How To Get Out Of “Stuck” Situations

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Enable yourself to create new habits. Succeed by rallying others around your successes and theirs. By Samantha Smith (Founder, Exponential Entrepreneurship)

Even the wisest and most fearless of us can get caught in the thick of life. Big problem or small, long time confusion or day of scenario, we just need to stop and break things down. A conversation with a friend is invaluable, but to get you started there’s an app called Unstuck.

Be it personal life or work, Unstuck can walk you through most situations and after you reach a path forward it can even sync with gcal.

Susan Schuman answers some questions about Unstuck below. She is CEO of the consulting firm SYPartners which launched Unstuck in 2011 as a sister company to take the 20 years of knowledge the firm gained about transformation and bring it to everyday people. She has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams at companies like Blackstone, IBM, and Under Armour to define and attain greatness for their organization.

Samantha Smith: How did you get the idea for Unstuck and what made you develop it? Susan Schuman: Time and again, we’ve seen how SYPartner’s approach to problem solving helps our clients get unstuck—not just at the company level but as individuals. After all, companies are made up of individuals. In doing our work we’ve seen how solving business problems requires solving personal challenges. Throughout the years, I’ve been approached over and over (by individuals at all levels of the organizations I consult with) saying, “I love what you do. I wish you could do for me personally what you do for the leaders and teams here.”

We’ve always wanted to bring our approach to a broader audience, and as soon as we saw the rise of apps and the iPad came out, we suddenly saw a way to do it. Because the iPad lets us combine anytime/anywhere portability with the kind of simple, joyful, interactive experience that SYP is known for.

Samantha Smith: What was the time span from idea to start and start to ship? Susan Schuman: The idea had been on a low simmer for about 10 years. We have always been looking for ways to take the knowledge we have gained over the past twenty years about transformation and bring it to everyday people. With the introduction of the iPad and apps, we began to see the possibilities. So in January 2011, we pulled together a team from within SYPartners to officially focus on what Unstuck could be. Because we were creating an entirely new category and process in the app world, I would say that concept, flow, and branding took the most time, about 6 to 7 months. Execution of the design, content, and technical build lasted about 4 to 5 months.

Samantha Smith: Who developed the recipe behind Unstuck? There’s psychology, problem assessment, and solution offerings. Susan Schuman: It's a combination of nearly two decades of the knowledge and hands on work we have gained from our work with some of the most successful companies and leaders on earth, plus talking with organizational behavior and psychology experts, plus testing with a number of people in real situations, plus a core team of SYPartners people who themselves have really unique backgrounds, from design to sociology to art therapy to technology.

Samantha Smith: Any plans to use the data about people’s conundrums or ideas for Unstuck 2.0? Susan Schuman: We appreciate that our members trust us with their information and we are very sensitive about protecting their privacy, so you will never see an Unstuck product that reveals an individual user’s data. However, there are ways to apply this information to help us build community and the Unstuck product offering.

Susan Schuman: When we launched the app we knew it was just the start, an introduction to the Unstuck approach. Next will be a network of people helping each other get unstuck.

Samantha Smith: What is your wish for Unstuck? Susan Schuman: Our vision is to create a mentorship network for the rest of us — a community of every day coaches and allies. We believe everyone needs mentoring at one time or another. We also believe everyone can be a mentor at one time or another. Unstuck will connect people for the betterment of each of us. To do that we first need the Unstuck app to become a daily or weekly tool. Something that's so natural and effortless you just draw on it, because it has great utility and it’s joyful to use. Once we have that then we can start to connect people.

We want to disrupt the self-help market. We're going to do that by thinking about it as personal growth. It's about building new habits, new behaviors, and a new community of reinforcement.

Think about all the programs that have proven to be most effective — from AA… to Weight Watchers… to Oprah's world… they all have these strands in common: They help you enable yourself, they create new habits, and they help you succeed by connecting and rallying others around your successes and theirs.

Samantha Smith: Best use case scenario you’ve heard so far? Susan Schuman: As I mentioned, we are rigorous about protecting people’s private stuck moments. But I can tell you about Sara Winter, who is an early adopter that we met through Twitter. We interviewed her for a blog post on Unstuck because of her passion for Unstuck and for how she uses the app as a parenting tool. Her son, who has ADD, gets stuck often but isn’t always able to explain to Sara how he feels. So she uses the app to simulate his situation and help her understand. It’s a gratifying story, and underscores the ubiquity of the Unstuck approach.

Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Samantha Smith is Founder of Exponential Entrepreneurship. She builds entrepreneurial communities. She’s a fourth year student at NYU studying Government, Human Nature, and Entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter at @samantha_smith.