If You Feel Stuck (2 Opposing Views)

if you feel stuckMy email signature contains my mission statement. My Mission: To help people get unstuck. Oddly enough, I have two opposing views on being stuck, both the cause and the cure. If you feel stuck at all in any part of your life then this article is for you.

One of my favorite quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald says, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Because of this quote, when I recently discovered that I was actually approaching the issue of being “stuck” in life with two different ideas… well, it didn’t bother me as much as I think both views are 100% valid.

But what exactly is being “stuck” anyway? If you feel stuck it could be from a variety of reasons… you may feel stuck because your life feels routine and maybe even in a rut that you can not figure out how to escape. If you feel stuck, it could also stem from the thought or perception that some situation in your life is blocking you and preventing you from moving forward.

Being stuck can also be as simple as recognizing that you are “here” but you want to go “there” but cannot find the means to begin moving in that direction and building the momentum to get there.

Regardless of how one is “stuck” it is my job or mission as a life coach to help my clients to either break free from that which is holding them back or to just simply start and begin their journey towards their goal or desired destination in life.

If You Feel Stuck (2 Opposing Views)

View #1. There is no such thing as being stuck…

A long time ago someone asked me if I felt as if I were stuck. It was a new concept for me at the time so I embraced it and identified with it 100%. “Yup, I am stuck and not going anywhere… That’s me!”

Being able to identify with being stuck freed me from so much responsibility… of course nothing was getting better because I was stuck! Of course nothing good was happening in my life because I was stuck! In addition, I couldn’t do anything on my own or for myself to remedy anything because… I was stuck!

Thankfully, I had a friend and ally who was much smarter than I who decided to call me out on being stuck. He did not believe in being stuck and as he explained to me…

“There is no such thing as being stuck; you are just where you are supposed to be in life. You are not stuck there. Claiming to be stuck and “choosing” to not take action or make any decisions is completely on you… and it’s actually rather victim-like.”

Ouch… That ended my being stuck phase right then and there and I have never been stuck since!

“I’m in a rut.” “I don’t know what to do.” “I feel stuck.” These phrases create a mindset that you are helpless when in fact you are not. If you discover yourself saying things like this and saying them often, it is a sign that it’s time for you to push through to the next thing or the next level in your life. And there is plenty you can do to get there too. You always have the power to move forward no matter what obstacles block your path.

You don’t have to keep on doing things the way you’ve always done them. You don’t have to be held a prisoner by your old familiar habits and beliefs. You have all this power because you have the CHOICE. In each moment, you can choose what you think, what you do, and who you want to be.

You are never stuck…

Feeling stuck is a FEELING, not an absolute truth or state of being. If you feel stuck, your first instinct is to look outside of yourself for someone or something to blame. What you really should be doing in this case is to be looking inward at how you are feeling, what your predominant thoughts are, and what actions you might be planning to take if any.

You are never stuck because ultimately your life is your responsibility. It’s true that you can’t always change what’s outside of you, but you can certainly change your perception of it, and when you change the way you look at things, the things themselves change.

Feeling stuck is a sign that it’s time to make a change and a sign that the way you are doing things is no longer working. Henry Ford debunked being stuck when we said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Choose to do things differently and you will see different results…

Never settle on being or feeling as if you are stuck in life. You aren’t. You always have the power to make a choice about what you think, what you feel, how you act, and to propel yourself forward as a result of those choices.

What is keeping you from moving forward? Is it the fear of failure? Insecurity? Outright laziness? Claiming to be stuck is ultimately just an excuse – so what is your excuse? Don’t focus on your excuses… don’t focus on being stuck, focus on moving forward instead.

You are never stuck… You can only feel stuck and that is always YOUR choice.

View #2. You ARE stuck and the reason is that you refuse to make a decision!

Lately, I have noticed a huge trend that causes most people to be stuck in life. It has nothing to do with intelligence, attitude or even motivation. The number one reason you are stuck is that you will not make a decision!

That’s it… fear of making a decision and choosing a direction in which to take action is the number one reason that people are stuck. Period.

Here is a clue to figure out if you are stuck or not… if you are waiting for someone else, or something else, some other external event or factor, or someone else’s decision to happen in order for you to make YOUR DECISION… yeah, that’s you being stuck.

So if you are stuck you are either waiting on “something else” and allowing yourself to be powerless in the situation or… you are just plan afraid of making a choice, or to be more precise… the wrong choice. You are afraid of giving up “options” because maybe you are hoping to have your cake and eat it too. You could even be afraid of someone else’s reaction or response if you choose your own way… regardless… it’s fear, and its fear of making a decision.

If there is anything to be concerned about, it is this… be less concerned about making the wrong choice and more concerned about not making any at all. Trust me, you are smart enough to avoid making a stupid decision, so don’t worry about that. Just make a decision and move on.

And if you make the wrong one, it will not be the end of the world. You will learn from your experience, pick up the pieces that you need to pick up and carry on. At least you won’t be stuck, right?

The reality is that there are more people in this world who are stuck and paralyzed by fear than there are those who are living with the fallout of bad decisions. Let me repeat that… there are more people STUCK and afraid to make choices for their lives than there are those who went ahead, made a bad decision, and had to deal with the consequences…

Don’t stress over making the wrong choice. If you do, you will never get anything done, ever. Never allow fear or indecision to be the reason you are stuck!

If You Feel Stuck – In A Nutshell…

Regardless of how or why you are stuck or if you feel stuck, it isn’t a fun place to be in life. It can be frustrating, demoralizing, and if nothing else… boring.

If you feel stuck maybe the truth is simply that you are not and while you might not be where you want to be in life, you are in fact exactly where you are supposed to be at that moment in time. It is just a feeling and just like with any other feeling we may experience, you can change that by simply changing your predominant thought or how you view the situation.

Then again, maybe you truly are stuck and frozen in place by fear and indecision or just the outright fear of making a decision and subsequent results or aftermath. Maybe you want change but are fearful of what it might take to make the change and that fear is what is keeping you from making any decision that will propel you in the direction of forward. When you make a choice or decision you change the future so be brave and be willing to do just that. Refusing to make a decision will always hold you back and keep you from moving forward… choosing to make a decision, whatever it is, will free you from your “stuckness.”

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 05 September 2009

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