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How to get unstuck: Embracing Energy and Momentum

Have you ever felt stuck?

I have. And here's the thing, if you were to look at me back then when I felt stuck I would have appeared to you as a confident go-getter with the world at her feet. On screen anchoring the news I was a voice of knowledge, credibility, and assuredness. But inside, behind closed doors, I felt anything but. Feeling stuck for me was akin to standing at a crossroads, torn between the uncertainty of my aspirations and the unmistakable feeling that they were still out of reach. It was a complex blend of conflicting emotions—on one hand, grappling with the weight of unfulfilled desires, not knowing what I actually wanted, and on the other, wrestling with a sense of guilt for even daring to acknowledge my discontent. Despite having all the external markers of success, I found myself mired in an emotional quagmire, uncertain of which path to tread.

In life, many of us will find ourselves facing these painful moments of stagnation, where we feel stuck in a rut, unable to move forward. It's not a pleasant feeling as it takes us out of a sense of control and direction and into a place where we are in the dark not even able to feel our way towards the light. However, what if I told you that it takes more energy to remain stuck than it does to break free? That the assumption we have about the effort it takes to move forward is actually wrong?

Let's delve deeper into this concept and explore practical ways to unstick ourselves and reclaim our momentum.

1. Recognize the Energy Drain of Stagnation:

Stagnation is not merely a state of inertia; it's an energy vampire that feeds off our vitality and enthusiasm. When we resist change or remain immobilized by fear and uncertainty, we inadvertently deplete our mental and emotional reserves. Picture a river that ceases to flow—soon, it becomes stagnant, murky, and devoid of life. Similarly, when we resist the natural flow of life, we become trapped in a cycle of negativity and self-doubt.

Tip 1: Cultivate Awareness of Your Emotional Attachments:

The first step towards overcoming stagnation is to recognize the emotional attachments that keep us tethered to our current circumstances. These attachments often manifest as fear of failure, reluctance to leave our comfort zone (and yes, even feeling stuck or in a place where we can complain about being stuck can feel "comfortable" because it is familiar), or a deep-seated belief that we're unworthy of success. Dr. Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard, puts it this way: "...stress is not a function of events; it’s a function of the view you take of events. You think a particular thing is going to happen and that when it does, it’s going to be awful. But prediction is an illusion. We can’t know what’s going to happen." By acknowledging our emotional attachments without judgment, unpacking the information our emotions are trying to convey and where they are coming from, we can begin to loosen their grip on our psyche and open ourselves to new possibilities.

2. Shift Your Perspective from Stuck to Seeking:

Language is a powerful tool that shapes our perception of reality. When we label ourselves as "stuck," we inadvertently reinforce a sense of powerlessness and resignation. However, by reframing our situation as a quest for knowledge or understanding, we reclaim agency over our lives. Instead of saying, "I'm stuck," try saying, "I haven't found the path forward yet." This subtle shift in language empowers us to approach our challenges with curiosity and optimism. Even the difference in these two statements by Dr. Sherene McHenry is powerful: "getting stuck is reactive; getting unstuck is proactive".

Tip 2: Embrace the Journey of Exploration:

Every journey begins with a single step, and the journey out of stagnation is no different. Instead of waiting for the perfect solution to miraculously appear, take proactive steps to gather information and explore your options. Reach out to trusted friends, mentors, or professionals like therapists and coaches who can offer fresh perspectives and guidance. They will offer a perspective on your situation without your emotional attachments to them. They will see your situation not as being stuck but as being in between moments of transformation. The solutions they offer may or may not work for you but simply listening, exploring, trying, gets you out of your current emotional state. Remember, progress is not always linear—each small action you take contributes to the momentum that propels you forward.

3. Harness the Power of Movement--The Domino Effect:

Imagine the game Dominos. Each domino piece that is laid out is an action. While all it takes is one tip forward from the starter domino---which is you--you are the starter domino taking a small action--the more dominos that fall, the easier and faster the rest fall towards the end piece. So too does our energy gather strength as we take decisive action. The simple act of movement—whether it's physical, emotional, or mental—has the power to break the inertia of stagnation and set us on a path towards growth and fulfillment. Whether it's switching up a routine, starting a new hobby, seeking therapy, or making a bold career move, every action you take sends ripples of change throughout your life.

For me, it began with committing to going out on my own one day in the weekend or committing to accepting one invitation from a friend that week. I was in a rut where my life was simply going to work and going home. I felt I didn't have the energy to even have a social life even though meeting someone special was something I desperately wanted. I am not saying those commitments changed my life. Nor did I meet the love of my life that way. What did happen was I met a woman who would become a dear friend and is an important part of my tribe. And simply walking around one of my favourite London neighbourhoods on a Saturday afternoon on my own helped me regain a sense of control over my day. I still partake in that exploration of that same neighbourhood every chance I get.

Those acts shook me out of a state of stasis, making room for other changes to present themselves. What got me to make those commitments, to be that starter domino tipping the other dominos to fall, was the motivation in wanting and knowing that something had to change. I was motivated by the feeling that there had to be more to my life, and that my current state was not enough for me anymore.

Tip 3: Embody the Spirit of Experimentation:

Approach the process of getting unstuck with a spirit of experimentation and curiosity. Treat each action as a learning opportunity, rather than a test of success or failure. We put so much pressure on ourselves all the time. We assume that every step, every action, every endeavour has to lead us to that golden nugget of wisdom or that place where all our questions are answered, or that place where we can let out a deep sigh and know we have arrived. Life doesn't work that way. Life is a dance between stillness and movement. It is a series of trials, lessons, repeat. When we expect everything we dive into to work out, that mindset actually keeps us in the stuck place because the fear of it not working out overwhelms us. It leaves us not even wanting to try. But the secret to life is in the trying. It is in the failing. It is in the learning. Each of those things represent one thing: movement.

4. Embrace Your Relationship with Time:

Ah time. That valuable resource most of us will say we do not have especially when we are stressed or feel stuck. But you see time is not merely a linear progression; it's a psychological construct that profoundly influences our perception of reality. As the coach Mel Robbins aptly puts it, "Relationship with time is psychological. When we are engaged in doing things that make us feel good and meaningful to us, it completely energizes us." When we find those things--no matter how small--that make us feel good, when we align our actions with our values and passions, time becomes a source of empowerment rather than constraint. We actually look forward to carving out time for ourselves. We willingly set boundaries to make sure nothing gets in the way of us doing what we enjoy. Everything else is an excuse made out of fear of change.

Tip 4: Harness Time as Your Ally:

Instead of viewing time as a scarce resource to be managed, see it as a valuable ally in your journey of growth. Prioritize activities that energize and fulfill you, investing your time and attention in pursuits that align with your vision and values. By nurturing a positive relationship with time, you empower yourself to make decisions from a place of abundance and purpose, not fear and scarcity. This shift leads to greater fulfilment and and a deeper sense of authentic success.

Remember it takes more energy to remain stuck than it does to embrace change and take proactive steps towards growth. It takes more energy to not believe in ourselves than it does to believe in what we have to offer this world. It takes more energy to feel unhappy than it does to actually start finding that happiness little by little. By cultivating awareness of our emotional attachments, shifting our perspective from stagnation to seeking, harnessing the power of movement, and changing our relationship with time, we can liberate ourselves from the grip of inertia and embark on a journey of transformation.

Today, I am very different to the person I used to be. Today, I see each moment of struggle, worry, stuckness, as moments that won't last long but also filled with wisdom for me to uncover. It doesn't mean I am a zen master who doesn't feel that angst (just ask my husband). It does mean that deep down I know what I need to do to get out of it. You do too. If you are willing to see yourself as an agent of change in your own life. Oftentimes it is simple as taking it one step, one idea, one action at a time. And trust. Trust yourself and the timing of your life.

Monita xo


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