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Monday, November 22, 2004


Wandering and Getting Unstuck

A few weeks ago, I spoke to my college alumni group about my path to coaching and broke my story into three chapters. The opening chapter (yet, the one that continues to drive me) is called: Not all those who wander are lost. It's from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and neatly encapsulates my professional experiences after graduating from college. While it has been scary at times, the act of conscious wandering has allowed me to remain open to possibilities that I may have missed if I was on a single track. For me, wandering is centered on being curious - about the world, other people, work and life. But while wandering unfortunately can be perceived as unfocused and frivolous, it can be a strength if connected to a set of core principles such as curiosity, adventure, learning. These are the things that keep a wanderer from getting lost or stuck (I hate being lost and I can't stand being stuck).

When I finished speaking I distributed a handout with some quick ideas for getting "unstuck" which I think are useful for anyone feeling this way. They're loosely based on ideas from the book Unstuck by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro.

Idea #1: Clarify your Purpose
Before you get to the doing, figure out what drives you. Ask yourself: Why do you exist? What must you contribute in order to achieve not only success but significance? Make the task of defining your purpose an act that rejuvenates you. And remember to keep it brief: brevity creates even greater clarity.

Idea #2: Create YOUR Headline from the Future
Stories are powerful tools for generating energy and excitement. Create a newspaper headline from a future date. What will it say about all you have achieved? Now think: step by step, how will you get there?

Idea #3: Create a Haven for Free Thinking
Your environment holds great power over the way you think. If you’re stuck, find a place that’s new and claim it as your haven for free thinking. This could be a local park, a museum, a coffee shop. It should be a place that reignites your thoughts and imagination.

Any other ideas for getting unstuck out there?

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