When Pushing Through Doesn’t Work

I’m stuck.

And I’ve been stuck now for, like, two weeks.

I’m supposed to be finalizing the details for the new thing I’m creating for you. Really, I expected to have it announced to the Shmorian Society already, but it feels like I’m not even close.

Who knows what triggered the stuckness to begin with, but I know what’s not helping:

Lamenting how far behind schedule I am.
Thinking about this project as something that Must Be Successful.
Refusing to step away from the project even when nothing’s working.

Hello, expectations

I’ve got lots of expectations about how this project should be progressing and how I should feel while working on it.

And focusing on all the ways reality isn’t matching up with those expectations is just making me more stuck (and downright miserable).

The truth

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. And that doesn’t mean I should scrap the project.

Nor does it mean there’s something wrong with me. (Or you, if you’re at a similar place with your project.)

Stuck happens. And stuck dissolves.

The stuckness isn’t me. Or you.

What’s really needed

Trust that there is time. Trust that things will all work out in the end, even if they don’t look the way I wanted them to. Trust that the outcome is just as likely to be better than expected (so stop assuming the worst).

To remember that nothing is wasted. And that I get to define “success” as it relates to this project.

To connect with the essence of the project. Because I don’t control the outcome, but I can do my best to create something that will help my people.

To do as much as I’m able to nourish myself. Because if I’m not getting work done, filling my well is a much better use of my time than falling into the abyss that is social media and the interwebs.

To remind myself of everything I have accomplished. And creating the Better Taster program for Project Prowess is no small feat. (There’s still time to join if you’d like help with your project.)

What’s really, REALLY needed: Safety

All of those things that I ought to be doing instead of arguing with reality are actually all about one thing: Creating Safety.

Some part of me is feeling unsafe and believes that completing this project is dangerous somehow.

It doesn’t really matter whether I’m afraid of succeeding or failing or things changing, but somehow I have to restore a sense of safety.

But there’s a catch.

When you’re stuck and need to create safety for yourself, it has to be done with no hidden agenda.

If I do it for the purpose of making more progress, it won’t work.

Project stuckness is kind of like a hermit crab that’s pinching you. Or maybe it’s pinching the project. Either way, it frakking hurts.

The crab starts pinching and won’t let go until it feels safe. And if you move or try to pull it off too soon, it will start pinching harder.

Creating safety for you and your project can’t be conditional on making progress or getting unstuck.

The scared parts of yourself are smart enough to know when you care more about getting work done than making sure they feel safe.

They can tell the difference between asking “What do you need?” while being truly open to the answer, and the same question asked when you really only want to hear how to get your project moving again.

I’ve been trying to push through, thinking that if I just push a little harder, for another hour (or four), I’ll break through and the project will start flowing again.

It hasn’t worked.

I’ve lost sleep and I’ve cried and yelled and whined and flopped on the couch to numb out in front of the TV.

I’ve meditated and talked with my Selves and my business and my project and I’m still stuck.

Because deep down I was doing those things because I was trying to get my project back on schedule.

Fuck the schedule, because I want to do this project, but not if it means winding up in anxiety mode every day.

Pushing through didn’t work, so now it’s time to let it go and see what happens.

5 thoughts on “When Pushing Through Doesn’t Work

  1. Elizabeth

    Oh, ho. This trying to become unstuck with a hidden agenda of wanting to push through on a thing is something that I am definitely not familiar with. Nope. Not at all. ;-)

  2. Jesse

    Hold the phone…I have somehow (? and also !) never considered the idea that the stuck sticks around because I’m creating safety but forgetting to let go of my agenda (progress, dangit!). You are so right. I have to let go.

    Wow. This is huge. Thank you so much for writing this. xo

  3. Victoria Post author

    @Elizabeth – Hee! It’s such a tricky thing, isn’t it? It’s like I’ve got layer upon layer of hidden agendas. *sigh* Nice to know I’m not alone! :)

    @Natalia – Thanks, m’dear!

    @Jesse – I’m so glad to hear it helped. The letting go is such a challenge (butbutbut I’m behind schedule!), yet clearly our stucknesses don’t give a rat’s ass about our stinkin’ schedules. Wishing you a speedy resolution to any stuck you’re working through.

  4. Bob Wilson

    Victoria – thanks for sharing this post with us. Very helpful.

    I have a tendency to push harder when things aren’t going as quickly as I like and it almost never works. Recently I was having writers block on a blog topic. I finally let go…a topic came to the following day and I was able to write the rough draft in about 5-10 minutes.

    Hope that letting go has provided some fruit for you…or will soon.

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