Remember the client I told you about in my last post who prefaced our first session with I hope you don’t think I’m a mad woman—then turned out to be the complete reverse? The one whose been stuck in a job where she’s treated disrespectfully, believing that being a single parent of four children with limited marketable skills she had no option? The woman who was given 2 weeks to vacate her home? The woman who when she looked in the mirror, saw a completely different person to the one I see, because her self image has been filtered through a distorted lens for so long? The one who has consistently been using the strategies below?
Well just three weeks later she’s received two viable and potentially lucrative business propositions, an attractive job offer—and been offered a home rent free! We’re talking here about opportunities popping out of nowhere in a country with a 95% unemployment rate (no, I am not making that figure up).
Interestingly, this week I have received many queries from women in countries with far more prosperous, stable economies who are miserable and stressed because they’re trapped in jobs they hate, but stay because they need the income.
This would suggest that opportunities may have more to do with perceptions, than statistics or the state of the economy.
So, whether our expectations are distorted by UNDERvaluing ourselves (lack of self worth) or by OVERvaluing ourselves (a self indulgent sense of entitlement) we’re still stuck. Both believe they have no choice. Both believe they are victims of the situation they find themselves in.
What, I wondered could be a dynamic at work that is common to both these apparently diverse situations—and this is what I realized. The primary cause of misery is our perception that the problem is way bigger than our ability to solve it. And our habit of fixating on the problem, blocks our natural ability to see solutions.
Now here’s the interesting thing—believing you are powerless to change a situation is just that—a belief.
But as we know beliefs can be changed—so why don’t we just change them?
Because every single person on this planet has psychological blind spots. This is where belief viruses hide. And just like a computer virus, they slow your operating speeds, scramble your programs, lose vital information and convince you that you are powerless—when you are not.
Your history forms you as surely as the wind shapes sandstone. That’s why self belief and self value are such tricky concepts. Your identity is a collage of ever changing, cut-and-paste perceptions, opinions, and interpretations formed by the information and experiences that influence your life. So it is inevitable that your sense of identity is to some extent corrupted.
How often do you pause to question whether it could be the perception you have of yourself that is making you feel so powerless to find solutions?
What if, like my client, you learned how to change the perception that you have no choices? What if you began to realize you’re not that different from Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, or anyone you admire? And what if this led to the realization that you’re not stuck—that you’ve just reached a fork in the road?
Here are 10 ways you can get unstuck:
1. Never assume that the problem is bigger than your ability to solve it. Expect the opposite. Children do this all the time.
2. State of mind trumps statistical evidence.
3. Take 5 minutes (or more) every day for positive affirmations, reflection, personal performance evaluations and celebration. Look in the mirror while you do it. Get to really know and grow this potential-packed person.
4. Stop focusing obsessively on the problem—that’s what’s making you stressed and blocking your natural ability to see solutions. Relax!
5. Over-valuing yourself is just as disabling as under-valuing yourself. Both make you a victim of your situation, and limit your choices.
6. Question your beliefs constantly—especially about areas you are stuck in. Often, when you change the belief, solutions appear automatically. Some people call these ‘miracles’.
7. Reach out for solutions—not commiseration. No matter how comforting it is to hang out with others who are stuck, if you all have the same problems no one can help you solve them.
8. Adjust your price tag (and your skills, expectations and attitude if necessary).
9. If solutions lived in comfort zones, you’d already have found them. Step outside your comfort zone—and you’ll find them.
10. Remind yourself daily that you are never stuck. There are always solutions – and if you can’t see them, ask for help.
As Charles Darwin so wisely said 200 years ago
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.
It is not even the wealthiest, most outwardly successful, most well connected or high profile. It is not those of a particular culture or in a specific geographical location, or age, or gender, or situation, or……it is simply the one most adaptable to change.
Are you ready to make changes that will expand your choices and get you unstuck?