• You waste creative energy on feeling sorry for yourself
• You won’t listen to “the big ME”
• You’re trying to fit an old box that YOU created, but you’ve outgrown
• You’re trying to live your life according to other people’s expectations
• You won’t stand up for yourself
So many people are stuck in a rut and at the end of their wits. We’ve all been there, right? In my experience, I get out of my stuck place when I realize why I’m stuck. (This has worked on people I have coached as well.) So, considering that, here are some reasons as to why you might be stuck.
YOU WASTE YOUR CREATIVE ENERGY ON FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF. This takes up SO much energy. It clutters the mind and drains the emotions. It puts you in a weird cycle of dissatisfaction and lethargy. I remember one day I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, laying on my couch and looking at the ceiling, thinking about how unfair I thought my life was. I remember hearing “the big ME” say, “And what exactly are you doing right now? Telling yourself a sad story? How exactly is that helping you? What could you be doing right now instead? You’d be much happier if you were actually taking action as opposed to laying here telling yourself a victim story. Get mad and do something about it!”
As always, “the big ME” was right.
YOU WON’T LISTEN TO “THE BIG ME.” Ignoring this person is the reason many live unfulfilled. Everyone has a “big ME”. It is the complete, delicious, bad-ass version of you. The one who takes no prisoners, knows his or her value and goes for the gold. Who’s your higher self? Mine looks like Kerry Washington but talks like Alec Baldwin’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross” (don’t judge me). It’s a combination of 2 bad-asses telling me to suck it up and get it together, because that’s the only way I’ll get where I really want to be. I suppose it’s very fitting that my “big ME” is a combination of two big screen actors. Think about it. How many movies have you seen where the person is feeling sorry for herself and someone out of nowhere says, “Oh, you poor thing. Here’s the money you need. Here’s the life you want. You’ve experienced enough angst here on this couch/bed/barstool. You deserve this.”
What do we see in the movies (especially the ones about real life successful people)? They get beat up, everyone around them doubts them, tells them they’re crazy, tells them to give up and go get a real job/just be like everybody else. But you know the funniest thing that all these people have in common? THEY CAN’T GIVE UP. Even when they don’t have any money. Even when they look like fools. Even when they’ve failed a hundred times. They can’t give up because they will die if they do. And that’s what I realized about myself. I couldn’t just give up and settle into some 9 to 5 with no growth potential indefinitely (although there’s nothing wrong with that if it is a means to an end or your personal preference), because I would be so miserable I wouldn’t be myself anymore. My essence would die. Let me tell you, that’s a powerful and freeing realization. So now what do you do when you realize that? What do you do when you know you HAVE TO, HAVE TO, HAVE TO follow your dreams even if it’s not going to make sense to anyone else?
Answer: Get ready for the fallout and hold on to your posterior with both hands. And after that, prepare for the delicious success that is sure to be yours because you persevered and made those sacrifices.
YOU’RE TRYING TO STUFF YOURSELF INTO AN OLD BOX THAT YOU’VE OUTGROWN. So often, we hear that we need to “think outside of the box,” but I don’t think most of us realize that the hardest boxes to get out of are the ones that WE create for ourselves. Sure, we have the boxes of expectation put on us by society, our families, our friends, etc., but the boxes we internalize get us in the most trouble. The funniest thing about those boxes is that they’re almost invisible to us. We know we’re doing something wrong, we just can’t seem to put our finger on it.
This is why we need outside help.
I’ve had my own challenge of being stuck inside of a box that I created, and that I actually enjoyed being in for a long time. And then I hit the wall. I could not get anything done, because I had actually grown to a higher level but wanted to play it safe. I had a sneaking suspicion of this, but really realized it when I went to the Million Dollar Consulting ®College for the first time. My mentor, Dr. Alan Weiss, helped me realize I wasn’t thinking big enough. Now I’ve created even more aggressive goals for myself and they have invigorated me in so many amazing ways.
YOU ARE TRYING TO LIVE ACCORDING TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS. This is true of all relationships in life, but particularly in romantic relationships. Some are in committed relationships with people who are encouraging you to do the exact opposite of what you feel so strongly led to do. How do you reconcile that? Well, maybe you can and maybe you can’t, but you must love yourself AND your partner enough to take the risk. Why? Because if you live a half-lived life, it will manifest in your relationship with your spouse/significant other. You will resent him/her, you will stifle a big part of yourself, and then what of your relationship? The person you love so much will not even get all of you. They will get glimpses of you. You will have a mediocre relationship because you are living up to mediocre standards. Do you really want that?
You must be honest with your partner about your needs, for your sake and your partner’s sake. Be patient with them and give them time to catch up, but always be you.
YOU WON’T STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. There is nothing more intoxicating than the feeling of standing up for yourself. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, it just has to be true. You must find the strength to say, “You know what? This is me, and this is all I can be. Take it or leave it.” There should be NO negativity underneath what you say, because you are choosing freedom for yourself and allowing the other person to have freedom as well. They are FREE to not accept you, and you are FREE to walk away.
SO, WHAT TO DO? I would give you a long list of ways to get unstuck, but you’ll just make a long to-do list that makes you feel good but that you probably won’t act on. That is not necessary anyway, because you already know what you need to do, which is take action. Action works miracles. Just taking steps in the direction of where you want to go will boost your confidence tremendously. So take one action today. TODAY. Make a confession, make a phone call, write a business proposal. Do SOMETHING. You will gain momentum if you just get started.
Let’s do it! I’m rooting for all of us.
Nick Whitenburg, The Courage Consultant