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The Get Unstuck & Get Going! Booster Shot will offer you new
perspectives on how to get going on the stuff that matters.

By Michael Bungay Stanier

Click on the title to go to the Sparker of your choice (Feel free to reprint our Sparkers in your newsletters or send to clients just be sure to attach the copyright info and the link)

Booster Shots - The power of prototyping
What are your rules?

Wrap it up!
What scars do you have?
The benefits of obscurity
How to use camouflage to get unstuck
Hmmm… that's funny
It’s time to decide
Booster Shot! stimulation: Vitruvius
Booster Shot! stimulation: Occam's Razor


Booster Shots - The power of prototyping by Michael Bungay Stanier

First, a reminder of the three steps to get unstuck
1. Bring a challenge you're facing to mind. Go on, you know you can. Be even more daring and write it down.
2. Generate possibilities using the Booster Shot! stimulation. Spend at least 53 seconds thinking about the questions, and see what comes to mind.
3. Commit to action. Work through the action steps and get going!

James Dyson first conceived of the 'dual cyclone' vacuum cleaner in 1978. 5 years and 5,127 prototypes later, he at last had a working model. It took another ten years to bring the vacuum cleaner to the market, because no one would back the idea. When the DC01 was finally launched in 1993, it took less than two years to become the best-selling machine in the UK. Dyson is now a billionaire, and his vacuum cleaners are available around the world.

Thinking now of your challenge:

  • What hunch are you not backing?
  • Where and when are you tempted to give up?
  • What if you tried one more time?
  • What if you created a prototype?

Action

You now have new perspectives and ideas on your challenge. Pick one thing. Make this the thing you will do.

  • When will you do it by?
  • What's the first step?
  • How will you be held accountable?

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2006 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html
Michael is the author of Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters


What are your rules? By Michael Bungay Stanier

We need rules to get by in life. Not just rules for which side of the road to drive on or how much tax to pay, but also unspoken rules such as how to get dressed and how often it's appropriate to bathe (who was it that said “I have a bath once a month whether I need it or not?”)

And while these rules serve us, they also contain us.

So what are your rules?

Mike Abrashoff, the former Commander of the USS Benfold (and author of the best-selling book It's Your Ship) offers this advice

  • If a rule doesn't make sense, break it.
  • If a rule does make sense, break it carefully.

Action Acceleration challenge

  • Decide on a challenge you're feeling stuck on right now
  • What are the rules here? What have you decided that you can do and that you can't do?
  • Which rules don't make sense? How can you break them?
  • Which rules make sense? How can you break them carefully?
  • Now: what's the one action you're going to take as a result?

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2006 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


Wrap it up! by Michael Bungay Stanier

Are you a starter? Or a finisher? Do you get a thrill from getting things moving? Or wrapping things up.

Both of course are important roles. However, it's rare that someone is equally strong at both.

One of the challenges of being a “starter” is carrying the weight of unfinished projects. There's literal weight – file folders, piles of paper. But a heavier burden is the psychological weight – actions on the to-do list that you keep pushing back, the sense of l, never having the chance to celebrate a project done and dusted.

“If you start to take Vienna, take Vienna.”
Napoleon Bonaparte, commander

Action Acceleration challenge

  • What are the projects you've started?
  • Which ones can you say no to? If you had to eliminate half of these projects, which ones would they be?
  • Which ones have you said yes to?
  • Pick the one that matters most to you.
  • If you had to finish it by the end of the month, what would you do? If you had to finish it by the end of the week, what would you do? If you had to finish it today, what would you do?

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2006 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


What scars do you have? by Michael Bungay Stanier

In some primitive tribes, the Shaman – the keeper of wisdom and magic and healing – could only become Shaman if he (or occasionally she) was wounded. It was believed that it was through the wound that the powerful wisdom had entered.

It's not accident that our scars are made of the strongest tissue in our bodies, even though the might be the result of deep injury.

Action Acceleration challenge:

• Decide on a challenge you’re feeling stuck on right now
• Spend some time connecting with your scars. Not just the physical ones, but also the emotional ones. Tell yourself their stories. How did you obtain them? What did you overcome? What wisdom has entered in through that wound?
• How can you apply that wisdom to your challenge?
• What new perspective do you see about you challenge, now you’re connected to your wisdom and magic?
• Now: what’s the one action you’re going to take as a result?

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


The benefits of obscurity by Michael Bungay Stanier

Albert Schweitzer won the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with lepers and victims of sleeping sickness in central Africa. He believed in the power of “small and obscure deeds.”

For Schweitzer, the impact of these small deeds were “a thousand times stronger than the acts of those who receive wide public recognition. The latter, compared to the former, is like the foam on the waves of the deep ocean.”

In a world of relentless branding, marketing and sales it can be easy to become disheartened if you’re not in the spotlight, achieving the “big thing”, being the star. But shift your perspective. What if the small stuff was actually the secret of your success? What if you knew that each small and obscure action you were taking now was absolutely essential for laying the foundation for what you are creating.

Action Acceleration challenge

  • Decide on a challenge you’re feeling stuck on right now
  • What are six small deeds you can do to move forward?
  • What can you do in secret?
  • Now: what’s the one action you’re going to take as a result?

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


How to use camouflage to get unstuck by Michael Bungay Stanier

First, a reminder of the three steps to get unstuck

  1. Bring a challenge you're facing to mind. Go on, you know you can. Be even more daring and write it down.
  2. Generate possibilities using the Booster Shot! stimulation. Spend at least 53 seconds thinking about the questions, and see what comes to mind.
  3. Commit to action. Work through the action steps and get going!

CADPAT - Canadian Disruptive Pattern - is the most sophisticated camouflage pattern in the world today. It's created by taking satellite photos of landscapes and pixillating them into camouflage patterns. The "Temperate Woodland" uniform tricks the eye into seeing a forested background from 30 to 350 meters away. CADPAT also incorporates a near-infrared profile, that counteracts night-vision technology and means that soldiers can't be seen so well at night. (Curious? You can learn more here.)

Thinking now of your challenge:

  • If you wanted to keep a low profile, what could you do?
  • If you wanted to be in the spotlight, what could you do?
  • If you wanted to sneak up on someone, who would it be? And for the sake of what
  • If you wanted to stop blending in, what could you do?

Action-

  • You now have new perspectives and ideas on your challenge. Pick one thing. Make this the thing you will do.
  • When will you do it by?
  • What's the first step?
  • How will you be held accountable?

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


Hmmm… that's funny by Michael Bungay Stanier

Isaac Asimov, who wrote such sci-fi classics as "I, Robot" and the "Foundations" series, once wrote:

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!' (‘I found it!'), but ‘that's funny…'.”

Indeed, many of our most ubiquitous inventions have been created by accident.

  • You may have already heard of Post-It notes being the result of a failed adhesive at 3M.

  • Did you know that one of the catalysts for inventing radar (which stands for Radio detection and ranging) was a British official's inquiry about a “death ray” (and that one of the fathers of radar, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, was some years later caught in a radar trap whilst speeding in Canada)?

  • And non-stick Teflon (which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the slipperiest substance on earth) was the accidental result of Du Pont scientist Dr Roy Plunkett working on coolant gases (the kinds found in refrigerators).

Action Acceleration challenge

  • Decide on a challenge you're feeling stuck on right now

  • What's slightly peculiar about it? Where do things feel not quite right?

  • Where's the wisdom in that?

  • And what will you do as a result of that insight?

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


It’s time to decide by Michael Bungay Stanier

The etymology of the word “decide” comes from the Greek for “to slay” – hence words like suicide and homicide.

That’s why making a decision can be so scary: you’re literally killing off an option.

But failing to decide can be just as bad – if you’re not committing, none of the options have come alive. In other words, you’re stuck

Here are three ways to make a decision:
o If it’s a choice between two things, assign one option to “heads” on a coin, the other to “tails”. Toss the coin. When you see what the answer is, gauge your reaction. Disappointed? Delighted? It will give you guidance on what you really want.
o Use Edward de Bono’s process of measuring the options by listing the Pluses, Minuses and what’s Interesting about each one. When you’ve created these three lists for each option, give each item a score. Some may have negative numbers, some positive, some large, some small. Add up the totals for each option. What wisdom’s here?
o Create 4 (or more) sub-personalities. For instance, my sub-personalities would be: The Accountant, the Dare-devil, the Husband, the Entrepreneur. Make the decision from the perspective of each personality. Where’s the wisdom here?


Action Acceleration challenge
o There are at least two decisions in your life that you’re putting off. Pick one of them right now.
o Use one of the ways of making a decision suggested above.
o Make the decision!

You can download the Action Acceleration Sheet™ for free at Get Unstuck & Get Going...on the stuff that matters and use it to work through your action challenge.

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


Booster Shot! stimulation: Vitruvius By Michael Bungay Stanier

Here are the three steps to getting unstuck and getting going on stuff that matters:

  • Bring a challenge you're facing to mind. Go on, you know you can. Be even more daring and write it down.
  • Generate possibilities using the Booster Shot! stimulation. Spend at least 53 seconds thinking about the questions, and seeing what comes to mind.
  • Commit to action. Work through the action steps and get going!


Booster Shot! stimulation: Vitruvius

In architecture, Vitruvius' triad states, "in very construction, its solidity (firmitas), utility (utilitas) and beauty (venustas) must be born in mind."

  • What are you building?
  • Where is it solid? Where is it not?
  • How is it useful? How is it not?
  • What is beautiful about it? What is not?

    Action
  • You have new perspectives and ideas on your challenge. Pick one thing. Make this the thing you will do.
  • When will you do it by?
  • What's the first step?
  • How will you be held accountable?

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


Booster Shot! stimulation: Occam's Razor by Michael Bungay Stanier

Here are the three steps to getting unstuck and getting going on stuff that matters:
- Bring a challenge you're facing to mind. Go on, you know you can. Be even more daring and write it down.
- Generate possibilities using the Booster Shot! stimulation. Spend at least 53 seconds thinking about the questions, and seeing what comes to mind.
- Commit to action. Work through the action steps and get going!


Booster Shot! stimulation: Occam's Razor

The principle of Occam's Razor tells us that if there are two or more explanations for anything, and with all other things being equal, the simplest one is true.
- What's the simplest explanation?
- What is the simplest action you can take?

Action
- You have new perspectives and ideas on your challenge. Pick one thing. Make this the thing you will do.
- When will you do it by?
- What's the first step?
- How will you be held accountable?

Sparkers - Boostershots© 2005 Michael Bungay Stanier for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Read more sparkers by Michael at . www.coachingtoys.com/boostershots.html


 

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Disclaimer

Sparkers Creative exercises, while mostly fun and enriching may occasionally tap into unresolved issues or discomfort. This may signal some healing to attend to. If this should happen for you and you feel you need help contact a professional counselor. Coaching, while powerful it is not a substitute for therapeutic intervention.

 

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