Whether you feel stuck in your current job, your marriage or in indecision about a host of other things, feeling stuck is a very common problem, especially for working moms. The struggle to make the right decision for yourself and your family can create an overwhelming sense of pressure, confusion and frustration.
Saying things like “I don’t know what to do” or “I’m not sure about this” is so common, that it can seem like the only possible way to respond to life’s situations. It can often feel like you’re standing in quicksand, unable to do anything to get out of the stuckness.
Unfortunately, feeling stuck can then appear to put a dark, ominous cloud over so many unrelated things in your life. It’s as if being stuck can leave sticky residue on everything you touch.
For example, you may feel stuck in your job, which leads to a feeling of anxiety. With that anxious feeling, you may find yourself not only confused about the job, but then wind up more impatient with your children, unable to decide where to go to dinner or possibly having sleep issues.
Feeling stuck can be experienced in a number of ways:
- Claustrophobic – “I have to get out of here now!”
- Overwhelm – “I have too much on my plate to make a decision”
- Sad – “I don’t see any other option but to keep things the same”
- Confused – “I have no idea what to do”
- Fear – “I’m afraid to make a decision about this”
If any of these sound familiar to you, it’s perfectly normal. As a working mom, you are living at a time where there are so many decisions to be made and so many options to choose from, that it can seem completely overwhelming and scary to even try to get unstuck.
Interestingly, sometimes being stuck is unconsciously desirable. If you stay stuck, you won’t have to take an action that will push you out of your comfort zone and challenge you to grow or change something that might be unwanted, but also familiar.
For example, you may want to end your marriage, but the thought of all the changes that would happen to you and your family, can make staying seem like a better choice. All the decisions about lawyers, custody arrangements and where you would live can make staying stuck in an unhappy marriage seem preferable.
Learning what’s really going on when you feel stuck and what to do about it, is some of the most freeing lessons to learn. When you know how to get unstuck, there’s no telling what could be possible for you and for your future.
This week I’m going to discuss the truth about being stuck and the secret to getting unstuck.
The truth about being stuck
When it comes to being stuck, it seems like working moms have more than their fair share of reasons to feel stuck. Whether it’s dealing with things like how to handle an issue with your child, what to do about your job or whether you should work on your marriage or not, you are typically faced with a lot of big and small decisions.
Confusion and overwhelm are just some of the companion feelings, when you believe that you’re stuck. Unfortunately, the more often you feel confused, overwhelmed or stuck, the more habitual those feelings become, and the easier it is to default to, and stay, stuck.
One of the most eye-opening and transformative things I learned in my studies with The Life Coach School is that you should never leave a job, marriage, house, etc. until you know that you can be happy there. The first time I heard this concept, I was so confused, yet intrigued.
My thought was “If I was happy in those things, then I wouldn’t be considering changing or leaving them, so how does that work?” The key is in understanding that the job, marriage, house, etc. wasn’t responsible for how I was feeling in the first place.
Just like you, I tended to believe that I needed to change my circumstances to feel better, and when I was confused about what to do, I felt stuck. What I learned is that the reason you shouldn’t leave or change anything until you know you can be happy (or feel any desired emotion), is because you first need to understand that you create your feelings with your thoughts, not with your circumstances.
For example, the reason you are unhappy in your job has nothing to do with your job, and everything to do with what you are thinking about the job. If you were to change jobs without learning how to manage your mind, your next job would temporarily make you happy until someone or something wasn’t the way you wanted it to be.
Most people feel stuck because they have a circumstance that they’re confused about; they know they want to feel better, but can’t see a clear way out. The truth is that you feel stuck because you believe that there’s a “right” choice to be made in order to feel better; you believe that circumstances dictate how you feel so you’re unsure which decision to make.
When you truly understand that life is supposed to be 50/50 when it comes to positive and negative emotions, and that you get to choose how to think and feel about any circumstance in your life, you don’t need to feel stuck any longer. You get to choose to feel better, with or without anything or anyone needing to be different.
For example, since your thoughts about your job are the only thing making you unhappy in your job, then you have the power to change how you think about the job. You may find reasons why staying is better than leaving or vice versa, but once you learn how to manage your mind, you will no longer feel stuck; whether you stay or leave, you are always in charge of how you feel about your decision.
The fear of making a “wrong” decision comes from your thoughts, not from what you decide. Therefore, the truth about being stuck is that it’s always within your power to get unstuck because your thoughts are the only thing causing you to feel stuck in the first place.
The secret to getting unstuck
It’s all well and good to understand that the feeling of being stuck comes from your thoughts, but then what? Your brain is offering you an average of 60,000 thoughts a day that, when not addressed, become your default way of thinking – so how can you change that default way of thinking?
In order to experience the freedom of being unstuck, here are a few suggestions:
Looking back from the future
One of the secrets to getting unstuck is to use the higher part of your brain to get out of the present moment and instead, to focus on the future. When you use the more advanced, human part of your brain, you can imagine a future moment in time where there is much more clarity.
From this future place, where you are no longer stuck and are clear about what to do, you can advise your present self about what to start doing, stop doing and keep doing. By using the higher part of your brain to imagine a moment when you aren’t stuck, you can actually override the part of your brain that gets caught up in confusion and overwhelm.
For example, when you imagine a future moment in time when you’ve left your current job and are a successful mompreneur, what would your future self tell you to start doing, stop doing and keep doing? Maybe you could start speaking to other successful mompreneurs to understand how they succeeded, you could stop doubting yourself, your talents and your capabilities, and you could keep doing your work to manage your mind.
To help you manage your mind, you could:
- Start thinking thoughts like “I can figure this out” or “I can do anything when I set my mind to it”
- Stop thinking thoughts like “I’m not sure how to do this” or “I probably won’t be successful at this”
- Keep thinking thoughts like “I like this idea of being a mompreneur” or “I like this idea of being my own boss”
By looking back from the future to the present, you unblock the power of your brain to create any result you want. You really are only limited by your belief about what’s possible with a managed mind.
Just do something
When you feel stuck, there is usually a lack of action that accompanies the feeling. It makes sense that when you feel unprepared, confused or unmotivated that the last thing you would want to do is take some action.
So first it’s important to acknowledge how you feel and have compassion for yourself. This doesn’t mean you will stay stuck, it just helps to not add judgment on top of feeling stuck.
Once you’ve acknowledged how you feel, you then need to uncover the thought creating that feeling. Remember, you aren’t feeling stuck, anxious or overwhelmed because of a circumstance; your feelings are always created by a thought.
The most powerful tool you have is your mind so it’s important to change the cause so you can change the effect. You are either letting your brain choose what to think and feel, or you are deciding on purpose what to think and feel – one creates inaction and more confusion, and the other inspires action and results.
For example, instead of allowing your brain to spin in “I don’t know what to do”, you could ask yourself “If I knew that in one year I would have what I want, what would I be doing differently right now?” By asking your brain a powerful question, it will show you exactly what actions to take.
If you wait to feel motivated, you’ll never do anything because motivation doesn’t just “happen” to you. The feeling of motivation happens because you choose thoughts that create the feeling of motivation.
Therefore, the only obstacle to getting unstuck is what you think because your thoughts are always creating your feelings which then fuel your actions or inactions. You have to be willing to think in a way that’s different than you currently think in order to feel differently, act differently and get a different result than you currently have.
You can always decide to stay stuck, but don’t continue to pretend that being stuck isn’t a decision. You have to own it as a choice; stop saying “I’m stuck” and own the fact that “I’m choosing to be stuck”.
I really want you to hear this – your life isn’t happening TO you, it’s being created BY you. Continuing to be stuck is always an option, but my wish for you is that you choose to get unstuck.
There is so much more to be explored and experienced than you’ve probably allowed yourself to believe. I hope you imagine a bright future, give yourself some powerful advice from that future, take action and create an amazing present.
- The struggle to make the right decision for yourself and your family can create an overwhelming sense of pressure, confusion and frustration.
- Learning what’s really going on when you feel stuck and what to do about it, is some of the most freeing lessons to learn
- What I learned is that the reason you shouldn’t leave or change anything until you know you can be happy (or feel any desired emotion), is because you first need to understand that you create your feelings with your thoughts, not with your circumstances.
- The truth about being stuck is that it’s always within your power to get unstuck because your thoughts are the only thing causing you to feel stuck in the first place.
- One of the secrets to getting unstuck is to use the higher part of your brain to get out of the present moment and instead, to focus on the future
- You are either letting your brain choose what to think and feel, or you are deciding on purpose what to think and feel – one creates inaction and more confusion, and the other inspires action and results.
- You can always decide to stay stuck, but don’t continue to pretend that being stuck isn’t a decision.
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