The Three F’s: Why We Get “Stuck”

October 2005

Last week, I was invited to be part of a panel of professionals to discuss the topic of getting “stuck” in life. The moderator asked us in advance to consider some areas of our lives where we have found ourselves “stuck,” what it was about, and how we worked through it. It proved to be a very thought-provoking exercise for me.

I thought I’d begin by listing just a few of the times that I felt anchored in one place, not getting any traction. Things like stuck in how I view myself (mouse burger, anyone?), mired in an unfulfilling relationship, stuck in making the same unhealthy choices at meals, unable to attain a certain professional goal, closed off to scary new ideas..let’s just say the flow of examples was one thing that was not stuck.

As I studied my list, it occurred to me that there are three reasons I get stuck:

  • Falsehood – When I’m not telling the truth to myself or others; when I’m not in reality; when I can’t answer “yes” to the question “Is this true?”
  • Fear – When fear rears its ugly head, it usually brings me to a screeching halt until I’ve named it specifically and then dealt with it at the root cause.
  • Forgetfulness – When I “forget” my purpose, lose sight of my vision, and/or don’t remind myself of my goals, I end up going down paths that drain me of my energy until I remember where I’m supposed to be heading.

I’m trying out my Three F’s theory by noticing when I feel stuck about anything, and seeing if it is sourced in any of these reasons. The next step is corrective action, such as looking for the truth and not continuing to deceive myself, or taking actions to address a fear, or refocusing on my mission statement. So far in my little experiment, the results have been positive and I’m feeling (and acting) a lot more free.

The next time you feel “stuck” in your professional or personal life, I invite you to see if the Three F’s tool can help you identify the source of your block. If I can support you in working to get past a tough issue or challenge in your professional life, please ask.

Sharon Keys Seal

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