People describe the ‘Stuck’ situation being similar to being lost in the woods. Have you heard of the phrase ‘Death by confusion’? Let me explain this.
Imagine you are hiking in a jungle and you got separated from your group. Now you are lost and you are on your own. You have very little water, very little food, no roof on your head, surrounded on all sides by thick forest, and there are wild animals in the deep. Now, to stay alive, you have to find the nearest road or village as soon as possible. You come to a point where you need to pick one of four directions and start walking, in the hope that you will reach a road or a village. Starting to walk is better than staying put. If you don’t act owing to confusion you will most certainly die. And yet you do not move. You freeze in your tracks. The fear of getting killed or not making it causes you to over calculate the pros and cons of each route. The result is stasis. This is called ‘death by confusion’. If you choose one of the 4 directions and start walking, there is at least a ¼ chance that you will survive. But staying mired in one spot is a 100% guarantee of death.
Being stuck is like that. Not doing anything not only keeps solutions away, but it also kills us slowly. You need to think about what is the best you can do to get unstuck, so you can get to that 1/4th chance of survival that may just also be the triumph you always desired.
Here are the most common reasons people get stuck, and my 2 cents.
1. Both options are great. How do I decide? If one of the options was better than the other, the choice becomes easy. The difficulty arises when both seem equally good. Make a list of all the important parameters that you would consider as part of the selection process. Rate both the options for the parameters. Choose the option with the higher cumulative score. In the rare occasion where the cumulative score is the same for both options, pick the most important parameter and choose the option with the higher score on that parameter. But here’s the deal: your soul already knows the right option, a decision it has made on criteria not to be found in any text book. Rely on your intuition to guide you on what you need to select. Your soul and your intuition are your pilot. They do not always make logical choices but they make the right choices for you.
2. I procrastinate. I never seem to start: You need to ask yourself if you really want to start. If the goal is important for you to accomplish and if it is aligned to your values, you will have enough motivation to start. Maybe your goal is not aligned to you values? If that is not the case and you continue to procrastinate maybe it is time to face the unpleasant truth about your laziness. How to overcome laziness? It’s easy. Start somewhere. Or perhaps you do not begin because you are afraid of failing. This stems from a need for perfection. But progress – any progress, even the smallest movement – is greater than perfection. As they say a good job today is better than a great job that may be done tomorrow. Everything comes down to now. Forget past and present and simply pray to the present moment. Put your head down and focus on this one sentence. Let this one sentence be perfect. Now there is nothing but this one sentence. After it is done, move to the next.
3. What it I fail? I don’t know if I can achieve this. Hence, I don’t start: You are stuck because you are worried if you are capable of achieving your goal. You are worried if you will fail. This kind of fear stems not from a lack of ability but a lack of preparation. You need to prepare well to figure how you can go wrong and what you can do to avoid failure. Define what success looks like and what failure looks like, and in what time. And ask yourself, ‘What if I fail?’ What can do I to mitigate my losses, if that situation will arise? Under what circumstances will I know that I have failed, declare and accept that failure, and move on? If you don’t start, you will never know if you will succeed or fail. So, start. Always have a plan B. So, when you get to a stage where you know certainly that plan A has failed, without wasting too much time, you will be willing to move on. So, this way, you don’t spend too much being upset and wallowing in self-pity. Knowledge is the enemy of fear. When you do your homework and have a plan B, you are powerful because you have acquired knowledge about your situation. You must defeat fear with knowledge.
4. I lose interest too soon. I never seem to complete what I start: You need to ask yourself if the goal is important to you and if it is aligned to your values. If the goal is not aligned, then you have the wrong goal. Hence, you will never be able to pursue it to completion. So, find a goal that excites you. No excitement in you, no excitement in the end product.
5. I am anxious about the outcome: We live in an outcome-oriented world and this is a good thing because it teaches us to be focused. But in some ways the obsession with outcomes and their dichotomous thinking – success or failure – has robbed us of an appreciation of process. At the end of the day what sustains us is not failure or success. It is vision and a dedication to the finer details of our craft. That creates an island of peace inside us that becomes a bulwark against all the negativity of the world.
6. My relationship has gone bust: Try to isolate the symptoms from the problem. Identifying the right problem statement helps us to arrive at the right way to deal with the situation. Communication is key. Most times, the problem between people is due to miscommunication and lack of communication. If the problem is solved, the symptoms disappear automatically.
8. I can never make my point. I lack confidence: Many times people think if they speak no one will care. There is such a lot of white noise around us that we have become desensitized to knowledge. There seems to be nothing new to say. But this is a serious misconception. Most of the content we see around is simple old wine in a new bottle. And if you see something new and original, the person who authored it need not be a genius. He or she need only be a person with confidence in their thought process. They are confident enough to follow a train of thought and sell it. The same can be true of you. Take your first thoughts, your most inchoate thoughts, the ones that send a shudder through you. Develop them. Share them with the world with honesty and simplicity. You will be surprised.
A lot of above solutions can be implemented by the stuck person on their own. But, in some cases, it helps to seek the help of a Coach.
If you are stuck and are looking for a change or for a breakthrough, register and participate in Chapter Two’s revolutionary workshop Unfollow on Saturday, June 23rd at Bangalore.
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories. Sandhya’s services include Executive Coaching and Life Coaching.