Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Stuck in a Rut

If you're stuck in a rut - what happens if getting back on track simply required you to go and find a rut, step out of it, and as a result things had shifted enough for progress to now be made? 

How fantastic would that be?  
In a study in 2015 it was revealed that 69% of people feel suck in a rut - ie trapped in the same routine. 

That % feels a little high to me and yet, if you're reading this in the hope of some inspiration, the % doesn't really have any meaning because in your sample of 1 it's currently 100%?

When feeling stuck in a rut the biggest challenge is finding the motivation to break free of what ever is holding us back. There's numerous things we could be doing however, when we're stuck in a rut it's often hard to find the energy to think about what to do, never mind take the necessary action.

When we're feeling like this then using conventional thinking to resolve the situation can often make life harder not easier. Which is where unconventional tools come in. 

As you read the following unconventional suggestions just notice what you notice about how you're feeling and the relationship to that rut that had you wondering if this post may just help.

I shared in a previous post that you may simply need to stand in a real rut and step out of it. You'll also find more here on this Landscaping Your Life (LYL) vlog.

Other suggestions might include:

Playing around with the saying:

Absurdity helps shift our mindset so you may want to think about other twists on the saying:
  • Stuck in a puddle
  • Unstuck in a rut
  • Stuck in a sparking water rut
  • Dancing in a rut
  • Not so stuck in a rut
  • Getting less stuck in a rut
  • and so on 
Or you may want to play around with the words:

You're simply allowing your mind to explore a route from stuck to back on track using the words.

Just the meditative exploration on it's own might enable you to release the internal blocks to making progress in this situation. 

If however, you relate to any of the following sayings more, you may want to follow the links and explore their solutions to getting you back on track: being a stick in the mud, unable to see the wood for the trees, needing to test the waterkeeping your head above the water, stopping going around in circles (my personal favourite and so simple and effective), and needing to expand or step out of our comfort zone.

The solution may of course lie in identifying an antidote saying to tell yourself instead: 
  • On track
  • Back on track
  • Getting back on track  
  • In the flow
  • Flowing 
  • Plan sailing
  • and so on 
Drawing the rut

Anything that might help shift the current state into a more resourceful one, providing you with more energy to take the necessary steps out of here. You may want to use more colours, better pictures, include the surrounding landscape, or even plot a map from where you were to where you want to be. 

What ever comes to mind, that however weird it may feel, may just be a nudge from your subconscious about where the solution can be found.

Make a collage of the rut or track to get back on to

In this collage the rut is no longer something to get stuck in but something to experience and flow through.  

Or perhaps the collage doesn't need to show the rut but what it represents, and the desire not to conform to any stereotypes!
Perhaps a little more unconventional than some ideas, and yet if it works then won't unconventional be worth it? More here on how I use collages in my coaching.

Going for a walk 

Walking in nature with a challenge at the back of your mind can be very insightful. More here from a LYL walk in nature, where flies flocking around a cow pat made for interesting insight!
You might for example see a bridge and realise you need to build or find a bridge to get from one side of the rut to the other! It's then a matter of taking that insight and understanding what that might look like in reality. Perhaps it's a bridge to other people to help you, or daily practices that stop you falling back into negative thinking, or a reminder you have everything you need and are making it more difficult than it needs to be. 

Nature isn't the only place to find inspiration - Street Wisdom uses the same concept applied to high streets, side street and boulevards in towns and cities where ever you live. That is, go for a walk and notice what you notice, and you may just find the solution you're searching for.

Or get even more absurd

Don't ask :-) 

No right or wrong, just ideas that may have already shifted the internal representation you had about the situation, enabling you to find alternative solutions to get you energised and back on track

As you reflect on the original situation what actions come to mind - what step do you need to take in the next 24 hours to enable you to get back on track

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life to get back on track 

Other posts written here or over on the Purchasing Coach blog that may also provide more conventional insight to get you back on track include:

Monday, 9 October 2017

Route map for achieving your goals

"What am I missing?" "Why have I still to achieve my goal?" "Why is success eluding me?" 

Recent LinkedIn updates had me applying Landscaping Your life (LYL) to goal setting and their achievement. I therefore thought that I'd explore the subject more deeply here, to see what other light could be shed on; the potential causes for lack of progress towards achieving our goals; and answering the above questions. 

LYL is a tool I developed over 20 years ago, and uses landscapes as metaphors for our lives, and helps us unravel challenges we're facing. That is, LYL assumes nature and its landscapes contain the same patterns as aspects of our lives, thus enabling us to see the solutions contained within the landscape, rather than what's not clear from the daily noise of our lives. 

As with any metaphorical exploration, this post is going to make more sense if you apply it to a real life situation rather than read it theoretically. With that in mind, please think of a goal that you've yet to achieve, that you'd like some clarity on about what might be stopping you making progress. 

Now, put that situation to the back of your mind as you read this post. 

In this example, I'm assuming that we're at A and want to get to B, and progress is made via the route we take to get from A to B.

Which suggests the first task is to understand where A and B are. And why you want to either leave A, or get to B. What will B give you that you don't have in A. Perhaps if you're making no progress it's because A has things B doesn't have?

Remember to leave the real situation at the back of your mind - don't wonder just yet how these suggestions translate into real life.

Assuming that's all as easy as it sounds, then the next step is to identify a route. In this example we're being told that one route is 13 minutes slower, and yet I know it meets a key criteria for me of taking the scenic route via Moffat.
Which suggests the criteria we're using for the route will also impact the route we take - fastest, shortest, most fuel efficient, most scenic, via C or D, least number of stops, least likelihood of holdups, maximising optimal speed, least driving skills needed, types of transport needed, petrol and other resources needed, time available and so on.

Which might mean that unless criteria are changed, we realise B is unachievable, resulting in us reassessing our destination and a third destination of E being identified. Even if that's only an over night location before proceeding to B the next day.

Once we know the criteria for route selection, there's all sorts of apps and maps that can help us plot the best/optimal route.

Although be careful not to jump to a conclusion that something can't be done if you're using the wrong app for the journey you want to take.
Even your choice of map needs to include both A & B, and be sufficiently detailed to help determine the specific route.
Of course, a great route is of no use if we're not making progress along it ie action is also needed.

Sometimes it's this initial first step that is what's missing. 

On some LYL coaching sessions I might ask people to demonstrated walking their route in the landscape. As they do this, sometimes the barrier to them achieving this goal becomes evident, and can be explored either via the landscape or more logically. 

For example: they may leave A, and get so far long the route and then come rushing back to A. We can then explore the reason for the hold of A over them, or lack of effective route etc. 

Or they may get distracted by C and realise they don't really want to go to B, or need to release the hold C has over them. (which reminds me of this vlog about turning a corner.)
The concept behind this LYL process is to explore the metaphor for as long as you can - no tangent is a bad tangent. It's simply a tangent that may provide the insight needed to help you get back on track. I'd go so far as to say follow the hunches and tangents - it's likely they're the nudges from your subconscious about where the solution lies.

Once the metaphor, landscape and tangents have been exhausted it's only then that we can revisit the original goal, and identify what steps we may wish to take in order to have finally turned that corner.

For example, suggestions might include:    
  • Making B closer to A
  • Understanding journeys can have detours
  • Accepting B may not be the final destination
  • Considering the resources needed to get to B  
  • Exploring more about the benefits of getting to B
  • Finding a new mode of transport

Which might translate to:
  • Finding an interim goal you can achieve more easily 
  • Understanding you may get distracted, and that may add not detract from the experience
  • Accepting that progress towards the goal may help you realise a new more empowering goal, that lack of movement will never help you to identify
  • Consider the resources needed to achieve your goal, and identify plans to obtain these
  • Explore your motivation for wanting this goal, can you make it even more inspiring? 
  • This may mean finding other people to help you to achieve the goal 
You may have taken completely different meaning from the above observations. That's why metaphors work, because we see the patterns we need to within the landscape, the patterns that make sense to us, that don't need to make sense to others, so long as we can translate it into action in the real life situation.

Yes, we could have listed these solutions without the metaphor - and yet often I and my clients have found the difference that makes the difference will be found via the metaphor.

What do you notice about your original goal? What action can you take to help get back on track? Do let me know how you get on, or if you have any questions, in comments below. 

Always open to speaking to those wishing to explore how LYL may help them or their team to achieve and even exceed their goals alison@alisonsmith.eu +44 (0)7770 538159. 

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life to get back on track

Other LYL posts that may help in plotting a course from A to B include:

You may also like this more logical exploration of goal setting and achievement from my Purchasing Coach blog.