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Principle 1 - When you get stuck, move

I sometimes find myself stuck. Like today, as I was sitting down to write this blog post, I felt stuck. For me, stuckness can be different depending on the context, but often, something is happening in my body that lets me know. A tightening in my shoulders or stomach, a racing heart, and holding my breath. Some physical feelings can be strong enough to ask the question. "What is going on here?" 

It feels like I can't get going; I have no ideas and nothing to say. So, I procrastinate, and I look for new things to do. I keep myself busy and distracted. But I have a principle that I learned a while ago that works well for stuckness. When you get stuck, move

I realised that if I was stuck, I needed a change of perspective, more oxygen to my brain, or to start moving, and the rest of me would follow along. The minute I started moving, I was already not stuck anymore because, physically, I was in motion. That physical motion catalysed my brain and emotions or gave me a new perspective. 

I see stuckness in many ways. 

Organisationally Stuck

Organisations and the people in them can be trapped by context. They have spent so many years operating in their context that they get stuck there, so their problem-solving and ideas become stuck, too. 

A shift in perspective, a visit to a different industry/ country/ sometimes even a team or building can be enough to give them new perspectives and ideas. Something as easy as visiting a different industry can shake up your thinking and generate new ideas. 

Emotional stuck 

I see stuckness in meetings or with emotions. People get stuck on their point, their idea, their way. They get stuck on winning or get stuck in their feelings. It happens to me all the time. When I get stuck in those ways, I shift my perspective and sit in a different chair. Stand up and stretch, or have a drink of water. Make tea, ask for a break, or do something small to help me.

That allows me to let go of being stuck and to get curious. What am I missing in this other perspective? How can I see this from a different angle, or what is this person trying to tell me? What new ideas do I need to consider? It prevents me from reacting and helps me to get more data. 

Idea stuck 

I sometimes get stuck on a problem I'm trying to solve and can't find the answer. When I was a smoker, I used to go for a smoke, and that shift in context and getting up would often help me solve the problem. Now I'm going for a walk, and it's so much better for me. The more stuck I am, the longer I walk. There is a perfect pace, not so fast that I must concentrate on breathing but fast enough to have movement, oxygen, and a little cognitive load. Then, I get into almost a flow state of thinking and problem-solving. I find that I can often unstick myself and get very creative. 

So next time you find yourself hanging on to an idea, and you can't remember why, your team seems to be going in circles on the same topic, or you can't think of a way to solve a problem, remember my principle and MOVE. Move a hand or a finger, get some water, send everyone for a walk, take the dog, or look for a new perspective. 

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