Transcript #54: How To Get Unstuck and Live Your Full Potential

Episode Flyer for #54: How to get unstuck and live your full potential

Episode Flyer for #54: How to get unstuck and live your full potential


Guest: Doug Foresta       Guest Title: How To Get Unstuck and Live Your Full Potential

Date: May 03, 2017            Guest Company: Stand Out & Be Heard               

       

[Intro music]

 

Debra Ruh: Hello everybody. You are listening to Human Potential At Work and I have Doug Foresta joining me again today, and we’re going to talk about getting stuck. We’ve been having some very interesting conversations about why people get stuck and how you can get stuck. How you actually can cause yourself to get stuck. So, I’m looking forward to the conversation.So Doug, thanks for joining me again.

Doug Foresta: Thank you, Debra. It’s great to be here, absolutely.

Debra Ruh: Yeah, and it’s fun to be doing it on Facebook Live, so we’re doing this on Facebook Live and then we’re going to take the audio and we’re going to, you know, send it out to the radio programs we’re on, and iTunes, and Stitcher, and Google Play as well.

Doug Foresta: There’s something for everybody.

Debra Ruh: Also … Right something for everybody and making them fully accessible, making sure we’re transcribing everything. So, it’s very exciting. And, of course, because we’re live, any one that is on Facebook right now that wants to join the conversation, you know, we always love to bring you into it. So, all right. Doug, let’s talk about this story. You had told me a story about a friend of yours on Facebook. Maybe we should start there because it’s a pretty sad and powerful story all at the same time.

Doug Foresta:                       Sure. You know, yeah we were talking the other day and I came across someone I had worked with for many years in an old job that I used to have. And she was saying that she was just, “You know, I can’t take it anymore.”

                                                      So, I asked, “What’s wrong? What’s going on?”

                                                      And, a lot of people started jumping into the conversation and she said, “It’s a low-paid job. It’s a social worker position, you know, it’s a low-paid job.”

                                                      And of course, you know, I’ll tell people, “Go back to the should-we-be-paid-well-for-social-good conversation.”

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       But, aside from that, I just saw what people were posting, and this one woman had posted about, just saying, you know, “I can’t … you know, I don’t like my job, I don’t like my position. I don’t want children to get hurt, or anything, but I’m not … I’m really not going to go above and beyond, I’m just waiting it out. Because I’m stuck. Because I only have a bachelor’s degree and I need the retirement, and I’m stuck.”

                                                      And, the thing about it is, this woman’s in her 30s.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       So it’s not like, I mean, waiting it out … I mean, if she was 67, you know, and it was six months or something, that would be one thing. But you’re talking about 30 years.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And what you’re waiting out, is your life.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       You know, and in this entrepreneurial journey that I’m on in my business, there’s times when it’s not a 9-5 job and you’re constantly going, but when I saw that, it just made me think about how grateful I am for the choices that I’ve made along the way.

                                                      And also just the idea that we tell ourselves that we’re stuck. And we’re stuck because I don’t have a bachelor’s or we’re stuck because it doesn’t matter what it is, right?

Debra Ruh:                             A disability.

Doug Foresta:                       I have a disability, right.

Debra Ruh:                             I’m stuck because people don’t understand me. I’m stuck because …

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             I didn’t go to college, or I don’t have enough college.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Or I’m overweight, I mean, there’s a billion reasons why people decide they’re stuck.

                                                      Doug, whenever … I don’t know where this came from, maybe I’ll give my dad who’s passed over credit for this but, my dad did tell me when I was a little girl that I could accomplish anything that I wanted. And he was very very supportive that way, and I always really appreciated my dad saying that to me.

                                                      And I remember when I got out of high school and I hadn’t gone to college. And I didn’t graduate from college. I am one of those people I guess could’ve been stuck because I didn’t …

Doug Foresta:                       Exactly.

Debra Ruh:                             Completely graduate. But, one thing that … I got this job, and I got this really well paid job at the time, it was a long time ago. It was $35,000 and I would … I mean, that’s a lot of money. But this is when I was 19 years old, so that tells you a long time ago, it was a lot of money.

                                                      And I was an overseas operator for Southern Bell. And what we did, it was really sort of interesting, we would talk to other countries that were calling to the U.S. and we would connect their phone calls. And we would also talk to the ships on the high seas, the cruise liners and …

Doug Foresta:                       Oh wow.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, ship-to-ship calls. So it sounds fascinating and it was, but it was just not my cup of tea. It’s like when you … If you needed to go to the restroom, you had put a button up. If you wanted to take a break, you’d put a button up.

Doug Foresta:                       Oh yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             If you wanted to leave, you’d put a button up. And then people coming in from shift changes would relieve you. And sometimes they would relieve you if they wanted to, because you were sitting next to one of their friends. Anyway.

                                                      I was not happy in the job, and I remember talking to a lot of people that had worked in this job for many many years. Including, my mother retired from AT&T. And so she was the one that had gotten me into this job.

                                                      And, so many people hated their job. They hated … It was a long time ago, but they hated it. And I remember asking some of the women that were older than me, saying, “Well, if you hate your job, how come you’re staying?” And they’re like, “Oh, because I have a mortgage and I have my car, and I gotta pay for my kid’s college.”

                                                      And, what I was hearing is that, you’re stuck here because you can’t afford to leave, and I get that but I thought, “I don’t want that for my life.” And so I actually, after working there a year, I quit and I went and became a waitress while I worked, while I continued going to school.

                                                      And people would say, “You’re crazy, why would you leave a job that was so well-paid with all these benefits?”

Doug Foresta:                       Right. Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Well, I didn’t like it. And I didn’t want to get to the point where I was trapped in this job because I had a mortgage and car.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And I just didn’t want to live my life that way. And I’ll tell you during my life, I actually at times did get sometimes felt like I got stuck in a job.

                                                      I remember a job I had when Sara was a little baby, and we had just heard that she had trisomy 21 and I really wanted to stay home with her. But we couldn’t afford to do it as a family.

                                                      So there have been times when I felt stuck, but …

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             When you were telling me that story, it made me sad for that woman, because that’s a long time to be stuck. But it also made me think about this community and human potential.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And you know, sometimes we feel stuck because people tell us we’re stuck. “Well, you can’t do that.”

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Because the fill-in-the-blank. Or you can’t do this or you can’t do that.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             One thing I think I’ve done a good job at, and I know you have too, Doug, because I’ve known you a long time is, I don’t stay in situations where I’m really unhappy.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             If I’m at a job and I … I really need to believe in the employer I’m working for.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             I’m one of those people that I really need to believe in the company, and if I … And there have been times when I’ve lost faith in my company, because things that they had done.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             I remember working for this one company, a bank. And they were laying off all of these people that had lower-paying jobs and at the same time the president and the COO of the company was bragging that they just made this handmade, this car that was, you know, specifically made for them and exported from Germany and duh duh duh.

                                                      And I didn’t want to be part of that company, because I didn’t feel that company really valued the employees. And so, I don’t just quit impulsively, I learned years ago that didn’t work. But I actually, at that … I start making a plan, so that I’m not stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

                                                      But you know when we feel stuck … I think here’s a couple things connected to human potential. Imagine if you had stayed in that job. Imagine if you had stayed in that good job and you’d probably be making tons of money right now, right?

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And the thing is that … What would the world have missed from all the contributions that you’ve made?

                                                      It’s not just about you, right? It’s not just about us.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       When we stay stuck we deny the world our real gifts. And …

Debra Ruh:                             Good. Good point.

Doug Foresta:                       The hard part about it is that I think of Viktor Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning, you know?

Debra Ruh:                             Yes. Love that book.

Doug Foresta:                       For many of our … By the way, and if you’re listening to this live or after the fact, if you’ve read that book or you’re familiar with his work, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You know, you can comment below.

                                                      But, one of the things that he talked about is that, even if everything else is taken away from you, even if … Like, he was in a concentration camp and all his freedom was taken away. The very last thing that can never be taken away is your attitude and your decision about what it’s gonna mean to you.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       So, I remember there was a … He had worked with this man who had broken his neck and was a … He was completely paralyzed from the neck down. And the man said, he goes, “I broke my neck, my neck didn’t break me.”

Debra Ruh:                             Oh, good one.

Doug Foresta:                       And he went back to college. And he went on and lived a good life, even though, right … We’re not just saying there aren’t things that don’t … Like, he was stuck, he was stuck in his body, right? But, he still had a choice about what it was going to mean to him.

                                                      And so, even if we’re truly truly stuck. Let’s say you’re in a situation like, “Hey, right now I need to work at this job because I gotta support my family and I can’t just jump out of the job.” You still have a choice about your attitude, and about what that’s going to mean to you. And how you’re going to approach whatever the situation is.

Debra Ruh:                             I agree. I agree.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And, you know, Doug, it’s interesting because definitely, you know, as I’ve walked my life, you know, there have been a lot … I’ve made a lot of mistakes, there’s been a lot of bad things thrown at me.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             You know, it’s a journey. But, anytime that I get to the point where I am feeling really stuck or that I’m being held back or …

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             You know, sometimes when you feel … Sometimes you are being held back by others.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             I always take a look at what’s happening, what am I feeling, is it real … So analyzing my thoughts. You know, is it real? Am I really stuck? Are you sure you can’t add value right where you are? Because, I read a lot of spiritual work, and religious doctrine and stuff. And they often talk about, you know, bloom where you’re planted.

Doug Foresta:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative) Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Because I was in mortgage banking for many years and I did really well in that field. And I really liked it and home ownership is an important thing.

                                                      Going back to Frankl’s book, I remember as I was reading it, as a die-hard optimist.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             I thought it was very interesting that the optimists were really sort of the first, you know …

Doug Foresta:                       The first to go.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, they were the first to die, because it’s almost like their optimism wound up really breaking them.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And I thought that was so interesting. I’d never thought about that perspective. And I remember when I was walking through, and, uh, a business failure. And it was such a hard, hard walk. And such a big failure to me. And one of my friends had said, “Do you think you could ever forgive yourself for that, Debra? Because the people that were impacted, some of them are never gonna forgive you, some of them will. But can you forgive yourself?”

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             And I was like, “Um, I’m gonna try to learn to.”

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             You know, when you … We always have risks, and we always have probably regrets in our life, you know hopefully small regrets. But I do think it’s very important to remember, though, no matter who we are …

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             That you can’t let somebody else define your life. And decide that you’re stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             Because you have to accept that you’re stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             So that woman, that you’re talking about, she has decided she’s stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And I remember you were saying that, you know, sometimes when people get stuck … I’ll give you another example instead of going down the path I was gonna go.

                                                      I remember my husband was also working for Southern Bell when we were in Florida years ago. And he was doing his job and a couple of guys said, “Hey, let’s go to lunch.” And he’s like, “Okay.” Because he was the new guy on the team.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And they took him to lunch and they said, “Listen man, you’re making us all look bad. You need to slow down.”

Doug Foresta:                       (laughs)

Debra Ruh:                             You know, “Don’t work so hard, because if you work so hard, then they’re gonna give us more work to do. And they’re gonna start comparing us against you.”

                                                      And my husband got really discouraged by that because he was working hard because he was really proud to be an employee.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And he felt that’s what they were paying him to do, which it was. And so it’s interesting sometimes when our coworkers are stuck and they almost want you to join them in this situation.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s correct. Misery loves company, right?

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, yeah.

Doug Foresta:                       Because the other piece, I think what happens is, I think the word that I’m thinking of that we haven’t mentioned is choice.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah.

Doug Foresta:                       That we always have a choice. Even if the choice is to accept … Even if the choice is to accept the situation. You know?

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       We may not always have a choice. And I think it’s that piece about who’s responsibility is your life? And you know, I don’t want to … I’m careful to say this because here I am able-bodied middle-class white guy. I’m very aware that I’m, you know … I’m not trying to preach to our community, to the community and say, “You need to take responsibility for your life.”

                                                      But I don’t mean it in a preachy way, I just mean it in an existential way. That no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we have a choice. Are we going to take responsibility for our lives? Or are we going to define our lives by others?

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

                                                      And even a situation that I’ve talked about before, that I’m walking with Sara right now. Sara is now 30, she just had her birthday.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             And she has trisomy 21. Formally known at our house as Down Syndrome. And Sara really wants to move out.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And so we’re walking the path to figure out what options there are for her. And it’s interesting because Sara is feeling stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And so for years, I think this has been coming to … She has been having these frustrated feelings. She’s been trying to talk to us about it, and when she talks to us, we’re like, “But Sara, we love living with you.”

                                                      So then you’re like, “Okay, it’s not that I don’t want to live with you, but I want to get on with my life.”

                                                      So you have all these things thrown at you where you’re trying to figure it out, but I need to honor her by helping her figure out how to get unstuck. And she’s not necessarily being realistic about the situation, but she doesn’t have anything to compare it to.

                                                      So I was talking to her the other day about an option that we found, where she would have her own bedroom. And then there would be another woman that had her bedroom and then they shared the common area. The kitchen, the living room.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And Sara said, “I don’t want to live with anybody.”

Doug Foresta:                       (laughs)

Debra Ruh:                             I said, “Okay Sara, well, it’s not realistic for you to live alone.”

Doug Foresta:                       The reason I’m laughing is because I think lots of 30-year-olds are in the position, whether they have trisomy 21 or not. “I don’t want to live with someone.” Okay, but the rents are, you know …

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Yeah let’s talk about the reality of the situation. And so, I … So we’re trying to help her understand that we don’t want her to be stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             We want her to have options, but at some point she’s gonna have to be realistic about her options. Then that’s not necessarily bad either. Like you said, sometimes we just have to accept the reality.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             When we were first told that Sara had trisomy 21, we didn’t really want that to be the case, you know?

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             One day, I have this baby girl, who I think one person, and then the next day, the doctors say, “No, she’s actually this person.” And by the way, trauma trauma trauma, sad. You know, and so I don’t think we’re talking about avoiding our lives, or running away from our lives, or not being realistic about our lives.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             But, it’s sad when you hear stories like that. You know, I’m stuck, I’m gonna do the bare minimum I have to do in my job.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Because I hate it, I resent it, I want to retire 30 years from now.

Doug Foresta:                       Very sad. It’s very sad, because you’re absolutely right. I think that’s one of the things that’s really interesting to me. And that’s why I mentioned Viktor Frankl, because it’s not a situation where he was in a good situation.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       Or there weren’t real limitations, you know, that there weren’t real limitations.

                                                      But at the same time, we have so much more expanse of our lives, than … A lot of it really is in our own attitude. And I remember him talking about, for example, I never forget this, you know, like … You know, I walk around, I live in a nice neighborhood. I know you live in a rural area, and you can walk outside and you can just take a walk, right?

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And we don’t really … We just don’t even think about that. I remember he had talked about the first time he had walked out of the camp, and they were liberated. And he said, “I just remember, I walked and I walked and I walked.” He was like, “I walked past the soldiers, and I just walked into this open field and it was …” He goes, “I’ve forgotten that it was beautiful outside. That all the time I was in this camp, it was beautiful out.” And he goes, “I finally, at some point, I walked a mile in this field, and I just fell to my knees.”

                                                      And he said the line from Psalms came, says, “From the narrow places I call to you, and you answer me from the expanse.”

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And to someone else somewhere, they’re just sitting in a field and it’s no big deal. And to him, it’s amazing to feel that expanse.

                                                      And I think that stuckness is not a bad thing. It means we’re bumping up against something, right?

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       We’re bumping up against our own growth. Like, for Sara, she is coming to a place where is wanting and needing to try out life for herself as much as possible. And that’s not a bad thing.

Debra Ruh:                             No, it’s not. And I love how you’re saying we’re bumping up against life. Because, as I’m trying to figure this out and make sure that Sara has options … And I do need to do that for her, it’s yeah, I do need to do that for her.

                                                      But, I was talking to another parent who has a daughter around, a little bit younger than Sara. And she said, “You know, there’s studies that have said that when a person like Sara starts asking to move out and needs options and everything else, that at some point, if we don’t listen she’ll stop asking.”

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And that made me feel very sad, because I … Even though Sara might not be able to say … She says it now, but if she was trying to understand in her own mind what she was feeling, and she was trying to explain it to us in a way, she didn’t want to hurt our feelings.

                                                      And she does have an intellectual disability, I’m not in denial of that. As she was trying to tell me in her way, it was … I wanted to certainly honor her by listening, but at the same time, how do I support her as we’re walking the path to get unstuck?

                                                      Because sometimes … I remember when my company TecAccess was absorbed by SSB. SSB is a great company, just got a wonderful investment, $40 million.

Doug Foresta:                       Oh wow.

Debra Ruh:                             They’re wonderful. But, it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to do something else.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And so, there were times when I was feeling stuck, but I knew … How do you get out of stuck? How have I, in the past, got out of stuck? And it’s like, I have this illusion of control, right?

                                                      And so, making a plan … Okay so, what do I, fine … So if you don’t want to do that? What do you want to do?

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And by the way, while you’re there working for this company, just using working as an example, can you add more value? Can you be vigilant to make sure that as you’re feeling stuck that it is not impacting this company that’s actually paying you to work for them. And you should honor them for that.

                                                      So, to me, you have to have a plan to get out of the stuckness, but you need to be authentic right where you are, and every step along the way as well.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And sometimes, we feel stuck. Sometimes we … You might say that Sara feels stuck, and I need to be authentic and listen to her to make sure I’m not part of the reason why she’s stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Debra Ruh:                             And I believe that what’s gonna happen just for this situation with Sara, is that we’re gonna walk a couple of different paths and she’s gonna find out, “Oh, well I didn’t realize what that meant. Oh okay.” But at least she’ll have something to compare it to then, right?

Doug Foresta:                       And you know what? Even if she, let’s say she moves out and she doesn’t like it and then she moves back in.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. She tried.

Doug Foresta:                       At least she has that experience. You know what I mean?

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And you know, part of what you said reminded me of … I just want to say this out loud, it’s important, I think it’s important, and I know you know, I know you believe this 100 percent, Debra. That just because someone has a disability, doesn’t mean you can’t learn and grow, and you know …

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       In fact, we’re all human, we’re all on a journey. We all are moving towards our human potential. So, anyone, we can all feel stuck. And it doesn’t mean that … You know, I think that’s part of that narrative too about stuckness.

                                                      Where it’s like, “Well, if you have a disability, you’re just, you know, you’re life is just in this little box.”

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       Which we know is not the case.

Debra Ruh:                             And if you have a disability in certain countries, you can get culturally stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And you can … There’s all kind of ways that you can get stuck in society.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             I mean, right now that’s why we’re having these conversations. Because, a lot of people in society don’t understand truly that we’re not just saying this. But many people with disabilities, especially severe disabilities have a lot to add.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And there is, you know, we’re finding such interesting stories about … Just the interview we had with Sandy Carter, talking about the virtual reality.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             How the teams needed to be diverse.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And as a society we’re figuring out that people with disabilities really truly can add value to the workforce.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             And to the innovation and to the bottom line. And not just the workforce, to society as a whole. And so if you are feeling stuck for whatever reason. And sometimes, once again, like with Viktor Frankl, sometimes you’re stuck because …

Doug Foresta:                       Somebody stuck you there.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, you’re in an awful situation. You know, I had a friend of mine that went to prison because he’s a very very good gardener and he chose to grow the wrong plants.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             You probably can figure out what plant that is.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And it’s illegal in Virginia, and he was growing this plant in two different counties. And on park property.

Doug Foresta:                       Oh boy. Oh yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And they’re sort of funny about that. And so he actually went to prison for 18 months. Now talk about stuck.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             I mean, here is this really great man, very creative and innovative. That made, you know, bad entrepreneurial decision. But he was stuck, and he was being told, in this situation constantly, that he was a bad person because he was in jail. “You’re in prison, obviously you’re bad.”

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And it was interesting to walk that with him because I chose to be there with him. And I visited him and I sent him letters and we talked about it. And I said, “You have no choice but to be here, in that situation, what can you learn? What can you do? When are you ever in your life gonna have time when you don’t have to cook, you don’t have to go anywhere.”

Doug Foresta:                       You’ve got an 18-month sabbatical. Yeah. Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. And I know that it’s, I know it’s a bad situation, but he was in this situation, so what can you learn? And what can you contribute?

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             And how are you going to use these experiences for the rest of your life.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             I’m not saying he wasn’t traumatized. He was. And I’m not saying that, you know, he should’ve been growing this crop on lands that didn’t belong to him. I’m not saying any of that.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s not the point.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       The point is he still has a choice.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       Even if he can’t break out of jail.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       But his choice is, what can you do? I think about Nelson Mandela and all the years he spent in prison. And how much transformation … You know there’s so many stories of people who have gone into prison and in prison they actually found the spiritual freedom to do … You know, to change and transform.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And they came out and far from being stuck, they came out and were different people.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       So, exactly, jail is a great example. And again, it just goes back to that idea that we can always, as human beings, and I think this is one of the cool things about human beings and human potential. You know, if you’re a, I mean … If you’re a chair. (laughs)

Debra Ruh:                             (laughs)

Doug Foresta:                       Where do you find a chair? Just where you last put it, right? But as human beings, we never have to be stuck in that way. Because we have creativity, we have resourcefulness, we have initiative. We can ask for support.

                                                      So that’s the other piece. Sometimes, if we … That’s what’s great about community, if we don’t know the answer.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       I mean, I don’t know, Debra. But I know so many times, where I felt stuck, I could have a conversation with someone else, and then all of a sudden I realized that there were things that I … Options I didn’t see because I just got stuck within myself.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       There’s always something, and even if, even if we’re stuck, stuck, you know, in our bodies. Even if we’re stuck in our bodies.

                                                      I mean, I think about Rosemary.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right.

Doug Foresta:                       Right? I mean, how much does she do? Even though one might look at her and say, “Oh, she’s stuck.”

Debra Ruh:                             Right. I know, and Rosemary’s a great example because I know often when she travels, somebody’s trying to help her and they won’t look and talk to Rosemary, they’ll talk to her assistant or her mother. And Rosemary can hear.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah, she’s perfectly capable.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right. Yeah she might not communicate with you in a traditional manner. But she’s there.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Don’t underestimate her, because she’s really got a lot to offer. And I’m seeing more and more individuals with disabilities really stepping up and finding their place in the world. And it’s very exciting, and we have to honor them by continuing to tell their stories. Not as inspirational porn or any of that. And it’s like, “Oh, isn’t it great that she …” No, but to just remind, continuing to remind all of us that people come in all different shapes and sizes.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             And we shift and change and we’re … Who I was yesterday is maybe not who I am today.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             I think we make so many different assumptions about ourselves and other people. So, if you are an individual that’s feeling stuck, where do we begin?

                                                      And I’ll just start. The other day I was feeling stressed out, and I love my work. But I was feeling stressed out. And I thought, “All right.”

                                                      And normally what I do is just push through it. But then it actually will make me more anxious. It’s probably my ADHD. And so, what I did was, I thought, “I’m gonna take a break.” And so I stopped and I went outside, and like you said I live in the country, and it’s so beautiful there. And I just walked around a little bit. And it was amazing how much calmer I got.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And I thought, “you know this Debra, why don’t you practice it?” But sometimes I forget.

Doug Foresta:                       Well, exactly. (laughs)

Debra Ruh:                             (laughs)

Doug Foresta:                       We all do.

Debra Ruh:                             So what other tips do we have for getting unstuck?

Doug Foresta:                       Sure. Absolutely. I think one of the number one things is to realize that, first of all, stuckness is just information.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       You know, if you’re feeling stuck and I think you said this Debra too, ask yourself, “What’s going on that I feel stuck? What is that about?” Right?

                                                      “I’m feeling stuck. And then what do I need to do to take care of myself in that stuckness?”

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       So, if you’re at a job and you feel stuck, right? And then you start thinking about it, and you go, “Well, I can’t ever leave, because I’ll never …”

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       “I’ll just die if I leave this job.” Right?

Debra Ruh:                             Fear. Fear comes in.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah. Slow down and be like, “Okay, so what’s going on? I have a lot of fear happening. What do I need to do to take care of myself right now? Well, maybe I need to call a friend, maybe I need to calm myself down. Maybe I need to go for a walk.” Right?

                                                      I’m catastrophizing here.

Debra Ruh:                             (laughs)

Doug Foresta:                       “The chances are this is not the only job in the world that I’ll ever get, or could ever get. And I won’t die if I did something else.” Right?

                                                      And then, I think the other piece is, thinking about … Again, I really think that when you’re stuck it means you’re bumping up against your own growth. That there is actually … Instead of thinking of it as something negative, think of it as, “I must be growing in some way, you know, I’m growing in some way and I need something more. I need more challenge. I need, you know … I’m missing something, my soul is wanting something more. What is that more?”

                                                      And do some journaling.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, I agree.

Doug Foresta:                       About what that more is, right? And then honor the pieces then figure out … You know, it’s like the Serenity Prayer, what you can change and what you can accept.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       But there’s always something we can change. And even if that something we can change is our attitude. And our approach to life. There’s always something we can change.

                                                      And many many times, especially for those of us who live in the U.S. and live in, you know, developed countries, we have way more freedom than we ever imagine ourselves to have.

Debra Ruh:                             Right.

Doug Foresta:                       And so that’s where I would start. Those are some good places to start to move from stuckness to thinking about action.

Debra Ruh:                             I agree, and I think really looking at the information.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Because I remember, even since … I founded Ruh Global, I believe, March 1, 2013 was the day that I registered the company.

Doug Foresta:                       Oh wow.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, and there have been times during that where there were projects I was working on. Or certain types of work, and I remember thinking, “I don’t really want to do this kind of work.” And so, I would stop and say, “Okay, well first of all you should be grateful for that, that clients are giving you this work so you can pay your bills, and you’re employed.”

                                                      Okay, I get all that, Debra.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             But, what is it? What is it? What information am I being told here? And there was a time when, I really wanted to move more, which we’ve done, to the pure marketing communications. How do we tell this real good, solid, grounded stories about human potential?

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             And what was happening when I first went back on my own, which you would expect, the market was saying, “Oh, so you must be an ICT accessibility company, because that’s what your old firm did, TecAccess.”

                                                      And not that I don’t. We do some of that.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             We do. Because, if you’re a brand and you’re saying, “I want to include people with disabilities as employees, and as consumers. Your website, your products and services need to be accessible. Okay?

                                                      Because otherwise, we’re not really sure if you are truly committed to include us.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             So, I mean that’s part of it. But I wanted to be more. I wanted to have a different conversation. As a matter of fact, that’s when I started working with you as my producer, because I was like, “Doug, what I really want to do is go do what we’re doing now.”

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             But at the time, I felt that I was really still in the older conversations. And so, how do I listen to the information, honor where I am, make a plan, start walking the plan? And then of course when you walk the plan, you’re like, “Ooh, let me tweak it here.”

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, I just think that sometimes when we’re feeling stuck, we have to understand that we need to learn from it. What does it mean?

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             What does the fear mean? If you’re feeling fear. And I know that generally when I’m feeling stuck, there is some fear in there. And so, what am I afraid of? Am I afraid of, I’m not adding value? That I don’t have anything to offer the world? Am I afraid that, I think I’m so all-that and you’re not? And, “Oh well, you better get a PhD to do …” Whatever your fear is.

                                                      And so, looking at that, and learning from it. And, I’m a big journaler, I also journal. And I will also speak to the microphone too. But I think learning from it, coming up with a plan for then.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             The near future and all the way down. And being willing to keep tweaking it. And, uh, the plan along the way. Because as you learn more information, you do have to tweak the plan.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             That’s some of the ways I’ve done it. And also, if somebody is holding you back, they’ve decided that you can’t add value because you have a disability, for example. Or, you can’t move out because you’re a grown woman with trisomy 21.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And who’s gonna take care of you?

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             I think you have to keep having the dialogues with either the people that are accidentally, you know, causing you to be stuck and with yourself and, like you said, your friends.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             You can join conversations like this on human potential.

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right, that’s what the community is for. That’s what this community is for.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. Right. Because, I think we all get stuck sometimes. And so, how did you get unstuck in a situation? I think learning from each other, and then telling the stories of people that said, “You know, I might be in this situation now, but I’m gonna learn from this. I’m gonna add the most value where I am right this second, and then I’m gonna continue to grow and add value. And I’m gonna work really hard to get unstuck.”

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right, that’s right. I agree. I completely agree.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah. I think it’s an important conversation, though. Because, I think there’s times when all of us feel stuck. And sometimes, it’s because society is saying we’re not capable of something.

                                                      I’ll give you another silly example, it wasn’t silly at the time. I was working in the mortgage banking field and I was in technology and training. I was a training director. And a very large credit card company contacted me and said, “We’re looking for somebody to run our corporate university.” And that’s what I did for a living.

                                                      And they said, “We really would like somebody with a PhD.” Well yeah, then I’m not your girl, because I don’t have a PhD. And then I told them that. And they said, “No, no, no, you have so much amazing background. Come in and do it anyway.”

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             So, I came in for the interviews, and it was intense interviewing. And they were very impressed with me. At the end, they contacted me and said, “We decided to go with another candidate. We selected somebody that had a PhD. And we didn’t select you because you don’t.”

                                                      And I thought, “But you knew I didn’t have …”

Doug Foresta:                       (laughs) Right, you told me to come in!

Debra Ruh:                             Why are you torturing me? Did you torture me because you needed to have at least three people to interview? Okay.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             But, at the same time, my depression and everything kicked in and said, “See? You’ll never amount to anything, Debra. You don’t have a master’s degree or a PhD, what are you thinking?”

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             And I had to walk past those demons, and it’s interesting.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Around that time, not that long afterwards is when I decided to become an entrepreneur and actually create TecAccess after that.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Because I thought, “You know what? You might not realize that I’m great and valuable. But, I am. So get out of my way, and let me show you.”

Doug Foresta:                       That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             But if I hadn’t had that set back, and somebody telling me I was stuck and I couldn’t add value because.

Doug Foresta:                       Right.

Debra Ruh:                             You know? Maybe I wouldn’t have moved forward to where I am now. So, sometimes being stuck is a gift in our lives too.

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah and you know, just lastly I’ll just say that, truly I think just from a perspective of physics, there is really no such thing as stuck. The universe is constantly in motion, and energy is constantly changing. So, in a way, if you’re feeling stuck all the time, it’s an active process. You’re actively telling yourself over and over and over again. (laughs)

Debra Ruh:                             Good point.

Doug Foresta:                       That you are stuck. And one day we should do a whole episode about the payoffs for being stuck.

Debra Ruh:                             Oh, I agree.

Doug Foresta:                       Because as much as … There are people, this is one thing I’ve learned too, there are times when it’s easier to be stuck, it’s more comfortable.

Debra Ruh:                             Been there.

Doug Foresta:                       A whole other episode, but that could be it’s own episode about why we sometimes keep ourselves stuck.

Debra Ruh:                             That is a good one.

Doug Foresta:                       And I’ve done that, I’ve certainly done that. Yeah.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, we should do that next, because you’re right that’s a really good one, and I have definitely done that too.

Doug Foresta:                       Okay cool.

Debra Ruh:                             So before we end the episode. I know that your baby was due yesterday.

Doug Foresta:                       Yes.

Debra Ruh:                             So, just for our listeners, tell us what … What did the doctor say?

Doug Foresta:                       What’s going on? So the doctor said that the baby is coming one way or the other by Tuesday of next week. So they’re gonna induce my fiance next week no matter what. And so far nothing, so it’s her first, so they said it just sometimes takes a while.

                                                      So by next week, my daughter will be here, her name is Eleanor [Louis Ferresta 00:39:50].

Debra Ruh:                             Oh fun.

Doug Foresta:                       We’re gonna call her Ellie for short.

Debra Ruh:                             Oh wow, we can’t wait to meet Ellie.

Doug Foresta:                       Thank you

Debra Ruh:                             I’ll see you at some point holding Ellie up and going, “Here she is!”

Doug Foresta:                       Yeah, yep, exactly.

Debra Ruh:                             So, all right, well we have you in our thoughts and prayers.

Doug Foresta:                       Thank you, Debra.

Debra Ruh:                             You and your fiance. And we’re looking forward to meeting Ellie. So, thank you for everybody for joining us today on Human Potential at Work. And you can leave comments on our Facebook group Human Potential at Work. And everybody is welcome, if you want to be a part of the group, just ask to be a member and we will absolutely accept you. And we also welcome your comments on all the social media mediums as well.

                                                      so Doug, thank you for joining me today. And we will take this up next time on the value, I mean what do we get from being stuck. So, thank you, Doug.

Doug Foresta:                       Thank you.

Debra Ruh:                             Bye everyone.

Doug Foresta:                       You’ve been listening to Human Potential at Work with Debra Ruh. To learn more about Debra and how she can help your organization, visit ruhglobal.com.

                                                      If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and you want to make sure that you don’t miss any future episodes, go to iTunes and subscribe to the podcast Human Potential at Work.

[outro music]

 

You’ve been listening to Human Potential at Work with Debra Ruh. To learn more about Debra and how she can help your organization visit RuhGlobal.com. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and you want to make sure that you don’t miss any future epsiodes, go to itunes and subscribe to Human Potential at Work. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll be back next week with a new episode.