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How Do We Get Unstuck When We’re Stuck In The COVID-19 Crisis?

You can reframe anything in your life if you are willing to see everything in a new light.

Chances are, right now you probably still feel stuck.

I know you’re stuck at home alot. You’re doing the responsible thing by staying there… for a lot longer than you’d planned.

You’re probably stuck in your work, unable to tackle long-term questions, growth ideas, or new projects that you were excited to get after.

Maybe you’re stuck trying to come to decisions about your own future when there’s so much uncertainty around us all.

For a lot of us, the calendar feels stuck on some random day several weeks ago when life operated as we knew it before this global crisis.  But it just keeps going.

Being stuck is uncomfortable. Our human default setting rails against it. We feel an immediate sense of constraint and stagnation. When we can see the problem in front of us, but we’re unable to solve it, it can feel like we’re cemented in the place where we stand. Stuck. Incapable of escaping or moving forward.

So today I offer you the perspective of the design mindset as a way in which we can get ourselves unstuck. Designers work and live in a way that embraces the process of getting stuck/unstuck all the time. They use the powerful tool of “reframing” to see obstacles or challenges in a new light, and they build their way forward, one iterative move after another.

When great designers hit a barrier, rather than staying stuck, they reframe the challenge. They tip the challenge on its head and open themselves up to see things in a new way. More often than not, this allows them to see new opportunities and creative solutions that they were otherwise blind to.

Reframing is a simple concept, but it can feel complex especially when we’re entrenched in a state of “stuck”. So where do we start? We start by asking perspective shifting questions like these:

  • What is the real problem here?
  • What’s a new way I can look at this problem?
  • What would it look like if I turned this problem on its head?
  • What’s a belief or bias that I’m holding on to that I can let go?
  • Who can I collaborate with to help me see this problem from a new point of view?

Real world reframe example 

We are facing unprecedented challenges in the business world right now. One example of a present-day problem might be “Our business is struggling. What am I supposed to do?”

Here are a few reframe questions to help us get unstuck:

  • What are the costs I used to think were essential? Now that I need to make changes, how can I move forward productively while eliminating those costs?
  • What are the capabilities and resiliencies I’m seeing on my team that I’d never seen before? How can I support and activate those?
  • What actions can I take to help pull myself and my team towards the future as we work together?

The big idea

You can reframe anything in your life if you are willing to see everything in a new light. You are in control. If you’re willing to reframe challenges and problems, you’ll be able to build your way forward towards new ideas, new perspectives, new insights, and new opportunities.

Three closing questions 

In closing, I offer three questions for you to take with you as you embrace the opportunity to reframe:

  1. What’s one challenge I can reframe today that builds me forward?
  2. Who can help me get unstuck today?
  3. Who can I help get unstuck tomorrow?

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