When you feel stuck, the trick to getting unstuck is to see your current situation from a different perspective.
First, what does it mean to feel stuck?
It’s feeling so uncertain or overwhelmed that you don’t know how to move forward from a particular position, place, or way of thinking – you’re unsure of which path to choose or how to tackle the obstacle in front of you.
When you feel stuck, your options might seem binary – which makes it challenging to see alternatives.
- “I can either quit my day job and chase my dream or I can stay where I’m at and be miserable.”
- “I can either have a successful career or be a present parent.”
- “I can either push for what I believe in or stay silent to preserve this relationship.”
It’s normal to occasionally feel a little stuck.
I know, because, well, all three of those examples? They’re mine.
In hindsight, I’ve come to understand that every time I’ve felt stuck, I was really standing at the edge of a new frontier of personal insight – in knowing myself.
Feeling stuck is treated like a chasm that we can’t escape. But it’s actually a clue that we need to go even deeper.
I believe that this mindset – of feeling stuck being a clue not a chasm – is essential as you start and grow your business.
That’s because the zig-zag nature of starting something new can be disorienting without the right navigational skills.
If you want to learn more about that, see my most popular article: How to Accept And Overcome Obstacles As You Start A New Business.
Here’s how to shift your perspective when you feel stuck.
This first one is really simple. It’s also foundational to shifting your perspective.
Instead of saying “I am stuck, say “I feel stuck.”
There’s a permanence to “I am stuck” that you need to break. It’s a moment in time.
When you shift stuck to a feeling as opposed to a state of being, you take away its power.
Now, the ball’s in your court.
Treat it as a temporary feeling – as something you can overcome.
You’ll figure it out. You always do.
TALK TO PEOPLE
It’s always okay to ask for help and it’s especially important when you’re stuck.
Why? Because feeling stuck can be isolating. And, again, there’s that binary worldview to deal with.
Other people aren’t in it with you, so they will by definition see the situation from a different angle than you can.
Do not ask:
- What should I do?
- What would you do if you were me?
This isn’t about being handed the answer.
This is about inviting curiosity and seeking out new personal insights.
Share your situation and ask things like:
- How have you overcome feeling stuck before?
- Based on what you know about me, what am I missing?
- What else should I be thinking about here?
New experiences help the brain make new connections.
So, do something or go somewhere totally different to take your mind off the situation.
A little distance works wonders.
I also find that stepping away and letting your mind wander is essential to making those “ah-ha” moments possible.
Our brain needs raw material to process information. When was the last time you gave it some?
MAKE IT NON-BINARY
When we feel stuck, it’s that binary view that traps us. And, inherent in that view is that you have all possible answers – of course, because it’s “either this or that.”
But, we don’t. In fact, we never do.
Instead, we spin and overthink the situation using the information we already have. We search in our minds for an answer. And, when it doesn’t come we feel even more stuck.
So, stop looking for answers. You don’t need answers right now. You need questions.
Use Integrative Thinking to take a fresh perspective. Here are two previous articles on this topic:
- The Dangers of Binary Thinking from the 321 Liftoff blog
- Stuck Between Two Good Ideas For Your Business? from the 321 Liftoff blog
CONSIDER THE IMPOSSIBLE
This one comes from the Imagineers at Disney (see The Imagineering Workout).
Throw out an impossible solution – something that would be completely off the wall and out there.
Why? Sometimes debating a wrong answer can help you reveal the correct one.
Think of it as a negative affirmation.
You’ll be forced to spell out exactly what you want by first coming to terms with what you don’t want.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK
Take a step back and see the big picture and see things from a different perspective.
- What do you want the decision process to look like?
- What metrics are you using to assess each option?
- Regardless of what you choose, how do you want to feel after you’ve made your choice?
- What stories are you holding onto? What do you want to be true going forward?
- What do you really want? What’s your gut telling you?
How do you get unstuck?
Stay tuned for more, right here on the 321 Liftoff blog.
Subscribe to my blog using the form. And, when you subscribe, you’ll also get a free guide: 5 Steps to Clarifying Your Business Idea, which includes 5 activities to help you stop over-thinking and start taking action.
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.
It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.
It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.
And, that’s why it’s worth it.