A few years ago, I attended one of my first networking events. There was a speaker, and I’ll never forget one of the things he said: “If you’ve been in a job for more than 2 years, you either love it or you’re stuck.” This quote resonated with me a lot. I had recently left my full-time job to become an entrepreneur but only a few months earlier, I was exactly that: feeling stuck in my job, and even moreso, feeling stuck in life.
The feeling of being stuck in life comes from the thoughts that you are having. For me, the thoughts I had were about not having any time to myself or any freedom, being in a job where I wasn’t fulfilled, and thinking that there had to be a better way. This quote can really be applied to anything in life: if you’ve been living somewhere for 2 years or more, in a relationship for 2 years or more, friendships, your health, and more. Take a step back to answer the question: am I stuck, or do I love this?
All too often, feeling stuck in life has a lot to do with fear – the fear of making changes and the fear of the unknown. A major reason people do stay in jobs they don’t love is because of the people and relationships they have there, and the fear of doing something different and starting over. These are all normal thoughts and feelings to have, and they are also ones that you can overcome so that you can take inspired action and truly be passionate about what you do in your life.
Feeling stuck and why that might happen
There are many reasons that you can end up feeling stuck in life, but the primary reason that I usually see is that people don’t make changes until they get REALLY uncomfortable – so uncomfortable that they feel like they have no other choice but to make changes. Change is extremely uncomfortable for most of us, because we are programmed to like when things are the same. Your nervous system likes when things in your life (such as your thoughts, habits, and actions) are the same and there’s no fear of the unknown, and your subconscious mind does its best to run your life on autopilot. In order for you to make a change, you have to determine that the benefits will outweigh the discomfort. People usually also feel like there is no other choice but to create that change.
Society has conditioned you to live your life through the lens of scarcity thinking and fear-based decision-making – so that you fit in with societal standards. It’s natural to want to feel accepted and to feel connected, so you have fear around being seen as an outsider or different from others. The majority of the time, this fear is at the root of feeling stuck in life – fear paralyzes. You may have fears of taking a risk or trying something new, fears of not being able to provide for your family, or fears of being ridiculed, judged, or humiliated.
So, how can you overcome these fears? It starts with getting curious and not judging yourself. It’s taking things one day at a time, and learning how to trust yourself. Understanding your subconscious mind and your nervous system are key to overcoming fears and making your decisions out of love.
Journal Prompts: Here are some great journal prompts to answer to dive more into feeling stuck.
- Take a look at what you do in a typical day, and ask yourself:
- What’s working and what isn’t?
- Assess how your behaviors & habits make you feel – for better or worse
- What are some habits you’d like to start incorporating and what are some habits you’d like to eliminate?
- What kinds of expectations are holding you back from creating what you actually want to create? What makes you hold onto these expectations?
- What are you trying to control?
Making decisions out of fear vs. love
When you feel fear, your sympathetic nervous system is activated, which puts you into survival mode. To learn more about your nervous system, check out my article, “Understanding Our Body’s Stress Response.”
When you are in a sympathetic nervous system state, you cannot access your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for reasoning, problem solving, comprehension, impulse-control, creativity and perseverance. Considering that so many of us are living in stress the majority of the time, this means you don’t even have access to the portion of your brain that will help you begin to make those life changes. So, in this survival mode, you continue to make decisions out of fear, instead of making decisions out of love. When you make decisions out of fear, you often think you have to because there are no other options. This way of thinking is thinking in a mindset of lack and scarcity, which is not the mindset to create and/or build your life with.
Subconscious programming has taught you to think in a scarcity mindset, but you can rewire this mindset. To learn more about rewiring your mind, check out my blog article, “Managing Stress & Starting to Rewire Your Mind”.
Finding your passion
Making decisions out of love starts with finding your passion, learning to trust yourself, and making promises to yourself. When you keep your promises to yourself, you will get to where you want to be. Now, your passion doesn’t necessarily need to be in your career, but being in a career that you feel good about is important, as it will impact the state of your nervous system and your career takes up a significant portion of time in your day-to-day life.
How can you find your passion and truly live a life that you are passionate about? This is where some of that curiosity and not judging yourself comes in.
Journal Prompts: Here are some great journal prompts to answer to dive more into figuring out what you are passionate about.
- Where in your life do you feel like you don’t flow?
- Where do you feel like you are lacking gratitude and is it something you can shift in your mind, or is it something you need to change?
- What energizes you?
- What could you research for hours without getting bored? What do you love to continue to learn about?
- What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome? How did you overcome it?
- What’s a world problem you’d love to solve?
- If you could do anything in the world for a job with zero concerns for money, what would it be?
Taking inspired action
After you’ve taken the time to learn about yourself and what you really want in life, it’s important to set some goals for yourself. Start by deciding what your goals are and writing them down. Break each goal out into steps – don’t worry about the exact timing or specific details, but consider the smaller tasks you can do to make your goals happen. Focus more on breaking your goals into sub-goals than you do on when it will happen by; being able to show yourself more progress is more important than choosing an expected date of completion.
After you have decided on and written down your goals, it’s time to commit to them and take action. Schedule time in your day to work towards your goals in whatever manner might work for you. Each of us works differently, so it’s important to be flexible when you need to. Commit to working toward your goal on a daily basis in whatever capacity that is for you. It could be something small and simple on some days, while other days you will make more noticeable progress.
Make commitments and promises to yourself, and be dedicated to your goals. Don’t rely on motivation, because this is a feeling that might not always be there. Remember that uncomfortable feelings are normal when making changes, and that the discomfort is okay. Give yourself space to take breaks when you need to, change your plan of action, or even change the goal if you realize you are being guided in a different direction. Find support by sharing your goal(s) with a friend or family member who will support you, an accountability partner – it’s important to have a way of keeping yourself accountable. Whatever will work for you!
Always remember to believe in yourself, and always remember to take care of yourself as you continue to grow. Check out my blog article, “How to Define & Practice Self-Care” to learn more about this. Have confidence and know that you are worthy of reaching your goals.
If you’re looking for support in your journey, schedule a free discovery session with me to see if 1:1 holistic life coaching might be a fit!