I had a reader email me the other day about how he’s been having a hard time with networking and marketing himself, especially in front of employers.
I had some suggestions for him, but first, I asked him what he had tried doing in the past to improve this problem.
This was his response:
To his credit, he went on to provide a very detailed list of all the different ways he has tried reaching out to people, including the pros and cons of each approach. It was one of the best responses I’ve ever gotten from a reader after asking this question.
But what I want to focus on today is the part of the email where he says, “I started to realize I may not have done a whole lot to really reach out. Mostly I felt … sort of stuck.”
Recently, I’ve started to hear a lot of people talk about feeling “stuck.” Yet, more often than not, I’ve found that when you ask someone who is feeling stuck what they’ve tried doing to get “unstuck,” they usually have a hard time coming up with an answer, as my reader above admitted.
Anytime you catch yourself feeling stuck, you have to take a step back and ask yourself, what have you tried doing to change the situation? Why are you feeling stuck?
Right now, as you’re reading this article, you’re probably sitting in a chair, or maybe on a couch or a bed. In any case, you’re not moving. No one is forcing you to stay put, but you’re not “stuck.” You’re just not moving. And you’re not moving by choice (because you’re reading this article). At any moment, however, you can just as easily decide to get up and go for a walk or find another chair to sit in. No one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to stay where you are.
The same holds true when you find yourself feeling stuck. There might be certain pressures or circumstance that make it more difficult to get out, but there is always a way out. There are always more options. You might have to take a step back before you can take a step forward, but if it ultimately helps you get to where you really want to be in the long run, then why wouldn’t you?
It’s okay if you can’t see the end of the road. There’s always a little bit of uncertainty. But if you’re feeling stuck, the one thing that you do know for certain is that where you are right now is not where you want to be. So keep moving. The worst thing you can do is stay where you are.
Obviously, it’s easier said than done. Maybe the reason why you’re feeling stuck in the first place, and the reason why you don’t know what to do, is because you have no idea where you want to go.
How do you figure out what step to take, if you don’t even don’t even know where you’re headed?
That’s a question that will drive you crazy if you let it spin around in your head for too long. That’s why my advice today is to get it out of your head, and onto paper.
Write it out.
Stephen Warley, co-founder of UnStuckable, is a master at helping people make difficult transitions in their careers. I was not at all surprised when I found out that the number one recommended “quick action to get unstuck” from the 135+ people he interviewed on the UnStuckable podcast was to write. Often, the simple act of writing is the first step that will spur you into action.
The process of writing out your dreams, ideas and goals turns them into a physical form, so you can respond to them in a new way outside of your head… Stop locking up your dreams inside the prison of your mind and set them free by writing about them.”
I love that last line. It’s worth repeating.
“Stop locking up your dreams inside the prison of your mind and set them free by writing about them.”
That’s some powerful stuff, and I believe in it 100%.
I ended up hopping on the phone with that reader I mentioned at the beginning of this post so that we could dive deeper into his problem and I could give him some advice. We had a great conversation, but honestly, I think the time he spent writing out that lengthy email to my question about what he’s done in the past may have been more beneficial for him than anything else. It opened his eyes and made him realize, “Hey, I’m sitting here complaining about something, but I haven’t really done anything about it.”
Sometimes, we just have to get our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper before we can make any progress. It allows us to understand how we get in our own way, and what we can do about it.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, whenever I feel like I have no idea what step to take next, I sit down, and I write. We have too many thoughts to keep them all in our head. It gets way too cluttered in there. Put them on paper so that you can see them clearly and move on with your life.
Trust me, it works.
If you don’t know what to start writing about, start by writing down what you want out of life.
How do you want to spend your time? What do you want to do for work?
Then, ask yourself, does what you’re currently doing align with what you really want to be doing? If not, what can you do today to start closing that gap?
Image Source: DeviantArt – DaphX