I like to think of life a bit like a video game. When we first start playing it’s unfamiliar and there are lots of surprises. We probably mess up countless times before we manage to complete level 1 and move on to level 2. When we finally reach level 2, we are more experienced and able to deal with the game of life better. However level 2 has some new challenges that we must overcome in order to reach level 3, and so on.
If, when we got good at level 1, we stayed there forever and never moved on to level 2, we would probably at some stage end up bored as hell! And often, this is what has happened when we find ourself feeling stuck in our life or career. Level 1 is safe, comfortable, and familiar but nothing very exciting happens there anymore! And the longer we stay there the more comfortable we get, and the thought of making changes or moving on gets more and more daunting!
There are usually a host of really great ‘reasons’ we stay stuck in something safe but unfulfilling, and sitting underneath these ‘reasons’ is usually some kind of unconscious belief, behaviour, or fear. It seems easier for us to just stay on the same level but over time we end up getting bored, frustrated, angry, resentful, and less and less motivated. Never a good look!
So what do you need to stop doing to get unstuck, and design a life or career that’s more fulfilling?
- Stop saying ‘I don’t know’. Lack of clarity on what you want or how you want it to be different is one of the main reasons people stay stuck. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Usually, when we are in this state we are focused on all the things we don’t like, can’t do, or that aren’t going well. But what if instead of saying I don’t know, we asked ourselves what are my options? What changes could I make? What can I do? How could I make things different? This switches our mindset from focusing on the problem to looking for a solution, and we are much more likely to get unstuck when we are looking for possibilities rather than moaning about things we don’t like!
- Stop burying your head in the sand! Procrastination is a vicious habit that can be hard to escape from. It sucks all the joy out of our leisure time because we are constantly beating ourselves up about all the things we haven’t done. There is no magic pill to cure procrastination. The only way out is to take positive action. Do one small thing you’ve been putting off every day. Just one thing – send that email, schedule that appointment, write that CV. Do it first thing in the morning before you do anything else. Your day will instantly get better.
- Stop making excuses. There is always a choice – doing nothing is still a choice. The question I like to ask myself is ‘what happens if nothing changes’? When the thought of nothing changing is worse than the thought of trying something new, it’s definitely time to take some action!
- Stop putting others’ needs above your own. We cannot drink from an empty cup i.e. we can’t be there for others if we don’t fill our own cup first. Looking after our own needs may feel selfish but it’s what I like to call responsibly selfish. If you are someone who always says yes and then instantly regrets it, learn to press pause before providing a response to a question. In that pause, ask yourself ‘by saying yes to this, what am I saying no to’? ‘By saying no to this, what am I saying yes to’?
- Stop spinning your wheels (overthinking it). We always think we need more information, experience, or training. It always seems bigger or scarier than it really us. However, we don’t need to have it all figured out. We won’t know what is further down the path until we pick one and start walking it. Getting unstuck all starts with taking that first small step (or a big leap, whatever works best for you!).
- Stop waiting for the right time or to feel like it. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but I’ve learned the hard way that we are never going to feel like it and there is no perfect time! We will never feel ready. These are all excuses made up by fear to keep us small and stuck. In the words of Nike, just do it!
- Stop trying to do it all yourself. Talk to someone. Ask for help. Hire an expert. This is what I do when I find myself overthinking and am uncertain about how to move forward. It works every single time.
Feeling stuck is rubbish. It dulls all your sparkle and sucks the joy out of life. I know because I’ve been there, and that’s how I’ve developed a toolbox full of tools, techniques, and exercises that I can roll out anytime I am faced with that stuck feeling.
If this article resonates with you and you are tired of your own BS (as I like to call it), my 1:1 coaching programme works through all of these areas helping you to break free from overwhelm, get unstuck, and design a life and career you don’t want to escape from! Book a free, no-obligation call to find out more.