Don’t Stay "Stuck in the Middle Seat™"

Welcome Change, Take Control

Taking Action: Moving beyond Stuck in the Middle Seat™

Arrgghh! There is nothing quite as uncomfortable as being Stuck in the Middle Seat™ on a long flight. You have no room to stretch, can’t read your book without being mercilessly bumped and you can just forget about opening up a newspaper. It’s easy to get frustrated in this type of situation: You have no control over where the airline placed you and you didn’t get to choose your seatmates. Arrgghh!

There are striking similarities between being stuck in an undesirable seat on an airplane and how many people address the challenges of real life – very few options, with nowhere to go and no control − or so it seems.

This victim mentality (“woe is me, look what they did to me”) allows us to conveniently blame others, without taking responsibility or positive action to improve our situation. It doesn’t have to be this way. Your life will move in amazing directions when you welcome change and take control. Welcoming change and taking control is a mind-set that will positively affect both your personal and professional life. Unfortunately, the flip side, being afraid to change and losing control is the default state of mind of far too many. From top-level executives and boards of directors to sports coaches, parents, teachers and students, a fear of change leads to any number of negative results, including: failed businesses, dysfunctional teams and organizations, and disgruntled, splintered families. Simply put, the combination of resisting change and, therefore, losing control, results in most people simply giving up; they become the “victim.” It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of becoming paralyzed and doing nothing but complaining, I encourage you to answer the following five questions as a way to move forward:

1) What does being Stuck in the Middle Seat™ mean in your life? How is it negatively affecting you? If you weren’t “stuck,” what could you be accomplishing … right now?

2) Where are you “stuck” in your personal growth?

3) Where are you “stuck in your professional growth?

4) Identify two, first-step activities for getting un-stuck personally and professionally. What two things could you do, as soon as this afternoon, that could make a difference and over which you have complete control?

5) Having a hard time with step #4? Then you might need to identify the barriers or forces against you becoming un-stuck. Perhaps you have an unsupportive family member or business colleague saying something like: “come on, things are what they are, you’re one of us, so just accept them and things will work out.” Perhaps you’re afraid of failure? Many of us are. So just ask yourself these questions: “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I take action to get un-stuck? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I do nothing and accept things as they are? You’re the only one who can answer these questions, but there is one guarantee I can make. If you do nothing, you’ll still be Stuck in the Middle Seat™ … and how will that feel?