We all have been there. Trying to figure out why our professional career or practice is not growing. How can we figure out ways to collaborate better, work more efficiently, reignite shared passion, implement meaningful performance indicators, and advocate for better salaries or work conditions?
What if, year after year, or even a few years into your professional career, you feel stuck? Feeling that movement or change is not personally possible within the existing structure or system.
The feeling of being stuck can be harmful and often stems from a lack of belief in ourselves. These growing feelings and negative self-talk become obstacles and often lead to over-worrying about how to take the next steps.
First, focusing on positive possibilities over negative feelings can help. You have that choice, every day, to focus on possibilities while navigating unfulfilling times in your life/career. The other critical shift is to let go of self-judgment; the urge to criticize or second-guess yourself or others. Let go of the past “what ifs” and shift to recognizing that a) you are stuck and b) now you’re ready to do something about it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck!
- Imagine the issue is resolved – how did it happen?
- What are you ready to change and not ready to change at this time?
- What have you avoided admitting out loud (what is your FEAR)?
- What is the problem in one word, and in one sentence?
- What is the EASY way forward?
- How important is this really, to YOU?
- Think of someone you admire, what would they do if they were in your position?
Grow Midwives first-year business journey has crossed many roads working with individuals, systems, and diverse providers. Albeit different avenues of need, all of our collaborative work clustered around the aim to improve maternity care. We have heard many individuals describe the reality that, “change is hard”, “Midwives lack recognition”, “the system doesn’t want to change but needs to”, “I’m working too hard, I love my work, but how do I get a better salary”, and more. The theme in most of these conversations is needing to learn innovative strategies to become or move toward being ‘unstuck’. This process requires ownership, someone who identifies a problem, challenge or need and moves forward to promote the change.
We are sharing the below key suggestions from a widely published innovative consultant on the notion of being stuck. How do you come up with ideas and bring them to light?
- Recognize, but don’t panic – Interview yourself. Why do you feel stuck? What’s happened in personal or professional life that is triggering this feeling. Focus on something else for a few days.
- Shift your environment – change where you are working on the problem, physically. Go to another room, to a coffee shop, work from home for a day. Put the project/frustration aside and take a walk. Use your phone microphone to record ideas that arise.
- Consciously shift your approach – Don’t resolve on the fly, but try problem-solving steps. Identify the problem, set goals, brainstorm possibilities, and assess your alternatives. Solutions often come when we have thought about them for some time, gathering inputs, mulling over alternatives, and seeking inspiration from someone else.
- Shift your perspective – Bounce the problem/idea off of others. “Assumption assaulting” is needed because the brain is designed for efficiency. Neuroscientists call it the “perceptual shortcut” to save energy. Only by forcing the mind to move beyond and stretch habitual thinking patterns can we imagine new solutions. Years of experience can also be a block to change. Use, “I wonder if” or, “what would this look like”? Bombard the question with tons of sticky notes, find themes, and invite new thinking.
- Avoid the pressure of deadlines – Many believe that they are most creative when using forced deadlines, but studies have shown the opposite. We are less creative when fighting the clock. We need time to percolate ideas and let them bubble up.
- Develop creative muscle – Use your brain to develop a continuous evolution of ideas every day. Whether in meetings, with family, or colleagues, use every encounter as an idea generating experience. Hear something that sparks an idea, jot it down. Always look for better ways of doing things. Become “idea oriented.”
- Know when to multitask and when to unitask – Are you stuck or distracted? If you are easily distracted by too many projects, most research shows there is difficulty focusing. Sustained multitasking leads to burnout. If you are doing nonroutine work, make it a point to eliminate distractions. Shut down your phone, turn off incoming messages, and close your door.
(Credit, Robert B. Tucker, author of seven bestselling books on innovation, and TED speaker. Retrieved 12/18/18 https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbtucker/2017/03/21/seven-techniques-for-getting-creatively-unstuck/#2e4c48e2cc6a)
Join Grow Midwives for our last Webinar of 2018. We will facilitate an hour discussion including a short overview of our first-year business journey, followed by 45 minutes using an “open mic” format. We want to hear your questions of how to become “unstuck” and provide suggestions that may help YOU take the next iterative steps toward positive change.