Who likes to feel stuck ?
Not me! Even the word makes me want to crawl into a fetal position until the feeling passes. Being stuck makes me feel small. It makes me feel like I’m not moving forward, like I’m floating without a direction or a clear path forward. When I talk to others about feeling stuck, some have used the word paralyzed, which seems rather accurate to me. It’s like being a hamster on a wheel, and who likes that? I don’t even like using a treadmill!
Anyway, if it isn’t yet obvious, I don’t like feeling stuck and I want to do everything I can to get unstuck as quickly as possible. Last year I wrote the story of My Version of Wild. It was a time in my life where I felt so stuck I quit every commitment I had in my life and I moved to New Zealand. That choice, while crazy and slightly out of character for me, was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Being 24 without many responsibilities, it was a choice I could make without much thought to how it would affect those around me. I had the flexibility in my schedule, a savings account, and the desire to explore the world. It was wonderful!
If you are 24 and find yourself in a similar situation, go travel. If, however you are not, and you are now like me with a husband and kids, a job, and bills to pay for, what can you do to get yourself unstuck? Over the last several years I’ve tried many different things, and here are three things that continue to work for me:
- Get a second opinion – communicate with someone who isn’t involved. If you find yourself about to yell at a client because you’re so frustrated, or you are struggling to think creatively about how to solve a specific problem, talking to someone who can share an outside perspective has been a great way to help me keep moving forward. Sometimes this person is my boss, my husband, my mom or a girl friend. An outsider’s perspective can give you the key you need to solve the issue.
- Ask for what you want. Feeling stuck can be a feeling we place on ourselves. We may be making assumptions by telling ourselves there isn’t a path to a promotion, or there is no way my partner will help with this new project, or that I am not qualified for that opportunity. Don’t make assumptions about how the other person will respond before you ask them! You never know if you don’t ask. (Also, if you’re not sure where you want to go, Tiffany wrote a great post about how to figure out your strengths – click here!)
- Request feedback. From a work or personal perspective, this can be tricky but is absolutely necessary. If you don’t know how you stack up, then you can be misrepresenting how well you actually are doing. We are all works in progress, so ask your partner, manager, friend or someone close to you for feedback. Understanding that you are making progress in the things that matter to you is the best way to stay motivated and keep moving forward!
Feeling stuck is such a common feeling. If there is one additional piece of advice I can share is that YOU are in control. You, and only you, have the power to get yourself unstuck and get you back on track!
How do you get yourself unstuck? Would love to hear from you!