Stuckish or Suckish?

painted into a corner, Maggie McReynolds blogA couple of years ago, my son became entranced with “suckish,” a term coined by him and other tweens. He’s moved on by now, as kids will, but suckish has remained with me as the perfect phrase for circumstances that are challenging and painful, but not epically tragic.

Suckish = having someone without insurance back into your car. Having to work around an illness, disability, or handicap. Taking a pay cut. Finding out your spouse is having an affair—or finding yourself having one. Breaking your foot just before the marathon.

I find “stuckish” an equally useful descriptor. Stuckish is just what it sounds like. Working a job you hate for the paycheck you need. Sticking with friendships, relationships, or partnerships that no longer serve you. Stuck in the pain of your circumstances and unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Clutter, binge eating, compulsive shopping, destructive behavior patterns. Loneliness, disconnection, lack of purpose or clarity.

And when you’ve got stuckish and suckish together on the same dance floor? That’s a true tango of frustration, anger, hopelessness, even despair.

There are two key steps toward escaping stuckish and suckish. The first is counter-intuitive: hold still. Gather data, about the circumstance, and about yourself. What are your own strengths, weaknesses, preferences, values, goals? Where do you want to go from here? What’s the weight and shape of that rock you or life has tied around your neck?

The second step is to move. Not big, sweeping actions, but small, intentional, manageable steps towards where you want to be. Out of stuckish. Away from suckish. Towards that sweet spot where what you love to do, what you’re good at, and what the world needs from you intersect.

Stuckish and suckish have the same thing in common: they keep us looking in the rearview mirror. How did this happen? How did I get here? What if I never get out of this place, this pain? Sometimes, they keep us peering into the mist of what-if land, that future that never seems to quite materialize.

Both of these responses are human, normal, even common. But both of them are about as productive as trying to drive a car forward while looking solely into the rearview mirror or, conversely, staring at travel brochures instead of keeping your eyes on the road.

Want to leave stuckish and suckish behind, in your rearview mirror? Take a look at my upcoming What’s Next program, a gentle but transformational six-week telecourse designed to help you assess your strengths, reacquaint you with your values, discover your goals, and get you, step by step, on the path to achieving them.

This summer only, I’m offering this program at a steep discount of $147 for all six weeks if you sign up before Memorial Day ($197 after May 24). Classes start June 7, and will be recorded, so if you miss a week or two, you’ll still be able to get all the juiciness and get where you want to go.

If this sounds good to you, get in on it before the price goes back up to $500 in the fall. Because missing out on this when it could really serve you? Well, that would be kinda sorta suckish.

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