Wouldn’t it feel nice to feel unstuck in your life? I know how much it sucks to feel stuck (wow those two words are very similar). When I feel stuck I feel like I am doomed to live out the rest of my life in confusion. At the time the solution always seems non-existent. Yet somehow I manage to make it out okay.
The feeling of being stuck is powerful and we have two choices: admit total defeat or keep pushing. Like anyone else when I’m stuck I feel like giving up and cutting my losses. All I know is that it is worth it to keep trying.
So how does someone achieve clarity to get unstuck when it feels hopeless right from the beginning? My answer is this: Attention. For example, when a business is losing money the management usually works very quickly to determine the source of the problem. They turn their attention to the systems of the business with the intention to find a solution. This process works for us too when we are stuck. Through attention and focus we can overcome anything.
Here are 5 steps that you can use to get unstuck in your career, love or anything else:
Step 1 – Admit there is a problem: First things first, you have to acknowledge that you are doing something that is keeping you stuck. You can’t change anything if you are in denial. A big one here is acknowledging that you are responsible for the outcome. If you are feeling like this is all out of your control, you might as well just not bother. It’s like the CEO of a company who recognizes that sales are down but doesn’t think it’s in his control to fix it. Does a solution seem close with that attitude? Nope.
The first step is acknowledging that you are doing something that is keeping you stuck. This is not to make you feel bad (we all do it!) but the most important step to creating change is acknowledging that something needs to change. Where are you stuck? Are you feeling trapped in your job? Would you like to go back to school but are not sure about how to plan for that? Write down where you feel stuck right now.
Step 2 – Observe your foolish ways: Recognize what you are doing specifically that is keeping you stuck. This is the stage of accountability and responsibility. Nothing is going to change if you don’t recognize what you are doing that is contributing to feeling stuck. It is one thing to admit that there is a problem but another to actually discover the source of it. How is your self-talk? Are you giving up before you even begin? Are you focusing on everything that could go wrong? Are you waiting for the ‘perfect’ time (whatever that means)? Are you too busy comparing yourself and undermining your uniqueness? Remember, this is not the step where you are looking for a solution… Here you are just noticing what is going on. Trust me, there is a point to all of this so don’t skip this step.
Step 3 – Daydream: Step 2 was not enjoyable but here’s the fun part! So close your eyes… but not yet. With your eyes closed you will imagine how life would be like if you weren’t stuck. Maybe 1 month in the future. Sound nice? Go ahead and visualize situations where you are responding and doing things differently. If you felt totally unstuck, what would that look like? How are you acting, what’s going on around you, who are you with? More importantly, what are you doing differently? So how does it feel to be on the other side? Nice? Be sure to spend at least 5 minutes here visualizing that wonderful place. Write down your observations.
Step 4 – Action plan: Come back to the now and let’s discover your action plan. Refer back to your visualization and think about what was different. Was your time management better? Were you waking up earlier, eating healthier, exercising, or socializing more? Was it just an attitude shift? Were you feeling something that you normally don’t feel day to day? Pick one or two things you can do right now that will move you towards that place. Maybe it’s getting up earlier or making more of an effort to relax and de-stress at the end of your day. Whatever it is, use your intuition and visualization to help you choose a couple things that you can start doing now. Write it down.
Step 5 – Do it: So what are you waiting for? Sometimes telling someone about your goal and plan helps you stay accountable. Also, try having a sticky-note somewhere you will see everyday to remind you!
The temptation to find a quick fix to our solutions is so strong. I encourage you to try to avoid that and focus on doing a process like this to find your answers. They will be relevant to you, accessed from your own wisdom and much more likely to be applied.
I don’t like taking other peoples advice and I’ll admit that it’s probably not a great thing. But it does force me to look within and discover my own answers and truth. There is something very empowering about that. The only catch is when you do it this way, you got to do some work. This whole exercise to get unstuck shouldn’t take you more than an hour but no less than 30 minutes. Good luck!
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