I was sitting on the floor, marker pens and notebooks sprawled in front of me. The room had a quiet hum about it, soft gentle music playing, and the whir of everyone’s pens busily filling in their plans for the year.
And I just sat there. Staring. Completely and utterly stuck.
I started to get a little annoyed with myself. Why would I take myself away to a weekend retreat all about reviewing and planning and setting myself up for an incredible year if I was just going to sit there and stare?
I’m the person that loves a good planning session. I’ve been visioning and dreaming up elaborate new plans for my life since I was a little girl. So why now, when I’d actually given myself permission to uplevel the process entirely was I sitting there completely stuck?
No matter how “good” you are at any one thing – mine in this case being planning – there’s inevitably a moment (or many moments) where you get stuck. Frozen. Confused.
And that can be sooo frustrating. Particularly when it’s in an area you usually found so much success in. Like knowing what to do about your next promotion or job search. Like hosting the best dinner party ever. Like remembering every single friend’s birthday.
As I sat there stewing, I realised I had two choices. I could walk away (why bother with all this planning anyway) or I could try to inch forward even if it felt clunky, confusing and like I wasn’t really making progress anyway.
I knew what I wanted to do – of course I wanted the move forward option.
But still stuck in that moment I didn’t really know how. What was the thing that was going to unstick me?
I scrawled at the top of my notebook one single line: What if this could be really easy?
And I let me pen go. I said to myself, just write anything in response. And as I started to write the words got clearer, made more sense, flowed easier.
If it could be really easy I’d talk to this person, and write this thing. Then I’d go and explore this whole other area. I’d block out plenty of downtime in my diary to restore and I’d most certainly prioritise me (walking, yoga, meditation, time on the couch with my partner).
The simplest of questions have the most incredible power to unlock you. And I’ve got three of my most favourite unlockers for you to try:
- What if this could be really easy? What would I do?
- Wouldn’t it be cool if…? (this one is from one of my favourite mentors Marie Forleo, she uses it as part of her and her team’s visioning and dreaming processes and she talks about it in her book Everything Is Figureoutable).
- If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?
Next time you’re feeling stuck – about anything, where to go for dinner, whether to catch the train or the bus home, whether to start your own business or quit your job – call one of these questions to mind and allow yourself to free write. They’re guaranteed to keep you moving forward, even just a tinsy bit. And any form of movement creates more clarity.