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February 7, 2023

The 3 Places People Get Stuck

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When we wake up in the morning, we would all love for our day to go flawlessly. We hope to be present in moments with people, focused on the task at hand, and feel fully-energized. But when reality sets in and we can’t maintain that intention, we struggle to get ourselves to meet even to a satisfactory baseline.

Days don’t go according to plan for a number of different reasons, some within your control and some outside of it, but one of the main things to really gain an awareness of is our own creative process. Rather than defining “creativity” through the lens of making art, we should recognize that in every moment we are creating the future from the present.

When it comes to creating there are three different places where people can get hung up:

The first is at the very beginning in getting started. A lot of people are paralyzed and preventing themselves from taking the first step. This often comes from a need to see the whole picture, to have a perfect plan in place that you can execute. But we need to stop romanticizing our creations and recognize that beginnings are ugly, awkward, and uncertain. But it’s part of the process.

Then the second place people get stuck is in the 'doing' itself. You might hold yourself to such a high standard that you fail to attain the quality you hoped to. The result you’re after hasn’t come through yet and it can be disappointing. This causes people to lose their sense of purpose and their motivation to be in the act of creating, causing them to step away and never return.

Then the last hurdle people need to overcome is finishing. It’s putting a period to the sentence, completing the task or project, and signing off that it is done. People seem to undo and redo their “finishing touches”, with the time invested leading to marginal returns. The reason people feel so compelled to keep making their creation better is because when it’s finished, now it’s ready for other people’s judgment. The work will be evaluated by someone else and it could be embarrassing or disappointing for someone to tell you that what you did wasn’t good enough. So a lot of people avoid that confrontation by delaying taking their creation to completion.

As you can tell, there’s a temporal sequence to these three stages and each stage presents its own challenges that cause people to get stuck. Reflect on where you’re at in a critical project right now and if it’s stalled, which stage it is in. Some focused attention right now might give that project exactly what it needs to work through it.

My goal in sharing insights like this one is simply to help you live the life you enjoy by doing things that are meaningful and being the person you’re proud to be. You can help someone you care about right now by sharing this message with them and inviting them into the journey!

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