Stuck? Name your challenge to find your flow

Ever have an exciting-but-challenging thing you really, really want to do so much that you just get ... get ... get ... um, well, kinda, sorta, stuck? Not the kind of immobility that keeps you from getting out of bed. I mean, you can still move through your day and go to work and get the kids to school and have fun going to dinner with friends.

But when you have the time to do that exciting-but-challenging thing, you end up sharpening your skills in every area except the one you've identified. You might re-engage your brain and your friends after a long absence from online Scrabble. You might finally get past that really hard Candy Crush level that's been stumping you for months. Or you might return to the gym with a regularity not seen in years.

And it's not even that you're trying to dodge this exciting-but-challenging thing. You actually WANT to do it. You simply have so many thoughts about it racing through your head that you get overwhelmed. You wonder where to start. You think maybe here. No, here. No, over there. Then the self-judgment creeps in. Will I even be able to do it at all? Why can't I get started? What's wrong with me? The pressure mounts. Feelings of failure proliferate even before you've taken a single step.

So you shut down. You close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and get all sing-songy with yourself like a little kid hiding from a parent's instructions: "Nah, nah-nah, nah-nah, nah, I can't hear you."

The irony is that the more you distract yourself, the more focused on being stuck you become. And you just know that something has to change. But how?

That's how I've kinda, sorta been about this blog for two weeks. My thoughts pulled in various directions. So many ideas that I couldn't just land on one. So, finally, I thought, "I guess I oughta write about that."

And in recognizing the difficulty, it eases. For this moment, at least, I find some flow. I find some focus. And this reminds me that when the difficulty arises again, I can find relief -- and even power -- in naming it. And I can find excitement in that challenging thing again.

So the next time you find yourself stuck, try naming it and see what you find.

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