by Scott Frickenstein, WeAlign Executive Coach

Recent articles on whether humankind is currently languishing or merely dormant (or a little of both, perhaps “dormishing?”) in our VUCA context are indeed thought-provoking. But what is needed to lead ourselves and others out of “stuckness” to a place of flourishing? In a recent podcast for coaches (professionals who “major” on helping people get unstuck), best-selling author and speaker Dan Miller suggests the answer is actually a question: “what does this make possible?” Let’s see how five people got unstuck by answering his question.

When my friend Luiz was about to become frustrated by his newly-pregnant wife’s household limitations, he paused and realized their pregnancy was an opportunity for him to selflessly serve his bride and children.

My friend and fellow coach Mark didn’t ignore our nation’s racial tensions—instead, he approached them in a unique way. Mark learned about the Underground Railroad and committed to bike the 2,000 mile-route (!) to raise $10,000 (!!) for the Equal Justice Initiative while learning about this important part of our nation’s history.

How about politics? Our “default” approaches seem to be sniping on social media or wringing our hands. Stuckness, indeed! But my friend Joy joined Braver Angels, an organization which aims to depolarize the U.S. by finding common ground through civil discourse. She learned how to help “blues” & “reds” have meaningful conversations and recently assumed a leadership role in Braver Angels.

Medical challenges, anyone? My wife was not thriving in our previous location but “came to life” when we visited friends in warm, oxygen-rich Arizona. We immediately sought the counsel of those closest to us, put our home on the market, and became Arizona residents within six months!

What about restrictive rules & regulations? Dan Miller had been hosting on-site retreats based on his “48 Days” material, but his county shut them down! Undeterred, he formed an online community to help people press into the concepts, and it quickly became vibrant.

What did you see in these true stories? Here are five principles of “possibility thinking” I noticed in the anecdotes, and a corresponding way to ask “what does this make possible?”

  • Prepare: “What can I learn from this?” (about myself, my context, others, etc.) or “What do I need to learn in order to move forward?”
  • Purpose: “What new sense of purpose is emerging?” or “What is deepening (or broadening) in my sense of purpose?”
  • Passion: “What is stirring inside me?”
  • Pivot: “What new direction could I take?”
  • People: “What will help shift my focus from ME to WE?”

What is most helpful to you when you are stuck?

Scott Frickenstein, PhD
A Leader’s Leader … A Coach’s Coach … A Teacher’s Teacher