Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a rut so deep that you do not think you will ever get out? Do you ever feel so buried in your own issues that you really believe no one else would even begin to understand? It is time to restore your faith, grab on to some confidence, and understand that you do not have to travel this journey alone. Following are the top 5 most common reasons that we feel stuck:
Reason # 1. Analysis Paralysis.
As human animals, we generally have a tendency to analyze everything that is put before us. After all, is not that why we are equipped with these amazing inner computers called brains? "If this is this, then that is that" kind of thinking will paralyze even the smallest of decisions or opportunities. The truth of the matter is that we do not know, nor can we control, the outcome of situations. The only thing we can control is the reaction that we attach to the outcomes. (And trust me, that is very good news for all of us!)
Overanalyzing also shuts down our intuitive sense, so we no longer have access to following our "gut" or our heart. There are certainly times where it is just best to take a deep breath and a leap of faith. This is not to say that the options are not weighed out beforehand, however. But at least we are not paralyzed. If the choice does not work out as we thought it should, it is but a blip in the radar screen of life. Perhaps it was not the right time or the right direction for us. There are no accidents, though oftentimes we are left scratching our heads for a while as we sit in the aftermath of our decisions.
Also, with enough analysis we have a fool-proof excuse (as valid as it may seem at the time) NOT to make a decision or take action. It is with each decision that we take a step towards our ideal life. Too much analysis will make us freeze in our tracks or, worse yet, start moving backwards and taking refuge in our "comfort zone". Ironically, this is the behavior that should become the focus of our analysis!
Reason # 2. Overwhelm.
There is so much going on in life. How can we possibly stay on top of everything? How can we begin to tackle each item on that "to do" list? We do not have sufficient time. We do not have enough help. We do not have enough experience, drive, willpower, sanity. . . you fill in the blank. We just do not have enough! It feels as though there is no reprieve.
We first need to consider that it is impossible to eat an elephant in one bite. We can not tackle everything at once! We need to break it down into manageable steps in order to make the least bit of progress and build momentum. If it is not at the forefront, let it go for now. If you do not really want to do it, have the courage to say no. If you do not know how to do it, either learn (if you really want to) or delegate to someone who does know how. If you do not enjoy it, say so. If it can not be done "right" if you are not doing it yourself, consider lowering your standards a bit.
We are our own largest contributors to the overwhelm we have in our lives. If you are procrastinating with something, figure out why. Are you afraid? Would you rather say no? Do you feel obligated? Find comfort in only feeling "obliged" to yourself. You teach people how to treat you. If you set up boundaries, people will respond. The clock ticks the same amount of times for each one of us. We all turn the calendar on the same day. Figure out how to prioritize your time, spending it the way that YOU want to. It is not selfish, it's sanity!
Reason # 3. We are misinformed, with a faulty base of operation.
Because we are being constantly bombarded with it, we really start to believe that we need to be what we see portrayed in the media. We feel as though we have to compare ourselves to other people, because we do not really know their true stories ~ we are comparing only to what we think we know. And this becomes the basis for our decisions and thoughts about ourselves. I am here to tell you that this is faulty thinking!
Whatever it is comparing your house savvy to Martha Stewart, your success to Oprah Winfrey, your smile to Julia Roberts or your body to Halle Berry, you are not using the correct information. You can only compare yourself to you! For example, instead of Martha Stewart even entering into the equation. . . How is my homemaking now versus what it was five years ago? Have I improved? In what areas can I get better? Do I even want to? Is it really a priority of mine?
Same thing for success. . . We all know that Oprah rocks, but this is not exactly relevant to our level of success. Ask. . . How have I moved forward in the past year? Where do I want to go? Am I getting closer? If not, what can I do to make it more of a priority? Is it a priority I want for myself or is it something that is expected of me by others? You see the point.
Work on building a solid base of authenticity from which to operate, and you will not only make better decisions, but you will ask better questions too.
Reason # 4. We lack the safety and support that we need.
We all feel vulnerable at times (some more than others). What we are missing is a "safe place to fall" where we can drop the "front" and acknowledge these feelings. It is in our vulnerability that we lose the fear to share our true selves and to reach out for help ~ or at least we feel the fear and do it anyway! We are able to get in touch with ourselves on a much deeper and genuine level when we know it is safe, when we know it will not get thrown in our faces, and we know that it will stay confidential (if we wanted others to know, we'd tell them ourselves, right?). Without this safe haven, we are forced into living a life that lacks authenticity.
It is up to us to surround ourselves with people that we trust and people who will support us no matter what the situation. Although it is a difficult task, I recommend starting to evaluate the relationships that are currently in your life to see if you are surrounding yourself with safety and support or potential poison. I encourage you to really look deep, because things are not always as they appear to be on the surface. Without the obstacle of analysis paralysis, follow your heart and your instinct on this one. And most importantly, BE the person that you would love to surround yourself with. Not only can you benefit great from being your own best friend, you will also attract the kind of people into your life that you need for unconventional love and support.
Reason # 5. We fail to take action.
I believe that fear is the number one reason that we do not take action. (And do not kid yourself here … fear is at the root of procrastination!) Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking "stupid", fear of not knowing the right answer, fear of being wrong, fear of whatever! If you find yourself not taking action on something, consider fear to be the number one culprit. Then ask yourself the worst possible thing that could happen if you do take action.
Let's play a game called "What If". Here's how it works:
Say I have to give a speech tomorrow. I am starting to panic, thinking of all kinds of ways to get out of it. . . I'm starting to feel feverish. . . I will have to go to the doctor. . . I'm losing my voice. . . ANYTHING but admitting your fear.
What if you give the speech tomorrow?
People will not like it.
What if people do not like it?
I will look stupid and people will see me as incompetent.
What if people see you as stupid and incompetent?
Then I will lose my job.
What if you lose your job?
Then I will never be able to get another one. I will not be able to pay my bills and I will be homeless.
What if you are homeless?
I will have nowhere to go. I will lose my family and friends. I will be alone. I will die.
Wow. Now put that through your reality filters. Will giving a speech really lead to death? Probably not, but it will definitely point out the ellogical nature of most of our fears. If you do the "what if" exercise each and every time you find yourself resistant to taking action, you will no longer fall victim to your fears because they will no longer hold power over you. Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.