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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


The thing that stops you from doing the thing.

The thing. You know, the thing.

I don’t know what your thing is. But it’s the thing you desperately want to be working on.

It’s the thing you are just as desperately avoiding (at least some of the time), and with good reason.

But the point is: you have a thing.

Which is awesome.

And then … even though you have the thing, you’re not doing the thing. Or maybe you are doing the thing, but you keep getting stuckified.

Normal. Natural. To be expected.

Fear of success is the thing (that gets in the way of doing the thing)

And working on it — working on unraveling it and interacting with it and learning how it works so you can take it apart and come up with something better — is valuable.

And hard.

Valuable and hard.

Working on your stuff so you can help your Right People and maybe even heal yourself while you’re at it … totally worth it.

But did I mention hard? Because man, it’s hard.*

*First person to leave a comment saying “no, it’s easy, just use my simple three-step system” gets peed on by a certain duck who shall remain nameless. Okay, her name is Selma.

There are two ways to work on this.

Two doorways. Two gates.

One is turning inward and working on your stuff. The other is looking outward at what you’re trying to achieve and then tweaking your systems.

You need both.

Internal work and external work. Hard and soft. Stuckness-zapping and systems-revamping.

How about I give you an example.

Let’s say the issue you’re working on is dealing with criticism.

You’re human, so you probably kind of suck at it. I do. So do most of the people I know. Actually, there are three people I know who don’t.

Let’s assume you get hit with criticism and it messes with your head. Maybe every time. Maybe just once in a while. It doesn’t matter.

If you work on it “in the soft”, you spend time learning coping mechanisms. You train yourself to work on things like releasing the need for outside legitimacy and how to separate your stuff from their stuff.

If you work on it “in the hard”, you look for mechanisms that you can put into place to mediate how you interact with the criticism to begin with.

For example, one of my assistants moderates all the blog comments and reads my email. Sure there’s stuff that’s harsh, insulting and/or has at least a semi-decent chance of ruining my day, but I never see it.

Saves me some more time … which I can then use to practice dissolving more stucknesses. A little of this. A little of that. It adds up.

Back to the part about it being hard.

This is not easy.

Working on your stuff is not easy. Rebuilding your systems is not easy.

Working on them simultaneously — although it’s more effective … still not easy.

No kidding.

And now I must quote a movie about baseball. It holds true for things that are not baseball.

“Of course it’s hard! If it weren’t, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Uh huh.

Transformational work is hard.

Working on your stuff is hard.

It’s not a thing you do for fun or anything. At least not at first.

That’s because it requires a certain … oh, ballsiness. And willingness. And the sincere intention that yeah, you know what? You’re ready to shift something.

And the thing that makes it all a bit easier — not easy, no, just less paralyzing — is combining the internal destuckifying with the external systems stuff. It gets more do-able. And occasionally you even get these little moments of pure exhilaration.

Remembering that it’s allowed to be hard makes it all that much easier.


Don’t read this part unless you’re interested in me talking about something that has to do with my thing.

My thing: we destuckify and we make practical changes.

The part that interests me in all this is figuring out how to dissolve the fear behind the thing that isn’t working … and then finding ways to make it work better when it is working.

So in this class I’m teaching on Stuff Havi Thinks You Should Know About How to Get Really Really Great Testimonials, Recommendations & Referrals Without Having To Feel Gross and Horrible … my whole goal is to help people do both.

The destuckifying part is dissolving the ew and the this is uncomfortable and the people will hate me so you can share your thing with the people who need it.

The systems part is where I tell you exactly what you need to say and do so that no one will ever have to feel uncomfortable.

It’s where I tell you how you get people to trip over themselves trying to help you promote your thing (see? there’s your thing again) without even necessarily knowing that this is what they’re doing.

But not in a manipulative way. In a helping-your-Right-People-feel-safe-and-comfortable way.

How you know if my thing is your thing.

If you’re looking for traditional, sensible, common sense stuff of the blah blah blippity blah variety, you will hate this class. You’re not this class’s Right People. It’s not for you. That’s fine. We can still hang out here.

And if you don’t mind having the kind of testimonials that nobody ever reads, and/or making the people you’ve helped feel awkward when you ask for them, also probably not a good fit.

But if you’re serious about releasing some of your stuck stuff around biggification (helping your Right People find you so you can help them) and then rewrite your patterns and your systems so the thing you do can grow and thrive … then I want to see you there.

Selma and I will love you just the same if you don’t sign up, of course. But come on. Your thing needs you.

If it’s for you (yay!), you can sign up here. The $100-off -for-my-readers thing still holds. You just have to know who Selma is. Or who Stu is.

I know. I warned you about things being hard.

p.s. Actually, despite all of my silliness, a couple of people did write in complaining that having to have Stu or Selma knowledge is unfair. I didn’t see it because of my email sabbatical. But I heard a rumor.

Anyway, a quick use of the search button in my sidebar came up with the story of Selma. And I have it on good account that Stu (who is not a chicken) is the star of my weekly Friday Chicken. So don’t let that be the barrier to me using my thing to help you with your thing. :)

18 Responses to The thing that stops you from doing the thing.

  1. Havi —

    I just wanted to tell you that your writing has helped me a lot recently. You’ve inspired me with an idea for my Thing, and reading your stuff has made me feel less terrified of actually doing that Thing, and actually being more of myself (out loud, in public) into the bargain.

    I think you deserve credit for all that. So thank you. A lot.

    fatnutritionists last blog post..Your body is your home.

  2. pam
    Twitter: moonslar

    What if your THING is trying to figure out what your THING is…
    I love reading your posts, even if I don’t actually have a business that I need to do the THING for… I find that your biggification techniques work just as well on the THING of just living a well rounded and genuine life.

    And who knows… maybe someday I will grow up and find out that I do have a THING that I need to share with the world…

  3. Havi you are a genius writer… I connected with this post so much today! This past week for me has been one stuck-ness after another with MY thing. Which happens to be painting. And when I get stuck, I avoid my thing like the plague until it gets too uncomfortable to avoid any longer.

    I don’t usually leave a link in a comments field (cuz I know it can be taken as a selfish plug) BUT, this time I thought it may benefit others… Here are two posts I made this week in an effort to give someone reading this, a means of seeing what can be learned from working through destuckifiation from an painters point of view.

    I am so glad to have discovered your blog and hope you don’t mind that I post a link to it on mine!


    “Lost Again…Found Again” – http://tinyurl.com/dn6wav
    “Recue the Snakes!” – http://tinyurl.com/d878u5

    Jennifer Phillipss last blog post..Rescue the Snakes!

  4. […] an excerpt from the the post she wrote today which talks about what we will be learning […]

  5. Emma Newman
    Twitter: emapocalyptic

    Ace, as always. What constantly surprises me is how clever the avoidance is – how it changes tactics after I think I’ve beaten it. Then before I realise what it’s done, I haven’t worked on getting published for weeks. Gah! I hate that!

    It reminds me of Bindweed – lots of long long roots underground, so even when you pull a bit out and that bit of your garden is weed free, the little so-and-so is growing somewhere else. One day, I might have found all the roots, but not yet!

    Love to you, your arms and of course, the duckish one.

    Emma Newmans last blog post..The first short story I have written in the last fifteen years!

  6. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    Something in this post tells me that your class is going to be helpful beyond the testimonial and referral getting stuff. To me, it sounds like it will be a specific example of how to work with both the soft and the hard sets of tools, and what we’ll learn there will be useful as a general model that we can apply to deal with other stuff. I hope that is the case, because while the specific stuff about the testimonials and referrals will certainly be awesome, being able to generalise what we’ll learn makes it even more valuable. In any case, I’m looking forward to the class!

  7. rowena says:

    I like this. I can do this.

    This hard part isn’t forever…. it just feels like forever.

    I can do it.

    rowenas last blog post..The Gold Fish Pond

  8. Lucy Viret (aka randomling)
    Twitter: lucyviret

    Rowena: OH SO MUCH. I have major issues with the “feels like forever” part and it’s one of my biggest barriers to being in the process. Because, OMG, HARD. And it feels like it will never end!

    On the other hand, sometimes I get a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s rather awesome.

    Lucy Viret (aka randomling)s last blog post..Willingness.

  9. Nathan Briggs says:

    I am shocked – shocked I say – that there aren’t dozens of Selmnanaughts queuing up to be peed upon by Her Yellow Magnificence.

    So I have this easy, 2-and-a-half step, easy system…

  10. p_q says:

    I love your post, as usual.

    But here is the “problem”.
    You link to many interesting things!

    Right now, I’m reading your Selma story, and meanwhile I have 14 more tabs opened, most from your blog and a couple of Hiro Boga, and “davka” and things like that.

    So I’m getting stuck trying to learn how to get unstuck!

    Anyway. it’s good thing to know that I have all this good to read and learn.
    Internet have so much but at the same time so little.

    In this great jungle your blog is a pleasent farm.

    My love to you and your duck.

  11. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @p_q – that’s so funny! I also often have the “too many tabs opened at once thing” (which usually turns into one of my Item! posts when it gets to be too much).

    Oh the irony. And yes, the process of destuckifying does contain it’s share of sticky distractions. :)

    I’m sure you’ll get all the things you need when you need them and that it will sort itself out. At least, that’s my wish for you!

    @Nathan – oh you, always trying to get peed on by my duck. Fetishist! I know your kind, sir.

    @Lucy & Rowena – exactly! It really does feel like forever … and it’s so great to remember that it’s not.

    @pam – wow. You nailed it! That is so exactly what I am trying to do here. Everything I talk about is really meant to be something you can apply to everything in your life.

    I mean, yeah, I teach business-ey stuff just because it’s an easy way to get the point across and because I geek out on it. But really all of this stuff is just self-work live-a-happier-more-intentional-life so you can feel safe and comfortable being who you are.

    So yay! Love it when people get the *essence* of what I’m trying to teach here. Fabulous.

  12. Shawna R. B. Atteberry
    Twitter: shawnaatteberry

    Thank you Havi! A lot of this last week’s posts have been exactly what I needed. I really want My Thing to start taking off, and I am slowly getting destuckified.

    Shawna R. B. Atteberrys last blog post..Me, Working at Home, and the Bible

  13. I’m with Mr. Briggs. I’m going to let everyone in on my super-secret highly guarded secret, worth millions and normally only revealed in my ultra-mega-selective (limited to 1000 people per!) seminars. It’s a simple three step-process to unblocking your creative energy and blah blah blah.

    Step One: Shut up.
    Step Two: Do the thing.

    I’ve been rigorously trying to follow this system myself for some time…can someone help me understand why I’m not a rich, famous writer? ;)

  14. Nathan Briggs says:

    @havi: caught me. You know how Selma sneaks out late a couple of nights a month…? ;-)

    @Thorin: lol!

  15. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    @Thorin – that is by far the best comment we’ve ever had on the Fluent Self blog (apologies to all the duck fetishists). Fabulous.

    @Nathan – hmmm, must be some other duck. Birds of a feather, you know. *kiss* :)

  16. Gilbert (@CrazyOnYou)
    Twitter: CrazyOnYou

    For me a big part of the stuckness is thinking that unsticking it must really, really complicated and tough to fix, so I go about making it that way. When I finally wear myself out, I eventually relax and let it be simple (it’s the process, stupid!) somehow it magically unblocks me.

    Of course, facing the fear also helps… And allowing the fear to express itself… And cookies… Nice soft chewy cookies are good.

    Let’s not forget @Thorin’s advice too – do the thing that you fear…

  17. […] the original worry came up loud and clear because I was reading Havi’s post about the thing that stops you from doing the thing. One of the things that Havi mentions is that one way to get past the stuck is to focus on helping […]

  18. […] from external legitimacy to increasing internal […]

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