Here’s the thing. There are times when everyone – and I mean EVERYONE feels stuck.
Anyone who says they don’t is either fibbing or delusional.
I’m betting that if you are reading this, you are intimately familiar with feeling stuck – in your business, in your life, or even in both – maybe even this very minute. Please know that I have been where you are. Unfocused, unmotivated and unable to move forward.
The emergency steps I am about to share are based on my personal experiences getting “unstuck,” as well as the work I’ve done “unsticking” my clients.
My intention is to give you concrete solutions that, if you actively apply them, will get you unstuck and moving forward.
So let’s get going – okay?!
Emergency Step #1: Answer this question for yourself: Am I really stuck?
I think sometimes we use the words “I’m stuck” because they’re simpler, easier and far more palatable than figuring out what really might be going on.
So, what are some other possibilities that are a little closer to the truth?
I’m not really stuck…I’m actually afraid.
I’m not really stuck…I’m actually overwhelmed.
I’m not really stuck…I just can’t see how to do it MY way. (i.e. – my way is the ONLY way.)
I’m not really stuck…I just can’t change someone else. (i.e. “if THEY would only do right…”)
I’m not really stuck…I’d just rather be miserable in my comfort zone than take the risk of succeeding or failing.
I’m not really stuck…I just don’t really want to deal with this right now. Which sounds better: saying “I’m stuck” or “I’m procrastinating?”
Emergency Step #2: Move your body
But first…now is as good a time as any to put a little tough love on the table:
If you are unwilling to try this or any other step, you are choosing to stay stuck. So, I am going to ask you to take responsibility for that choice and revisit Step #1.
Put on some music and dance. Take a walk. Go to the gym.
Just get the blood pumping and your body moving. By shifting your energy away from the “stuckness” into doing something you CAN do, all kinds of possibilities, solutions and new ways of thinking will emerge.
Emergency Step #3: Break it down
It you are facing something that has you completely shut down in stuck-ness, break it down into ridiculously small baby steps. I mean steps so small they feel absurd.
Here is the question I ask myself when I feel stuck: What is the smallest step I know I can take without fail that will move me toward where I want to go?
Small steps lead to big steps and can eventually lead to an all out run. The important thing is to give yourself a small success to build upon.
Emergency Step #4: Choose a reward
I am ALL about rewards to get me off the dime! Choose a meaningful carrot to dangle in front of your nose to get you moving.
And here’s the trick with this emergency step: GIVE YOURSELF THE REWARD.
Complete the step, get the reward, then decide to do more. If you don’t give yourself the reward you promised yourself, you will stop believing yourself. Don’t put yourself in that position.
Emergency Step #5: Bag it, barter it or better it
This is a trick my mentor, Martha Beck, taught me. When faced with a task I can’t get moving on, I ask:
1) Can I bag it?
Let’s face it – many things on our to-do list really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. What’s the worst that will happen if I just don’t do it?
2) Can I barter it?
Just because it has to be done, does it have to be done by ME? Can I trade with someone who loves to do this thing?
As an example, two neighbors of mine exchange gardening and baking chores. Each does the thing they love most, and eliminates the thing they dislike. Pretty cool, huh?!
3) Can I better it?
Assuming it is a task that a) must be done and b) must be done by me – how can I make the experience as delightful as possible?
I’ll use bill-paying (which I loathe) as an example. I now have a special box, outfitted with my favorite pen, envelopes, stamps and a calculator that I pull out for bill-paying time. I sit in my favorite chair, play my favorite music, sip on my favorite drink and get my bills paid. Doesn’t change the task itself, but the experience is FAR more enjoyable.
Now that you actually have some tools for getting unstuck, I want you to answer the following question for yourself:
What am I willing to do in the next 24 hours to move myself from feeling stuck to going forward?
Sarah Robinson is a seasoned coach and business strategist who is passionate about the idea of escaping mediocrity – both personally and professionally.
Her blog, escaping-mediocrity.com not only journals her personal adventures in breaking free from the stranglehold of mediocrity, but also offers insights, tools and a “tribe” for those who feel pulled toward the same adventurous life.
Her expertise in personal and business change was developed through many years of working with and providing coaching to other entrepreneurs and start-up non-profits, where she honed her ability to “turn around” thousands of struggling individuals and organizations.