5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Feeling Stuck
Don't know what to doDon't know what to sayDon't know what to chooseDon't know what I wantDon't know how to startStuck can strike at any time, in any situation. Work, relationships, mission, purpose, core desires—any area of life can fall prey to feelings of stuck. We can experience big stuck, small stuck, and "maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away" stuck.And being stuck is not the end of the story.Feeling stuck is part of the human condition but, if we're not careful, it's easy to become stuck within our stuckness.No matter which way we look at it, we can't seem to find a way out of the stuck. We enter a stuck spiral and tumble down a rabbit hole of progressively bigger and more profound questions. Our unconscious, which has been storing up all the ways in which we feel stuck or unresolved, produces them one after another until "Should I have a sandwich after work?" becomes "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?"Enough: it's time to end that spiral. Here are five questions that dig deep and get the emotional root of any stuck situation, fast.
1. What is the story I'm telling myself about being stuck?
Stuckness can be a by-product of conflicting beliefs, such as beliefs that we've internalised from other people that don't jibe with our own view of the world.Maybe, at some point, we internalised the message that making money is bad, but we also recognise that making money is a necessary part of life. Maybe we learned, implicitly or explicitly, to keep our true selves partially hidden through fear of rejection, but we also want to be seen, heard, and accepted as we are.When we unpack the beliefs that are involved in our stuckness, we can examine them and decide for ourselves whether these beliefs are keeping us small or aiding our growth.
2. What are the benefits to me being stuck?
Although it can be hard to see how at times, we are rational creatures. If we're feeling stuck, it's possible that there is a very good reason for us to be stuck. (click to tweet)Again, this question involves unpacking our beliefs around this particular situation and asking ourselves what benefits we gain from staying stuck (often, we'll find that the answer to this question takes us straight to number 4).
3. What are the benefits to me being unstuck?
What are the benefits associated with becoming unstuck?Pay close attention to your answer: if your motivation for becoming unstuck is external (for example, pleasing someone else, avoiding someone else's wrath, or living up to someone else's expectations), that prooobably has something to do with why you're feeling stuck in the first place.Listen to what you want. The right people will honour that.
4. What do I fear when I think about becoming unstuck?
Feeling stuck isn't a pleasant experience, but it can feel a whole lot more comfortable than facing what might lie on the other side of that stuckness.If we commit to a decision, if we identify what we want, and if we take action based on that, we enter a realm of vulnerability and risk. We risk displeasing others, we risk showing more of ourselves, we risk periods of uncertainty, we risk seeing how small we've kept ourselves until now, we risk greatness, we risk grieving, and we risk discomfort.If we can identify our fears around becoming unstuck, we can move forward in a way that acknowledges and respects those fears.
5. What one small step can I take towards becoming unstuck in the next 30 minutes?
Sometimes, the perceived magnitude of the task before us alone is enough to keep us right where we are. We stay in our stuckness to avoid the challenge, or we enter "analysis paralysis", where we spend a lot of time going back and forth over the best way to move forward but never actually take that step.Identifying just one action we can take, right here right now, towards becoming unstuck enables us to take that all-important first step without getting paralysed by overwhelm.
Cheeky bonus question: What will my unstuck life look like one year from today?
This question is for bigger situations of stuckness. It's a chance to go wild and think about all the good ways in which becoming unstuck will impact your life. Think about how you'll feel, what will be different, what will be the same, what you'll be doing, who'll you'll be surrounded by, what you'll have gained, what you'll have lost, and what you'll have learned.As you muse on your vision, take time to notice the underlying information and messages; often, the answers or decisions we're looking for exist in our ideal future, hiding in plain sight.If you're feeling stuck in a certain area of your life and would like a supportive and compassionate companion on your journey to clarity, let's chat. I offer coaching via Skype and email and you can find details about my packages and rates here.Photo Credit: Neal.