Stuck is a place where your caught or held in a position where you can’t move or get away from. It’s also a place where you can’t solve a problem and make forward progress.
The good news is that “stuck” is normal; the other news is that it doesn’t feel good and it’s hard to get out of.
If you’ve ever been stuck physically, like in a truck, car or perhaps some other off-road sporting vehicle then you know it can be frustrating and messy. The thrill and exhilaration of what your doing goes away and it’s often replaced by a combination of surprise, determination, anxiety and quite possibly fear.
For those of you with “stuck” experience, you know that rocking back and forth, putting stuff under the wheels for traction and all kinds of other fall back maneuvers will often get you out of the rut. And to get out when you’re really stuck (the up-to-your-fender-well, can’t get out kind of stuck), you have to take another step and make that embarrassing call. It means eating some humble pie, tasting even more disappointment, sadness, anger and if you’re really out in the boonies, despair.
Being stuck personally and professionally is a lot like that too…both the self service variety as well as the “I-can’t-get-out-gotta-make-a-call” kind. And unlike being physically stuck, there isn’t a rescue hotline or towing service to call for this one when you can’t get out on your own.
- Where am I now and where do I want to go? By answering yourself honestly, you can develop discrepancy or a gap to focus on and address. This is fundamental and sometimes requires asking for outside input in order to get extremely clear about the rut your in and where the high road for you might be.
- What do I want to change? Notice the question isn’t what do I “need” to change, it’s what do I “want” to change. We may know we need something to change to get unstuck but until we want to change we won’t. Sometimes this question makes you aware of a discrepancy between what needs to change and what your willing to change. Until your willing, nothing will change for you. When you’re willing to change, then it’s possible for things to change for you.
- What’s my powerful Why? It’s been said “You lose your way when you lose your why”. We are hard-wired to resist being pushed into doing stuff and it’s no different here. All the “I should’s”, “I have to’s” and “I need to’s” aren’t going to work for you in the long-run. Instead of a push we need to be pulled by something we can really latch on to. That something is the powerful “Why” we have for what we want to be different. Keep revisiting (or fine-tuning) your “Why” until you’re able to get on the other side of ambivalence.
In summary, getting unstuck involves knowing where your at, what needs to change, and why you want to change. Sounds easy, and it is…..unless you’re “stuck”!
Getting stuck is normal, staying stuck long-term is not. When you feel stuck, asking yourself (literally) and reflecting on these 3 fundamental elements can get you moving again in the right direction. Likewise, getting unstuck requires intentional, conscious effort and staying unstuck will require self-awareness and intermittent course correction.
If you’re currently stuck or in a rut, which of these 3 questions do you need to focus on right now to get moving again? If you’re not, put them in your emergency kit because you’ll need them at some point; we all do.
Please leave a comment, especially if your currently “stuck”!