This is a guest post by Jo Douglas.
Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be stuck in your life, and how to stop feeling stuck when that happens.
Have you ever had a time when the way forward seemed less clear, when it felt like you were busy spinning plates and not moving forward? We can get so preoccupied with those plates that it becomes hard to make decisions and that rotten inner critic takes holds. We soldier on and focus on why we are not happy, what’s going wrong, and what we are not doing well enough, or what we think we should be doing. This stifles us.
If that rings a bell, here’s how to stop feeling stuck.
Feeling stuck? How crafting your perfect day can help
I love this quote, as it sums the results of the above cycle up very nicely.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.”
So I’ve decided to put pen to paper and share a few hints and tips on how to stop feeling stuck using a simple technique.
I’m sharing an exercise I first completed when I was suffering from depression, and was exhausted and disillusioned.
It was a time in my career when I’d lost my way and every day felt like a chore. I’d dread going to work. I didn’t agree with what was happening, and how the organisation I worked for was changing – our values no longer aligned, but it took me quite a while to realise this.
I couldn’t see a way out and chastised myself for being weak and a failure, and for becoming ill.
But even if you’re not at that extreme, you might still be wondering the same thing I was:
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if you could take control and craft the life you want?
It is possible!
You simply have to bring it forth into your imagination, to believe, to know, and to trust that it is possible. To let your mind see what you want and to allow it to understand that you want to work towards it. To open your heart to new possibilities and new opportunities. To trust that you can change and embrace this new reality.
You can then work to bring it into existence.
The hard part is the trusting part. In trusting we allow ourselves to move forward.
I’m not saying that just because you think it, it will happen. I am saying that because you have seen that this can become a reality, you can move towards creating it. You can shift your focus and create “towards” motivations.
I was once told that ‘Life is a game, you set the rules. You choose the players, you choose the purpose, and the reward is a joyful, fun, and loving life’.
So let’s just take a minute to pause and think about what your ideal game would be.
Craft your day: 3 steps
The best way to do this is to close your eyes and take a number of deep breaths, letting your muscles relax and all other thoughts slip away.
Once relaxed, imagine what your perfect day would look like. Where are you, who are you with, what are you doing? Look at all the colours, think of the sounds, the smells, textures and feelings.
Work through how you start your day and progress through to the end, always exploring all your senses and noting what is happening.
Create a picture, frame it and store it in your mind.
Next, grab a pen and write down everything that came to you. Don’t pause, don’t stop to think about how well you are composing the piece, or the quality of your handwriting – just let it flow.
“I’d start my day with a gentle shower, and then breakfast. My family is in the background eagerly getting ready for their day too. I’d venture out for a lovely walk with my dogs using that time to clear my mind and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine on my face, lapping up the fresh air, feeling the gentle support of the grassy fields. My mind will open to allow me to order my thoughts and balance my energy for my coming day.
Next I’d take my children to school, enjoying their bright laughter and chatter as they anticipate their day. I would then venture into my office – a spacious purpose-built cabin in my garden surrounded by plants and full of light. Walking past sweet smelling flowers I’d sit at my desk – a neat and inviting workspace with a vase of open and welcoming flowers. The temperature is warm, the smell is inviting, the atmosphere is relaxing but stimulating. With a cup of tea, I would check my diary and make sure I have everything in order for the day and then start my first coaching calls. Working with my clients to help them find the peace and clarity they want in life, and then break for a light lunch.
I may go for a swim at the local pool or share lunch and a chat with my husband, a friend or a colleague, enjoying the stimulation of our conversation. My afternoon would then be free for me to focus on meetings or my written work, whether that be reports or creating new content or even updating my communications. Whatever is planned, I complete with ease – I set the tone and pace. I am the mistress of my diary and I know how to work with the ebb and flow of my energy to create the greatest results. I have no debt or worries about conflicting demands.
I’m mindful that I’m working to fund a holiday where I’ll be walking on the beach, exploring the pleasures of the sights and tasting the food and drink with my family sharing this with me – all laughing and excited. At the end of the day, I will close my office and walk around the garden to separate my work from my home life, because when I enter my home I want to be fully present for those I love. To be willing to enjoy the activities of home life and be thankful for the end of another fulfilling day.”
So what does your perfect day look like? Remember to fix that picture in your mind and write down in free flow everything that comes to you.
Read it back and then – ignoring the urge to doubt you can achieve this – begin to reflect.
- Start by underlining anything that already happens in your day, that you can build on
- Note down what you need to change in your life to allow you to experience your dream day? Perhaps it’s a change of location, of job, a new career, a new relationship, a new mindset…..!
Now look at what your options are for making those changes.
- Write down every option that comes to mind whether you think it realistic or not.
- For each, look at the pros and cons and what the worst thing is that could happen if you took this course of action.
- Reviewing the worse thing that could happen, what could you do to mitigate this?
Now look at all those options again.
- Which is the best option to move you closer to your dream day?
- What small but significant steps could you take to start this change?
- What support do you need to move forward?
1. Are you living in line with your values?
One of the foundational elements I always work with clients on is discovering your true values and identifying what really matters most to you.
Not understanding your true values or experiencing a conflict can lead you to feeling “stuck” and “pulled” in the wrong direction. Staying in this place is exhausting and can eventually become overwhelming.
2. Do you need to do some inner work?
When you’re feeling “stuck” it’s an ideal opportunity to investigate some of your subconscious blocks or inherited patterns that are holding you back and sapping your energy. At challenging times getting some coaching could be the answer to helping you move on.
Times of extreme burnout or depression aren’t the best time to begin doing the work of changing your mindset. But if you’ve come out of a challenging time and can’t seem to get your mojo back, getting some outside support could be the answer.
3. Are you in victim mode?
Signs you’re adopting a victim mindset include:
- Feeling that you’re not ‘good’ enough or ‘intelligent’ (or smart, or thin, or, or…) to change your situation – everyone else can do it, just not you.
- Blaming everyone around you for the things you want to change.
- Telling yourself that you’re being silly for wanting more, and you should just be happy that you have the things you do.
- Thinking that you are responsible for keeping everything going and that you will let people down, or be a failure, if you don’t meet them
Victim is one of the disempowering archetypes that many women find themselves in. It can be exceptionally hard to find your way out of it by yourself, so if you feel as though “victim” is sapping your strength do reach out and request a discovery call to see how I can support you.
About Joanna Douglas
Joanna helps professional women who are ‘stuck in a rut’ and feeling trapped by life’s responsibilities, to gain the clarity, certainty and confidence they need to move forward.
She believes that leadership, whether that’s at home, at work, or in your community, is more than just skill – it is about having a well of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual strength to draw on.
Having worked in the field of Leadership and Coaching for over 20 years supporting women to find inspiration, to manage change, and to authentically lead with resilience and joy, she has created a 7-step system to help professional women to feel more energised, to be certain about what they want to do, and how to do it, and to have the confidence in their ability to take the next steps.
Her mission is to inspire women to get out there and live the life they really want to live. To feel inspired, motivated and confident in their ability to take the next steps.
Joanna qualified as a One of many Certified Women’s Coach in August 2017. To find out more about working with her, and book a free discovery call, click here.
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