10 Strategies to Fix the Reason You’re Stuck
Waiting is the reason life hasn’t changed.
Waiting seldom takes you where you want to go. You aren’t where you hoped because you haven’t taken steps to get there; you’ve waited.
The path to disappointment and dissatisfaction is paved with waiting.
Why we wait:
- Expecting giant leaps.
- Rejecting incremental progress.
- Forgetting that certainty is a myth. Needing it stagnates.
- Letting obstacles obscure goals.
- Hoping others would help but they didn’t.
- Feeling alone.
- Feeling incompetent.
- Belief that things will eventually improve, on their own.
- Fear of losing what you currently have.
- The present isn’t painful enough, yet.
Start stepping toward something new when:
- The present is acceptable but not satisfying.
- Challenges have slipped into easy rhythms.
- Boredom sets in.
- New opportunities emerge.
How to stop waiting:
- Project yourself into an unchanged future. If nothing changes will you be fulfilled ten years from now?
- Realize nothing will change until you change it. Don’t wait for others to create the “right” conditions.
- Spend a day writing down every dissatisfying element of your life.
- Cross off everything on your dissatisfaction list that others control.
- Prioritize the items you control starting with the most dissatisfying.
- Focus on items in the middle of your list. Don’t start with the biggest, baddest items.
- Take small steps toward something new.
- Stop letting uncertainty about the “best” future prevent from pursuing a “better” future. Better comes before best so go for better.
- Take steps that open more doors than they close, at least in the beginning. There may come a point when closing doors is the more important than opening new ones.
- Pat yourself on the back.
Stop Waiting – Take Steps.
How can people know when they should begin changing things?
What can people do to step toward a preferred future?
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Thank you for this easy way to make some decisions about the future and, funny enough, a way of reviewing the past. Definite retweet.
Thank you for the good word Annie. You have my best wishes.
So true – waiting isn’t going to move towards the future. What are we waiting for? Very good question – very self-reflective. Whether travel, work or personal goals – the time, as always, is now!
Glad you see the broad application of these ideas. Sometimes I like to post on general personal development.
How can people know when they should begin changing things?
What can people do to step toward a preferred future?
As I said a moment ago on Twitter, I hesitated opening and reading this post because I know it will hit home. I think you know you should begin changing things when your heart wilts a little bit every time you approach the doors of your workplace (assuming your stuck-ness is work related). Whenever I read someone’s quote where they say, “going to work never feels like work” or “I wake up every morning thrilled to be doing what I am doing,” I recognize that even for those people, the truth may be a little less glittery and sparkly than that but they clearly feel like they are contributing and they feel positive about the fact that there is still more to do, give, and accomplish. I think the acknowledgement that it’s time to begin changing may differ with every individual, but it all comes back to what your gut says in the still small moments.
As far as stepping toward a preferred future, I would add to your list commemorating the steps you want to take in a tangible way, such as a written list. And the small steps point is true – you may not be able to enroll in school to get the new/different degree you want, but you can go to the website, request a catalog, audit a course.
For younger readers, I can tell you that making changes can be difficult as you accrue consumer debt so anything you can do early on to put yourself in a sold position financially will give you more options for getting unstuck later.
Lastly, I heard a question recently that was in a different context than stuckness. It was in the book The Geography of Bliss, which explored what makes people happy. The author was discussing how we choose where we live, how our place of residence factors into our happiness. He said he had learned this question: “Where would you like to die?” It isn’t a morbid question – it is one though that gets right to the heart of who we are as individuals. I think a similar construct could be made for getting unstuck. What do you most want to be doing when the balance of time is tipping closer toward an end than a beginning?
Thank you great illustrations, ideas, and the question at the end is “killer.”
I love the idea of keeping a “small steps journal” … what small steps did I take toward my preferred future, TODAY. Brilliant!
You always bring something authentic, useful and thoughtful, Thank you.
Best to you,
Paula, thanks for the personal comments and the insights. Particularly good stuff for young people. I plan to share this with my 20’s something kids.
I am fortunate to have very few regrets about the choices I have made in life, but one I’ve shared is that if there was one “do over” it would be that I took more risk when I was younger.
Good post, Dan.
I think many people lull themselves into coma by confusing patience with waiting, and they are not the same.
We wait for all of the reasons that you have stated, and we wait because we are afraid to cross into the unknown. Although fear would tell us we are stepping into an abyss.
Patient is, in my mind, waiting and preparing. It is making sure things are lining up, making the time to acqure new knowledge and skill while you are waiting to actively make or take that next step.
It is not sitting around waiting for lightening to strike you.
Its preparing to be moved forward, while you are waiting to be moved.
Love your contrast.
While being patient, one can still do things. Patience can be active. Waiting is simply doing nothing, at least in the context of this post.
You brought some real clarity to an important idea that makes this post more useful.
Thank you for all you do to help others,
Great insights Dan.
A week or so ago I got a desperate e-mail from an employee who was so unhappy because she wanted more leadership responsibilities.(According to her, the boss had promised more responsibility over the last three years but nothing had happened.)
As a result this person said she was stuck. She had resorted to just “playing games on the computer” or crying.
Your advice is congruent with my suggestions: Stop waiting for someone to appoint you as leader. Step into this truth by your behaviors and willingness to make suggestions, help others get the resources they need, fill in where needed, be a team player instead of pointing fingers at the boss or blaming him for your lack of success. (I was careful to be kind as I gave this wake up call.) LOL
So often we wait for some “authority” to give permission to be who we say we want to be. Step into that new truth and BE that which you want to be. The result is that others will see it when you believe it and act on it.
A good word from a wise consultant and author encourages me. Thank you.
Stop waiting for permission… Give yourself permission to make a difference. 🙂 Your focus on personal responsibility is helpful.
I wish you continued success.
I know this sounds strange but I contract so that I have to shift from place to place. I can’t get stuck because I am in one place for too short a time. I throw my whole heart into what ever I am doing and then move on Jo
Delightful comment. I can see where shifting places creates new challenges and opportunities. With your attitude, one is bound to learn, grow and find richness of life.
Thanks for sharing your story,
This is fantastic. Thank you.
This is such a great post! I just read your blog the other day and have since rec’d three great inpsiring reads. I have passed along to three I love- who are in leadership in their workplace- two were inspired. Keep blogging… you’re changing lives….
Such a great post. 5 or so years ago I started taking “small steps toward something new” and now work from home running my own company with a great friend. It’s awesome to put my son to bed for his nap and kiss my daughter during the day. My wife’s happier too.
If you’re waiting to live your dream, you’re not only short-changing yourself, but also everyone who needs your dream to take shape. If you have an idea to build a business or serve others, start small and make it happen. Their enthusiasm will keep you going.
Will it be easy? Not if it’s worth doing. Will it be quick? Probably not. It will probably involve working late nights and early mornings when your friends are sleeping or watching TV.
5 years from now, tell someone how you built something. You can start today.
This post is as much about one’s personal life as it is about business. I’m writing a book and just recently became ‘unstuck’. Some of the things that were holding me back can be found right here on your list. Think I have to print this one out and stick it on my bathroom mirror — just in case. Thank you.
We love your blog! Here’s an award! http://wp.me/p1ZiiS-93
Please forgive my errant comments here. Getting used to my new iPad and clearly flubbed things uo.
At any rate, your post is a must for anyone who has said, “I wish” about most anything in a career. As you say, it’s action that matters. Action builds momentum and momentum gives us the energy we need to make what we wish for become reality.
Thanks for another great post.
Really great article. It’s all so true. I couldn’t shake this notion though, that the “why we wait” bullets were almost like a list of things people use as scapegoats for inaction. Number 5 hit me most personally as I fall into that trap a lot.
I love that you have action steps. I feel like so much of the personal development writing out there misses the value of laying out step-by-step solutions for people to follow. Very nice.
First of all, when do you get a feeling of getting stuck? Is it when you don’t get recognized for your good efforts or when you are shaken up for loosing the self-respect at the work place and thereby the future prospects? Whatever be the situation, the phase is quite disturbing and can demoralize your own spirit.
The simple answer lies in the four words as rightly been mentioned by you ‘Stop Waiting – Take Steps’. Looking for quick solutions with a practical approach would be a wise decision.
Dan, of all things to receive on my birthday! Great article…it brings even greater urgency for me to move forward. Especially so your clarion call, “Stop Waiting – Take Steps”.
For me it has been the fear of the unknown. How will things be considering I have my wife and 3 kids to think of? What if I fail? What if I’m not successful enough?
Despite these “inadequacy”, I took one feeble step yesterday. It is time for me to actuate one passion I have, one for practical leadership. My first blog therefore went out… “Leadership is not for wimps – http://wp.me/p28gFh-Q“
The waiting room is over, this is exceptional leadership indeed. Love u.
THANK YOU! I have been feeling so stuck in my life and this post was very thought-provoking for me.
I made a post on Facebook this morning saying that life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about making yourself. This post provides phenomenal insight on how to make this happen and will be shared right away!
Reblogged this on Mr. Rommie Blog and commented:
I like that list, especially that it can apply to just about any situation in oyur life. Eben though I am not fan of recipes, this one is good.
I was given a wee book on a Coaching course a number of years ago called “Travel Tips for Authentic Living”, by Betty Healey, and although the book had some interesting strategies, it was a quote inside that I have never forgotten and that jettisoned me to a new level of performance and self-understanding. The quote was by Marianne Williamson: “I used to feel like I was waiting for someone to discover me, to “produce” me, like Lana Turner at the drugstore. Ultimately I realize the person I was waiting for was myself. If we wait for the world’s permission to shine, we will never receive it.”
“life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about making yourself” Blake this is quite contentious! Zygmont Baumanish It is a question I will put to my art classes is an artists career about finding one self or making oneself?
I think I would add or change from “Spend a day writing down every dissatisfying element of your life” to making a list of all the things important to you/make you happy. Then determine if you are indeed taking action on those things. If you’re not, then ask yourself “why not?” Then make a plan to take small steps toward doing what makes you feel great and is important to you.
when we stop waiting it means we moving on 🙂
This is very relevant to me right now and has kick-started action. It is easy to wait- in the old comfort zone- for all of the reasons that you have listed above.
It is refreshing to see all the things that have been floating round in my head, real, on the page- out there.
Here’s to movement, action, growth and development
Dan, great post and good comments from others. Some very practical suggestions. Why we get stuck is maybe not as important as why we choose to stay stuck. I see it a fair amount in my coaching practice. When asked why they are stuck, many have told me fear…fear of embarrassment, fear of losing something, fear of not being loved/liked. I have found that fear is the great impostor that prevents us from being more of who we were created to be. It is also rooted in our ego and in the future. While fear can serve a very useful function of protecting us, the fear I’m describing has no real power other than what we give it. Fear will show up like an “old friend,” but my encouragement is to smile, say hello, and tell it to move on. As I have told my son, “It takes courage to grow up and be the person you were meant to be.” It is also the path to the greatest fulfillment in this life.
Step 3 very similar in style to the strengths ecetcise I’ve been doing whilst reading GPYSTW by Marcus Buckingham. This could be a good complement.
I particularly dig step 4. Reminds me to focus in what I can influence. And I can also imagine that if I’m honest, many of the things are actually in my control.
Nice food for thought, thanks,
These are so simple and yet so easy to forget. I wish these had been drummed into my head as a kind instead of the incessant nattering of the adults around me about getting stuff right or perfect. The “right and perfect” training was useless and destructive. Your blog post has the potential to help me get enough done that I make up for the last twenty years of “useless and destructive.” Thanks!
How do you walk though the fear when the chance for change is there? I have a job interview tomorrow (more challenge , but less money). I’ve been bored, unchallenged and STUCK at my job the last year and a half. BUT, tomorrow is this interview and i’m thinking of not going. That’s fear talking but am i wise to leave a job where i’m bored for the chance of another job that pays less and could be more boring ?
I wouldn’t leave a boring job for another boring job. 🙂
However, I would take a job that paid less if I felt the opportunities for advancement were greater.
Just some thoughts,
I wish you the best,
Excellent message, effectively conveyed. Best part is the breaking it down to small steps to break away.