I’ve been using myself, as always, as a human guinea pig for how to get unstuck. Lately I’ve been stuck in two main areas: dating and work.
In dating I get stuck when people don’t respond to my texts. I automatically think I did something wrong. I don’t even know these people, but it bothers me.
It makes me not want to contact anyone. The truth is, I’m afraid that if I say the wrong thing, they will “leave.”
Here’s an example: There was one guy who I met for lunch. We went to the same school so we had a certain bond and familiarity.
“My wife wasn’t very nice to me,” he said. “Everything I did was wrong. She would insult me. She actually asked me why I didn’t have a plane? Can you believe that? Where is your plane? she would ask me. That’s why I wanted a divorce. I told her if I was so bad, she should leave. And she did.”
“She asked you why you didn’t have a plane?” I asked, mouth open. “Of all things.”
In my marriage, I asked how we were going to make our car payments so they didn’t get repossessed. I couldn’t get the plane comment out of my brain.
He wanted encouragement from me so I texted him how much I enjoyed our lunch. He responded and then I texted a picture of a little plane, thinking I was VERY FUNNY.
I didn’t hear anything back.
“Oops,” I thought. “I blew it again.
I wondered if I said the wrong thing and insulted him. After a day or two I decided to “check it out” rather than continue to berate myself.
I texted him and I said, “Look, I apologize. It’s just so far out of my life that I thought it was funny. If I hurt your feelings, I’m sorry.”
“I’m not offended and it doesn’t change how I feel about you,” he answered immediately.
I don’t know what that meant, but I didn’t hear from him again.
And that’s fine. I wasn’t really attracted to him anyway so it made it easier. The great thing is I could stop thinking I did something wrong and blame myself for it not working out.
At work I was stuck in the area of learning. Every week there are new tools, techniques, scripts, models and products to learn. I couldn’t keep track of all of them. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t remember everything. I wasn’t learning ANY of them and didn’t even know who to ask for help. I felt like a poor, pathetic victim and felt very disempowered about work in general.
One day we were on a ZOOM call with our market office. Grace, our market resource, asked if anyone had any questions or suggestions.
I decided to be brave. Why not admit that I was having trouble? Maybe other people were too?
“Look, we’re learning all these things. They are coming at us fast and furiously. I don’t know where to start or who to ask for help. I’m not learning any of them. It feels overwhelming.”
I was relieved to see my peers all nodding that they felt this way too. I took a deep breath realizing I wasn’t the only one overwhelmed.
Grace thought for a few moments. “Why don’t you just take one thing and get good at that?” she suggested.
I said, “All right, I could do that.” It sure beats sitting here, blaming myself and feeling paralyzed.
Speaking up helped me make progress and get unstuck. And stop blaming myself, being embarrassed and thinking I was the only one who felt this way.
If you have an area where you’re stuck, please go to http://www.gettingunstuckwithhilary.com, and check out my other tools and techniques.
The first step is awareness. You put your intention on it and you get aware and then you can take different actions. And by getting into dialogue about it, you can get untangled and create freedom to move forward.
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