I sat on a Zoom call with her, and admitted that I'm what you might call a razzle dazzle 'em person. I basically jazz-hands my way to the results I want.
I aim for people to trust my pizazz, not my confidence (or lack thereof). I cringe admitting this.
My mentor, Susan, laughed and asked me to further explain. “In high school,” I said, “other seniors were voted ‘Best Dressed' or ‘Most Likely to Succeed', but I was voted ‘Most Likely to Give a Teacher an Apple.'”
Then it all made sense to Susan: I arrived to our call wanting to jazz-hands around how I actually felt. And how I felt? STUCK.
I read an article by Adam Alter explaining that feeling stuck is often the result of change. Good change, bad change, it doesn't matter. Change makes us feel stuck because everything is new and we don't know how to navigate it.
The loss of a parent, the arrival of a child, getting fired, getting a promotion, getting married, getting divorced…change can make us feel stuck.
I didn't want to admit to Susan that with the massive changes of Social Curator and a really successful launch of the upgraded platform, I felt stuck. I wanted to wiggle my jazz-hands and point to all the new users(!), the numbers(!), the insane positive feedback(!)…but I couldn't muster the strength to do it.
So we sat in silence.
After a few minutes, I said I needed to make massive decisions about our vision, growth plan, and advancements, but felt unprepared because everything changed. A good change, of course, but—still—a big change.
We spent nine months completely upgrading the platform and were completely focused on its debut that I didn't even have the chance to think about what would happen after.
You know that famous scene when Rocky Balboa runs to the top of the stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, wearing gray sweatpants and pumping his fists in the air like the champ he was? I pictured myself doing that once the upgraded platform was released, except physical activity wouldn't be involved…nor would stairs. I'd just copy his gray sweatpants and run (…to the fridge for ice cream).
I didn't have a Rocky Balboa moment.
I had a OH-MY-GOD-THERE'S-ANOTHER-SET-OF-STAIRS-TO-CLIMB moment. That's where my call with Susan began.
Have you ever felt the same? Completely and totally stuck.
Welcome to the Gray Sweatpants Club where the stairs of never-ending.
So what's the antidote to feeling stuck? First, accepting that it's likely the result of change. Second, embracing that change is a good thing. Third, understanding life is a series of changes, so we can resist it or embrace it.
Before our call ended, Susan told me to do one thing: Wait.
Don't rush your decisions, she said, without good reason. Instead she helped me outline benchmarks and milestones that will shape my decisions in the next couple of months.
Perhaps it's time for you to join me in doing the same: What benchmarks can you create to help make decisions to get unstuck? Maybe it's revenue based, feedback based, data based, user based…it doesn't matter. What matters is that we're moving forward (one library stair at a time) in accepting change and growing from it.
Most Likely to Give a Teacher an Apple,