How to get unstuck at work and move forward

– The number one crucial step is to get where you want to be

Linda is my best friend.

After she graduated from a university in pharmaceutical with a Master degree, she landed a nice job with the largest State owned pharmaceutical company in China. After eight years, she became the youngest senior engineer in the company and was assigned with an international project to work in Tokyo in a Nobel Prize Winner’s laboratory.

Linda completed her project in two years in Japan, published her research results on a peer-reviewed international journal…

She applied grant after returning from Tokyo. She was pumped with energy and excitement with her new learning and research capability after coming back to her company. She wanted to contribute more…

However, her grant application got denied.

Linda was back to where she was two years ago.

How do you feel if you were Linda? Disappointed? May be.

But, life moves on.

Would you stay where you are if you were Linda?

The reality was that being in a state owned pharmaceutical company is like that you already have your golden bow for the rest of your life, with the nice salary and benefits. And Linda’s family and friends were around as well…

Linda was frustrated, not satisfied with her situation at work…

Time passed by… one week… one month… three months…

Linda was not happy, and she noticed that she developed shoulder pain, and neck pain… The pains became so sever that she had to see her doctor…

She had medication, acupuncture and message treatments…

Six months passed by her pains were still lingering around…

She went to an international conference to present her research in Japan. A professor from Canada was very interested in her research and came to her asking questions. The discussion went for a while… and Linda was encouraged to apply for a Ph.D study in his lab.

So she did,

Linda followed her heart – the internal craving for growth, bravely with clear determination. And her pains mysteriously disappeared soon after.

Person growth is the number drive for our happiness. If you are not satisfied with your situation, look internally and pay attention what makes you tick.

Very often, what makes us tick, makes us burst to sing, usually reflects our personal value, and what is meaningful for us.

So become more aware of those signals. Become more clear with what you want and why you want it.

Once you are clear what you want, you are half way to your success.

Go deep to find what you want today. Clarity is the key.

Design your environment for your growth and success

I was living in an apartment on the 31st floor of a building two year ago.

The building is located in a very nice private community with many facilities conveniently nearby. I can go down stairs and walk 50 steps or so to a Recreation Sport Center.

Therefore, I went to the Rec Center regularly for running. I became a runner.

Then I moved to another city to another apartment, which is not close to any sport center. However, there is nice yoga studio near by. Soon I became a yoga lover and only occasionally go out for a run.

Even though I love the feeling after running and I have tried a few times to discipline myself to keep running regularly, but I have hard time to keep it up.

I find I always have some reasons for not going out for a run: it’s a gloomy day; it’s a little bit cold; it’s a little bit hot; the traffic is busy; the pavement is not even…

You see, the environment has a big impact on my behavior. I choose easy route to do things.

This tendency also reflects in my life for doing other things.

One of the laws for forming a habit by James Clear is to “Make it easy”.

Therefore, if you want to success and grow a good habit, in addition to your motivation, one important thing is to make your action easy; it is to create an environment in favor of your action.

James stated that there are four laws for forming a habit:

  1. Making it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

Among the laws, “Make it easy” by changing your environment is the one easily being overlooked, yet it is a very important factor for your success.

Back to my previous story. I moved to a house after two years living in the apartment near by a yoga studio. The house is very close to a Rec Sports Center. Now, living in this house, I start running again!

I chose the place where I live. I want it be close to a sport center. This close proximity makes my life so easy. I enjoy running and yoga and other facilities and activities offered by the center. I feel good about myself after exercises. I enjoy the energy generated from my regular exercises.

My habit comes back to me.

This experience can be applied and it has spilled over to my life in other areas.

Changing your environment, change your life.

Changing your friends, change your life.

I ask you take an inventory of your life:

  1. If you want to improve your life for better, 1% better by end of the week, what one change you want to make?
  2. What environment you need create to make yourself easier to make the change?

Design your environment, you will one step close and easier close to your success.

Use your “placebo” to show your confidence

I found that if I jotted down a few lines I need to say for a meeting beforehand, these lines serve me very well.

I could forget some details. But these lines are my lighthouse directing me to navigate during the meeting. I could regain my confidence with those lines. They also serve me as my placebo and back born for my confidence during those occasions.

Similarly, I can give myself some prep-talk when I am not sure what I can do and how do I act during other occasions. This kind of talk backs me up, serve me as my placebo many times over.

You can be as good as your placebo.

Dr. Joe Dispenza said, “You are the placebo: mind matters”. He has documented many cases for patients who believe placebo effect have reversed their illness and sickness.

We can psychic our mind and prepare our mentality, for good or for bad.

With all the placebo effect, why not you choose the one good for you?

Because when we lack confidence, we are suffering. We are stressed. We do silly things and regret. We make our family and friends worried as well.

We get to set our intention, our placebo, our mind to make us feel confident. So that we can be our good, better and best self.

Here are a few steps you can start:

  1. Make a collection of your positive peak moments
  2. When you feel the little monkey in your belly drumming up and down, find a quite place and take a few deep breath
  3. Create your placebo
  4. Use your placebo freely when you need it

Use your peak moments to create confidence

Do you remember the latest peak moment in your life?

Can you reflect what had happened during this memorable moment? How did this moment affected you?

I remember one of the peak moments happened to me in 2012. I was leading a multinational team for a conference call. The call went very well, beyond my expectation. The team was able to reach a decision after an engaged discussion.

I was hosting the conference. The whole experience always remind me that I was like a conductor of a symphony band. The whole band was so well understanding each other and so well prepared themselves. As a conductor, I was able to coordinate each extraordinary individual for them to be their best self. I am very proud of myself and the team.

This experience happened seven years ago. I still feel the moment. Whenever I go back to relive that moment, I always gain energy and confidence. And I know I can repeat the experience. I actually did repeat it.

See, there are four elements involved in a positive peak moment:

  1. Insights
  2. Elevated feeling
  3. Connection with others
  4. Pride

I would like you to reflect your peak moment when you feel lacking of confidence. You can use time travel experience going back to that moment.

Find a quiet place, image that you are at that peak moment. From that moment to see how can you use it for your NOW moment.

How can you create the elevated feeling, insight and connect with others, so that you are proud of yourself?

Hold that image and act on it.

Experiments for living truly

Baby cries when she needs something.

Kids ignore their parents’s shouting for dinners when they are absorbed in playing.

Teens hangout with other teens, but not their parents.

They live truly.

For us, the adults. We can experimenting live truly…

Live truly is to live through the highs and lows in life. They are the same…. they are not the measurement of our success.

Live truly tries to Don’t accept NO for an answer.

live truly, you also can treat great success and terrific failure the same way. You are who you are. We pursue our goals through success or failure. They do not change who you are.

Live truly… experimenting… explore

Immersion program becomes popular

I know a number of Chinese friends who spoke Chinglish when they first arrived the North American countries in 1990s.

Because they learned English from their Chinese English teachers. They did not have experience to practice the English and did not know how to use it properly.

English immersion programs become very popular in China now. Students going to the programs have to use what they learn, because they have native speakers to talk to.

Learning if good, but enough. You have to use it.

Having insights are good. You have to test them and apply them to your action and life.

Learning by doing is a better way to master, develop what you.

When you open your hands…

When I opened my hand to a stranger first time, I felt uncertain – will she open her hand to me as well? What if she refuses my handshake? What would other people think of me?

I felt vulnerable.

However, people also open their hands to me when I open mine.

It’s a brave action to open your hand first.

You are brave to bring yourself up to the front first.

Exposing your vulnerability is a brave action.

We grow from our vulnerability, becoming stronger and more connected.


When you have sands in your hand, the more tightly you grab the sands, the less sands you can hold in your palm.

Sometimes, your opportunities and your abundance need you to loose up, embrace whatever comes to your way.

You are born as a complete, whole and resourceful person. The abundance is all around you and in you.

You are your master, the captain of your life. You control your life and therefore your abundance by making your choices.

Any progress, one step, a mistake and wrong choice all make your life richer, more colorful and interesting. You can test all possibilities, only the sky is your limit – as a matter of fact, this is my limited statement. You certainly are not limited even by the sky!

There is no small step. There is no small stretch. There is no limit, if you can let it go.

Abundance is sense of mind without limitation.


Focus on contribution makes an effective you as a person, it also makes a CEO runs an effective company.

The key to focus is the concentration.

You will need concentrate to be able to deliver and contribute.

You can build blocks of time focusing on particular topic, project of your priority. During these blocks, turn off your phone, close your email alerts, close your office door. Get yourself clear from noise and be effective.

With the increased constant disruption, concentration is the way leading to your focus, your effectiveness.

Focus on contribution

Whoever is working, no matter for herself or for somebody else or for an organization, she has to contribute her share of responsibility. This is the way showing your presence and your value.

Focus on contribution is the way for anyone to grow, to discover her potential, to have her impact in her cycle, community, society.

Focus on contribution is an essential element for any top management, any executive, any business owner, anyone self-employed.

Focus on contribution means you take responsibility for results. It means that you are accountable for the performance.

Anyone focusing on contribution has a growth mind.

Anyone who does not ask herself, “What can I contribute?” are not only likely to aim too low, she is likely to aim at the wrong things. 

Commitment to contribution is the commitment to responsible effectiveness.

You can ask yourself from time to time, “What can I and no one else do which, if done really well, would make a real difference to this situation or office or company?”

This will change the way how can you approach the situation, office, or company. You focus on contribution. You will become more effective.