A few months ago, I was sitting in my living room trying to get some work done. Instead, I found myself staring at a blinking cursor, then out the window, then back again. Two whole hours passed that way.
Needless to say, I was stuck. Absolutely paralyzed.
If someone had walked into the room, they would have seen it right off the bat. My body language said it all: my shoulders were hunched and tense; I was barely breathing, as frozen as a statue. Big surprise, I wasn't having much "motion" in my thoughts, either.
Honestly, it's a little embarrassing to admit this. I'm a motivational expert! I've been in this business for years! Shouldn't I be past all that?
The truth is, everybody gets stuck sometimes. Neither I nor anybody else will ever be "immune" from it. Just like hardship, disappointment, feeling lousy – it's all a part of life. And just like those things, the trick isn't to deny the feeling, but to learn how navigate it and come out the other side.
So I decided to compile the best ways I know that will help people (and myself) get out of "stuck" and into action.
Here they are:
If you want to move your mind, move your body. Stephen King, Thoreau, Steve Jobs, Beethoven, Mark Zuckerberg – all those successful, creative thinkers have sworn by the power of taking a walk to spur creativity. Moving your body opens up new channels of problem-solving, brainstorming, and decision-making – all things that help you get past "stuck."
For an added bonus, try visualizing while you move! See your end result while running, walking, yoga-ing, whatever. Who's around you? How does it feel? Let yourself feel those feelings of excitement and achievement. Connecting emotionally with your destination will give you a new perspective on what you're doing today.
2. Talk to someone.
Eventually I broke my two-hour stupor to go meet a friend for lunch. (This was pre-pandemic.) Thank goodness! Conversation is crucial to moving forward. It helps you shift gears, hear a different perspective, see your situation from another point of view. It frees of you from that "There is no other way but this one" mindset. It opens you up to new possibilities. (Given, of course, that this person is supportive and positive. I don't recommend talking to one of those gloomy Eeyore types – they might make you feel even more stuck.)
3. Change locations in your house (or office). Last weekend wasn't the first time I'd gotten stuck while sitting in that one chair by the window. For some reason, it's become my "anti-productivity" spot. So now I move to a new place in the house – the kitchen, my bedroom, even just a different chair around the same table. Even a slight change in direction can shake up your routine viewpoint a little. It changes the input you get, it changes the signals your brain is receiving, and that can catalyze new thoughts and ideas.
One blogger calls this the "coffee shop effect," and chalks it up to your brain's need for novelty. "When confronted with new stimuli, your brain responds by creating new pathways and mechanisms to accomplish tasks," writes Kat Boogaard on Trello.
When I got home from lunch, I set up my workspace at the counter, where I could stand a move around more freely while I worked. That shook the cobwebs out and gave me a much-needed burst of productivity. What a relief – I was moving forward again.
So there you have it: three simple ways to get your mind and body out of "stuck" and into a place you can take real, effective action.
How about you? Is there an area of your life where you've feeling stuck?
What is that?
What are some other ways you've used to get out of "stuck"?
I invite you to try one or all of these things, and then come back and tell me how it went!
Go out, keep moving, and shine.
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