Last week I got a question from “J” about feeling stuck; I get a lot of Q’s about stuckness – it’s a big issue for all of us: readers, clients, friends as we transition & make big decisions: “How do I know she’s the one?” “Stay here or take the new job?” “California or NYC?” I spent a year on that last one!
I’m still amused when people ask me how to get unstuck, but I guess I am expert level; I’ve spent most of my life feeling stuck at some point, figuring out how to work with it to function, and thrive in spite of it.
J said: “I feel like things are just within reach, but then for some reason it doesn’t work out. I’m starting to feel dejected.” [Context: She was pitching her business services for the first time and some of her pitches landed, but others didn’t.]
I re-framed the pitch process for her, but my overall counsel first is usually, “Can you, uh, be a little more specific please?”
I’ve had to change my reactions because sighing, “Uh, maybe describe what area of the UNIVERSE you feel stuck?” doesn’t work. I’m a bit nicer now. :)
It’s like this.
Imagine you go to the doctor. “Hi doc, I don’t feel well, I feel like crap. I HATE IT. I’M SCARED. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO & I want to GET OUT OF THIS FEELING. I WANT TO STOP FEELING LIKE CRAP.”
No no, love.
This is exactly how we sound when we feel stuck or we’re not achieving our dreams or feel like failures. We FREAK OUT.
Fingers crossed what happens next is: Doc tells you to chill the F out, gets your history, asks about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them, examines you, runs tests. “Don’t worry, J, we’ll figure it out. You’ll feel better soon.”
Doctors always do some version of that, don’t they?
And they do ALL that to determine EXACTLY what’s wrong and identify the SPECIFIC cause of what’s making you feel “crappy.”
I hope you’re asking by now what’s the difference between you and the doc?
The difference is SPECIFICITY.
Specificity is how the doctor narrows down location, cause, and intensity of what’s wrong. Then he gives you something uniquely formulated for your particular illness.
He made the effort to find the particular source so it’s not just a shot in the dark; he increases the odds of helping you get better by specifically targeting your problem.
When you narrow a search to what matters, you come up with more effective solutions.
With respect to J’s question, I’d ask specifically, “How many pitches did you send in 30 days?” “Did you use the same language in all emails or tweak some?” “How many cold leads vs. hot?” “Did you include price in some?” “All to the same industry?” “Did you follow up mid-week if you pitched on Monday?” “How much research did you do before to see what they usually buy?”
Every single answer to every single question is IMPORTANT. You wouldn’t forget to tell the doctor that diabetes runs in your family, would you?
We avoid specificity because it requires us to work.
“I don’t know” & “I’m not sure” = “I don’t want to do the work it’ll take.”
I don’t either. I don’t want to do the work A LOT.
It takes work to get unstuck.
But magic bullets do not exist, I *really* have *already* looked for them.
When I learned that in a REAL way, I hated it. Hated it hated it. Hated it.
Effort is boring. It is. But exerted over and over again, it actually works.
Because once you put it the effort, specificity gets you unstuck.
When you stay vague about your “stuckness,” you KEEP yourself stuck.
Don’t cross your fingers and “hope it works!” If you feel stuck right now, there’s a way to get much better odds: get as specific as you can, and quickly.