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A coach’s guidance for getting yourself unstuck

August 4, 2021
By Crystal Hyde

Photo: stokkete/Adobe Stock

It is not uncommon to feel a lack of energy or motivation from time to time — the drain of living through a pandemic that is now closing in on two years has some of us feeling zapped entirely.

The confusion in the news and inability to look too far forward has created the perfect storm for many of us to feel stuck.

Recently, with the weight of the pandemic and the juggling of many hats: mother, partner, business owner, co-founder, homeschool teacher… I began to feel less motivated to tackle my lists, set my goals, see my progress.

I became irritated, frustrated, and felt like I was spinning in circles — not able to move in any direction. And when I did force myself to do something, the result was complete exhaustion. I was stuck.

Recognizing I was stuck was one thing, but what really got under my skin in this awakening was that I should be able to figure this out. I have helped people get unstuck for years, propelled them to hit their stride and perform at their best; and yet, somehow I had gotten myself totally stuck and couldn’t find my path.

I know it is always easier to see other people’s issues clearly, so I decided to try to step outside of myself to figure out what was really going on.

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Typically, I send my clients an intake to complete and in our first session, I draw out what stood out to me. This is a powerful process because clients get to hear their own words coming out of someone else’s mouth, and often the response is “I said that?”

So, I got out a piece of paper and a pen and wrote out a handful of questions from my assessment and gave myself the assignment of completing them.

The questions were:

  • What is your goal?
  • What is the story you are telling yourself about your circumstance right now?
  • Does this story line up with facts?
  • What is standing in your way from achieving your goal?
  • What is the smallest thing you could do today that would have the biggest result?
  • Could you look at this story another way to get you closer to your goal?
  • Who can help you get to where you want to go?
  • What are you going to do next and when are you going to do it?

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Once I finished writing my responses, I went for a long walk to contemplate what I had written.

Upon return, I picked up my paper and read the responses as if they were not mine. In fairness, just like my clients, I didn’t recognize my words fully, and the small distance between my brain and that page started to shape a solution and identify the steps I needed to take next.

The process wasn’t perfect, but it did offer some objectivity and included the names of people who could help. That was the game changer for me.

Like most of us, I am resistant to asking for help. I offer it all the time and know that asking for help is a gift, but I honestly didn’t know what to ask.

It wasn’t clear to me what the issue was, or what exactly was standing in my way, so what was I asking for? Once I “self-coached,” it became clear that I could ask for things that would help me.

There was nothing earth-shattering in my requests for help, no big watershed moment where I changed jobs, moved houses, and evicted the kids. I just needed to stop, think, and evaluate what I needed to do to perform at my best.

I was mentally stuck and needed to introduce some changes to remove that barrier. You can too. Look hard at your circumstances, treat yourself like a friend and give the gift of asking for help.

Crystal Hyde is a professional certified coach in Waterloo, Ont., and founder of Propel Leadership Coaching, which specializes in consultative coaching for executives, teams and emerging leaders. 

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