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Getting Unstuck At Work

Jul 01, 2024

When my son was 3 years old, he enjoyed playing with his toys. He enjoyed more to play with things which were not exactly toys, such as cardboard boxes. His playing headquarter was in the basement.

One day, as I was doing laundry, I brought the little guy with me in the basement so he could play. As I was transferring laundry, I heard crying. When I went to where Nathan was, his face was red from crying. He sounded desperate. There he was, somehow his legs were bent in a way that they were stuck in a 5-gallon water dispenser.

At first I thought, okay, I would somehow do a maneuver to get him out of the water dispenser. I tried different angles, different intensity of strength. Nothing worked. Some movements made him cry even more.

Then I started to panic. What if there was a circulation problem? What if he developed leg ischemia? Wow was I picturing the worst case scenario. My kid was stuck and I felt stuck. I was not able to get him out. Was he going to be stuck or have deformed limbs because of it?

Feeling stuck did not help. It just made me feel worse. My brain was just coming up with different scenes of what being stuck looked like. Then I paused. I took a deep breath and thought. Let me ask for help. My friend, as my kids lovingly call him Uncle Sam, came to my mind. He lived close by. Thankfully he was available and arrived in less than 20 minutes. Sam is a physical therapist. He knows muscles and bones better than I do. He was calm. He tried several different positions. Just when I thought we had to saw open the water dispenser and was puzzling about how not to cut any body parts, Nathan was free.

Do you feel stuck at work sometimes? You may feel stuck because you cannot figure out how to leave work sooner with the patient load and the administrative duties you have. You may be thinking that you have tried everything and it just does not work. You may think that you will be in this same position forever, unless you cut down your schedule or change your job.

When you feel stuck, realize and acknowledge what you are feeling. Identify the main reason behind why you are feeling stuck. Instead of thinking you are stuck and you are not going anywhere, think instead, how can you get unstuck?

This will open your mind to be curious and explore new ideas. Give yourself a quick brainstorming session to come up with ideas, even if they seem outrageous or ridiculous. Allow your mind to flow. Take a break. Look at the situation from different perspectives. Let yourself be in a place of “I just haven’t figured it out yet”.

Try something different. If it does not work, course adjust and take a different approach. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Be ready and be willing to try something completely different, something you may not be comfortable with.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Someone else may have a different idea, a new concept or an entire innovative way to do the same thing that is more efficient.

If you are stuck and cannot imagine how you can see the same number of patients and go home two hours earlier with your work completed, be open to ask for help, especially after you have tried different things by yourself. You do not get a badge of honor just because you did it on your own. Collaborative effort usually creates far more amazing results in less time. You get to learn new things and apply the skills in other aspects of your life.


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