“Help. I feel stuck”
Not a pleasant feeling and a common reason people reach out to a Coach.
Stuck often means you feel you can’t move. But you can. You just think and maybe feel that way. But that doesn’t mean you have to believe that or that its true.
Every second that passes, that you experience, is a second forward, and an opportunity. Time will pass regardless of what you do or don’t do.
I want to share a method called, the “Wiggle Method”, as an approach to getting “unstuck”.
To help explain this I will use a personal situation and metaphor.
So, something happened to me yesterday, or rather, I got myself into a situation. This gave me some inspiration and led me to an approach that may help others, I hope, in what to do when they feel stuck.
Situation: (embarrassing and a little awkward…but here goes):
I was trying to reach an item that was at the very far back of the bottom cupboard in my kitchen. This cupboard had folding doors. I opened it and realized I couldn’t reach what I needed so what did I do? Well…not the most well-thought-out action. I squeezed myself into the cupboard so that both shoulders were now in there (lol if someone was behind me it would have looked a little funny).
I got the item (do I really have to disclose that part….ok. It was a pack of Viva Puffs I had purposely thrown there to get it out of sight so I wouldn’t eat it. Out of sight is not always out of mind😊)
Then I got stuck. I felt like I could not get out!
What happened? My primitive brain took over. I tried to back out but started panicking, trying to force my upper body back, in large, forceful movements, but this wasn’t working. My cat was howling in the background, perhaps calling for help, but no one heard her cries. Or mine!
So, What Did I Do? How Did I get Unstuck? Read on…..
- I stopped and took a deep breath, a few more, activating my parasympathetic nervous system and relaxing my body and mind
- Then I assessed my situation (and also had an intimate moment with a silverfish)
I thought, if I got in, there must be a way out and no matter what, I will find a way out of here.
I needed a strategy.
Ps. I also took a moment to cultivate more compassion and empathy for those feeling stuck and wondered how I could use this situation to help others.
- Then I came back to the present moment and applied the Wiggling method (in this case this was physical however I am sharing this as it can be applied as a metaphor for when you are feeling psychologically and mentally stuck)
I slowly inched one way, then another way, to the left, right, up down, and then I freed myself! (And totally forgot about the Viva Puffs-but don’t worry – I re-strategize and used a coat hanger to get them out)
So How Can You Apply this Wiggling Method to Getting Unstuck?
- First, get CALM and regulated: Try some deep breathing, mindfulness, grounding techniques, meditations, etc.
- Assess your situation and evoke some self-awareness. Where are you stuck? How are you stuck? How did you get to being stuck?
3.Get perspective: Step into a metacognitive state. Try seeing your situation from outside of yourself. It can help to take an Eagle view rather than a mouse view and try using a metaphor to help visualize your situation and see it in a different way. What would another word be to describe your situation besides “stuck”? If you were to draw a picture describing “I’m stuck”, what would it look like? Draw it out!
- Get clarity: Stuck often means you are on your way somewhere and now you are stuck. So, ask yourself, where do you want to go? Where were you headed? If in a situation, what would getting “unstuck” look like? (For example, I needed to get out of that cupboard)
- Then WIGGLE:
This is essentially “a method involving micro movements, in a variety of directions, little bits at a time. The goal is to loosen things around you slowly, to create space, room for growth, capacity, learning, and thus slowly inching your way out of your situation towards your desired outcome”
WIGGLE: Think of ONE movement you can take. Just ONE. MOVE. And this may not feel like a way forward or not exactly in line with where you want to go. It may feel like a step back, a lateral step, and that’s ok. What you want is movement (kind of like the Law of physics, you want to build momentum too).
A wiggle can be asking for help, any of the steps 1-4. A wiggle can also be a thought. Change your thinking and reframe your situation. Learn and grow from it.
If you are learning, you can’t possibly be stuck!
- Keep wiggling and with every wiggle (move) take some time to reassess your situation (repeat steps 1-5)
I hope this rather ridiculous event that I experienced provides some insight and inspiration, some hope, that being in a state of “stuck” is temporary and there is a solution.
I actually even did a little organizing and got a glimpse into the life of a Silverfish. I let it live…who am I to determine the fate of a living organism? But that existential thought might be one for another article.
Hope this helps!