As a business and life coach, I work with a lot of people who feel like they’ve been struggling with getting unstuck. My clients are people who want to reach their full potential, and they’re seeking support to get there. Therefore, I feel like between my personal life experience and my years of working with dozens of clients dealing with the same internal struggle, I’ve got a good idea of the beast that “stuck” is.
Sometimes we feel stuck with our business—we feel like we’re not able to clearly see how we should be moving forward. And sometimes we feel stuck in our personal lives. Some of my clients share that they’ve been in a rut and they want to feel better but from their vantage point, they’re not seeing a way out of their current situation.
They reach out because they feel stagnant and they have no idea what their next steps should be. Often, being stuck may feel like you’re trying different things but you’re not getting the results you want. Other times it may feel like you just know that you’ve taken a detour from the “right” path for you and something in your life just feels off.
In short, feeling stuck means that you want to experience life differently but you can’t or you don’t know how.
But there is good news. You can get unstuck and get out of a funk. I’ve had the privilege to see clients finally feel like they are on track and in alignment. Today, I’d like to share 3 of my top tips to overcome this challenge. You’ll learn 3 simple ideas and why they are so powerful to help you unstuck yourself. I hope that after reading it, you’ll be able to use these tips to start working on creating a life you love.
Getting Unstuck Tip #1
I’d argue that one of the most powerful ways to get unstuck is to change our perspective to gain new clarity. If a fish swims in a blue-colored water, it probably won’t notice it. But if you change its environment to clear water it would start seeing things differently.
See, our environments are similar. They provide “the color” or different filters that determine how we see our lives.
Therefore, to see more clearly and without the usual filters of our reality, we need to remove ourselves from our usual environment.
Travel is one of the most powerful weapons against the beast Stuck. Stuck hates new lands, climates, cultures, languages and new living conditions.
Do not panic. You don’t need to book a safari trip to Africa each time you feel Stuck is looming around. But Stuck probably starts hanging out with you because of the lack of novelty, exploration and variety in your life.
Here is an example from my summer. I just came back from a four-day trip to Idaho. I am a business coach in San Diego who loves all things business, marketing, personal development and beach. Just 4 days away from my usual environment of the city, driving, child care, my usual food and daily routine made a huge difference.
Before I left I was really frustrated with a marketing issue. The day before departure I had to cancel an agreement with a freelancer who I had hired for this specific marketing job. I was frustrated and confused. I felt overwhelmed with the specific issue I was having and I felt like burying myself for 4 days until I figured it out.
Thankfully, I had a scheduled trip out of state to a place that was very different from my usual life. I stayed with a friend in a small town surrounded by nothing but nature and mountains. We spent our days relaxing, sleeping, trying the local food, hiking and canoeing.
I had zero responsibilities other than keeping myself alive. I know that to many of you that feels like luxury, and trust me—taking time away from my business and family is a huge deal for me as well.
What made the efforts to get out of town worth it is that I came back energized, optimistic and well-rested.
Coming back to my office this recharged made it easy to resolve my marketing issue.
First of all, removing ourselves from the situation with distance or time helps us feel as if it is more manageable than we originally thought.
Secondly, active rest acts like a reboot to our brains. It closes all the tabs and starts processing everything much faster.
Lastly, the novelty of travel expands us. It literally adds more to us than we were before. We come back changed and enriched by what we learned and experienced. We learned something new about life and ourselves. That learning experience is not directly relevant to our challenges in work and life but the key is that we come back with that expanded perception about what’s around us. And that added perception is energizing and refreshing—exactly what Stuck hates the most.
Getting Unstuck Tip #2
The best thing next to travel is new experiences. Feeling stuck usually comes from having too much of the same. Switching up your hobbies (or starting to have hobbies, um hello!) is a fantastic way to break a rut with life or business.
Think about sports or hobbies you enjoyed as a kid or a young adult. Is there an activity you can bring back on weekly or even monthly bases that brings you joy?
It could also be something you always wanted to learn but you never got around to trying.
Make a point to discover what you want to try at this point of your life. All things that bring you fun, excitement or enthusiasm count unless they are harmful in some other way 😉
The next step is to do your research—don’t just “say” that you’ll start piano lessons or join a beach volleyball league. Go ahead and find all the information you need to get started. Having all the details and everything ready would set you up for success. You won’t commit to salsa lessons unless you have a studio picked out near you.
Then, put it in your calendar or schedule and follow through. New habits, however fun, are hard to incorporate into an already busy schedule. It would take effort and discipline to show up consistently for your new activity. Adding something personal to your calendar is the best system you can set in place to make sure you actually do it.
You can also set reminders on your phone at the right day and time to ensure you won’t forget. Make it harder not to go than it is to skip. Put your gym bag in the car or set your Spanish books on your desk.
You’ll experience yourself differently, you’ll be challenged, you’ll have to use other parts of your brain and your body. You’ll probably laugh at yourself or get frustrated, you’ll set new goals, you’ll start getting results and feelings of accomplishment. You may meet new people or reunite with old friends. You’ll have more things to talk about with friends and co-workers. Stuck will be nowhere to be found.
Set yourself up for success by setting the right attitude. Remember why you’re engaging with this interest to begin with—more joy, clarity in life and new perspective. Show up with an open mind, and be ready to play.
The best way to make the best of anything is to stay present. That means that you won’t let your mind be like a sports commentator in the background, judging you, comparing you, pushing you to be better or telling you it was a dumb idea. Too many times we screw up the fun as adults because we are used to taking everything so seriously.
Instead, show up to your hobbies and interests with eyes wide open and soaking up the moment exactly as it’s appearing in front of you. Accept the experience you’re having and let it unfold the way it’s going to unfold. Let go, release control and have FUN!
Getting Unstuck Tip #3
Hiring a coach is the fastest way to getting unstuck. (It doesn’t have to be me but if you’re interested, you can click here to schedule your free consultation).
Working with an accredited or a certified coach can be the exact remedy you need to make a change in your life if you’re feeling stuck. One of the biggest values that coaches bring to the table is the new perspective.
Here is why: coaches are trained to have thought-provoking conversations, to be open, curious and unbiased. As an outsider, we don’t experience your environment the way you do or the way your closest people do.
Life or business coaches have methods to help you think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions.
In several short months I see so many clients have more enthusiasm, energy, results and confidence. After overcoming that initial hurdle of being stuck, their lives start flowing naturally. It’s like you’ve removed a big rock off of a stream and now the water moves faster. It doesn’t have to go around those big boulders any more.
Of course, working with a coach also takes time, effort and resources. Nothing magical will happen overnight. But it’s also my personal experience that when I work with a coach I tend to come up with solutions I never thought of before. I always move on with my life much faster and with a peace of mind.
Things NOT to do when feeling stuck
I’ll just list them for you in case you forgot that shopping, drinking, smoking, binge-watching TV and overeating are all unhealthy ways to cope when we feel stuck. The rewards of those habits are short-lived and dependent on constant repetition. They’ll leave you feeling more stuck, heavier on the scale and lighter in your wallet.
Just remember that us humans are as much creatures of habit as we are invigorated by novelty, challenge, learning and joy. Take some time today to carve out time for something fun whether you do it alone,with friends or your family, and watch how that beast of “Stuck” begins to cower away.