If you are feeling stuck, recognise that there are always aspects that are within your control so identify what those are, the changes you can make and the first step you need to take.
If you are feeling stuck, recognise that there are always aspects that are within your control so identify what those are, the changes you can make and the first step you need to take. iStock

You can make changes to stop being boxed in

Have you ever felt stuck? Stuck in a routine that didn't support you, a place you didn't like, a situation that was uncomfortable, a job that didn't suit you or a relationship that was going nowhere?

I know that I have at times and yet it generally took me a long time to do anything about it. In fact, often getting unstuck wasn't prompted by me but by a set of circumstances.

I would say that a lot of the work that Nick and I do is essentially about helping people to get unstuck. Organisations may lose their focus and progress comes to a halt, teams may be in conflict and reach deadlock and individuals may not be able to find their way through what's holding them back.

What are some of the causes for becoming stuck in the first place and what keeps us there at times?

For me, it was often because I felt I didn't have a choice despite being unhappy, therefore it was easier and felt more comfortable to stay where I was than experience the potential discomfort of making a different choice and the consequences of that. What if I got it wrong and ended up worse off? It was often underpinned by fear, of the unknown and possible failure, and uncertainty - which the brain handles as though it's a threat.

I also acknowledge that part of it was a belief that was demonstrated around me growing up that you don't give up, you keep quiet, don't complain and get on with it; you've made your choice - now stick with it.

Mixed in there I'm sure is also a large dose of resistance, lack of creative thinking about what might be possible or available and never really knowing what I wanted from life. Looking back, each time I felt stuck I abdicated the decision to move on until someone else saw my potential, offered me an opportunity and was willing to take me on. Sometimes, it was the discomfort of the situation that forced the change on me.

What can you do about it? Feeling stuck isn't always a bad thing and doesn't necessarily require immediate action as there can be a lot to learn from being there, sitting with the discomfort and acknowledging it. We can then reflect on what has created the situation and our part in it and take full responsibility for that because at some level it's a result of our choice to do or not do something. Beyond that it is about recognising what needs to be changed. Is it the situation or something in you? A belief? A mindset? Resistance to change? Fear? Something else? Then find a way to reframe it or get a fresh perspective and work through that with someone else with the skills to help.

The final step is that, if you still feel stuck and are ready and willing to move on from the situation. Recognise that there are always aspects that are within your control so identify what those are, the changes you can make and the first step you need to take.

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator and coach at mindsaligned.com.au



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