How to Unstuck Yourself...

We've all run into situations where we've felt frustrated, flummoxed (there's a fun word!), overwhelmed, and just plain stuck. Heck, I had this exact thing happen to me yesterday! I was working on an assignment, creating action steps for myself, and ran into a proverbial brick wall. I kept drawing a complete blank on how to proceed, and no matter how hard I tried to push through, no clarity would come.

If you're anything like me in these scenarios, you have a real tendency to become disgruntled and annoyed, and eventually shut down. I'm even less productive the harder I try to come up with answers, because I keep getting frustrated about being frustrated, and chase myself down an endless loop. The irony is certainly not lost on me that I help all of you to create action steps, yet when confronted with the exact situation concerning myself, I came up empty; it's a real testament to how we have a knack for getting in our own way.

So, when these inevitable situations arise in our lives, what can we do to get unstuck? Here's a few tips to help you break the loop, and get you back moving and shaking:

  • Admit that you're stuck in the first place. Speaking for myself, I have a really tough time admitting when I've run into a problem that I can't solve. Instead of admitting I'm stuck, I'll beat away at the issue, believing I can make it submit. Don't be like me -- take a step back, admit to yourself that you're stuck, and work the problem from a place of creativity rather than defiance.

  • Ask for help. Probably the easiest means of getting ourselves unstuck is the one we seem to find the hardest to do. Asking someone (a friend, co-worker, coach) to help us when we're stuck provides outside perspective, and another set of eyes to tackle the issue. I've gotten a lot better about this, but still have a ways to go.

  • Read or listen to something to change your outlook. Have a favourite book or podcast that makes you feel like you can kick ass after you read/listen to? Step away from your problem and read a chapter/listen for 15 minutes to put yourself in a better mindset. I get really wound up and overwhelmed in a 'stuck' situation, and often find a change in mental state is what I need to get the creative juices flowing again.

  • Go outside and get some fresh air. Another way to change your state, just going outside and getting a little fresh air can be enormously helpful. Of course, that's assuming your problem has you inside; it can work vice versa -- the really helpful part about this is to change your location. Go somewhere that you weren't stewing in your stuck-ness, as it will help to clear your mind a bit.

Often, getting unstuck boils down to removing yourself from the situation, and coming back with a clearer head and renewed determination. Living in these scenarios is like quicksand -- the harder we push to get ourselves unstuck, the deeper we sink into being stuck.

I managed to get unstuck with my assignment by (finally) stepping away and going for a hike with my wonderful wife, Crystal, and our two goofball dogs. I've been able to clear my head, climb out of the figurative quicksand, and forge ahead without getting tripped up. Getting unstuck is not as tricky a predicament if we can manage to get out of our own way, change our state and mindset, and look at our problem through a clearer lens.

** View the video for this post HERE **