christopher paul jones in Affinity magazine

Very often when you feel that way you are actually suspended between two polarities; one where there is not enough pain to change the situation you are in, and the other where you feel largely unfulfilled. You are in the dreaded ‘grey zone’. I remember watching an episode of the Office where Martin Freeman’s character talks about being stuck in his job: he says “Right now I rolled a 3, I could change it, maybe roll a 6, but then again I might role a 1”. This is a classic example of why a lot of people are stuck; they are afraid of making a mistake, of failing and thus they end up holding onto the present too tightly to allow them to see the steps to move forward. This is the case in many instances like writer’s block, not studying for an exam, or not completing that essential work project. You freeze, caught in the Bermuda Triangle of doubt from which it is so hard to escape. Here are some tools to find your way out and make the changes necessary to get the life you want.

Get initial momentum
If you want to get momentum the first step is this:
STEP 1 – Stop and notice what is it you are missing out on by being in this position of paralysis. What it is you are not experiencing in your life? What will you lose if it continues? How will that make you feel?
STEP 2 – Now imagine that same stuck state five years from now. How would you think, feel or be then?
STEP 3 – Now expand this even further… How will you feel if everything stays the same in ten, twenty or thirty years time and so on.
STEP 4 – To take it further still, imagine yourself sitting and telling your grandchildren the story of your life, imagine them asking you about that very thing you did not change. How would hearing that story feel if you never never took action?
STEP 5 – Now imagine yourself having made that change. How would that feel? Project forwards to five, ten, twenty, thirty years on. How would it feel to share this story with your grandchildren instead of the story of failure?

Make it manageable

Another reason for being stuck arises from the mismatch between external and internal demands, fears and our perceived ability to cope.

STEP 1 – Write down a list all the fears that are keeping you stuck. For example, in a relationship it could be the fear of being alone, or the fear to start anew. In the case of a job it could be the fear of not being able to pay the bills and support your family.

STEP 2 – Now label these concerns in order of their priority, with 1 being the highest priority, then 2 for the second, and so on.

STEP 3 – First focus on the most pressing one, i.e. Number 1, and then work your way down the list and make them manageable. How you do this is:

STEP 4 – Make these concerns manageable by breaking them down into small and easy to achieve steps i.e. say you are renovating an entire house, this could be overwhelming, almost too big to start. Notice how it feels instead to set a goal to start with one corner of one room. You tend to find that once you have done that, you will feel motivated to carry on with the next step and then the next step. Before you know it, you have completed the entire house.

Remember “a journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step” (Lao Tzu).

Minimize overthinking

When you are stuck, you tend to have a lot of internal chatter that is running the show. First notice what this internal voice is saying and how is this limiting you. Now imagine you have a remote control that can turn down the volume of this voice until it becomes merely a whisper. When you do this you should find that it is easier to move beyond the Bermuda Triangle.

Get clarity

Now ask yourself these questions: What do you need in order to move forwards? What are you believing that keeps you stuck? What would you need to change to get what you want?

Doing this will give you clarity on where you are and what you need to do to get out of your rut.

This way you can move towards the life you love.

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