The following blog is part of Boost HR’s Shine a Spotlight Series, where we are inviting guests to share a blog post that highlights the work they do, the value they bring and to inspire reflection and action. This week our guest is Sarah Bryson of Dancing in the Mindfield.
𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙘𝙠?
During my career to date, two significant points of being stuck stand out to me – the first was when I wanted to obtain a promotion within my department, the second was when I made the decision to leave an organisation and set up my own business.
On both occasions I remember the feeling of being well and truly stuck – knowing I wanted to make a change and constantly thinking about what decision to make. Examining the situation from every angle but somehow unable to move forward. Deep down I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know that I knew.
On both occasions I was caught in a paradox – of essentially appearing to others as successful and jolly, but internally grappling with a big decision. I felt as if I was influenced and controlled by events going on outside of me – what was happening with others and what others wanted, for example.
In the immortal words of Katy Perry:
‘I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
𝗜 𝗴𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗮 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲..’*1
I forgot to focus on the most important thing – figuring out what I wanted and what choices were available to me, then using my own influence and awesomeness to go and get it.
When reflecting on this, it makes me think about the value of true choice when you are stuck. When clients come to me, they are often stuck with a particular issue that has been whirring round their minds for weeks, months, sometimes even years.
They remain locked on this joyless merry go round, trapped between the limited choices they think are available to them – a or b, stay on or get off – stay on and you continue your dizzying journey, get off and who knows what lurks amongst the crowds…
𝙏𝙪𝙣𝙖 𝙤𝙧 𝘾𝙝𝙚𝙚𝙨𝙚?
I like to illustrate this feeling of limited choice with a story I like to call ‘Tuna or cheese?’
It starts with the ultimate conundrum – you’ve guessed it – what shall I have for lunch today? For me, the prospect of another cheese or tuna pitta bread looms from the kitchen and I shuffle in there without much enthusiasm. Then I open the fridge, my eyes fall on something and my heart lifts – I had forgotten that chicken is also on offer! I thought I only had two choices to choose from and as a third choice presents itself, I instantly feel like I have true choice now. Visibly perked up I choose the chicken salad and suddenly the day seems to have more promise. As the saying goes –
‘One choice is no choice, two choices only adds up to a dilemma. Real choice begins with three options’*2
For me, the thing that helped me most on both occasions was having structured speaking time with a coach. My coach gave me the confidence to say what I wanted, try things out and learn from the actions I had taken, by reflecting back in the next session. And in both cases, I got unstuck – I got that promotion and I have now set up my own coaching business!
𝙏𝙤𝙥 𝙏𝙞𝙥𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙘𝙠
✬ Be kind to yourself – think about how many decisions you have already made today – what to wear, what to have for breakfast, the list is endless – you are choosing all the time, which means you can do it and you have all the resources you need
✬ Calm your mind – once a staunch sceptic of meditation, I now can’t go without my daily fix – try Insight Timer or Headspace Apps (other Apps are available…)
✬ Whenever possible block out the disruptive voices – you know that one friend who always knows just what you should do? Never mind that, what do you want to do?
✬ Get some support – we all need support sometimes – coaches are experts in creating the conditions you need to share in a safe and structured way, listening, not solving and it really gets results. It’s worth saying a coach can be anyone, a family member, a colleague or someone who is professionally qualified
Of course, in a final twist of irony, there are many great coaches to choose from out there – a good coach will offer you a free chemistry session to see if their approach is right for you. There are also accrediting bodies whose members you can trust to be well qualified for the job such as the Association of Coaching or the International Coach Federation.
And you’ll be pleased to know I got stuck writing this article and turned to a coach for help 😊
*1 Katy Perry Roar
*2 Copyright The Seven Stage Model for Effective Working Relationships – Oasis School of Human Relations