The Secret to Getting Unstuck

School leaders often can feel stuck.

Sometimes, they are stuck in systems that don’t appreciate them, don’t support them, or don’t listen to them. Sometimes, they are stuck between parents and teachers in a tug-of-war over students. Sometimes, they are just stuck in schools resistant to change. Sometimes, they are stuck on a treadmill of overwhelm they can’t seem to escape.

Recently, a school leader reflected on her newfound freedom. She had freed herself from a cycle of anxiety. Her anxiety centered around teacher shortages, human resource shifts, and a political landscape of landmines.

Yet, she got unstuck!

And, she didn’t have to quit her job.

Doesn’t this sound like a winning formula?!

Of course, I was immensely curious about her success. What had she done to get unstuck?

First of all, I want to offer the disclaimer, it didn’t happen overnight. It was months in the making. But, here is the SECRET…

She took action.

Taking action in strategic and intentional ways, based on the truth of your situation,

is the way forward!


She began by inquiring. Why am I so overwhelmed and frustrated? Why is burnout haunting me? How does my body feel at the end of the day? Why is sleep so elusive?

Her inquiry was honest, courageous, and bold. She didn’t sugarcoat anything, but she also didn’t blame anyone. It was just a brutal autopsy, “I feel stuck!”

Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash


The next step she took was to interweave her story with the stories of her mastermind members, her fellow Principals.

She didn’t remain in isolation. She stepped into community: a safe and vulnerable space with people who would champion her.

I’m pleased to report that 100% of all Better Leaders, Better Schools mastermind members report the groups as safe spaces where they can bring the truth of their experiences.

Every leader needs this type of space.


Part of her collaboration and self-reflection included, ‘What do I have control over?’ She investigated this question.

Many dynamics created the ‘feeling of stuck’ because she didn’t have control over them. She described with frustration, “I don’t have enough substitute teachers, I am covering in classrooms every day, the leadership is changing, and the politics are never-ending.”

However, gradually, over time, she discovered what was in her control and her capacity to strategically exercise control.

This investigation may not seem like a concrete deliverable, but it was a key action step in the process of getting unstuck!


She slowly began to make intentional changes to her schedule. This was the first and quite possibly the most essential action item.

She described simple and disciplined actions. She began to leave work on time and celebrate herself for doing it. Additionally, she stopped work to eat lunch. Even her phone was programmed to remind her to breathe and pray.

Her mastermind members texted her at midday to remind her to take a little break. She began to feel some relief, improving her capacity to act in other areas.


Finally, after months of crawling out of the hole called ‘stuck,’ she consciously reached for inspiration, tools, training, and concrete strategies to support her leadership.

Her excitement grew to where she was now investing in others, sharing what she learned, and collaborating with other high-level school leaders generously.

The transformation was profound!

If you’re stuck, there’s a secret to getting unstuck: ACTION.

Taking action in strategic and intentional ways, based on the truth of your situation, is the way forward!

For the sake of the children,


PS I hope I get bonus points for having five ‘I’ words in this post! Have a GREAT day!