As a child, I had the opportunity to meet a huge cross section of people. Our family is large and tight knit. My Grammy had 9 children into whom she poured her absolute best. Having 9 children meant an active household and kids involved in lots of activities. As they grew into adults, my aunts and uncles got involved in numerous organizations and sporting teams. It was through their active lives and associations, that I found myself constantly meeting people. It was an exciting time and a variety of people come to our home. There were engaging conversations, brainstorming events, social activities and lots of laughter. Of course as a child, I had been taught that adult conversation was for adults and so depending on the nature of the discussion, I was either sent off to read or play but before leaving the room, the adults would engage me in a conversation which as far back as I can remember, always sent me off to another room thinking about what my life would be like when I grew up. As I reflect on those days, I can clearly remember one question and one statement that were common in all of those discussions. The question was “what will you be when you grow up?” and the statement was “always follow your dreams”.
Yes, I’ve had the wonderful experience of people who nurtured my creativity, respected my curiosity, helped to develop my conscience and encouraged me to chase my dreams. I had a great support system and a cheering squad. I had people who helped to pick me up when I fell and people who pushed me when I faced fears, people who cautioned me when it seemed I was pushing too far and too fast. Yet, despite this level of support, encouragement and the safety net I always found in my family, there were times when I failed horribly and times when I felt stuck – so stuck that I gave up chasing my dreams.
Have you ever been stuck? Stuck in a job that sucked the life out of you? Stuck with employees or leaders who were satisfied with doing things the same way over and over and over just because that’s the way it’s always been done? Have you even been stuck in the same position for years, and years and years? Have you ever just been stuck?
According to Rush Limbaugh, “Being stuck is a position few of us like. We want something new but cannot let go of the old – old ideas, beliefs, habits, even thoughts. We are out of contact with our own genius. Sometimes, we know we are stuck; sometimes we don’t. In both cases we have to DO something about it.” That is the key. It takes action to move us from where we are to where we want to be. It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Just do something people say. But what do you do? What is the first step? How do you move from where you are particularly if you’ve been there a long time and lost hope that you can ever get out of the rut?
Here are 3 things I did to help myself become unstuck and to begin passionately chasing my dreams again.
- Assess the Current Situation
- One of the things I realized is that I needed to take personal responsibility. A lot of times, we try to shift blame to others when at the end of the day, in most instances, we are where we are because of a choice or choices we made. I took the time to carefully look at where I was. How did I get there? What were the steps I took to get there? What did I do while I was there? What would be needed to ACT? Where was it that I was trying to get to? What is it that I needed to do to become unstuck?
- Start a continued Regimen of Self-Improvement
- One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt is that a leader cannot stop growing. As it is for a leader, it is for every human being. Self-development has to be a priority for people who want to continue to grow, to achieve, to conquer. We must continue to challenge our minds, our thinking, our beliefs and we must continue to stimulate ourselves. Doing something that develops you does not have to be costly. It could be reading a business magazine, reading a book, researching a subject on the internet, joining a civic organization, working at a nonprofit organization, doing community service, etc. The key is to not become stagnant.
- Changed my Circle of Friends
- What an interesting statement. The truth is though, if you are the smartest pea in your pod, who is challenging you to grow? I read an interesting quote the other day. It said, “In order for you to grow and go to the next level, you must fellowship and network with others who are doing better than you without being intimidated by their success.” R. H. Sin says that “There is a reason you feel stuck, unaccomplished and unhappy. The quality of your life is often connected to those you call friends. When you surround yourself with people who would rather waste their lives trying to keep up with trends, you fall victim to investing your time into activities that often hold you back. You’re either at a bar or club wasting away with people who could care less about your progression. You change your life when you change your surroundings.” John C Maxwell encourages us to examine our inner circle to be sure they have the following qualities:
- Do they have high influence with others?
- Do they bring a complementary gift to the table?
- Do they hold a strategic position in the organization?
- Do they add value to you and to their organization?
- Do they positively impact others?
Personally, I am like Jill Scott in that “I need to find creative diversity because if I get stuck, I get unhappy”. Amanda Seyfried reminds us that “We all get stuck. We lose ourselves a little bit in a fantasy or in our jobs and forget how we feel about other things. It’s really important to check yourself, to spend some time alone”. So as you are thinking about how to become unstuck, set a plan of action that incorporates some of the suggestions above and remember to include some daily or weekly time for introspection.
Tip of the Week: The tip of the week is from Eckhart Tolle. “Any action is better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.”