Feeling Stuck

I have!  What a messy feeling. It just swirls and swirls and swirls around and you have a hard tie swallowing and getting it out.

Have you ever felt stuck? Sometimes I have felt like I have. In fact, I also have felt like I just got caught on sticky paper and not sure which way to go.

Many times, we feel stuck in our lives and in our work feeling like and wish we could just start over.

The good thing even though it feels awful feeling stuck, you are not alone. Feeling stuck is a universal experience and you and bound to feel stuck at one point or another in your life. Whether it’s career, relationship or even the next aspiration most folks feel stuck at some point.

What does stuckness look like?

Really wanting something – a new job, a new relationship, then losing the motivation to do so or not knowing how to get there

Identifying something that looks exciting then not doing the footwork to get yourself there

Wallowing in indecision – endlessly thinking about what could be better or different and overthinking can rob you of being present and enjoying yourself

Not leaving an unhealthy relationship or changing jobs because you are afraid

Why do we feel stuck?

I often ask myself why am I stuck? Why am I like, TS Elliot’s famous character JAlfred Proofrock sitting watching folks come and go? Why can’t I move?

What I have come to realize is being stuck can take many different forms. This is not an easy question to answer.

Here are a few scenarios when you might want to move yet don’t know how. Feel free to add some of your own:

  • You have outgrown your current situation
  • It’s true that people change over time. Your needs, your wants, and your hopes are always evolving. Perhaps the perfect job or the perfect business partner does not provide the right synergy now that it did a year ago. This can leave you wondering which direction to go next
  • You fear external judgment
    • You might fear what other people might say if you make a move and you just might too much time looking for others approval. Investing too much time on what others think or any negativity they impose of your decision can be paralyzing
  • You fear your own Internal Judgement
    • Often we can be our own worst critics with internal judgement that we are not good enough, smart enough, or savvy enough can leave us stuck
  • You feel disconnected from your values
    • We know all too well that folks who experience a substance use disorder are stuck before recovery. They’re disconnected from themselves, and recovery brings the opportunity of connectedness. Truth is life can lose its sparkle when your values are not present on your life. If your day to day doesn’t allow for your values (courage, authenticity, transparency, autonomy, honesty, etc.) to thrive, they may start to dull. This can make you feel as you are not honoring yourself and what you deem important.
  • You think a change will mean you will lose something
    • You might be afraid to make a business change as it may affect your financial security. Open yourself off to Yes/And thinking. This will make it possible to have a new challenge and financial success. I am doing this, and I will let you know how all goes.
  • Your mind is full of catastrophes or negative thoughts
    • Sometimes we are stuck because we have negative thoughts. We are sad, lonely and feel anxious.
  • You are overwhelmed and burnt out
    • We can be stuck because we worked so hard and have had so many responsibilities that we are exhausted. When our nervous system has been on high alert for long periods of time, we blur the lines between what is helpful and not helpful. We are exhausted and it’s not the best time to decide.
  • Your positives and your negatives are in competition
    • There may be plenty of reasons to change and equally plenty of reasons not to change. When you do a decision-making tree not all is clear. You may end up in a victim of inaction.
  • You’re comparing yourself to others
    • This can be a big drawback. At 76 I have learned there will always be someone smarter, prettier and have a bigger book than me. If I stay in a comparison mode I end up being stuck. As it has been said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, so I try not to go that route as it only leads me down pity path land and I am no good alley.”
  • You’re outside of your comfort zones
    • Sometimes we are just in fear of doing something outside of our comfort zone. Fear of doing something different, fear of being less than perfect just holds us back

Well then, How do we get unstuck? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Identify What you Truly Want
    • Be specific about what you want, contemplate and create a vision. I like doing Deepak Chopra’s 21 Days off Abundance Challenge to help get me started.

Here are a few ways to help you identify what you want

  1. Create a vision board
  2. Revisit Your Values and Identify what is important to you. Make a list of your top 10 Values and see how they play out in your own like . Do you value relationships for example over grit and determination. Transparency over compromise

Change Your Perspective

Earlier this year I wrote and Presented On How to Ride a bicycle backwards. I have discovered that feeling stuck can be simply a mindset albeit a frustrating one. Yet negative thoughts don’t have to rule it’s possible to change communication patterns and that inner critic that’s like a monkey on your back

You might ask yourself

  1. How else might I see the situation
  2. How will I feel about the situation in a week/ three months/ three years from now
  3. What would my eight-year-old say
  4. What would my 40-year-old self say
  5. What would my 80-year-old self say
  • Move your body
    • If you walk take a different path, you see things differently. Remember the poet Robert Frost. “I took the road less traveled and that made all the difference”
    • There are so many ways to get moving: Yoga, walking, biking, tennis, pickle ball, golf, swimming, laughing, etc. – what do you choose to do.
  • Set a date and park decisions until then
    • Give yourself time and space to marinate your thoughts. Mark a date in your calendar. This gives you time to figure out what you want with a decision deadline.
  • Take Action to avoid analysis paralysis
    • Once you are clear take the next smallest step you can take and give yourself a big hug for doing so. Sometimes we can get so bogged down in next steps we forget what we can do.
  • Tap into your agency
    • Phone a friend
    • Decided what you want for dinner
    • Clean a closet
    • Apply for a job
    • Go somewhere different
  • Rest, Recharge and give yourself a hall pass- give yourself self-care
    • Take a break from technology
    • Listen to Music
    • Do a daily grateful list
    • Take a Nap or Go to Bed Earlier
    • Check out the stars
    • Take a mental health day
    • Be open to doing inner work
  • SEEK HELP It’s ok to seek help. That’s the gift of a great counselor, mentor, therapist, coach someone who can listen and be your guide. So be open, be courageous, be brave. There have been many times I have had to do that and thank goodness I have.