This week, while I'm on vacation, I thought I'd rerun a newsletter about getting unstuck. If you're feeling immobilized in an area of your life - relationships, career, finances, a creative project, or while trying to accomplish an important goal, this info should help. Here's what to do:
First of all, it's important to remember that the thing you need to do most in preparation for getting unstuck is the opposite of what most people do - you need to stop beating yourself up. Yup, that means being kind to yourself in spite of your stuckness. It means accepting your feelings of hopelessness so you can stop using so much precious energy trying to push these feelings away. And it means embracing the total you - the person with good intentions, the one who takes action now and then, and the one who keeps tripping you up. The message is simple: Don't resist your stuckness - it only keeps you stuck.
Once you embrace your situation, you're ready for three behavior changes:
1. Take back your power. One of the biggest mistakes we make when feeling stuck is telling ourselves that our inability to move forward is due solely to outside circumstances - a lack of money, too many problems, or the influence of other people, for example. All of us will be faced with real-life challenges. That's a fact. But our place of power always lies in the recognition that we have choices. They may be tough choices like selling a home to relieve financial pressure or walking away from an abusive relationship to reclaim our self-esteem, but never mistake tough choices with having no choice at all. You always have choices.
2. Manage your mind. Feeling stuck is first and foremost fueled by our state of mind - the thoughts we think from moment to moment. When we feel unmotivated, it's because we're thinking unmotivated thoughts. When we feel trapped, it's because we consistently tell ourselves that there are no options. When we feel hopeless, there's a good chance that the mantra running through our mind is something like: "Why bother?" So, the key to turning this self-defeating habit around is to take control of your thoughts. Easier said than done, I know. Rather than offer an elaborate process for doing so, try this simple technique. For one whole week, take a tip from my sister Michelle who instills the following message in her kids, and repeat this phrase throughout the day:
I CAN DO ANYTHING!
Regardless of whether or not you believe it or whether it seems rational, do it anyway. Say it to yourself when you first wake up, repeat it in your mind while brushing your teeth, sing it to yourself while driving to work or getting the kids ready for school. Then, keep at it through lunch and dinner, all the way up to when you fall asleep. Just keep telling yourself that you can do anything and notice how your mood and perspective shifts.
3. Keep good company. Every successful person I've ever spent time with has surrounded themselves with highly motivated people. As a matter of fact, just this morning as I watched Queen Latifah on The Actor's Studio talk about how to stay motivated while building an acting career, her first response was just that, "Surround yourself with motivated people who are just as committed as you."
People who feel stuck tend to associate with people who like to commiserate about the unfairness of the world. This is a recipe for disaster - you all stay stuck together. Find people who are up to something big and who feel excited about life and spend your time with them. If you don't have anyone, consider joining or starting a Life Makeover Group. It's free and it's a great way to meet like-minded new friends (you'll find more info here).
Finally, if you're really ready to move forward, get help. Remember that any anxiety you feel about being stuck is simply related to inaction. The first step toward getting unstuck is making a move. Hate your job? Contact a recruiter or job counselor today and find out how to start a job change. Faced with financial pressure? Call your accountant, financial planner, or credit counseling service and ask for help in putting a recovery plan in place. Are you going to fail along the way? Of course. Will you lose motivation now and then? You can bet on it. But the key is to get started. Getting unstuck is only one tiny step away from where you are right this minute. All you need to do is move your feet
Take Action Challenge
1. Choose one area of your life that you'd like to change and identify three choices you do have available to you right now. If you can't come up with any, ask someone for help.
2. Create a new screensaver that marches the words "I CAN DO ANYTHING!" across your screen. If you're not sure how to do this, let your first step be requesting help from someone who knows how (try a teenager).
3. Pick up the phone and schedule lunch, dinner, tea, or a catch-up conversation with a highly motivated friend who will support you in your quest for positive change. Ask him or her for help in creating a 5-step plan of action.
This week's video is truly inspirational. Thanks, Dina!