It's a little after 5 pm. You're sitting in your cubicle, checking your watch and wondering whether to head home now and be stuck in a grueling traffic...or work for a couple more hours, then head home but be late for dinner with your spouse and children.
You push back from your desk and notice that most of the other cubicles next to you are empty. Thoughts start to cross your mind about your job and how satisfied you are with it, thoughts such as: "I hate this job! Should I look for another job? The economy is really bad these days; no one is hiring. Maybe I should start my own business? No, too risky! Who'll pay the bills?..."
You let a long sigh out and realize that you're stuck.
Or are you?
Whenever we're in situations where we think we're stuck, it's helpful to revisit four questions that may help us get unstuck and move us forward in our life, these are:
1. What thoughts do I need to have that would get me unstuck?
Our thoughts are the most powerful indicators of how successful we'll be in life. Thoughts have an impact on our behaviors and actions, and thus have an impact on our long-term success or failure.
When you think you're stuck, and there's no way out of your situation, you'll look for signs around you that feed that thought.
Suppose though you switch your thoughts, you say to yourself: "I am not stuck, I have many options, there's an abundant opportunity for me out there..." what impact will this have on your outlook in life?
2. What intentions can I set that would help me get unstuck?
Intentions are the ignition for change. They mark the clear start of a new direction.
When you say, "I intend to find a new job/career that is more fulfilling and has better work-life balance," you're acknowledging the need to change and accepting that the status quo is not tolerable anymore.
You're also setting your mind in motion to start thinking of real scenarios that would help you fulfill your intentions and take the necessary actions.
3. What decisions do I need to make that would help me get unstuck?
If there is a switch that we can flip that would help solve the feeling of being stuck, it is the switch of decision-making.
A lot of times we feel stuck because we haven't made firm decisions about the way forward, we're in this limbo that goes like this "Should I quit my job or not? Should I start a business or not?" Being indecisive is stressful and wastes unnecessary hours.
What's the alternative? Decide and commit. Say to yourself "I decide to stay on this job for three more years" OR "I decide to quit my job in 3 months and will start applying for new positions starting next week". The key here is to DECIDE.
4. What actions can I take that would get me unstuck?
Once you've cleared your thoughts, clarified your intentions, decided on the path forward, now is the time to take small actions consistently to get unstuck and move forward in your life. These actions include: updating your CV, reaching out to your network on LinkedIn, attending seminars and training, hiring a coach, etc.
Action creates momentum and momentum will help you feel unstuck and deliver real results.
We tend to blame "feeling stuck" to the external environment around us: the economy, our family situation, bills we have to pay, etc. However, feeling stuck is rarely about external factors, rather they are more about our internal thoughts, decisions, and intentions. Once we've clarified those, it is easy to get unstuck, take action, and open the doors of opportunity for us.
Mohammed Faris is an international coach, author, and speaker who helps professionals and entrepreneurs achieve peak performance through productivity training and coaching. He’s the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com and author of “The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity”.
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