Does your mind ever go blank when you sit down to write?

Maybe you’re putting together your resume. Or you’re creating a website. Or, you’re writing down your own thoughts in the hopes of changing your perspective on a difficult situation.

You have the best intentions to write, and you know how important it is. But when you put pen to paper, your mind becomes a great big fog.

This week, two new clients shared that this happened when they were trying to journal. They reached out for help getting unstuck, and I want to share with you the main points I told them.

The very best questions often trigger a feeling of not knowing or a blank mind, at first.

To get unstuck, we often need to spark realizations that we’ve never had before. The fastest path to a transformative insight is a good question. So, when someone asks you a question and you don’t know how to answer, don’t worry. Instead, be grateful.

Rather than stopping at “I don’t know,” search inside for the responses that come next.

Success in therapy and coaching depends largely on clients’ ability to sit through the discomfort of not knowing and look within for the answers.

In the 1960s, Eugene Gendlin, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, was trying to figure out which factors determine whether or not psychotherapy will be effective. He discovered that the difference in client outcomes wasn’t based on what therapists did or didn’t do. Instead, therapy’s success depended on what clients did.

The clients who changed their lives had the ability to slow down, tune in to their inner experience, and become aware of the vague, hard-to-articulate sensations and feelings in their bodies.

You can develop the ability to find the answers within you.

Gendlin discovered that with persistent practice, anyone can develop the ability to hear their inner guidance through the body. He developed a methodology called “Focusing” to help people tune into the hard to access messages of the body.

Focusing entails tuning into the body and listening for parts of the body that have a message to share. While this initially comes easier to some clients than others, it’s a skill that anyone can learn with practice.

Sit with the discomfort of not-knowing and look inside for what you do know.

From now on, if your mind goes blank when you sit down to write, don’t put it off to later. Instead,  I encourage you to sit through the discomfort of not knowing what to say, and patiently look inside for the answers. Then, write down whatever comes up.

Rather than stopping at “this is hard,” shift to, “this is hard, AND even if I can’t articulate everything perfectly, what can I say now?”

Ask yourself— “Okay, so I don’t have the full answer, but I do have some bits and pieces. What do I know to be true about… (whatever the question or task at hand may be)?” Or, “What pieces of this puzzle do I have?” Or, “What would the part of me who knows what to do even when I don’t know what to do say about this?”

Just write down whatever comes up first, and then keep asking yourself, “What else? What else? What else?”

This skill of being still and sitting through the discomfort and finding parts of a not-yet-perfect answer is something that will serve you greatly in any endeavor.

Whether you’re building a business or looking for a new job or going back to school, you will be rewarded for your courage and willingness to take on a challenge.

And, if you still feel stuck after sitting down and looking at the paper and you’re ready to get some support, I’d be happy to help. I invite you to check out our professional coaching programs and then to apply for a discovery session when you’re ready to talk. All the best to you!

 

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