How to Push Pass the Impasse!
I’ve never been big fan of hiking, yet, I’ve done my share of it. Several years ago a group of friends and I were hiking in the woods of Virginia. Somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up stuck in the thickest brush I’d ever seen. We couldn’t move forward and we were about to turn back altogether. Then one of us climbed a tree and discovered the path we were supposed to be on not more than a few yards away, yet, completely obscured by the brush around us. So we backed up and restarted the hike on the correct path arriving at our destination on time.
Merriam-Webster’s defines an impasse as “a situation in which no progress seems possible.” On our hike we had reached an impasse, however, with a few simple steps we found our way around that impasse. Whether it’s in business, ministry, or just life in general we often find ourselves facing an impasse, assuming that no progress is possible. And in that moment we are tempted to quit, to turn around, to disengage. We’ll make our excuses, “it’s too tough.” “I’m just so stuck.” “I have no idea where I’m going.”
Have you found yourself facing an impasse lately? Have you indulged the excuses? What do you typically do when you face the impasse?
Next time you face an impasse try these steps:
- Change your questions. So often what locks us down in making progress is our past. We’re conditioned to ask the same questions again. But the quickest way around the impasse is to change your questions. Here are some of my favorites, “What do I not know that I need to know?” “Who do I need with me in this?” and “What’s the best outcome here?” If you change your questions you’ll be open to new solutions.
- Change your perspective. Maybe you need to climb a tree in order to see things from a new perspective. Ok, maybe not a literal tree, but take a look at the bigger picture. Often, when I’m faced with what appears to be an impasse I’m really just stuck in the myriad of details and have forgotten the bigger picture. The bigger picture usually gives us the clarity we need to move pass the impasse.
- Change your direction. Many of us need to hear this, ‘it’s ok to make mid-course corrections.’ If you’re like me then you typically want to stay the course, push on no matter what, to never quit or give up. Maybe we have old scripts from childhood in the back of our minds repeating the phrase ‘Don’t be a quitter!’ ‘Don’t give up.’ And nobody want to feel like they’ve failed. You have permission to let those old scripts go! It might be that changing directions mid-course is exactly what you need! And it’s ok to make those corrections and to get onto the best path for you, even if you can’t see it from where you are at the moment.
And maybe a number 4…Hire a coach. Look, we all could use a little help from time to time. We all have blind spots in our lives, in our ministries, and I our leadership. A trained coach could be exactly what you need to move pass your impasse. I’m currently engaged in Professional Coach Training. I’d love to help you out! Let me know if you’d like to give coaching a shot! Read more about my coaching HERE.
The next time you face an impasse try these steps, work with a coach, and let me know how it goes!
Grace and Peace, Rich