3 Reasons Why We May Be Feeling Stuck And What To Do About It

Do you ever have the experience that no matter what you do, nothing seems to be improving and you get this feeling that you are stuck? Whether it is with the level of success we have in our business or progress towards a goal, feeling stuck is not a pleasant experience.

Not too long along, I was in such a situation. I had decided to write a series of books around the topics of team performance, coaching and leadership and was making slow progress with my writing. It really felt like I was stuck no matter what I tried to do. Even when I wrote part of a chapter, I would re-read what I had already written and make a lot of corrections, and I would end up deleting almost the same amount of words I had just written. This seemed to go on for weeks, if not a few months, until I figured out how to turn it around.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before explaining what could be done in similar situations, it is important to explore this concept of feeling stuck. Whenever we feel stuck, what we are really saying is we are creating the same reality over and over again. In other words, our experience in the outer world is not changing even though we feel like we are working hard towards something. Whenever we feel stuck, it is also very common to feel overwhelmed as well.

Here are three reasons why we may be feeling stuck and some simple action steps to move past it so that we can start creating the outcomes we want or have the experiences we’d like to. The action steps mentioned below are what I did to be able to get myself out of feeling stuck and complete writing three books in my Leader’s Guide series within 18 months.

  1. Having too many choices. One of the main reasons why we feel overwhelmed and stuck is simply because we have too many choices or options before us and no clear criteria for deciding what to focus on. Having lots of choices can be a good thing however if we aren’t able to decide what to do next, then having those choices may actually be a deterrent to strong performance, productivity and ultimately may result in us not achieving our goals in the timeframe we’d like to.

    Action step to overcome this: List down everything that you need to do or would like to do. From that list, prioritise them in order, from highest to lowest priorities. Start working on your top priority first and keep working your way down the list.

  2. Saying yes instead of saying no. Do you find it difficult to say no? Whenever we say yes to something, we are adding to what we already have on our plates. This can lead to more stress, frustration and ultimately to feeling stuck as we are constantly agreeing to doing more things.

    Action step to overcome this: Practice saying no more often. Consider having a “No First Policy”. In other words, for anything new coming into your experience, say no first then reconsider if necessary. That will free up some much mental focus or energy. If you do have to say yes to something, then ensure that something else drops off your list of things to do otherwise you’ll be continuously adding without removing anything.

  3. Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Oftentimes, we get into routines of doing the same things over and over, and without realizing it, we are recreating the same reality all over again. That’s the real definition of being stuck. Insanity has often been described as doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. As we are creatures of habit, it can be quite easy to fall into a repetitive routine and recreate the same outcomes.
  4. Action step to overcome this: Take new actions or take a different approach. One new action could simply be asking for help. The key here is to get into action quickly and start getting different results. Regular reviews can also help. If after a period of time, you aren’t where you expected to be, evaluate what’s working, what’s not working and what you can start doing differently.

It is not uncommon to feel stuck however there are valid reasons for it. Once we’re able to recognize what those reasons are, we’ll be more empowered to take the appropriate actions to get ourselves back into momentum again. And most of the time, it only takes something simple to get ourselves out of that state and start feeling great again.

Question: What are some other steps that can be taken to overcome feeling stuck?

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  • Jane Ransom

    These are all spot-on, Neel, thank you! My favorites: Prioritize, and saying no to the non-priorities. I welcome this reminder, thanks!

    • Neel Raman

      Thanks for your comments Jane! I’m glad that saying no resonated with you! Appreciate your support as always! 🙂

  • Sean Smith

    My favorite here is number 2. Warren Buffet said the secret to his success is for every 100 great opportunities he has presented to him, he says NO 99 time. Wow! Huge shift. Thanks Neel

    • Neel Raman

      I agree totally. Being able to say no is so important and I am slowing getting better at it. I find that whenever I say no, I actually feel a lot better because I am not adding more to what I already have on my plate. Thanks Sean!