It sucks to feel stuck.
You’re in a rut, and you can’t get unstuck.
You’re convinced that something must change, whether in your work or personal life. But you are struggling to figure it out. It happens to all of us. The most important thing is to act and refuse to stay stuck.
Staying stuck and refusing to do something about it, is the biggest obstacle to your recovery.
Alistair Smith once said, “Getting stuck is not a problem. Staying stuck is. Good learners practice getting unstuck,”
Many people want something better for their lives, but they don’t know where to start. Others have done amazing things in the past, they are struggling in the present to be awesome again.
Ladders is now on SmartNews!
Download the SmartNews app and add the Ladders channel to read the latest career news and advice wherever you go.
The good news is, it’s just a feeling, when you start to make positive movement forward, the feeling will change.
Mandy Hale says:
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”
When you’re stuck, things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless but the good news, you can always do something about it.
When you are stuck, Bruce Chant recommends that you ask yourself three important questions to re-calibrate and get moving in the right direction again.
Those three questions are:
- What do you want? Name it. Define it. Call it out.
- What is stopping you? A belief or mindset. Fear. An excuse.
- What do you need to do to obtain it? Now you can work to address the issue, but do so by starting small.
Take a break to restore flow
Sometimes all you need to restore flow, is to take a step back and ask where the current patterns are leading and whether you are making progress or not. If you feel stuck in a different area of your life, break the norm.
When was the last time you deliberately broke your flow. Taking a break every now and then is important for your work. Do yourself a favor and take sometime off to recuperate.
Don’t stay put in one spot for too long. Move. Get up. Take a 15 min walk. The faster your blood moves, the faster oxygen gets to your brain. Hence, better ideas, better results.
If you are distracted by too many things, it pays to disconnect. Remove distractions. Turn off notifications. Or better still, turn off your phone, mobile devices and leverage silence to think or relax. In other words, block out the external world and retreat inwards to find new energy.
Sometimes all you need is a change of environment, style, routine or pattern. Break away from the usual.
Sura, a Meditation Coach, recommmends you move and play. She writes:
Being immersed in movement and play really gets the flow of energy moving in your body and your life. Try a new way of moving: dancing, tai chi, racquetball. Go see a comedy. Paint. Play Twister or Monopoly. Whatever it is, let yourself be free without restriction. What are the silly, playful things that you don’t usually make time for? Giving yourself time to play and unwind can make an immense difference in bringing new energy into your life.
Try lateral thinking
Lateral thinking means deliberately setting out to look at a challenge from completely different angles to find great solutions that would otherwise remain hidden.
As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”. A new approach is probably all you need to get unstuck.
Break away from vertical thinking.
Vertical: Step by step, analyzing, based on facts and convention, one expected result.
Lateral: Provokes, jumps from one to another, breaks the rules, looks at possibilities, many results
Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success explains:
Lateral Thinking is the process of solving problems via different angles than you might expect. It doesn’t happen when you do more of the same thing. So just simply working harder may not accomplish a goal like rethinking the approach you’re taking. Lateral thinking is about getting in the mindset of breaking the rules that aren’t really rules; they’re just the way things have been conventionally done in the past.
Changing course can be challenging, but what makes it exciting is the restoration of hope.
Give yourself a new and significant challenge.
To get that momentum back, give yourself something to pursue and find an accountability partner to help you take actionable steps.
Your pursuit should be meaningful to you. Why you pursue something is equally as important as what you pursue. Start something greater than yourself. Something you truly believe in.
Just doing something different can boost your mood, change your perspective and give you a sense of optimism to move forward.
Pursue something that bring out the best in you. That way you will enjoy the journey and the process.
You can easily lose the motivation in the process and give up. But everything changes when you leverage an accountability system.
To “be accountable,” all you need is a clear goal and a willingness to let others help you achieve it.
When you tell yourself — and no one else — that you will quit smoking, start a new gym routine, write a book, launch a meaningful project or quit your “just okay” job in order to pursue something greater and better, you are less likely to do it. It’s easy to choose something else more comfortable and make excuses.
When you make your goals public, you receive a combination of responses you can use to fuel your desire to succeed!
Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.
Move beyond mere talk and commit to specific actions that will move your goals forward, and agree with someone else to hold you accountable.
Take the easiest step you can imagine to change course!
Once you start moving, you’ll feel unbelievably better. You’ll feel the power of motion, you’ll feel the rut moving behind you. That one step — it’s all it takes to start moving and creating again.
You don’t have to be stuck. You can choose to take action today to move yourself forward, making progress towards your ultimate goal in life.
Know what you want, discern what’s stopping you, and take the next smallest step to get there. Choose to make your life better, even when you are not stuck!
My new course, Thinking in Models is LIVE. It’s designed to help you to think clearly, solve problems at multiple levels of depths, and make complex decisions with confidence. Join a community of people on a mission to think clearly, work better, solve problems at multiple levels of depths, and make complex decisions with confidence! Click here for details.
You can also subscribe to Postanly Weekly (my free weekly digest of the best posts about behaviour change that affect health, wealth, and productivity). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new book, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join over 45,000 people on a mission to build a better life.
This article first appeared on Medium.