Things change so quickly. One day you can be in a career you love, working with people whom you call friends and then it can all change overnight. People can move on, businesses can become stale and life can change us.
It takes only a moment to go from winning and feeling like you’re successful, to feeling as though your life is a mess and becoming stuck.
What does stuck feel like?
- Not being able to make decisions
- Feeling numb to life events you should feel something for
- Not knowing what to do next
- Having any passion sucked out of you
Last week I spoke to a friend who has one of the most successful startups to come from my country (Australia).
My calls with him are usually loaded with energy and we both walk away going “Damn that was a good chat.” Not this time, though.
He was struggling to make decisions in his business, he felt as though he had run out of good ideas, he felt numb and wanted to ask me what he should do next. I never thought I’d be the one he would ask this question to.
I mean you don’t build a company from nothing (and you’re not even 25 yet), travel the world, speak at conferences and consistently spit out award-winning ideas if you are a total idiot. He has many skills that I lack.
Yet, he felt stuck.
We’ve all been there and we will all reach this point sometime during our life.
So what do you do?
1. Accept the feeling
We all feel stuck as I said already.
Maybe what you need to do is accept the feeling rather than be paralyzed by it.
Move into a two-bedroom apartment with that stuck feeling and get to know each other. Pour that stuck feeling some tea, eat a few choc chip cookies, and accept that this is pretty normal.
The truth about being stuck is that it is usually followed by enormous growth.
2. Get away from your commitments
Your commitments can shackle down your arms and legs and hold you back from exploration. The perspective you need to become unstuck comes from getting away from the situation.
In the case of my startup friend, he needed to get away from the business for a while. The business he created was only making the same ideas and thoughts swirl around in his head and then fizzle out again, causing the onset of severe unstuckness to settle in again.
When you’re in the thick of problems, all you can see are the problems.
If you’re surrounded by nothing but problems, rarely does the solution jump out you from behind the bushes and say “Hey mate, gday, how are ya?”
The solution often hides in new locations, new friends, challenging to read books, holidays to distant lands and other people’s stories of the same feeling of being stuck.
3. Burn it all to the ground and start again
If you really are stuck and nothing is working, and you’ve tried over and over again to reinvent yourself, one thing that worked for me was to burn it all to the ground.
About five years ago, I tore my life to bits.
I changed my circle of friends, took a different direction in my career, stopped drinking, read lots of books, attended conferences that would have previously made me cringe and explored many different possibilities.
The key to this forced change was that I had to remove Plan B, C, D, E and F.
I made decisions that I couldn’t go back on, no matter how tempted I was to change my mind. Rapid destruction can lead to incredible changes that your own mind could never imagine on its own — be prepared to be pushed to the extreme and face fears you never knew you had, though.
There is always a solution to feeling stuck and it’s usually one of these three solutions or a combination of all of them that will help. I know feeling stuck can feel like crap — I’ve been there too.
This feeling will not last forever. You will become unstuck, so don’t give up.
Have fun with your rapid experimentation and see what comes out of it. From experience, you’re about to grow into a totally new person that you’ll one day look back on and be proud of.
It’s in these moments of being stuck that your life is reborn.