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How to make progress when you’re feeling stuck

progress when you're feeling stuck

Let’s talk about making progress when you’re feeling stuck.

If you’re a high achiever, you feel really good when you’re moving forward, checking things off your list and achieving your goals. 

Feeling stuck is the opposite of that. You know you want to keep progressing (you want to get closer to your dream job, launching that business or heading toward that promotion), but you’re not sure what you should do next. Maybe you feel like you’ve hit a wall. 

I find that many of my high-achievers feel really down when they’re stuck. They beat themselves up and judge their lack of progress, which adds another layer to the difficulty of hitting a wall. 

Whatever your ambition is, there is a way forward and out of the muck

Here are 4 steps you can take today to get unstuck, amplify your progress and improve your energy and focus. 

“Don’t shoot the second arrow”

I love this saying. What this means is – if you’re feeling bad about something – don’t layer on the criticism. It’s like shooting a second arrow when you’re already wounded.

Instead of judging yourself for not making progress, can you accept that you’re feeling stuck?

I know this might be challenging, but give yourself the space to be with the fact that you’re struggling right now. It’s temporary. 

I like to use a mantra to acknowledge when I’m having a difficult time, like “I hear you, I see you.”

What mantra can help you connect with and allow your struggle? 

It won’t last forever, so give yourself a few minutes (or a day) to acknowledge you’re having a difficult time. 

Be curious 

Approaching any situation from a place of curiosity keeps us from being reactive. It allows us to dig deeper and to listen for what’s actually going on. 

After you accept that you’re stuck right now, can you be curious about your situation? 

What is it that’s actually got you stuck?

Start by jotting down your thoughts. Keep it simple by doing a brain dump in your journal. 

Your list might look like:

  • I don’t know what I want to do next. 
  • I’ll never achieve what I want. 
  • How do I go about tackling my next steps? 

Making this list is really helpful because you can see what’s getting in your way. 

From here, you can move on to the next step. 

Identify Your Next Action

Once you make your list, what do you see that’s getting in your way?

Is it a lack of information?

Or a lack of support? 

Is it fear of failure?

Getting clear on this will help you identify what you need. If it’s a lack of information, ask yourself  how can I fill in this knowledge gap? Is there someone I can speak to? 

If it’s a lack of support, ask yourself – who can I talk to or who can I ask for help? Consider people in your immediate network who may be able to guide you further. 

If it’s fear of failure, consider a time you were afraid of making a decision and succeeded. 

This will help you identify the next step you can take. And that’s all you need in the short term…the next baby step that will allow you to get unstuck. 

Things often snowball from here!

Celebrate your Victories and Extract Lessons

This step is paramount! And often the one many of my clients want to skip…

At Work Bigger, we celebrate wins every single week, no matter how small.

For instance, did you find the courage to attend that dreaded call? That’s a win! 

Or, did you reach out to one person today to get more information about your career transition? That counts!

Acknowledging your successes breeds further success. Allocate some time to document the following:

– What progress did you make today?

– What adjustments do you intend to make moving forward?

Now, over to you. Is there a goal you’ve been wanting to pursue, but you’ve hit a wall? Where can you apply these steps to getting unstuck?

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

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