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5 ways to get 'unstuck'

What does ‘stuck’ feel like for you?

When I’ve been stuck in the past, I've switched between desperately wanting to take action and feeling paralysed by not knowing what to do.

I got angry at myself for doing nothing, I felt demotivated by the lack of progress and disappointed in myself for wasting time.

It felt like procrastination. Wasting time on small things but nothing meaningful that got me out of this frozen state.

For some, they describe this feeling as though they are physically stuck in mud - that they’re up to their waist in thick, heavy mud and can’t move. Not for want of trying.

When in this place, you want to jump into ‘doing’ mode. You probably feel helpless and taking action makes you feel useful.

What we often miss here is the important stage of spending time sitting in the 'stuckness' and getting curious about why you feel stuck in the first place.

Feeling stuck can present itself in your work life, your relationships or in life generally. The first step in getting unstuck is really working out what part of your life you feel stuck in and why that may be. Are you lacking challenge at work? Have you lost touch with meaningful connections? Do you want to work or live in a way that aligns more with your values? Has the joy gone from life and everything feels a bit mundane?

There are many reasons as to why you may feel stuck. Exploring those reasons can help you empower yourself to navigate a path forward and pull yourself out of the sticky stuff. Here’s five suggestions to help you on your way:

  1. Face the root cause - you may have a clue why you feel stuck, but facing it feels too scary. Getting unstuck may involve having difficult conversations, taking steps into the unknown or doing something you haven’t done before. Avoiding the root cause keeps you safe and in your comfort zone of familiarity, but it isn’t going to get you unstuck. Take small steps to face what you’re avoiding. It may not be as bad as you expect, and if it is, you are resourceful and will be able to handle it with a plan.

  2. Assess your options - When we have too many ideas, we get overwhelmed. This overwhelm can keep us stuck. Getting your ideas down on paper is a great way to start to find clarity. Collate pros and cons for each idea to help you weigh up the ideas against each other and decide which option feels right.

  3. Get crystal clear on your values - When it comes to decision making, knowing what’s most important to you can help you navigate moving forward. Your values act like an inner compass and when you’re clear on these they can support you to get unstuck. They can also help you assessing your options (see #2).

  4. Shut out the noise from others - With the best intentions, our friends and family love to give us advice about what we should be doing. This can be useful to highlight different solutions, but it also can confuse our own thoughts and stop us trusting ourselves. Listen to those who care about you, but take time alone to check in with yourself on what is best for you right now. You are the expert on your own life. Journaling your thoughts is a great practice to re-connect to your intuition.

  5. Overcome your fear of taking the next step - More often than not, we talk ourselves out of the things we want to do. Fear can play a huge role in this, showing us all the reasons not to do something. Assess your fears the way you do with your options. Write down all the fears you have about taking action. Examine them to discover: what is the likelihood of this becoming true? What are all the ways you can prevent it from coming true? If it becomes a reality, what are all the ways you will repair the damage? This idea of ‘fear setting’ is borrowed from Tim Ferris.

This can be hard to navigate alone - especially if you’re ruminating around ideas constantly.

Writing things down can help, as does talking to someone you trust who you know will listen without judgment. Processing our thoughts externally, hearing ourselves say the words can also help us find logic.

How can coaching help? Coaching provides you with that 1-2-1 reflection time to help you build your self-awareness over who you are, what is important to you, your values and needs. Knowing yourself on this level will enable you to move out into the world more authentically, understand what makes you you and embracing your skills and strengths.

If you'd like to know more, get in touch.

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