A Journey from Breakdown to Breakthrough

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For most of my life I associated breakdowns with something to be avoided. An issue? Not necessarily. However, consider that breakdowns always lead to breakthroughs. And, without breakthroughs there is no movement. Movement, you ask?

I mean you cannot move your life into new realms of understanding and experience when you avoid breakdowns. Not possible. However, when you are open to an understanding that includes breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs as part of the human experience, you can move your life into new realms. Really.

Before we go further, let’s take a look at the definition of breakdown.

breakdown

Translate breakdown into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A mechanical failure.‘breakdowns could totally disrupt production’
  2. A failure of a relationship or system.‘a breakdown in military discipline’
    1. 2. A sudden collapse in someone’s mental health.‘Heather had a breakdown following the death of her sister’
  3. The chemical or physical decomposition of something.‘the breakdown of ammonia to nitrites’
    1. 3. An explanatory analysis, especially of statistics.‘a detailed cost breakdown’
  4. A lively, energetic American country dance.

Alright, let’s use 1.2 for the purposes of this conversation.

You may then ask, well, how do I become open to breakdowns as part of my regular daily experience? Ah, good. Let’s take a look at three things you can do every day that will ensure that you fully experience your breakdowns and the associated breakthroughs.

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1. Welcome the Breakdowns

Often human beings avoid doing something new because we believe we need to look good and be right. Seriously. Take a moment right now, and really sit inside of this concept for a minute. And? Yep.

If you are really open to this conversation, you will agree that you too often avoid new experiences, because to be vulnerable and admit we don’t know is hard. Really hard.

Let me write that again. Being vulnerable and admitting we don’t know about something is hard. Really hard.

It is okay to acknowledge that; to admit this truth. It is. Admitting this truth simply means you are now aware that new experiences frighten people. With this new awareness you can now work from a space that allows for more openness. A paradox. Yep.

Actually becoming aware of this truth immediately opens you up. Right away. How? Because when we are no longer avoiding something about ourselves that we don’t like, and we embrace reality as it is, we create a new space within ourselves to know ourselves better, and to learn.

What to do?

The next time you are invited to take on something new that you don’t know much about, or have tried in the past and failed, try it again. Why?

Because inside of your new awareness about breakdowns, you have a new understanding; that breakdowns are normal. We need them to move ourselves forward. We need them to get to breakthroughs. Welcome the breakdowns. It simply means you are on the right track.

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2. Ask for Help

Another thing hard for many humans to do is ask for help. Why? Because like trying new things, admitting that we need help, makes us fearful. When we act with a need to look good and be right, there is no space to ask for help. We see it as a weakness. Again a paradox. Why?

Because as I’ve written about in other posts, the idea that we know everything there is to know about any topic is silly. No matter how many degrees you have, or how much practical experience you have, there is always something to learn. Always.

Within this context, asking for help is normal. And, it is. Very normal. Does that mean asking for help is easy? No. Admitting we don’t know, need help, no matter what it is we are doing is hard. Very hard.

However, like understanding that breakdowns are normal, having this new understanding about asking for help, immediately opens you up. Opens you up to understanding the true nature of your humanity. And, in this space, you have the opportunity to learn more, be more, and know more. Awesome.

What to do?

When you are in breakdown, stay there. Yep, that’s right. Stay inside of that breakdown, and really feel it. Then, if you get a breakthrough, great. If not, ask for help. There is everything right about asking for help. Think about it like this. If you don’t ever ask for help, you are not expanding that which you know.

And, when we stop expanding what we know, we are limiting ourselves, and our human potential. Your potential is vast. It already is. If you experience that vastness, wonderful. If you’ve yet to experience it, don’t worry. Follow the steps in this post, and you will begin to experience it. Really.

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3. Capture the Breakthroughs

You will never know when a breakthrough will come. Sometimes you will get a breakthrough right on the other side of a breakdown. Sometimes it will be later. It’s okay. Normal.

What’s important is to capture your breakthroughs. In the moment you have a breakthrough, you may not even be sure what it is related to; and, that’s okay. Write it down anyway. Hold onto it. You will see where it belongs eventually.

Once you know where your breakthrough insight belongs, you can make plans to implement it into that area of your life. Sometimes you will choose to do this right away; and, sometimes you will wait. Both are fine. It matters less when you implement your breakthrough, than it is that you stay open to adopting it in some way. Why?

Because that breakthrough is a direct result of a breakdown you had. Whether you can trace the breakthrough back to a breakdown, it is related. Important. And, why it is so important to track and capture your breakthrough in some way.

Let’s now take a look at the definition of breakthrough.

breakthrough

Translate breakthrough into Spanish

NOUN

  1. A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.‘a major breakthrough in DNA research’
    1. 1. An instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.as modifier ‘the band’s breakthrough album’

Alright, we’ve now discussed a journey from breakdown to breakthrough. Though there is much more to discuss about breakdowns and breakthroughs, we covered enough to keep you moving.

When I started seeing my lifecoach 3 years ago, she once asked me this question:

Can you limp along a little while longer?

At that time in my life, a concept like a journey from breakdown to breakthrough was not available to me. Well, it was, however, I was not paying attention, nor was I in touch with myself. When we are out of touch with our own humanity the conversation we just had is harder to put into action.

However, what I’ve come to realize in the past three years, is that with guidance and persistence, the journey from breakdown to breakthrough can become a reality for everyone.

A reality that includes welcoming our breakdowns, a willingness to ask for help, and a system we can use to capture our breakthroughs so we can learn, and move ourselves forward.

Definitions retrieved from Oxford Languages

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4 Things to Notice and 4 Ways to Move Yourself From Stuck to Unstuck

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Do you ever feel stuck? Like you are doing the same thing every day, getting the same result, and wondering why this is so? Yep. Happens to all of us at some point in our lives. In fact, it is possible that it happens often.

On any given week, I would say that I get stuck multiple times. True. Really. I have no issue owning my stuckness, as it is inside of being stuck that you learn to become unstuck. How?

Well, let’s take a look at 4 things to notice and 4 ways you can, right now, today, if you choose, move from stuck to unstuck.

1. Notice Frustration and Worry

When we are stuck, emotions like frustration and worry arise more often. Why? Because internally we know that the actions we are taking are not working. They are, rather, a product of being in a rut. Or, being stuck.

As I wrote about in The Stories We Are Told and The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Becoming Limitless, we are the ones that get ourselves stuck. And, it happens inside of limited thinking. We believe we are limited in some way when we are stuck. Or, we believe we already know all there is to know about a particular subject or topic. Issue?

Yes. Why? Because it is an impossibility for anyone to know everything there is to know on any subject or topic. Really. Impossible.

1. What can you do if you are thinking, feeling, and acting this way?

  • Once you notice your frustration and worry, stop what you are doing. Really. Stop. Take a break, and think about the thoughts you are having. Are you considering all options? Or, are you merely reacting to the situation at hand? Important distinction.
  • Then, ask someone their opinion. Seriously. Often, when I am stuck, it is someone else that shows me another way forward. The coolest part about this? That you get unstuck and learn something new at the same time. Pretty cool.
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2. Notice your own fear, especially of the unknown

Ah, I’ve written a lot about fear. In Fear of the Unknown: Take A Stand and Take Action Anyway, I write about getting out of our own way. Seriously. Read any self-development book, and in it you will read about getting out of your own way. Is it easy? No. Not at first.

Yet, like anything we do, it gets easier the more we practice getting out of our own way. When you experience fear about an action you are thinking about taking, more than likely it is a product of an innate need to look good or be right. Yep.

We are so concerned that we might look silly or foolish, we don’t take action, or we take action within a limited framework. Which, when you really think about it, is kinda silly and foolish.

In order to become unstuck from our fear, we must be vulnerable; and, take the action there is to take, especially when we feel nervous. When you are nervous, you are growing. Yep. At that moment, you are growing your own developmental spectrum.

2. What can you do if you are allowing fear to keep you stuck?

  • Take the actions anyway. Move forward. Let go of the need to look good, and be right. When we are stuck in looking good or being right, we cannot grow. There is absolutely no growth with that mindset.
  • A growth mindset is about being open, vulnerable, and the practical knowledge that we know way less than there is to know.
  • Learn to become comfortable in not knowing, and looking silly. You will find that when you take action from a standpoint of not knowing, and being okay with “looking silly” that people will actually respond to you. Why? Because they have the exact same fears. The exact same. When you get outside of your fear, you will inspire them.
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3. Notice when you are avoiding situations, tasks, or contexts

In the post, 3 Reasons Why Avoidance is an Ineffective Strategy, I write about why avoidance is ineffective. Essentially when we are avoidant, we are contributing to our own stuckness. We are. Why?

Because we are actively resisting a situation, task, or context, which means in that area of our life, we are stuck. Yep. When we avoid, we don’t move forward. We standstill. Stuck.

Further, when we avoid, we can also feel off, and not so well. Frustration, worry, and anxiety can be higher because internally we know we are avoiding something that needs our attention. See, we can’t get out of ourselves. Even when we think we can get out of it, we can’t.

However, when we are open to our own avoidance, we can actively choose to notice it, and begin to consider how to move forward. It doesn’t mean that that area of our life will move forward all at once, or simply. Noticing our avoidance, however, does mean we are now open to creating movement.

3. What can you do when you are being avoidant?

  • Pay attention to those situations, tasks, and contexts that you are avoiding. When you notice them, stop yourself and ask, why. Why are you being avoidant? Get to that reason if you can.
  • Whether the reason is at the surface or not, begin to consider things you can do to move forward. Once you choose an action, take it. No matter how small. Take that action. It will be uncomfortable. Especially at first.
  • Remember though, it is inside of the continual actions we take every day that comfort will come. And, comfort in what is uncomfortable today will come. It will.
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4. Notice when you are holding tight to your current reality, and begin to let go

In the post, Creating Your Life Anew by Letting Go of The Life You Are Currently Living, I write about the necessity of letting go of the life, or reality, you are currently living in order to live a new one.

It is the same as being stuck. When we hold tight to our current reality, we cannot let go. Impossible. We are then stuck. Essentially, holding onto our current reality is being stuck. They are synonymous. Why?

Because you cannot become unstuck from that which you are stuck to. We must learn to let go. If we do not, we end up living in a false reality where things are static and do not change. Yet, that is not the real world. The world changes with or without our consent. Just look at the current reality right now.

4. What can you do when you are holding tight to your current reality?

  • Practice letting go. Choose an aspect of your life that you believe you are stuck in, and begin to consider what about that current reality you can live without. And, let go.
  • Once you’ve let go of that aspect of your current reality, create something new to fill that reality, to move forward.
  • As with the other suggestions, you can focus on smaller aspects of your life where you are stuck first. Practice, practice.
  • When you’ve practiced letting go in smaller aspects of your life, you may be ready to try something larger. Take it one step at a time. Slowly. There is no hurry here.

Alright, there are 4 things to notice, and 4 ways to move from stuck to unstuck. Remember, being stuck is a normal part of life; and becoming unstuck is a wonderful learning experience.

Moving from stuck to unstuck is a developmental growth process. You simply need to be open to notice when you are stuck, and then to take a different action in that area of your life.

My invitation to you

Notice when you are stuck. Be at peace with it. It is okay, normal. Once noticed, create a new action in that area of your life. When you’ve created that new action, create the next one, and then the next one. And, so on. I think you will be surprised at what you get back.

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