This article debuted in my newsletter, The Way You Live Your Day is the Way You Live Your Life™. I wanted to make sure that blog readers had this important overview of the getting unstuck process, before we get into more specific tips and ideas. And here on the blog, we can discuss what you’re learning and how you’re putting it to work to get – and stay – unstuck and live in flow.
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When you’re feeling stuck or stressed, it’s easy to feel that no one understands exactly what you’re going through. And you’re right. Everyone’s situation is indeed unique.
But there are a series of steps that apply across the board. Here’s an overview of the process and some simple questions to get you started living more in flow.
1. Create some traction
Being stuck in your life is a lot like being stuck in your car in a snow bank. You can keep pressing the accelerator, making the car work harder and harder, but it’s not going anywhere.
Throw a little bit of sand under the wheels though, and all of a sudden you start to move.
You’re not a car, but when you’re stuck, the same principle applies.
Find one or two practical, manageable actions, and all of a sudden you start to move.
2. Give yourself some breathing space
Overwhelm and frustration – between the two of them, it’s hard to think clearly or find new perspectives on what’s happening.
For anyone who grew up driving on wintry roads, you know what to do when you get stuck. But after a lifetime in Southern California, my first experience getting stuck on a snowy incline was an eye-opener. I had no idea how to get the car moving so I just kept doing the same thing over and over, working myself up into quite a sweat.
It wasn’t until I finally got out of the car and took a deep breath that I realized I needed something for traction. (All of you who know how to drive in snow can stop laughing now. ;-)) Miraculously I had a bag of kitty litter in my trunk that I’d not yet carried into my house.
Creating some breathing room opens space for new ideas. It gives you a chance to listen to your gut, your heart, and your intuition. A few minutes sitting in your chair taking deep breaths, going for a short walk, or bopping around the room to dance party music may be all it takes.
3. Explore the big picture issues
Once you have traction and room to breathe, it’s much easier to gain clarity. You’re better able to be honest with yourself about what’s really most important and what trade-offs you’re willing to make. You’ll have more emotional and mental energy to challenge your assumptions and open up to new possibilities.
As you sort through what’s right for you, you’re able to integrate the three dimensions of your life: who you are, what you do, and how you do it. And that is your recipe for living with a sense of flow.
Getting Started by Creating Traction
Where are you stuck right now? Be really specific and don’t judge.
What is one tiny step you can take to gain some traction? It could be closing your email program 30 minutes a day, working on your resume for 15 minutes every morning, or starting your day by writing down one small thing to do that day to move you one step closer to your goal.
Write down your step daily and acknowledge your progress every day. And if you backslide, be kind to yourself and start again.
The night I was stuck on the snowy road, I was thrilled to realize I didn’t have to wait for a warmer weather to get moving again. You too don’t have to wait to get going!!
Join the Flow of Conversation
Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts on this article and your experience creating some traction on whatever has you stuck or stressed.