Creating change in life usually involves distinct phases. Emotions lead to Thoughts which lead to Actions.
Stuckness happens when you aren’t clear about why you are feeling the way you are feeling (i.e. a gap between emotions and thoughts) or you know what you want more or less of, but you can’t yet seem to make any progress in that direction (i.e. a gap between thoughts and actions).
In other words, unless life has presented you with an obvious re-invention opportunity (empty nest, retirement, a fresh start after divorce or separation, being laid off, etc) change often starts when some emotion demands to be noticed. The emotion is the messenger for some new awareness (thought). For change to happen the new awareness needs to be coupled with a change in behavior (new action).
Let me give you some examples:
A client recently told me that he wanted his evening routine to shift towards less TV binge-watching to allow for more sleep. He had been feeling guilty for perpetuating a habit that he knew was not serving is optimal self. But he felt stuck because, although he rationally knew what he needed to do and why it would be “better,” he wasn’t sure how committed he was to actually creating a change in routine. He felt stuck between awareness and action.
A different client came to me because she was continually frustrated at work. Every day, she left work feeling like her boss was finding reasons to complain about her work. Objectively, she felt positive about her performance. She felt stuck in confusion about whether the issue was actually her performance at work or some other dynamic with her boss. She was stuck between the emotion and the new awareness that wanted to come.
Re-invention starts with self-reflection. In both of these examples, we started loosening the stuckness by getting curious about what was going on inside of this person that had this be such a sticky situation.
- What story were they telling themselves about how it “should” be?
- In what ways was the situation shedding light on a pattern that may have played out at other times or in other arenas for this person?
- Why did this issue feel so important?
- What might resolution look and feel like?
There are a million strategies to support you in turning off the TV, and there are even more tips and tools for improving rapport and communication with your boss… but none of these will make any difference unless you ground any change you intend to make in who YOU are at your core.