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Feeling Stuck in Career + Life

What does feeling “stuck” in your work or life mean? Boredom? Fear? Guilt? Stress? Stagnation? Exhaustion? Lack of confidence? . Change requires making decisions differently over + over. The first decision to make differently is this:

Decide that you don’t need to know all of the “how’s”. Replace this with deciding that you only need to know the first small step. Next, decide to take this step NOW. Decide that you won’t wait until Monday or next week or after Christmas or you’re thinner or have more time or more money. Keep doing this over and over. Decide to stop thinking you can’t change. Start challenging this thought. Open up a crack of possibility. Let hope creep in. Do this by not letting yourself believe your own nonsense. You’ll need to rally for yourself. Practice thinking some new thoughts like “hmmm maybe there are some things I can try”. Acknowledge the things you can control that are keeping you stuck. Things like believing you need to do things perfectly or not at all. Just expect that you’re going to take some wrong steps. Realize that you don’t need to know every step. Realize that the process will feel awkward and you’ll feel anxious and uncertain. So what? Who said you shouldn’t? Stop undervaluing your own coping skills. You have plenty of them. Use them. If I had my way I’d probably never attempt anything I knew I’d suck at. Especially if anybody was watching. That stuff makes me feel like barfing. But I know the more I challenge this and do it, the less I feel like barfing. It improves my confidence and gives me a life that’s a bit bigger. I don’t want to look back one day and wish I hadn’t let nonsense win.

When change happens to us unexpectedly it tends to freak us out. Most of us would prefer to ease into a big change or have some sort of warning to "prepare". ⁠ ⁠ When it comes to making our own changes, often the appeal is towards big sweeping changes. It can seem sexier or we believe it'll feel better to achieve a big goal or make a big change faster. You know what I mean. You don't want to clean just one drawer or lose just one pound. You want to burn it all down and start fresh. I get it. Big changes or big results seem more motivating or exciting.⁠⁠ ⁠ The brain is so weird.⁠ ⁠ The change we want to affect in the world may or may not be something we think about much. My clients often tell me it's important to them to be making a difference that feels meaningful to them when it comes to their work. Most of us will make a difference in this world, but not because of some grand or large-scale initiative. No, most of us will change our corner of the world and make an impact through the small and seemingly insignificant (to us) interactions and decisions and conversations of our average days. We make a difference where we live, and incrementally, that place begins to shift.⁠ ⁠ This sounds a lot less sexy than creating the biggest and best app, invention, or cure.⁠ ⁠ We all tend to underestimate the powerful impact, of small changes over the course of time, those tiny and subtle steps we take in a slightly different direction. ⁠ Think of the difference between a circle and a straight line. If you're moving in one direction and you make the slightest of turns, say 1 or 2 degrees in either direction, over time you will end up in a completely different place than if you had continued walking straight. It's the difference between a circle and a straight line. This is how transformation works. No radical shifts are required for radical change to happen over time. We just have to be open to it and continue to make small decisions differently over and over again.⁠ ⁠ So please don't underestimate the power of beginning simply, of starting small, of leaning into ease. You'll be rewarded.⁠

A client recently shared this quote with me and we both loved it so much:

“E.L. Doctorow once said that 'Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.' You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.”

― Anne Lamott , Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Feeling stuck? We should absolutely have a chat.

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