Last summer I met a couple in their 70’s that had their home For Sale By Owner in the neighborhood I moved into. My time with them, in their home, had me so perplexed that I had to talk it out with a friend a couple weeks later. That conversation and my later actions, came back to me yesterday; “Are You Stuck In Amber?”
Here is what lead up to the past conversation; The couple, let’s call them Joe and Martha just for this story, had a For Sale By Owner sign on their property located on a heavy traffic street and relatively busy market location. I stopped by to get to know them and introduce myself. While I went through their home with them, i was made aware that I was in a time capsule of the early 1990’s. Everything, from the windows to the decor was from the early 1990’s design. The wallpaper, wall art, faucets, lighting, flooring, etc was in a well maintained state, but it was indeed 35-40 years dated. When I asked questions of Joe and Martha after the tour was over and we were in the kitchen getting to know one another, I heard statements like, “We know that the decor is dated, but I hear brass is making a come back. My decorator friends says that wallpaper is making a comeback. I know that parquet is not the traditional wood flooring popular today, but it is hardwood, not that plastic laminate stuff of today’s floors.” And so much more.
I can’t list all their arguments for overpricing a home that no longer suits their lifestyle and age. No matter what I said, I could not get them to be realistic about their pricing, marketing choices and moving forward. I left completely perplexed in my efforts to be of assistance in getting them to consider a real plan forward in selling their home.
A few days later I met with a friend that enjoys studying “Human Buying Behavior” and I told him about my experience with Joe and Martha. He explained to me, in a nice way, that I had totally mishandled the situation because Joe and Martha are “Stuck In Amber” and that their home is a museum to the “happiest time of their life”. That is why everything is exactly as it was when they raised their children in the home a generation ago. They know that they have aged out of the big family home and that they really did need to move on to a smaller place with less yard maintenance, lower utility and other expenses. However, they were not taking the necessary steps to making their life in the present or planning for their future because they were living in the past, in a museum of their own making. I could not wait to share this brilliant insight a couple weeks later with Joe and Martha.
Yeah, you can imagine that the message was not as well received by The FSBO Sellers, as it had been by me. I attempted to explain that instead of giving daily tours to potential buyers each week, as they thought they had been doing for the past 12 years, was really them giving tours in “The Museum to Joe and Martha’s Happy Family Home”. Their stubbornness in expecting potential new buyers to pay for Joe and Martha’s happy memories was sabotaging any potential real sale. They needed to lower their price drastically and let another young family take over where they left off, 30 years ago, in creating their own happy family traditions and memories in the home and yard. They were trapped in the “amber of their own making”. And due to whatever reason(s) they were not being realistic about how to move into the present, so that they could take real steps towards their future.
Later that week the FSBO sign went down and a few weeks later they moved out and a new young family moved in. I did not get the listing…my delivery of the message was not as well received as when I heard it from my friend. Too personal maybe? Oh well, Joe and Martha are no longer giving Museum Tours of their property. (they had been marketing it for 12 years and had listed it once in that time frame)
I stopped by a couple weeks after that move in to introduce myself and attempt to find out exactly what the property sold for. The new buyer timed his offer to purchase the same week I had been back with my “Amber” message and got a much reduced sales price agreement. Fair priced for both Buyer and Seller. Good for Him. I did mention that I had been involved in the transaction, even if he was unaware of it and told him of my interactions with Joe and Martha. He laughed and said, “So, that was you! They told me about that.” We had a good laugh and he was grateful to meet the person that had laid the ground work for his low price offer.
It’s that old saying, Insanity: doing what you’ve always done with no results-thinking that you will get different results.
It had me thinking while I was driving…”What was ineffective last year in getting me moved forward into my future? And, am I stuck in amber in any aspects of my life?”
Tips to get Unstuck if you too need to assess yourself from Psychology Today
1. Let go of the past.
Listen to the stories in your head. Are events that happened in the past still influencing and dwelling with you in the present? Are you unable to forgive yourself for mistakes you made? Are you blaming yourself or others for things that did not turn out the way you hoped? Ask yourself why you are stuck on these memories, and what you can do to live with them, accept them, and move forward. You can’t undo the past, but you can choose to find peace. Forgiving yourself or others is a way to let go and move on.
“Intelligent people ignore. Strong people forgive, weak people revenge.” – Einstein-
2. Change your perspective.
Once you release the grip you are holding on to the past, you will claim your present in new ways and feel free to change your attitude. To gain a new perspective, meditate or spend time alone and listen to your inner voice, and if needed change the message. If you can, travel or take a break from your daily routine to clear your mind and get distance from your current situation. Travel Therapy is something I really advocate. Open yourself up to new people, stories, cultures, history, perspectives and introduce regular physical activity into your routine. All of these changes will help you gain a new perspective on the future and what is possible.
3. Start with small changes.
Change stimulates different parts of the brain that improve creativity and clarity of mind. You can start small by changing your daily routines, moving things in your house, throw out the old and unused or items that have bad kharma attached to them. Get out making new friends enjoying new interests or resurrect old dusty pleasures & hobbies. Every choice matters. You might be tempted to skip the little things because they don’t always seem important in the moment. But after a while, an accumulation of small changes will help you accomplish your goals, and you will start feeling unstuck.
4. Explore your purpose.
Your life purpose is not just your job, your responsibilities, or your goals—it’s what makes you feel alive. A new friend asked me once after just being introduced to one another, “What’s your hearts desire?” These are the things you are passionate about and will fight for. Examples of a hearts desire could be:
- Helping people overcome the sadness of being ill.
- Helping others reach their full potential.
- Growing as a human being.
- Protecting animals who suffer.
- and mine, To be an Influencer of Light and Joy
You may need to change your life purpose if it no longer inspires you. Or, if you feel like you haven’t had a purpose, this is a great time to define it. Ask yourself the following questions as you consider your life purpose:
- What makes me happy?
- What were my favorite things to do in the past?
- What are my favorite things to do now?
- When do I enjoy myself so much or become so committed to something that I lose track of time?
- Who inspires me the most, and why?
- What makes me feel good about myself?
- What am I good at?
5. Believe in yourself.
Trust that you can reach your expectations and get out of your comfort zone. Make a list of your strengths and positive traits, and remember that you are very capable. Many people sabotage their own progress—consciously or unconsciously—as a result of deep-seated fears and limiting beliefs and the stories of their past that they have been telling themselves for too long that are warped and incorrect.
The first step to believing in yourself is to recognize your self-doubt. Pay attention to the ways you react to situations. Then you can work to reframe your self-doubt. Limitations like, “I can’t” or “I don’t know” can be replaced with, “I can’t do that yet, but I’m working on it,” or “I don’t know now, but I will.”
“Can’t is the cancer of happening.” -Charlie Sheen-
Another way to instill confidence in your abilities is to write down your past successes and keep the notes on hand when you need proof that you can do things that are challenging or new.
6. Practice being hopeful.
Maybe you have had a lot of disappointments that led to this moment in your life when you feel helpless. Maybe you are experiencing a naturally protective feeling of pessimism. This is something you will have to work to change. Find a practice, such as meditation, prayer, or reading inspirational books, and do it daily. With Books On Tape, you no longer have excuses why you are not reading daily. Hope is not a permanent state. You need to work at it every day. The music, and outside influences of your life have a very real impact on your positive state of mind.
7. Consider talking to a professional.
If you find that you are unable to change unhealthy thought patterns, consider consulting a mental health provider to help you figure out why you are stuck, and to find ways to get unstuck. Feeling stuck can be part of a mental-health disorder that can be effectively treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two; having professional support as you work to change long-established thinking patterns can be tremendously helpful. Sometimes asking for help can be the most hopeful and powerful step you can take. I did that very thing in 2015 when I had no idea how to deal with the drastic and immediate changes in my life and I am so very blessed and grateful for the help that Kevin and Mandy were to guiding me out of that murky dark place.
We all get stuck: paralyzed about a decision, unsure what choice to make. Stuck in resentment or disappointment we can’t quite recover from. Stuck in a plan that’s not working as anticipated. Stuck in a destructive, repetitive dynamic with family members, coworkers, or friends.
When we’re stuck, things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless. The good news is, they aren’t. If you want to THRIVE and create a Beautiful Life for Yourself, you must make the effort to live in the present and take the sometimes painful steps in creating a new future for yourself.
We human beings are actually extremely adept at getting unstuck, at seeing the same thing in new ways, discovering new insights and changing our attitudes, but we need some tools to create that movement. Whatever you do, just start moving in the direction you need to, baby steps if need be, but move into your present so you can truly plan and prepare for the success you deserve.