Article by Liz Copeland
We’ve probably all experienced being “stuck”: stuck in a job we can’t stand, stuck in a relationship we just can’t seem to get ourselves out of, stuck in a way of thinking that isn’t helping us move forward. Sometimes, we are stuck because external circumstances just aren’t going our way, but more often, says life coach Liz Copeland of www.lizcopeland.co.uk, “we get stuck when we have big or difficult decisions to make, or we need to move on, but just choose not to. Sometimes we don’t even know we are stuck, but there are signs…”
Signs of Being Stuck
- Ruminating on the same thing over and over again
- Focused on the past or going over one situation such as a break up
- Trying to justify our bad or unproductive behaviour without doing anything about it
- Using the pain of something like a bereavement or grieving over the end of a relationship to keep us anchored to the past
Being stuck can go on for years if we don’t pull ourselves out of it, and can end up manifesting itself in physical symptoms like fatigue from going over the same thing over and over again, anxiety, headaches, disrupted sleep, overeating or under eating. It can also chip away at our self esteem and confidence: if we can’t get ourselves out of a situation we don’t want to be in, we begin to doubt ourselves. This may only change when change is forced upon us. However, there are ways that you can move on without some life threatening disaster doing it for us, says Liz:
How to Come Unstuck
- Identify what you want. What new direction do you want to go in? You may need coaching or even therapy for this if you just don’t know
- Look at the pros and cons of what will happen if you stay as you are, right now, and then the good and bad points about what would happen if you change your life to the desirable path. Something that may have frightened us for months may not be quite so scary if you know the worst that can happen
- Take a look at what being stuck gives you. So, if you stay stuck criticising your ex for his bad behaviour think about what pay off you are getting. In this case, it may be an excuse for you to vent your unresolved anger over and over again. If you have isolated a pay off, can you get that in the new life you have chosen, or even do without it? Can you change that anger into something productive (the best revenge is a life well lived as they say) or see a therapist to deal with the anger and move on.
Becoming unstuck does mean taking a risk. If you’re clinging onto your job because you feel safe and secure, and yet know that, career-wise, it’s time to leave, you may just have to take a risk and face a period of insecurity until that new job feels safe and secure again. Taking the risk is the scary part but without it you will not move on, and avoiding risks is a sure way to settle for living a small life. Liz has this advice for that final risk taking step:
- Get support, whether that’s from a coach or a peer support group such as AA
- Take baby steps: join that dating site and get used to browsing profiles before you contact someone
- Use your rational side to keep your emotions in check at this time. You may feel sick with anxiety, but try and sit with the discomfort and get through it, rather than running away from it
- Use a buddy who checks in with you to find out if you really did apply for that job. Liz’s top tip for finding a risk buddy is choosing someone that is happier with taking risks than you, but not so assertive that you feel like a damp squib in comparison.
Liz Copeland is a transformational coach known for her Empty Achiever Syndrome™ Programme. Liz works with professionals who on the surface have all the trimming and trappings of success but still feel empty inside and want more fulfilment in their lives.
Liz started her career with Price Waterhouse and CAP Scientific and left the corporate world when her husband was transferred overseas. On his return, Liz started a complementary therapy practice and ran this successfully for many years. During this time, Liz developed a change process that would enable her clients to make emotional and practical change, and has coached over 200 people through difficult waters.