What to do when you hit a brick wall
Everyone hits a brick wall at some time in their life. Motivation dips, energy dries up, focus pretty much disappears. Professional development and personal growth stagnate and health may be neglected.
Hitting a brick wall means we have come across, or perceive ourselves to have come across an insurmountable obstacle. We become stuck or unmotivated. It could be that you have been carrying out a lengthy, time-consuming task at work and you cannot access relevant information to progress it any further; you are stuck. Perhaps you have been trying to resolve a conflict and sense you are not moving forward; you feel stuck. It may be that you are overworked, tired, bored, all of which can make you feel like you have hit a wall and cannot get past it.
What can you do if you hit a brick wall?
I believe it starts with something called acceptance. Accept that, in life, we all experience that wall. You are not alone at the wall. Your wall may be relatively short or it may appear to be as high as a skyscraper - recognising the wall consciously is a start. Do not ignore or avoid it.
It is also useful to consider if there are any triggers to you hitting a wall. Do you notice a time of the day or year that you feel like you are veering towards the wall? Does another person trigger you? Does the weather or a season trigger the "wall"?
What you are doing here is becoming more self-aware and conscious. The more self-aware you become of your though habits, emotions and behaviours, the better the opportunity to work on what thoughts, habits and behaviours you prefer to project.
If you hit a brick wall, ask yourself what your thoughts were five minutes before you hit it. Write these down. Notice where the thoughts come from. Is your inner voice being realistic? Is it tiredness or overwhelm talking? Is someone or something else creeping in?
Notice how you feel about these thoughts. What emotions come up for you? Notice if the wall is real or perceived. Notice if there are alternative paths to keep you on track. How has your energy changed?
Notice that hitting a wall is typically temporary and that you are not always up against the wall. Reflect on when you are not at the wall - how is your energy then? What keeps you motivated when you are not at the wall?
Ask yourself what you would be capable of now if you had a higher level of energy and recognise what helps you feel more active and energised; if you need to take a break, take it. With a clearer mind, you will focus better and observe more.
Acknowledge what is possible at the time you hit a wall. Reflect on when you did push through to accomplish something. Better still, prior to hitting the wall, put in place steps that you can realistically take to support you at that time without guilt.
Likewise, learn to understand what motivates you. When you hit the hall, what can you do to motivate yourself enough to climb over it, or better yet, knock the wall down?
Speak to someone you trust, like a friend or colleague, or consider speaking to a third-party (e.g. a coach) someone who doesn't know you and will not judge you.
Finally, trust in yourself that by owning your thoughts and behaviours, and by talking doubts or concerns through, you can potentially minimise experiences of hitting a wall.
Motivation and action lead to great results. It is important, therefore, to address any triggers that lead us to hit a wall and to be honest about its reality. We may not always be highly motivated, but we need some level of motivation to accomplish the results we each desire.
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