Where are you stuck?
It happens to all of us from time to time.
I can be sailing along and moving forward steadfastly when out of nowhere, I get a flat tire. I mean it’s not a slow leak but a real blow out. The really annoying thing about it? This feeling of cement under my feet usually affects not only the immediate project I’m working on, but also infiltrates other areas of my life as well. If you’ve been there, you know it’s an awful feeling. And the longer we remain there, the harder it is to get moving again. So, I knew I need to take some decisive action.
I don’t deny when I need help. I seek out the help I need. This occasion was no different.
I began thinking, researching, and practicing in my own life how a few simple steps could put me back on course again and have me feeling as if I’d lost no time at all. Since I learned this (still learning it, too), I thought I’d share it to help you as well.
There is good news!
The good news? We don’t have to remain in a place of paralysis, firmly planted in a sea of cement. There are some options, bonafide strategies and tactics, we can use to push forward through the slowed pace.
- Learn to cultivate optimism. Did you know that was an option? It is. You may have heard the concept of Learned Helplessness. With learned helplessness, individuals believe they cannot influence positive change in their circumstances. Learned optimism, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Founded by Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism is the idea that individuals can challenge negative self-talk and embrace a positive mindset to influence change in their circumstances. He asserts that there are 3 Ps of Optimism: Permanence (explaining how long the situation will last), Pervasiveness (explaining the extent to which the situation is spread throughout our life), and Personalization (explaining the degree to which we are impacted by the situation). You can cultivate optimism by the way you explain the circumstances surrounding “being stuck.” For example, the optimistic individual will explain his or her situation similarly: it is a temporary happening, and it won’t last forever (permanence); it is in this single area of your life but not all aspects (pervasiveness); and it happens to everyone from time to time, and it’s not just me (personalization). Begin to change the way you view your situation is the first crucial step.
- Ask powerful questions. You can reframe how you view the circumstances by gaining a different perspective as well. Some questions naturally propel us forward and give us insight into how to proceed. Powerful questions are labeled as such for very good reasons. Try asking these six (6) questions to inform your thinking, get unstuck, and take firm steps toward your goal(s): 1. What do you want? 2. What about it is important to you? 3. What is happening with the goal right now? 4. What do you want to happen instead? 5. What would success look like when it is achieved? 6. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would be one step you could take toward the goal right now? When we know what we want, have clear goals, and can visualize progression, it is easier to get unstuck and develop the momentum we need to get there.
- Deliver quick wins. Now that your gears are turning and you have in mind the one step to take, take it. No matter how simple the step forward seems to be, take it and celebrate when it is accomplished. We need quick wins sometimes to deliver the long-term motivation we desire. If your next best step to get unstuck is to clear the clutter from your desk, then stop whatever else you’re doing and complete that step. Doing so will create the mental clarity you may need to move forward. Keep in mind, a quick win may be different for every individual, and it may vary according to the situation at hand. Be intentional about celebrating!
- Share results. Lastly, share your results with those you trust to be in your corner. We all need encouragement, and invoking the encouragement of family and friends who believe in us is an excellent way to quickly shake the cement from our feet. Even when they do not fully understand what we are facing, the support can still be reassuring.
There you have it! Being stuck will happen from time to time, but it is not a death sentence. It is, however, a great time to reassess what is happening and develop strategies to regain motivation for what can happen in the future.
These are simple tricks that you will visit repeatedly. And each time you do, you will spend less time in cement and more time living your purpose!
So what’s next? Next steps . . .
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