How to Get Unstuck: 5 Practical Tips to Move Forward Even When You Don’t Know How (+ a 6-Month Review)
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” – Mandy Hale
It’s so cliche to say, but I truly cannot believe that the first six months of 2016 have come and gone. I cannot believe the days I’ve lived, the emotions (honestly, both good and difficult) that I have experienced, the lessons I have learned, the places I have been and the things I have done since last September.
On September 12, 2015, when Scott passed away, I literally never could have imagined doing any of the things I have done, including this current moment. Right now I am writing an article for Live Your Legend on a flight to Hawaii to attend a wedding alone, with a book in my bag to help me plot a potential short-term move to Australia. Did I see the path to get here? No way, no how. It’s truly something my mind never ever could have come up with.
And I think that’s the important reminder here: Life is unpredictable. Unexpected things (both fun and hard) will show up—and there’s great potential to get stuck when change comes up, if you let yourself.
There’s no doubt that life is ever-changing. The question is: will you change with it? Or will you allow it to derail you?
When I announced my goals at the beginning of the year, I knew why these things mattered to me for many different reasons but I literally had no idea how I was going to do any of them! And since we are halfway through the year, this week I want to share with you a little goal check.
Why? Because given that I had no idea how the journey to achieve these goals would look, there were certainly many times where I felt stuck and frustrated along the way. And perhaps you’ve had that experience too when you’ve been working toward something that matters to you—only to be overwhelmed by fears, uncertainty, pressure, and doubt.
So today I’m going to share 5 practical ways to get unstuck. But first things first: here is a brief run-down of those goals and where I am today.
So, looking at this (and these are only the overarching things – there have been many small hurdles as well!) and reflecting on all that has taken place got me to thinking about this idea of moving forward even when you don’t know how. Because honestly, at that time, not only did I not know “the how” of processing the loss of Scott, I didn’t even know if I personally would be carrying on the mission of Live Your Legend!
I’ve been asked many times about the moment I decided to take on Live Your Legend. And my only honest answer is that there wasn’t a moment of decision! And while I recognize every single day the blessing that Live Your Legend is in my life, what it allows me to do and the fulfillment and support it provides, there is also a tremendous amount of pressure that comes with it.
- I hear stories all the time about how Scott changed people’s lives, and often wonder “Who am I?”
- I struggle with the volatility and uncertainty that comes from entrepreneurship.
- I constantly question if I am making the right decisions.
- And sometimes I feel guilty because I know some people are working so hard to build and grow their businesses, and I stepped into a situation where that work had already been done. (Note: I fully recognize how big of a role I played in the growth and development of LYL but, even if unfounded, this is still something I think about. And really, are any of our worries founded anyway?!?!)
So yes, there are fears present, there is pressure, there is doubt and uncertainty—and that will likely be true along your journey as well.
But the thing that I have realized is that in those moments you have a choice (well, in every moment you have a choice!)… and if you are able to learn how to manage these emotions as they come up, then you can allow those emotions to propel you instead of cause you to get stuck.
The Two Things That Cause You to Get Stuck
We’ve witnessed this first hand with our recent 21 Days to Discover Your Passion Course (which I also didn’t know would exist, nor that I would create it!). As we’ve received a lot questions from the participants of the course about how to move forward when you feel “stuck.”
And what we have realized is that “being stuck” really comes down to two things:
- Losing confidence (because of fear, things getting hard, uncertainty around “how” it will look or work, lacking motivation, etc.)
- Not knowing the next step
Either of these two can cause a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, both of which cause you to want to do nothing more than retract, retreat, close down and give up!
So how do you continue to move forward even when you don’t know how?
Here are a few ways that have helped me on my journey, both in running the business, as well as on the personal side of things.
How to Move Forward When You Don’t Know How
1. Recognize the Impermanence of Where You Are in the Moment
One of the things I’ve had to give up more than any other is projecting my current state to a future state. Feelings are fleeting; yet, we tend to think that if we feel a way in any given moment, we are going to feel that way forever!
Have you ever felt like: this ALWAYS happens, or so-and-so NEVER does that… well, the odds are if you were to actually look at it from a grounded place, that’s not really true. But it certainly feels that way in the moment, doesn’t it?!
While I’ve truly come to a place where I have found a way to be content being alone, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times where I feel lonely. I spend A LOT of time by myself. Running this business is something I do on my own (aside from team calls), I do a lot of traveling on my own because many of my friends cannot be on the road as much as I am, and when I am in San Francisco—aside from meals with friends/family—I am on my own.
And if I didn’t recognize the impermanence of the feeling in that moment, I could easily get stuck there. My mind could go to the place of imagining myself 50 years from now feeling the same way or I could tell myself “I am going to feel this way forever!” And how great would that make me feel?!
So instead, I remind myself that just as I had no idea 10 months ago what my life would look like today, I have no idea what my life will look like 10 months from now…
Who knows if I’ll find a work-from-home buddy or join an awesome co-working space? Who knows if I will be living in a new city or discover a new community? Who knows if what feels a little uncomfortable now will feel totally normal in the future (which I have already proven to myself many times over)? All I do know is that I surely don’t know!
So, it’s helpful to remember that what is now, in this moment, is not necessarily what will be in the future.
And besides, I am a firm believer that discomfort is a guide, a signal, a sign—so instead of trying to fix it, change it or run from it, I instead try to get curious about it… I ask: Why might I feel this way? What could I be doing differently? What does this say about where I am right now or what I might need and want right now?
2. Lead with Love over Logic
In my opinion, there are two places from which you can live your life:
- From your heart
- From your head
And I will always, always choose to listen to my heart over my head.
How do you know what your heart has to say? Well, I think feelings are the language of your heart and thoughts are the language of your mind.
So really, this means to follow your intuition—that gut feeling, that voice inside of you. That thing that you can’t fully explain (or maybe doesn’t totally make sense!)—but you feel it.
However, unfortunately, as we grow up we’re often taught to replace this feeling or voice with the “logical thing to do”… so sometimes we have to re-learn how to listen to what we actually feel instead of what we think. Note, if you are doing things solely for status, money, fame, etc.—that is not the “feeling” I am talking about. Your intention matters—so be sure to know the difference!
And often times you hear people say, “Well, it’s not logical, what if I make a bad decision?” or the bitter, angry ones who say, “I tried that ‘leap of faith stuff’ once and I failed. I will never do that again!” And that’s fine, we all choose our own journey.
But personally, I don’t believe there are any bad decisions, there are only certain decisions that force us to grow in a way we otherwise would not have. I don’t believe there are any backwards steps or “failures,” there are simply steps that don’t go as planned to allow us to get to the place that we never could have imagined in the first place.
3. Celebrate Along the Way!
The fastest way to stay stuck is to look at how much further you have to go without stopping to look at how far you have already come.
The “achiever” in us wants to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish, but in actuality there is no quicker way to create burn out than to only look at where you have to go—which in the end only compromises your accomplishments!
So, to stay in forward motion make it a regular part of your routine to recognize and celebrate the things you’ve already done.
I personally do this on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.
- Daily: I carry a journal with me and write down what I call my “magic moments” every day—big (the nice email I got) or small (the beautiful clouds in the sky).
- Weekly: I review my journal and write down my celebrations as I plan my week.
- Monthly: We start our LYL monthly team calls with everyone sharing a personal and business related celebration.
- Quarterly: As I look at what’s ahead, I also review what’s been done the previous quarter.
- Yearly: I tend to set a ‘focus’ for the year which leads to a few specific goals. And every New Year’s my friends and I go around the table and share what we are most thankful for/proud of from the previous year as well as a main intention for the year ahead.
This reminds me that even though there’s a lot ahead that I don’t know how to do, there’s a lot behind me that I have already done (that I didn’t know how to do!).
If that’s not motivation to keep moving forward, I don’t know what is!
4. Let Go (and Develop an Unwavering Faith in the Unknown)
Far and away the hardest part of not staying stuck is letting go of control. Trusting in what is. Leaning into the unknown. Not knowing the “how” and being okay with not needing to know.
Trust me, I know how hard this is because I have have a lot of unknowns in my life and I have spent A LOT of time learning to find peace around that. And even with all that time and practice, I still have the tendency to want to know how it’s all gonna look and be and feel!
But given my life experience, I also now know that “how I think it’s gonna be” is just a story I want to cling to so that I can feel “safe” or “in control.” I mean, there’s a reason we use the phrase “out of control” negatively, because it’s a wild and uncomfortable feeling! Because uncertainty, the unknown, change—all of it is scary as sh*t!
However, the more you can let go of how things are supposed to be or how things should be, the more you will accept what is. And the more you can accept whatever is in the moment (all of it, including the good, the bad, the ugly) the more of your life you’ll actually experience and truly be able to live.
Because when you spend all your time waiting for the next thing, instead of simply appreciating what is in the moment, all you are really doing is staying stuck where you are… If you rely on all things external (things, people and circumstances) to make you happy (or unhappy!), you’ll never actually get there. You may find fleeting moments of it, but they will be exactly that—fleeting—because next thing you know, you’ll be back at square one waiting for something or someone else to bring you joy—and to me that’s staying stuck.
So letting go of the “need to know” and fully embracing and appreciating what you have right here and right now is the ultimate ticket to not staying stuck.
When you can truly appreciate what you have (even when messy!) and pair that with the motivation to continue to grow and evolve, you’ll always continue to move forward. Because you’ll develop an inherent trust that somehow, someday, someway it will all work out, even if that picture might not be what you imagined…
5. Only Focus on the Next Smallest Step
We have this tendency to look at the mountain instead of the trail, to look at the big picture instead of what is right in front of us. But since we now know that there is zero point in trying to plan or predict how things will pan out (because it likely won’t go that way anyway!), try to bring your focus to what’s right in front of you.
When we decided to launch the 21 Days to Discover Your Passion course, I had no idea how that was gonna play out. I had no idea how to build and create a course, I had no idea if anyone would actually want it, even though I knew there was a need for it because this community told me so!
So the first thing I did was create an ideal timeframe (which didn’t go according to “plan” by the way), then I created an outline. Then I found myself procrastinating (because it was hard!).
However, instead of beating myself up (or giving up), I simply decided that my current plan wasn’t working—I measured and adjusted—and focused on my next smallest step. So, I scheduled a few-days’ window to retreat from my normal routine of working at a coffee shop and holed myself up in a new environment (aka, locked myself in my room!) to work on the course.
And the clarity around the course only came once I actually started writing it! I had an idea about what it would look like but the finished product is very different from that original idea.
So, the more you can scale down your focus to the smallest next step, the more you’ll stay in motion. Even if your next step is to ask someone your next step!
The small steps are what lead up to big changes over time. So don’t think about the business you want to build or the book you want to write. Think about who you want to help or how you can do so. And then write a list of small things that you can do each and every day to get you closer to doing that (a process that we happen to walk you through in 21 Days to Discover Your Passion)!
You Always Have a Choice
So, even though it’s in our nature to believe that we know what and how we are going to experience in life, we don’t. We don’t know what life is going to hand us… but regardless of the cards we get dealt we always have the choice of how we are going to play those cards.
You can choose to resist or you can choose to embrace. You can choose to simply exist in this lifetime or you can choose to fully live. You can choose to stay standing still or you can choose to continue forward.
And the more you can move freely through what life has in store for you, the more joy you’ll experience for yourself. And the more joy you experience for yourself, the more joy you’ll give to others in turn. And, I think there is no greater gift you can give…
So today I ask, what will you choose?
Let us know in the comments below and here’s to staying unstuck for good…