10 Ways to Get Un-Stuck

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the ‘Velvet Rut’?

Knowing that you need to make some changes in your life… and still not doing them? You are not alone. Many successful people find that the hardest part of moving forwards isn’t figuring out what to do. What’s hard is actually doing it.

We often call this the ‘Velvet Rut’ because generally things are going pretty well for you. You most likely have a job that pays fairly well and all in all a pretty comfortable life. This area is ‘no man’s land’ – you are stuck in a rut, but one that has a velvet lining, and as a result have little that would force you to make any immediate changes. However, you know you could do much better and on some level you feel that you are not yet achieving your full potential. Whilst you may want to make some changes and achieve greater success, unless things take a sudden turn for the worse and cause you some discomfort, you will most likely continue doing the same thing you have always done. Consequently, you will keep getting the same level satisfaction you experience now. You can do something about it now, or wait till you reach a pain-threshold where changing is no longer a ‘should’, but a ‘must’.

Making changes in your life/career can be a confronting process and can bring up fears of failure, disapproval, humiliation, harsh commentary from your inner critic, feelings of not being good enough and more. If you let them, these inner saboteurs can stop you dead in your tracks. The good news is that you don’t have to completely eliminate these internal roadblocks in order to move forwards. It is possible to feel afraid or uncomfortable and still take positive action, despite the presence of these feelings.

Here are 10 ways to quickly break through internal barriers and get yourself unstuck!

1. Recreate your vision. When you’re feeling blocked from moving forward, remember why you wanted to go there in the first place. What was your original vision life/career? What are the benefits? What fulfilment or satisfaction will it provide you? Write down your vision of your ideal life, or if you’ve written it down before, pull it out and re-read it. Allow your own words to re-inspire you to take the necessary steps.

2. Design a reward/Celebrate your small successes. Sometimes your vision may seem a bit too far off, and you need some more immediate gratification. Choosing to reward yourself for how far you have come so far, or to celebrate your smaller successes along the way, can provide you with a well needed boost. Many of us have a lot of success in life which goes un-praised and uncelebrated – we have a tendency to judge our smaller successes as not good enough or not worthy of celebrating, and instead focus on what is not yet done, or what we didn’t do so well.

Make celebrating every success a priority! The prospect of a special dinner, a movie with your significant other, or a new gadget, or a trip can help you to push past the blocks and get things done. These don’t even have to cost money. Sometimes the promise of a bubble bath, walk in the park, an hour reading a good book or just sharing your successes with your nearest and dearest is all you need.

3. Tame the inner critic. Often when you’re feeling stuck, what’s going on in your head is a conversation with your inner critic, who seems to have a lot to say about what is and isn’t possible or realistic. It’s difficult to move forwards when you are hearing a constant stream of comments like: “You’re not good enough,” “That’ll never work,” or “Who do you think you’re kidding?”

It can help to remember that the inner critic often says things that simply aren’t true. One way to counter this negative dialogue is to respond with the objective truth. For example: “I am good at what I do,” “I will find a way,” or “I’m a competent professional, thank you very much.” When you answer confidently with statements of fact, messages from the inner critic often begin to lose their power.

4. Face your fear. One of the most common obstacles to being successful is fear. Making changes in your life/career will most likely evoke fears of failure, disapproval, humiliation, and a host of other catastrophes. Instead of pretending the fear isn’t there, or attempting to ignore it, you may find it more effective to confront the fear directly.

Try to identify exactly what you are afraid of. What do you fear will happen if you make that change or take on that challenge? If you can identify the specific fear that is blocking you, it may be possible to soothe it by providing reassuring information or recalling positive experiences. For example, fear of failure can often be lessened by focusing on related successes that you have had in the past.

5. Get a pep talk. When you become discouraged, don’t be afraid to ask for outside help to cheer yourself up and start feeling positive again. Ask a friend, colleague, or your coach to give you some words of encouragement. Sometimes all you need to hear is: “It was tough for me in the beginning too… Eventually my efforts paid off… You’re doing all the right things… I know you can do it!”

6. Clearing. Feeling frustrated and negative can sometimes immobilise you. One method of clearing negative thoughts is to voice what you are experiencing to a caring person. Spend a full five minutes venting about everything that’s going wrong, making sure to say exactly how it makes you feel. Then ask your listener to reflect your feelings back to you. Knowing that someone else hears and understands you may be all you need to let go of a negative attitude and get back on track.

7. Get a dose of inspiration. Do something that inspires you and shifts your mood. What are the things that connect with the deeper parts of you – it could be a book or passage, a movie, a place, a role model, or a friend. Discover who and what inspires you and spend more time hanging out with those people and doing those things.

8. Quit; then start fresh. There may be days when you feel discouraged enough to just throw in the towel. Maybe you should do it. The act of quitting can be very cathartic. Proclaim: “I quit!” Perhaps even write yourself a resignation letter. Then take off the rest of the day, and don’t even think about it. It’s a good bet that after you have a chance to blow off some steam, you’ll be ready to come back the following day re-energised.

9. Change the scene. Making changes in your life/career can feel difficult and lonely when you’re always slaving away trying to do it yourself, or stuck at home or in the office. Get out, go somewhere different, take a trip, find inspiring places to think things through and hang out in. Surround yourself with people that support and champion you, and avoid spending time around people who are negative, cynical and generally look on the down side.

10. Act as if. Whenever you feel unsure about an area of change, you may be able to tackle it anyway if you simply try to act as if you were sure. Try playing the role of someone who would take it in his/her stride, a role model, superhero or TV/movie character. For example, what if you were Angelina Jolie? How would she do it? Or how about if you were Nelson Mandela? How would he tackle this challenge? A short time hanging out in the space of someone you think of as confident and capable can make those qualities rub off on you and help you to connect with your own inner strength.

The next time you feel stuck; try one of these methods to help you get back into action quickly. Life changes are really only as hard as you think they are, so if you can find an easy way out, why not take it?

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