and answers instead of limits. 

After you begin to imagine what it would be like if you did have that particular skill or ability, then it might be useful to ask, "And how would I do that?"

Hmmm. Hello, more potential answers and useful thoughts! You might decide to call that high performing person and ask them for some advice. You might look for ways to model their behavior and/or their attitude. You might ask them what they think about and compare it to where your thoughts are drifting. Once you get unstuck using the "what would it be like if I..." question, you can then switch over to the "how" questions.

Use this rut-breaking question in all areas of your life. What would it be like if I read more each day? What would it be like if I could give back to my community once a week? How about in dating: What would it be like if I were really confident about asking cool people out? Think about it. What works for you? Incidentally, there is a very neat iPad/iPhone app called Unstuck, which talks you through possible solutions.

Lee McCroskey
@rleemcc
Director of Leadership, Southwestern Advantage