There’s no way around it. If you want to change your perspective and figure out how to unstick, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing. Seems simple, but it’s not and sometimes it sucks. Well at least in my experience, it has sucked sometimes. After you open your eyes, you may start to see things you didn’t see before or take chances you may not have taken. Those are all great wins and you should do those. However, you will find yourself with your newfound openness still in an unhappy place or repeating the same mistakes. Spoiler alert, your issue is that you haven’t recognized and dealt with the things that got you stuck in the first place. And there’s only one place you go for those answers…your past. To really know who you are and why you do the things you do, you must find out how you got here. And not those rose-colored moments you talk about at surface level family holidays, I’m talking about the defining moments that live in your memory like a timeline of history. Some make total sense why they’re there, and others seem random. None of them are random, but all of them are your path. These snapshot memories are only a valid form of self-reflection when you’re open to looking at them through a new lens. That’s why you must open your eyes first.
I knew that I didn’t know how to define success. But I didn’t know what to do about it. So, at the recommendation of my life changing friend, I forced on my big girl pants and attended a conference in San Francisco which ended up being another ridiculously life changing experience. Being open is scary and fun! While here, I was introduced to the book “The Crossroads of Should and Must” by Elle Luna and even was able to hear from the author herself. Brief bullet summary: Elle has a dream (a literal dream), leaves her successful life on a whim to follow it, finds her passion, writes a blog that goes viral, then a book, now speaks about her experience. Check her out, I’ll spare you the airfare across the country. As you can guess, from someone stuck, this really spoke to me. Since I couldn’t answer my definition of success a few months ago, surely, I couldn’t define my Must. But this book, this tangible, colorful, instructional thing in my hands definitely had the answers, right? Well, yes, but not the ones I was anticipating.
Naïve and confident, I opened the book on the plane ride home and started devouring the pages waiting for the step by step instructions to find my Must and get this success train on the track. Page 61…62…63…I can feel it…here it comes…oh shit.
Call my mom? I. Am. Screwed.
Now there are many other suggestions in this book on how to find your passion, but it didn’t matter. Once I saw this, I knew that my only way forward in life was to go back into the place I had packed away so deep that I’d need an old school MapQuest printout to get there. I can’t call my mom, she’s dead. And now I’m going to have to deal with the fact that she died, and for the 10 years before she died, I was a kid with a mom who had cancer. And all of a sudden, I’m a 10-year-old celebrating my birthday while my mom is getting a call from her doctor that she has breast cancer. Can’t I get to happy without dealing with this? No time for tantrums, I’ve clearly found my path. Working through this defining story that I’ve been living under and avoiding right into Stuckville, population 1 is the only way out. This is going to suck.
If you’ve acknowledged and dealt with your timeline memories, then congratulations, you can pass go, collect $200, and jump right to finding your Must. However, I’m willing to bet that you have some big timeline memories too. And my money is riding on the fact that you’ve been avoiding them and they have catapulted you onto your path into stuck. Welcome to the club. We’ll get through this together.