The Key to Getting Unstuck

Introduction from Josh: I have known of Jesse for years now, but only got to know him well in the last year or so. He was the lead pastor at the local church we attend.

However, he is definitely not your average pastor!

Born in Tucson, Arizona and lived there until he was 10. The family then relocated to the Wairarapa, New Zealand. Here he attended both Wairarapa College and Taita College before heading back to the states for University. He studied Psychology and Religious Studies at The University of Arizona.

He went on to work in Mental Health, followed by a stint in Insurance at GEICO, Tucson office in the USA, before coming back to NZ to begin work at our local church.  

When I wanted to have an honest conversation about faith, and the aspects of it I was struggling with, Jesse was the guy I picked. I knew I could talk with him openly without feeling like judgement was being passed down onto me.

Jesse has recently moved back to the states, but still identifies as a Kiwi. He has learnt a lot about leadership through coming into an organisation that was stuck in a rut (our local church) and turning it around. He’s learnt to motivate, inspire and lead an organisation that is largely volunteer-based but with numerous passionate opinions to weigh up.

I asked Jesse to contribute as he has a belief that the church can learn from the business world, just as much as the business world can learn from the church.

Without further ado, here’s Jesse…

The Key to Getting Unstuck

I recently had to take a work trip out of town for a couple of days. Right after boarding my final flight that would take me home, our pilot with a casually optimistic tone, came over the intercom and announced that a couple of things are broken on the plane but should be fixed shortly. I was both grateful and bemused at the same time. Grateful they had discovered the broken pieces of the plane while we were still on the ground and bemused that the pilot just told us that our plane was broken.

My mind quickly turned to my purpose of the day. Since my flights had been first booked, my mission was singular. My 6-year-old son, Archer’s soccer game was that night and if everything went perfectly I could make it on time. Being present in my kid’s lives is one of the things I hold most dear in my life. Even though I had been away for most of the week I was going to arrive in time for the game. When I had set my alarm the night before, the last thought I had for tomorrow was to get to Archer’s soccer game.

I love to encourage Archer, I love to see him have fun, I love speaking into his life and soccer is very special to him. My focus was set; I had a soccer game to attend. The announcement of our broken plane led me to start worrying. My knees began to bounce up and down, I checked the time excessively on my phone and I tried to stay positive.

Fast and the Furious

My plane finally left, and I knew that I still had a small window to make it to at least part of the game. After landing, running to the connecting shuttle and racing to the airport pickup area, we were now on the brink of missing the whole game. The whole family had come to pick me up and after a very quick greeting we were on our way to the game. I used all my knowledge of ‘The Fast and the Furious’ to make the hour-long journey in 45 minutes.

By this time, I was so on edge that I had everyone else in the car on edge as well. Everyone started to get overwhelmed, including Archer. By the time we got to the game, my resolve had gone into overdrive. We arrived with minutes left in the game and under the pressure Archer missed his first shot at goal and the tears started to flow. The pressure was too much.

Ask Yourself Why?

Many of us start with the best intentions. We understand what we are going after in business or with a personal goal, however somewhere along the way we get stuck, we lose our way. Once there, it is very difficult to get unstuck. I want to leave you with one very practical principle that will ALWAYS begin to move you forward again. When stuck you must ask the question “Why?”.

The definition of the word ‘why’ is determining the cause, the reason or more specifically the purpose of what you are trying to do. Many of us are stuck because we lost sight of the PURPOSE of what we were initially wanting to do.

This principle applies from macro to micro problems, everything from your company’s mission statement to the process of answering the phone. We must CONSTANTLY evaluate WHY we are doing something. When we stop reflecting and challenging ourselves on WHY we will end up with a very tired and overwhelmed boy who is no longer enjoying one of his favorite things in the world.

Back to the Soccer Game

I had become so caught up in getting to the game on time, that I had completely lost sight of why I was wanting to be there in the first place. My ‘WHY’ was to support, encourage and spend quality time with Archer and the family. I actually managed to do the opposite of most of those things.

Going back to your ‘WHY’, going back to the purpose will ALWAYS uncover that obstacle, that problem, that roadblock with a solution. In fact, you may often find that you have been attempting to solve the complete wrong problem in the first place, and you will then be able to turn your attention to the correct problem to solve.

Clarity of purpose, honesty, humility and the ability to CHANGE back to true north of that purpose is essential in getting unstuck.

The best thing about refocusing on your ‘WHY’, is that it is never too late. I was able to apologize to Archer and to the rest of my family and the following soccer game was one of the best times we have had. Today, simply and honestly go back to your ‘WHY’ so you can move out of that rut.

Jesse with Archers Soccer Team

You can reach Jesse on…

Instagram @jesse.northway
[email protected]