Last week, we shared 3 types of stuckness and 3 common reasons for feeling stuck. Wonder how to get unstuck? In this article, we will share 3 tips on getting unstuck.
- Slow down.
Be mindful of your thoughts, emotions and narratives by slowing them down. This may be hard if you’re not used to doing it but a little patience (and some writing paper) will be highly rewarding. Think about the situation that you’re stuck in and see if you’re able to identify some thoughts, beliefs or stories that you tell yourself about that situation. Just notice them, without saying “but”. For instance, the normal way our minds work is to say: “I want to start my own business, but I don’t have the money”. Observe both parts. It tells you what you want and what your reason is for not acting on that desire. “But” is a word that says “ignore what I just said” and we need to be much more critical about using it than we usually are. Check if the story is really true – Can you start a business only if you have the money? By slowing down and acknowledging what you really want, you can start creating dreams and strategies to achieve it.
Apart from reality checking, you may also realise your will to start a company is much stronger than you have thought. You might feel another kind of stuckness – the kind that is caused by feeling overwhelmed or by a fear of failure. Don’t suppress them or pretend that they don’t exist. Be aware of these emotions or even physical sensations caused by these emotions. You don’t have to act on them; simply acknowledge them – a sense of openness and curiosity helps! Now you have all the elements of the equation. You know what you want, you know some of the assumptions and stuckness traps that stop you from acting and now you can start looking at each of them more objectively in order to move boldly towards your dreams and aspirations.
- Find your purpose and values in life.
If you recall, one reason of stuckness is not knowing what we want. Clarifying your personal values may be the most rewarding exercise you can do for yourself. Values are what we truly regard as important in life. Not being clear on values, often gets us stuck, makes us indecisive, or makes us pursue goals that leave us feeling “empty” or “unfulfilled”. There are various ways to do the exercise but the simplest is to start with this (hyperlink) list of words, and reduce them a list of 6-8 that you value most. When you choose values, be sure to choose ones that you truly value, not what you think you should value (aspirational values). The most important part is to write your personalised definition of each value and then to use these to guide your choices, decisions and daily priorities.
- Create systems that avoid future stuckness.
Apart from slowing down and clarifying what you want, it is also important that put yourself in an environment that makes it harder to fall into the traps of stuckness. The tips mentioned above are not meant to be one-time exercises. We need to make slowing down, reflecting what we want and living out who we want to be an integral part of our lives. Encourage a coaching culture in your organisation. Have colleagues check in with one another from time to time and ask questions like ‘What do you want?’ or ‘What is stopping you?’ or ‘What beliefs do you have about this situation’ can already be very useful in putting a hold on the spiral down to stuckness. It can be regular coaching meetings or even mini spontaneous coaching conversations at the pantry.
We also encourage you to avoid over-packing your schedule and to schedule regular self-reflection time. When we work beyond our capacity, we conserve energy by working in ways that lead us to stuckness – assume the ‘autopilot’ mode, act on unconstructive beliefs and narratives without challenging or evaluating them. Apart from resting, it is also important that you make time for regular reflection. How about 30-60 minutes of “me time” on a Sunday morning instead of binge watching another Netflix series? We strongly encourage journaling (no, it is not only for teenage girls) where you express your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings is the first step towards acting on them. And by keeping yourself close to what you want, you can be more aware of signs of getting stuck and ground yourself more firmly with your purpose and values.
To sum up, whether you’re just vaguely uncomfortable with your life in general or you’re at the EverGreen level of blockage, there are some practical solutions to help you get unstuck. They almost always require time and the willingness to slow down. Don’t underestimate the help of a coach or counsellor to help you on the journey. We consider these to be the equivalent of a “mental massage”. Gaining clarity and embracing what you want might bring some discomfort and require courage, but it is one of the most important and meaningful things you can do for yourself. Let us know in the comments below any tips or your own experiences of getting unstuck!