It’s normal to get stuck in life. This can show up in many ways. Sometimes it’s a matter of identifying one tiny next step as a springboard for movement. Taking that small step can be just what’s needed to propel you forward. However, there are times when we desire a significant change, but we haven’t defined it. In those circumstances, that type of stuck makes it more challenging to identify the next step because we lack clarity. If you find yourself in this situation, I have something that can help. Lean into different things success strategy.
Over the next several weeks, set a goal to experiment with trying some new activities you wouldn’t normally do. Alternatively, you can play with things that you regularly engage in but try them differently. The idea is by testing a variety of opportunities, you open your mind to possibilities you might not have considered. As my coach, Jane Pollak encouraged me to do . . .
“Expand your universe in ways that are comfortable.”
She added a crucial qualifier to try at least one thing that is outside of my comfort zone.
I recently had fun with this strategy and found the experiment fascinating. You can design your own experiement and choose activities that interest you. Maybe you’ll hire an organizer to help you with that closet you’ve been struggling to tame. Perhaps you’ll alter your sleep pattern and wake up two hours early to work on your book project you never find time to write. Maybe you’ll take a single class in something you’ve always wanted to learn about like making jewelry, decorating a cake, practicing meditation, or using social media. There are no limits to experimenting. Pay attention to what sparks and excites you. Stay curious.
I’m new to this, but after engaging in just one experience, I understood the value of this exercise. I had a eye-opening first experiment, and am excited to dream-up more. I went to buy a sandwich at a place I often go to. I was planning on eating it by the river in a spot I frequently sit. So far, nothing was different. But after lunch, I decided to take a walk over a local bridge that I usually drive on. It has a spectacular view of the reservoir, and I wanted to experience it slowly on foot.
Things didn’t go as expected.
The sandwich shop was closed, and it never is. Since I had committed to the trying-something-different mindset, I used this as an opportunity to expand my experience. I went to a different food place that I rarely visited and selected a sandwich I would never choose which included hot peppers and artichokes. I accompanied it with a bag of cheddar cheese, horseradish flavored potato chips, which I never ate before. And if that wasn't enough of an experiment, I opted to eat my lunch at a park I rarely go to.
Just to recap, I bought food I don’t usually eat, at a place I rarely go, and brought it to a spot I never frequent. Different, different, and different. You may think this sounds stupid or insignificant. But what I realized is how much I gravitate towards my routines. I like the food I like, and that’s often at the exclusion of trying other foods. I enjoy the places I frequent, which sometimes means that I'm not always motivated to discover other inspiring spots. So it wasn’t just a new sandwich or bag of chips. It was about the significance or willingness to expand what's familiar and comfortable.
I plunked myself down, sandwich and chips in hand, before the Hudson River. I spend a lot of moments near the river. This time, however, I was seeing it from another park, a new vantage point, and perspective. I was struck by how vast the expanse was, how the birdcalls, people noises, and tree rustling sounded unfamiliar. I noticed how quickly my heart was beating as I breathed in this beautifully gracious view of the water.
The undulations of the river moved towards me, mirroring the changes I was sensing within.
I never took my walk over the bridge. I’ll save that adventure for another day. I’m curious about what will arise as I expand my universe one “different thing” at a time.
Have you ever tried this strategy for getting unstuck? Is there another technique you’ve found valuable? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation.
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