028 Breaking the Stuckness Stalemate (Part 2)
5 Ingredients in the Recipe for Using Stuckness to Our Benefit, with Chad James
This episode is a first for this podcast--a “part two” continuation of a previous episode. It features a fellow coach and my good friend, Chad James, and together we unpack the 5 ingredients in the recipe for using stuckness to our benefit that I shared in Ep. 027, Breaking the Stuckness Stalemate: A Path to Transformation.
When I released that episode, I was vaguely aware that it felt unfinished somehow, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Then I got feedback from my wife and Chad that although they really liked the episode, it felt unfinished to them, too. And Chad mentioned that the five basic ingredients in the recipe for using stuckness to our benefit was the part he wanted to hear more about.
That connected the dots for me on what felt unfinished and what needed to be done about it.
And since I’ve been wanting to have Chad on the podcast for a while anyway, I decided to strike while the iron was hot, as it were, and kill two birds with one stone by asking Chad to join me to help land this plane that was left circling the airfield.
If you haven’t already tuned in to Ep. 027, you can still listen to this one first because I summarize the big idea from that episode at the beginning of this one. But for full benefit, I do recommend listening to Ep. 027, too. It’s short and easy to digest at just 15 mins--and in it I pull back the curtain on one of my own recent episodes of stuckness on the way to making the point.
Introducing Chad James
Chad James is a veteran business coach with 20+ years of experience. His own experience in business and his intuitive gifting for discerning core issues, coupled with empathy, compassion, and a vast inventory of tools and strategies for optimizing business and life, make Chad a highly-sought-after, highly-trusted, and highly-valuable partner for “succeeding faster, living better, and creating the life you’ve always imagined.” He’s led an amazingly diverse and adventurous life, and he’s often picking up some new pursuit for the sake of stretching and challenging himself and embracing the “beginner’s mind” again. He has a huge heart. He brings all of who he is to his work as a coach.
Chad’s also a good friend of mine and a mentor in life and business, too. In fact, he was catalytic in my development of The Graveyard Group masterminds--of which he is a founding member--and has helped me climb numerous professional learning curves more quickly than I would have on my own. The original concept out of which I developed this 2-part podcast series, “If you’re stuck, get moving,” was formulated in preparation for an event at which Chad invited me to speak. To say that he’s been influential in my life would be a huge understatement.
Something New from Chad--and a Special Deal for You
Chad has just launched a brand new project that I’m really excited about and I hope you’ll check out, called Mavericks--a membership-based group coaching experience that makes Chad’s wealth of wisdom, tools, and strategies available to many more than ever before, in the context of a group of others playing full-out in the game of life.
I’m pumped to share that Chad’s offering Andrew Petty is Dying listeners 25% off of their first-month’s membership. Just visit carrynobrand.com, and enter the code “Andrew” at checkout. Membership is super reasonably priced at less than $100 a month, and it gives you exclusive access to Chad and his treasure trove of resources.
First, a Refresher: Ep. 027 Summary
If you haven’t yet tuned into part 1 of this 2-part series on breaking the stuckness stalemate, go here to tune in or read the shownotes, or read this brief summary of the main points, below:
The Big Idea: If you’re stuck, get moving. Even more specifically, get moving with and through the stuckness.
Other Important Stuff Supporting the Big Idea
Stuck is never fun--in fact, it can actually be really painful--but stuckness is a normal and necessary part of life as a human on planet Earth. It alerts us to the fact that there’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be. And something unconscious and unknown is in our way. Stuckness is a chance to make the unconscious conscious--to generate fresh insight to which we can then apply action and achieve some sort of transformation.
Because Insight + Action = Transformation.
The stuckness is always there for a reason.
With practice, we can learn to see the stuckness as an indicator that we’re on the brink of a new opportunity to grow and evolve. But moving through stuckness to the good stuff beyond is less like the caterpillar emerging from a caterpillar than it is like a snake shedding its skin. It takes effort and intention and time--and it’s uncomfortable. The accompanying psychological pain of stuckness is essential, though. Our desire for relief from it motivates us to do the work to get unstuck. The discomfort is necessary to produce the insights that lead to action that result in some kind of transformation.
Stuckness is a guide--appointed by our hearts and minds to show us the way to something even better.
We have choices, of course, when stuckness shows up. Broadly speaking, we can retreat from it, stall out in the face of it, or advance through it. Neither retreating nor stalling out will produce a good result. Only advancing through it will.
Here are five basic ingredients in the recipe for using stuckness to our benefit:
Become familiar with your own tell-tale signs of stuckness. In my experience, some of the typical signs include irritability, distractedness, restless energy, a lack of focus, and loss of a sense of humor.
Acknowledge that you’re stuck, and invite the stuckness to teach you. This acceptance will create the openness of heart and mind that allows the unconscious to be made conscious. Don’t fight it or try to muscle your way past it. Resistance or avoidance or sheer force of will makes the stuckness an enemy rather than a useful mentor.
Take 100% responsibility for your stuckness. It’s your problem--no one else’s. Request help from others--friends, experts, a therapist, whomever or whatever seems appropriate to the situation--but retain full ownership of the problem and the solution.
Tap into the negative energy--frustration, anger, etc.--to fuel positive forward movement through the stuckness.
Finally, get moving--with and through the stuckness.
So, if you’re stuck, get moving. Even more specifically, get moving through the stuckness so it can teach us what it’s there for.
The more skillful we become at leveraging life’s many encounters with stuckness, the more we will milk out of this life, the more we will bring into it for our own fulfillment and others’ benefit, and the fewer deathbed regrets we’ll have.
Now, Part 2!
Now, without further ado, let’s jump into the meat of this episode--part 2 of Breaking the Stuckness Stalemate: The 5 Ingredients in the Recipe for Using Stuckness to Our Benefit, with Chad James! Since this part 2 episode focuses on unpacking the 5 ingredients in much greater depth and detail, I’ll organize what follows under subheadings for each ingredient. I won’t come close to capturing all of the great stuff, so tune in to the full episode for more.
Ingredient 1: Get Acquainted With It
Become familiar with the tell-tale signs of stuckness. In my experience, some of the typical signs include irritability, distractedness, restless energy, a lack of focus, and loss of a sense of humor. Some key points from this part of the discussion:
It’s important to recognize the primary emotion you’re experiencing.
Sometimes, somatic (physical) indicators appear first in times of mental (psychological) stuckness--even before we’re aware of the specific emotion. So training ourselves to become more aware of our specific “psychosomatic” early warning signs is an important part of using stuckness to our benefit. For Chad, common psychosomatic indicators are sensations in the center of his chest and tightness in his neck.
This helps us avoid the instinctive “fight or flight” response to discomfort and unpleasant emotions--and move with and through the stuckness instead.
We brought Steven Pressfield’s concept of Resistance--a form of stuckness--into the conversation, from his fantastic book, The War of Art. (To get the essence of this Resistance idea (and a whole lot more) w/out first reading the whole book, tune into Tim Ferriss’ recent interview with Steven Pressfield.) Chad had this to say, “I think that one of the very important concepts in taking things to the next level is understanding--not just understanding but accepting and maybe even celebrating--that Resistance is part of that journey. So as we see that Resistance, that could be an exciting moment, it could be an awesome moment, it could be an area where we go, "Oh wait, something cool's about to happen!" When we change our relationship with Stuckness / Resistance, we can learn the lesson it’s there to teach us and achieve the transformation available on the other side.
The hard way--through the stuckness, for example--is often the best way.
Ingredient 2: Acknowledge It
Acknowledge that you’re stuck, and invite the stuckness to teach you. This acceptance will create the openness of heart and mind that allows the unconscious to be made conscious. Don’t fight it or try to muscle your way past it. Resistance or avoidance or sheer force of will makes the stuckness an enemy rather than a useful mentor. Some key points from this part of the discussion:
“The faster we energetically acknowledge that something is wrong...the faster we can begin to take action toward fixing it. And often that action...just has to do with moving toward it.” -Chad
If I fail to acknowledge it, I start living my life in avoidance of it. So it’s still calling the shots. It’s better to just acknowledge it, deal with it, and move on.
Ingredient 3: Own It
Take 100% responsibility for your stuckness. It’s your problem--no one else’s. Request help from others--friends, experts, a therapist, whomever or whatever seems appropriate to the situation--but retain full ownership of the problem and the solution. Some key points from this part of the discussion:
Nobody’s coming to save you--as Chad’s Air Force Colonel dad reminded him as a kid. As adults, it’s our job to self-rescue. If we expect or demand that others will fix our stuckness, we’ll get into victim territory and create unnecessary collateral damage. So I hear...not that I have any recent personal experience with this…
Take responsibility first. Then enroll others to help you.
Your spouse / significant other is not your therapist.
Ingredient 4: Harness It
Tap into the negative energy--frustration, anger, etc.--to fuel positive forward movement through the stuckness. Some key points from this part of the discussion:
“Be with” the discomfort of stuckness.
If we’re constantly fighting it, we can’t act our way out of it.
If we didn't have some of the pain associated with these moments of stuckness, we'd lack the motivation to grow. Cognitive dissonance pulls us forward.
Slow down. If we're inclined to believe that we can't slow down for an episode of stuckness, then we’re going to revisit it again later. The stuckness will recur and build until you HAVE to pay attention to it--often at a much higher cost.
If we slow down, be with it, and rely on the fact that we've been here before--then we tend to put ourselves in a better place for action.
And a plethora (cue The Three Amigos clip…) of metaphors to help us “see” what we’re saying--from dirtbike racing to soccer and mountain biking and flying a plane. As in these things, so in life!
Ingredient 5: Take Action
Finally, get moving--with and through the stuckness. Some key points from this part of the discussion:
If nothing else, simply be sure to take some action, to move in some way. If you’re stuck, get moving.
Good action is never wishing the problem would go away. Good action starts from the point of stuckness and moves forward from there.
Action with intention toward our stuckness always solves our problem better.
It’s important to act on the insights we gain from slowing down to learn what the stuckness is there for. Take action on what you learn so the insight can produce transformation. Insight + Action = Transformation.
There are things we simply can’t know without taking action.
You can’t pre-solve stuckness. You can’t think your way out of stuckness. You have to act your way out of stuckness.
That’s It In a Nutshell. Now It’s Your Turn.
With Chad’s help and over two episodes, I’ve done my part to help us understand stuckness, upgrade our relationship with it, and use it to our benefit. Now it’s your turn. What are one or two insights you’ve gained on this topic than you can put to work in your own life right now?
Break the Stuckness Stalemate in Your Own Life
I hope this episode has helped you evolve your relationship with stuckness--our challenging but normal and necessary companion in life. A big part of what I do as a coach is help others move through their stuckness to achieve the transformation that’s available on the other side. I can help YOU do that. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, visit my website, or email me. Go here to learn about Graveyard Group masterminds----where we make time each week to invest in your life's most important work.
Remember, you ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet. So get after it! And if you're stuck, get moving!
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
The War of Art (Steven Pressfield). To get the essence of the Resistance idea discussed in this episode (and a whole lot more good stuff from Steven Pressfield) w/out first reading the whole book, tune into Tim Ferriss’ recent interview with Steven Pressfield.
The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday)
Connect with Chad
I hope you’ll check out Mavericks, Chad’s new group coaching program! He’s offering all APiD listeners 25% off of your first month’s membership--already a great deal at less than $100/month. Go here to learn more and join, and enter code “Andrew” at checkout.
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See you next time on Andrew Petty is Dying!