Ever felt stuck? You know, you feel like you don’t know which way to turn. Do the pressures of the situation have you feeling like you cannot make any progress?
I see articles, blog posts, and books about getting unstuck. Yet I have never heard anyone talk about getting unstuck by focusing on the real problem; it’s about making a change. Being stuck is, IMHO, a direct symptom of an unwillingness to change.
Here’s a story about being stuck
In 2008 when I opened the doors for Jobs Ministry Southwest (JMS), we were committed to helping people in career transition. Remember, 2008 was the big recession. Jobless rates were double digits in most markets. Times were tough for job seekers.
People who hadn’t looked for a job in 20 years were being forced out on the streets. Within five years, JMS had served over 4,500 job seekers. We had a 68% success rate in helping land meaningful positions. Yes, 68% was high for agencies like ours.
Using this sampling of 4,500 professionals, I realized there was a distinct separation in the crowd. Interestingly, what I am about to tell you seems to explain the two-thirds success ratio almost to the decimal point.
Results were divided
Our program participants fell into three pretty distinct groups that were evenly divided. Let’s call them red, yellow, and green for graphic effect.
The GREEN group got it. They soaked up our coaching and teaching like sponges. They applied our principles, accepted our teachings, and executed on the job search plans without much hesitation. Their lead time in the search window was relatively short and definitely shorter than everyone else. They embraced change.
The YELLOW group hesitated a lot. They wanted to debate the teaching we gave them. They wanted to prove they knew something no one else did. And they expressed frustration on a regular basis with having to deal with job loss. They had hostilities toward old employers, but they slowly released those emotions in favor of commitment to their job searches. This group stumbled with making changes, but eventually got there.
The RED group was really stuck. They refused to listen to coaching and teaching. They would sit in groups with arms folded and frowns on their face. Talk to them and you’d get a heavy dose of bitterness and from some, outright anger. The world had dealt them a bad hand and they were going to wallow in it. The red group could not and would not accept change.
It’s all about the CHANGE
The green group looked at change like a welcomed relief. They accepted their plight as just another step in their career progress. They were ready to move forward. Offer them new teachings? Great! “Give me more” they’d say, almost in unison. The green crew would return for a couple of sessions, but it wouldn’t be long before they were announcing new positions and job opportunities.
Some of the green group members took the job loss event as a blessing. They explored passions they had bottled up. They took chances on going whole new directions in their career. Some decided to go back to school for the certificate they needed, but never got. Others sought out funding opportunities to start self-employment. One guy shaved off a beard he had worn for 20+ years. The clean shave gave him a fresher, younger look that resulted in almost instant success. Changes were going on everywhere in this group.
The red group stalled, postponed, argued, and didn’t go anywhere. Soon the would fall away, presumably going to another group, somewhere else to vent their frustration.
Using simple math, adding the green and yellow groups together, you get roughly 66% of the total JMS population. Our job landing success rate was 68%. That’s a strong argument for embracing change. The only real differentiation was the red group absolutely opposed change of any sort.
Being stuck is about avoiding change
My story today has been about job seekers. Yet it applies to all aspects of life. The same dynamics have been demonstrated time and time again in families and in businesses everywhere.
Which group might you fall into?
I suggest that opportunities to change are everywhere. If you feel stuck today, look for the opportunity to make a change. Whether your situation is about a job, a relationship, an assignment, or a cause. You don’t have to stay stuck.
However, you do have to embrace change as the catalyst to make a move in a new direction. If you tend to be opposed to change, you may stay stuck for a while.
[reminder]If you know exactly where and how you are stuck, what would a change look like?[/reminder]