It’s easy to identify stress when you are in a life and death situation, but what about when you are slowly put into a stressful situation – this is what it can feel like to be STUCK!
Think about the poor lobster that gets dropped in a cold pot, the heat is turned on and slowly heated to a boil. Mr. Lobster won’t realize he is stuck until it’s too late. Many people are not satisfied with their current situation, which could be due to a number of factors such as underemployment, unemployment, current job situation, family, children and many other conditions that we must face on a daily basis. These responsibilities rob us of our ability to think clearly and get ourselves out of these stressful situations
I’m sure many have found themselves in a situation similar to the following; when motoring down the road they see brake lights and then slowly push their cars brake pedal to begin the process of slowing down - out of procedure you glance into your review mirror, in the mirror you see a car coming at you with smoking tires – then you hear the screeching. You think to yourself a crash is imminent – a feeling of helplessness overcomes you.
How does your body respond to this situation? I’ll tell you how mine does and I’d expect many to have a similar response. I get shortness of breath, tunnel vision, a rising pulse, and I’m one step away from PANIC. During urgent situations like these we have a choice of confronting the threat or take action to get out of the situation. The described situation feels very real when you are put in it - it’s a life or death situation. These physical situations come unexpectedly; the transition from a tranquil state to a state of sheer terror can take a few seconds but can make a lasting impression.
Here are five steps to consider if you find yourself feeling stuck.
Step 1: Do Something
There is a terrific quote; “Action is the Foundation to All Success” – Pablo Picaso. Now, I have no way of verifying if Pablo Picaso said this or not, given he was a Spanish Painter and there may have been something lost in translation. Regardless of the quotes’ authenticity, the quote still resonates with me. We never seem to find motivation where we are looking, which contributes to the reason we are stuck. To get moving again sometimes we just need to do something. Motivation comes from with-in, however the strength comes from internal & external sources.
Step 2: Less of the Same
I’m sure you have heard that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over-and-over again and expect different results. If you’re unhappy, perhaps the actions that you perform on a daily basis have gotten you to this point, if you continue to do these actions you’ll most likely get even more of the same. Which is a departure from what your intended goal is.
Step 3: Learn to Solve Problems
I hear all the time from people that they are capable of solving big problems but have never been given a chance to prove themselves – they make statements like; “I could do his job, if only they’d give me a chance”. It doesn’t matter if you are getting paid or not for solving a problem, if you can effectively solve problems you’ll stand a good chance of getting a shot at solving bigger problems – which can all lead to increased reward.
Step 4: Become Accountable
At the end of the day when you put your head down to rest - “Rest Assured” that you can sleep knowing that things are under control. When you can demonstrate, over and over again, that you are accountable and reliable, people will naturally come to you to help them solve problems. Becoming accountable will help you take that ownership and prove you can be accountable to handle many situations.
Step 5: Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
In a situation where you are stuck you’ve got to be very tactical with your goal settings. Stop the pattern of failure and focus on your core strengths and pick goals that meet the S.M.A.R.T criteria. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. If you need more information on SMART goals you can read my prior blog entry; “S.M.A.R.T.Y’s Can Set and accomplish any Goal.”
I know we all get stuck, I still get stuck - the key is to realize you’re headed into a bad state and self-correct before you start developing an apathetic view or feel powerless towards your ability to get unstuck from your current situation. And if you are stuck and don’t have someone to rely on then by all means find a someone who can help you think through the current situation and help you build a platform on which you can lift your self back in to confidence, move from being stuck in the slow lane to the fast lane of life.
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