Two recent experiences helped free up my thinking and get out of a place of being blocked or stuck. Even though I wasn’t even totally aware that I was feeling that way.
At the start of the year, I dove into clearing the clutter from some of my living spaces and working areas. I sorted out closets, cleared out a backlog of emails, reorganized my digital folders, and more.
It felt great to have more space in every sense of the word – physical, mental, and emotional.
While I was making progress on that, I also shared a meal with a fellow coach who happened to be in my area. She’s someone I admire a lot but don’t get to see very often. In the span of that one short dinner, we cooked up – so to speak – at least two major projects that would keep us busy for the next five years.
I couldn’t help but see a connection between my newfound space and the explosion of ideas and possibilities we discovered as we brainstormed together. Sure, we could have had our dinner if my closets had still been messy and disorganized, but I was able to show up differently because I had that back part all in order.
How do you know if you might be stuck, or heading that way? I’m a car guy, so I’ll use the analogy of your car’s air filter. You don’t have to clean it every time you change the oil, but if you never clean it, you’ll start to feel the difference.
As the blockages thwart the flow of air, your car’s performance will suffer, the idle won’t be as smooth, and your gas mileage will be worse. If you translate that to yourself, it’s when you notice you’re not functioning as highly as you usually do, you’re tired, you’re listless, and your flow of ideas feels restricted.
Now, I’m not telling you that you have to clean your closets or organize your files because that might not be the form of clutter that you have going on. Take a quiet moment to ask yourself what room, situation, or loose end would free up the most space if you were to get it in order.
The second step of this solution is to connect with someone you don’t usually speak to in your day-to-day life. Who are the people you can truly brainstorm with? Whose opinion do you really value? Who fires you up when you get together?
Shake things up by talking to different people who will challenge you with new ideas and perspectives – and yes, your coach can definitely be one of those people. You can also tap into the benefits of divergent activities like going for a hike, taking a different route to somewhere you’ve driven many times, trying a new skill, or learning something new about the field you’re already in.
If you’re feeling stuck or sense that you’re headed that way, don’t just wait for inspiration to strike. Make space for it and surround yourself by the people, situations, and environments where you’re most likely to feel that spark.