The text message read, “I am tired of living on the defensive, can you help?” I could have pecked out that text message many times. I think most of us could. We might say it any number of ways but it screams one thing—“I’m stuck, can you help me get unstuck.”
Stuck is that sinking feeling you have in the pit of your stomach that says you are on the defensive. It a position in the race where progress is halted and you begin drifting away from the finish you envision.
Stuck is that place where you’ve been pushed beyond simply being frustrated.
Stuck gives rise to anger that screams, “Whatever!” as apathy begins to grab ahold of you.
A few years ago, I read a book that recounts the life of Don Meyer, How Lucky You Can Be. I picked the book up not knowing who he was and now will never forget him.
On September 5, 2008, Don Meyer’s Prius was crushed like a crumpled soda can when he collided with truck hauling 90,000 pounds of grain. Every rib on the left side of his body was broken, his diaphragm was torn away from the bone, his liver was lacerated and those were the minor injuries.
In order to stabilize and save Don Meyer’s life, surgeons had to amputate his left leg and remove his spleen and part of his small intestine.
Reporting the results of the surgery to his wife of 41 years the surgeon asked, “Did you know you husband has cancer?” No she did not, no one did.
Don Meyer was stuck—or was he?
There are times in life we need to defend before we can get unstuck. The lessons that Coach Don Meyer preached to his players year after year proved to be a fail-safe recipe for getting unstuck.
Getting unstuck begins with how you think. It’s staring at the face of challenges, fear, doubt, discouragement and even death and saying, “Now what?”
Why Do We Get Stuck?
The principle reason we get stuck is we lose connection with our purpose. Great purpose is a “why” that infuses us with energy, focus and resolve. It points us towards something greater than ourselves. It says, “No one has my unique place in the world to do the good for the people that God is going to place in my path—no one!”
The people in Don’s path were his players. Every one of them who played for him over his 38-year career graduated with one exception.
The lessons he taught them kept them from being paralyzed (stuck) at the crash sight and enabled them to make life-saving decisions. Those same lessons empowered Don Meyer to not get stuck in his circumstances or condition.
The Secret to Getting Unstuck
“Do the next right thing right.” He said it over and over to his players. On the basketball court and in life, “Do the next right thing right.”
It really is that simple. Stuck is frozen unwillingness to act. Unstuck is taking the next right step and doing it the best you possibly can.
Don Meyer also knew the power of purpose. You might even call it the magic of why. He said, “If you want to be happy, you’d better learn to serve others.” Why explodes with intent, energy and focus when it has the potential to change the course and trajectory of other people’s lives.
The Record of Unstuck
Don Meyer got unstuck. His “Why” propelled him back to coaching. When he retired, in 2010, he had won more college basketball games (923) than any coach in history. His teams won 74% of their games and a national championship.
Next time you’re stuck revisit your why. Who needs what only you can pour into them? Then identify the next right thing to do. However small you may think it is, do that next right thing right and repeat.