A book we often recommend to members is Getting Unstuck

“All of us, like Becky, can suddenly find ourselves stuck and miserable. These feelings might come at predictable moments: the loss of a job; the end of a romance; the departure of a child and the sudden yawning of an empty nest; or the death of someone who has long helped us feel recognized, loved, and appreciated. But they might also come at unpredictable moments: when the job of a lifetime somehow loses its juice; when we ache for intimacy but can’t seem to find the right partner; when we find ourselves longing to renew a sense of life’s adventure.

We find ourselves at an impasse, and we suffer. At work we feel stale or unchallenged—or fret that we are not progressing to a more rewarding role. In our personal lives we feel agitated, deflated, or downright bored. We are desperate to discover a meaningful way to contribute at work, to find a reinvigorated role in our families, and to dive back into the current of our own lives. We sense that life is flowing all around us, but we sit like a boulder in a river, at a loss about how to be swept back in and transformed by the river’s great energy.

We know well the experience of being carried off by this energy, when we experience the surge of life, when our ideas and the will to act on them come from a well deeper than our own small selves. We feel connected; things get done; we sense something exciting is at hand. We are, as the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would say, “in the flow.”

When we are at an impasse, we often cannot even sense this flow—or how close to it we may be. We cannot see how close we are to a dynamic dislodging that would place us back into the energy of the moving current. When we are feeling stuck, we forget that the next thing that will wake us up and energize us deeply is already in motion, upstream, moving toward our awareness. When we have run aground, we sometimes fail to realize that this is a necessary crisis, without which we cannot grow, change and—eventually—live more fully in a larger world.

Vision as it is used here is not merely a plan for the future; vision is a renewed sense of purpose in our day-to-day work. It entails stopping, reflecting, imagining, and then acting—stepping anew into the creative flow. It requires building, over time, a clearer and more immediate sense of the patterns of activities, people and environments that are most likely to be rewarding. Vision allows us to tap into what is already moving within us at a deeper level, already asking for fuller expression. With vision, we are better able to recognize what resources, behavior changes, and relationships we will need in order to reconnect with what is most important to us.

When we have a sense of vision, we feel more connected to the world, more alive. The gap between our thought and action, our internal world and external world, vanishes and we more fully occupy our “self.” Our everyday choices feed off our vision the way a lantern flame feeds off kerosene.”

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