I’ve written a few times about when I felt most stuck in my life. The year was 2011 and I was 30. I was working in agency-side recruitment in sales – which I hated. And I was in a relationship with a man who, while a great guy, wanted different things in life. At the time I didn’t feel like I could leave either. Having only worked in recruitment, I didn’t believe I could get a job outside of sales. And I didn’t want to leave the relationship because I was too scared of being alone. Leaving me feeling completely and utterly stuck.
It wasn’t until I had coaching when I began to build my self-confidence and recognise my value. I started to believe in my potential to change and that I was worthy of change. I also began to understand it was my fear of the unknown that was keeping me stuck. But until I faced my fears – I would always be scared. And I would always stay stuck. As I’ve said before – “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage”. The more decisions and actions you take – the more you will believe in your ability to overcome your fears. Making you unstoppable.
Whether you’re stuck in a relationship. Stuck in a job you no longer enjoy. Stuck in an emotional state or low self-confidence. Stuck financially. Stuck with a health condition. Stuck being unemployed. Stuck in a life that doesn’t fulfill you. Here are 5 steps to help you get ‘unstuck’.
1) Get clarity on what you want
Many people feel stuck because they don’t know what they want. They know they don’t want the pain of their current situation. But they don’t know what they want instead.
If you don’t know what you want, write down everything you don’t like in your current situation and simply take the opposite. E.g. I don’t like not having the authority to make decisions at work. The opposite could then be, “I’d like to work for myself”. For more tips read:
Once you get clear on what you want – you step into a “move towards” strategy rather than a “run away from” strategy (e.g. running away from pain). The most successful people in the world have a strong “move towards” strategy. Read my article on how to have a millionaire mindset for more info.
2) Be accountable
If things are not going well, we have to take accountability. Be brutally honest with yourself – what did you do, fear or believe that led you to where you are now? And what are YOU doing now, in terms of your behaviour, that is contributing to your current situation? Sometimes the problem isn’t the problem. We are the problem. And if we take accountability and look at what we can change in terms of our attitude and behaviour, sometimes the problem disappears.
3) Identify what is stopping you from moving forward
People stay stuck because of two reasons:
1) They don’t believe in their potential to change either themselves or their circumstances
2) Fear – the perceived pain of the different option is greater than the pain they are in now
Reason 1 – Lack of Belief
Low self-confidence or belief can stop people from taking action. The problem is self-esteem and self-confidence only grow WHEN you take action. Seeing yourself face your fears and overcome adversity is the best way to increase self-belief and self-respect. If you’re lacking in self-esteem or confidence, seeking the help of a professional (e.g. a therapist or life coach) can help. Alternatively, here are some articles to help get you started.
If you believe in your potential and your value, but don’t believe you can change your circumstances (e.g. an economic downturn) – look at what you can change. The first always being your thoughts and beliefs around your current circumstances: http://zetayarwood.com/10-harmful-thoughts-stopping-success-happiness/
The second being what you can change externally. Things such as environment, location, people you surround yourself with etc. can all be changed. You just have to be brave enough to change them.
Reason 2 – Fear
The fear of the unknown is the greatest fear. The only way to overcome it? To take the ‘unknowns’ and make them ‘knowns’. Meaning – until your fears become a reality you will never know what you’re really facing. Everything before that is just your imagination. Worse case scenarios trying to keep you in your comfort zone. Here you need to focus on everything you will GAIN by making the change – not on everything you will lose. These articles will help you overcome your fear of change and make a decision:
4) Identify what actions you can take
You’ve made the decision to make a change – but without action the decision is redundant. Let’s be clear – we’re not talking about impulsive, irresponsible action. For example – quitting your job to start your own business with zero savings might not be the best approach. I took a job for 2 years after recruitment to save up a financial cushion before I started my coaching business.
Think about all the actions you could start taking NOW to move towards what it is you want. These could be:
1) Consciously identifying what you want and what is most important to you
2) Writing a good CV, LinkedIn profile and building your personal brand/online presence
3) Focusing on personal and professional development – education, training, coaching etc.
4) Getting professional help – therapy, relationship counselling, financial advice, life or career coaching etc.
5) Creating an effective job search strategy
6) Enhancing and nurturing your personal and professional network
7) Creating a business plan or getting a new job
8) Saving money and putting financial targets/goals in place ready for the change
9) Practicing your interview skills
10) Working on improving communication – with your boss, colleagues, husband, wife, children, teams etc.
11) Looking for ways to stay motivated and improve your current situation until you can make the change
Get clear on what steps you need to take and start to build your action plan.
5) Identify available resources
What resources do you have that could help you make the change? People, the internet, magazines, books etc. are all great sources of valuable and inspirational advice and guidance. Also, what do you have in terms of money, time and energy? How can you optimise these?
The final step? Take action! Research has shown that the quicker you take action, the more committed you will be to making the change. Aim to take one step – big or small – within the first 12 hours.
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.