We have a season in Minnesota called winter. A common occurrence while driving after a heavy snowfall is that we get stuck. The tires on the car keep spinning, but we aren’t going anywhere.
For some time now, I’ve been noticing people I know or people in the media who appear to be stuck. They hang on to the past by maintaining judgments and self-limiting beliefs, needing to be right, being defensive, dwelling on old hurts, failing to listen, worrying, practicing ineffective habits, justifying, and making excuses. I’ve also noticed that it is easier to see when other people are stuck than when I am stuck.
These feelings, attitudes, and behaviors block us from experiencing the fullness of life and flourishing. ‘Living’, by its very nature, suggests moving forward. Living means experiencing this moment…and then the next. It means living today…and then tomorrow. Being alive is an opportunity for learning, growing, and developing. Although we can become stuck in our life, that is not life’s intention.
When my car is stuck in the snow, what is needed to move forward is traction or a push. The same is true when we are stuck in our lives. Gaining traction in life requires a conscious choice. We can move forward by choosing to be kind, respectful, courageous, curious (which is manifest by listening to understand), grateful, compassionate, or forgiving. These choices reengage us in life and allow us to flourish in our relationships and experiences.
So how do I know when I am stuck in my life? One way I know is I notice that I get loud when I am frustrated or angry. It’s become automatic…and highly ineffective. The way I express my passion during these times often results in communicating the very opposite of what I intend to communicate. It can push people away or make them defensive.
Fortunately, a dear friend has come to give me a push. She encourages me by pointing out times when I have expressed my anger or frustration in highly effective ways. By helping me focus on those times, I have become aware of what allowed me to handle those situations differently. A constant in those situations is that I have stayed focused on purpose. By staying focused on purpose, I minimize my need to be right and listen more effectively. The ‘unfair’ judgments someone may be making about me or another person don’t invite me to overreact.
Winter is coming. Let’s get ready so we can experience the beauty and magic of the season and not get stuck in its first snowfall.
· Where are you stuck in your life?
· How can you gain traction in this situation?
· Who might be able to give you a push?
Although the weather outside is frightful
The support we give each other is delightful
And since we’ve got places to go
Let’s not get stuck in the snow.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do at Top 20 to help you experience an amazing winter season.
Best wishes from our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody…who continually provide me with traction.
Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training