During our lives, we have periods of feast and famine. Abundance and scarcity. Stuck and unstuck. With the start of Spring, now heading into Summer, it’s much easier to cultivate a sense of abundance. Even if you feel like you live your life in a high rise, there’s no denying the days are brighter and the trees are filling up with lush leaves. With all that abundance around you, it’s hard not to allow some of it into your life. But what if you don’t feel a sense of abundance in your life? This can show up as a perceived (or real) lack of success.
Maybe you’re heading into Q2 and you haven’t accomplished nearly as much as you’d hoped. A project set back, lack of sales, budget cut-backs or the loss of a client are all setbacks that throw our mind back into a mindset of scarcity. In this mindset, we are grabbing, seeking and grasping. Our lizard brain is stuck in famine mode, worried that there isn’t enough to go around- enough time, enough money or enough clients.
When we are in famine mode, it’s easy to feel stuck, as if you suddenly don’t know how to meet the deadlines, sales goals or gain clients. It’s easy to throw your hands up in the air and blame something else. Popular targets include the economy or declaring someone else has more luck or resources/money, and that’s how they are beating you as their competition.
Instead of giving up, or spending weeks or even months feeling stuck, try taking actionable steps that get you closer to that sweet feeling of abundance.
1. Take a look at your personal life
Often, the people I work with that are feeling stuck have one or more major issues in their personal life. Many of them even appear to have it all to the average bystander. In reality, they are missing a key component that would lead to happiness in their life. These missing pieces could show up as an absentee partner (either literally or figuratively), a large amount of debt, addictions, such as to shopping, food or alcohol, obsessive thoughts and behaviors
2. Do one thing a day
The key to getting unstuck isn’t to actually get unstuck. By attempting to do so, you create an expectation and if that expectation is not met, you can get very disappointed and end up feeling even more stuck. Take a look at what is missing from your life personally and professionally and make reasonable, actionable goals that you can work towards. For example, if things have gotten stale between you and your partner, do one thing every day to spice it up and rekindle your relationship. Having a supportive person we can rely on in this life is key to our happiness (even if that person isn’t a partner.) How do you rekindle a relationship that no longer supports you? Do one thing every day that nourishes your relationship. This may mean working on yourself through therapy, reading books like The Five Love Languages or doing one nice thing for your partner every day (making their coffee, rubbing their back, buying them flowers, cleaning the house, taking the dog out, et cetera.)
3. Change your perspective
For example, you may have missed a sales goal last week and you’re not on track to meet your target sales this week. Instead of getting caught up in the daily grind and trying to do everything all at once in one day, start thinking long term. What could you do to routinely hit your sales target? Could you implement better technology? Get out on the front lines and look at your product merchandising? Go ‘undercover’ and take an honest look at your operations? Chances are, if you thought about the problem from a different angle or employee perspective, you’d find the reason for slumping sales numbers.
4. Take 10-20 minutes and do a brain dump
It’s more effective if you can actually write this out rather than type it on an electronic device. Set a timer and just write down anything that’s worrying you. Anything that pops into your mind should go on this list. Do your best not to edit or censor your thoughts—there’s no judgment here, you can destroy the document later.
5. Embrace your creativity, even if you feel like you’re not creative
Oftentimes, executives get so caught up in their left brain- always analyzing, thinking logically and executing practical solutions. If you could take 20 minutes each week to do something creative (that’s less than 3 minutes a day), you can create new neural pathways in the right brain. Will these pathways directly correlate to increased sales, more clients and further job promotions? No. But by creating new neural pathways, you’re setting yourself up for more creative solutions to your problems and new ways of thinking. What could be your creative outlet? Learning a new language, buying some colored pencils and drawing, creating a photo album on sites like Shutterfly and writing a blog post will all do the trick.
6. Consciously create a morning and evening ritual
Most people already have some sort of ritual when they wake up and before bed, even if they’re not healthy. For example, how often do you find yourself reaching for your phone and checking email before you’ve even gotten out of bed in the morning? Or working on your laptop right up until you nod off to sleep? These are rituals, whether you think of them as such right now or not. Consciously creating healthier rituals that surround your morning and evening will not only better prepare you for your day ahead or healthy sleep, they will also give you a sense of security and maybe even something to look forward to. For example, my morning rituals involve drinking a warm glass of water with lemon while I listen to a Podcast. In the winter, I am looking at my light therapy box (for seasonal affective disorder) at the same time. Then I get ready for the day, dressing and doing my hair and make-up. After this, I cook my breakfast, eat and clean the dishes, then sit down with a cup of coffee to begin working. While simple, my morning ritual is comforting and effective in that it simultaneously leaves me with no choices to make for a whole 30-45 minutes and prepares me for my day. Choices are stressful! Ritual eliminates them. Like Pavlov’s dogs, when that coffee is poured, my brain is primed to work.
Relieving any feeling of ‘being stuck’ doesn’t happen overnight. But the repeating theme throughout all of these suggestions is that conscious decisions and small steps will get you headed in the right direction. Like a train accelerating, it’s difficult to start from a ‘stuck’ standstill, but eventually, these small, conscious choices begin to build on each other as you gain momentum in your life.
Latest posts by Christina Scalera (see all)
- Feeling stuck? Here are 6 Ways to Get Unstuck and Back On Track - May 1, 2015
- Leveraging the Weight of Workplace Woes - February 5, 2015
- The Step-by-Step Guide to (Actually) Accomplishing Your New Year’s Resolution - December 1, 2014