Unstuck: A Book Review by Bob Morris

Unstuck: Reframe your thinking to free yourself from the patterns and people that hold you back
Lia Garvin
Topix Media Lab (April 2022)

“The real superpower is not the ability itself — it’s knowing when to use it.” Lia Garvin

In Leading Change (1995), James O’Toole suggests that the greatest resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.”

I was again reminded of that insight as I began to read the Introduction in which Lia Garvin explains how to avoid or overcome the self-limiting — often self-defeating — comfort and custom to which O’Toole refers. How? Garvin recommends mastering the skills required by reframing: “the ability to look at a situation where we feel stuck and consider all the other perspectives available — perspectives that would help us get, well, unstuck.”

Garvin is correct when asserting that many (if not most) workers struggle to respond effectively to all manner of challenges, several unique to today’s VUCA business world. She focuses on twelve and they are especially difficult for women to avoid or overcome. Framing each requires a new mindset based on more revealing perspectives.

For better or worse, HOW YOU

o Give and receive FEEDBACK
o Discuss your work in terms of its value and IMPACT
o Set and explain your GOALS
o Interact with others to resolve a CONFLICT
o Personify CONFIDENCE
o Convince yourself and others of YOUR VALUE
o Identify/communicate what is most important to you and t others during a NEGOTIATION
o Control and leverage or are controlled by THE EGO
o Define FAILURE
o Accept, assign, and/or refuse ACCOUNTABIITY
o Create a context for DECISION-MAKING
o Use COMPARISON to accelerate your journey of self-discovery

What is not reframing? Garvin examines and repudiates three myths:

1. “Reframing is looking on the bright side.”
In fact, framing is looking on all relevant sides.

2. “Reframing just gets me to the same sh***y (rhymes with “pretty”) perspective.”
In fact, properly done, reframing will extend, expand, and enrich understanding far beyond almost anyone’s current perspective.

3. “Reframing means making excuses.”
In fact, reframing provides greater and better understanding, often in the form of revelations.

I highly recommend that Unstuck be read at least twice: First, to become unstuck; then again, to put reframing to the test by formulating and then executing a plan based on the end-of-chapter “Let’s Practice” material.

Yes, there are people who have held you back until now and others who’ve tried. That will remain true as you take on the challenges that await. For sure, you will need assistance in weeks and months ahead. Seek guidance from those who will tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. And keep in mind this observation by Pogo the Possum: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Most human limits are self-imposed.


Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.