Feeling stuck? You ALWAYS have a choice
If you’re stuck, out of options and feeling resigned, hopeless and just trapped in the same old situation, relationship, or decision, then read on for a step by step process that will get you out of this repeating cycle – once and for all.
Step 1 – Realise you are choosing a perspective and name it
So for example, if you feel stuck in a rut about your career or business – you find it boring, unfulfilling but you think this is all there is, that there are no other options, and you’ve all but given up – this is your perspective, i.e. there isn’t another way – 'this is it' is your belief – it is not actually a fact. I know you may really believe that it is fact – but the fact, subject, issue here in this example is ‘My career’, and the perspective you are choosing is as above.
What’s happened here is that you have (unconsciously) developed a habitual way of thinking about it, and the more you do (or maybe don’t do in this case), the firmer, more well developed it becomes. You will consistently gather evidence to prove yourself right (this is just how our brains work – all normal), until your belief / perspective, to you, becomes ‘the absolute truth’; the way it is, case closed.
So the first thing to be done, if you really want to get unstuck, is to admit this to yourself, and name this perspective you have chosen. What also helps, for you to realise just how far you have convinced yourself of this perspective, is to really go there – feel what it feels like, embody it, give it a metaphor even. This is how I work with with my clients who are stuck in a perspective.
Then, separate out the subject, the issue, from your perspective, so as mentioned before, in this case it would be ‘My career’ or ‘The rest of my life’, and place that literally in the middle of the space you’re doing this in. The important piece is to literally separate out the two things – perspective, issue.
Step 2 – Try on some other perspectives
Now that you have clearly defined those two elements, this is the fun bit. Try out some different ways of thinking and feeling about the issue. Now depending on where you are (I recommend either a room with a few bits of different furniture, or go outside as I did above, a park or woodland are great for this kind of exercise), literally move around, using any props within your space – like a chair, window, a slide, park bench; lie down in the grass if you’re outside. Some people like to take on a character or what they feel as they move just reminds them of someone – like a person they know who is particularly inspiring, or a comic character like Wonder Woman.
The reason behind moving around and changing your body position is that neuroscientists have done experiments that prove when we do this, it actually unlocks different ways of thinking and feeling. One experiment showed that when people sat on a hard bench they actually negotiated harder, or if they held a warm cup of tea or coffee they acted more warmly towards someone.
For each new place or body position (maybe try five or six), really notice what you think, believe, feel, and would be doing about your issue. If you came up with a metaphor e.g. ‘the beach’, or just simply ‘from the window’, name each one as you go.
Step 3 – Choose and commit
When you feel you have enough, revisit each one – either mentally or literally. Do you want to stay in that first one? No? Then move around and choose the one you most want to go with right now. Your perspective may not be the most extreme or the most aspirational – it's the one you feel most comfortable in right now.
The important thing is you have made a choice.
For example, say you tried lying down on your sofa, and that reminded you of laying on the beach, and here you really feel that whatever the situation, “anything is doable”, then imagine all of the things you would be feeling, doing, thinking and believing from this new place.
Now it’s time to commit.
From this place create a list of what you say ‘yes’ to and what you say ‘no’ to, for example…
- I say yes to self care: eating nutritious food and sleeping seven hours a night.
- I say yes to researching the roles available in the field I’d love to work in.
- I say yes to connecting with one person a week in this field.
- I say yes to getting up early and spend 30 minutes every day on this.
- I say yes to believing in myself.
- I say no to procrastination.
- I say no to watching three hours of mind-numbing TV every night.
- I say no to wasting time on Facebook.
- I say no to drinking every night.
You may also want to create an ‘anchor’ or ‘structure’ to help connect you back with this new perspective – especially when you feel yourself slipping back to the old, for example an image of a beautiful beach, a rock or stone, an item of clothing etc. – all very good reminders.
Then have your list of commitments and your structure somewhere so you can see and have access to them every day – and take action. Even though you may not be able to control what happens in life, you always have a choice as to how think, feel, and respond to it.