Feeling Stuck? Here’s 8 Good Questions to Answer

Feeling Stuck? Here's 8 Good Questions to Answer

When it comes to working your dream, are you feeling stuck?

Has your creativity flown south for the winter? Are you now stuck in the mental space where you simply can’t take the next step?

Trust me, I’ve been there — lived that.

And I know what to do when you’re feeling stuck.

First, you stop.

Get off your dream ride for a moment and check in. Begin freeing yourself by being willing to ask some questions and promise yourself that you be honest with your answers.

But before you begin any soul-searching, make sure your stuck feeling isn’t coming from something simple like being over-tired and in need of a good night’s sleep.

You should also look at whether you could be burned-out. Test this by taking a drive out of town for a day (a night is even better) or get outside with nature. Try a different route to work. Eat at a new restaurant, or eat something you’ve never experienced before.

If your “I’m feeling stuck” doesn’t dissipate with a few simple changes, then you need to examine your environment. Does your creative space seem cluttered? Is it disorganized? Would a stranger walking into your place get what the space is used for?

Can you change this with a fall cleaning and a garage sale before winter sets in?  Better yet, throw a dinner party — it will always make you clean up and organize your space.  Make a plan to have everyone toast your creative place — or have them bring something to add to your creative dream space.

If after you’ve tried these simple changes you still feel like ignoring your dream, then it’s time to go deeper and ask yourself some questions.

Here’s 8 good questions on “feeling Stuck”:

1. Am I taking time out of each day to do something healthy just for me?

Are you practicing quiet moments at least twice a day?  You can meditate for 10 minutes in the morning and at night, or take short walks to breathe in fresh air, or you can hop out of bed 10 minutes earlier to eat a good breakfast and decide just how great your day is going to be.

Living your dream takes energy and passion. Are you spending time filling your personal health well so that you can draw from it during the day?

Feeling Stuck" Stephen King on resting

2. Am I being completely honest with myself about my dream?

Are you seeking your dream for someone other than you? Are you able to tell people what you need? Do you honestly make the space that you need to work on your dream? Do you listen to your inner voice when it calls out to you to work on your dream?

Are you spending more time making excuses to yourself instead of making your dream come true? Are you keeping your word? If you say that you are going to write every day at 6:00 a.m. to become the writer you need to be to make your dream come true, will you follow through?

If not, why?

Being honest with yourself is the first big step in living your life on purpose and making your dream come true.

Feeling Stuck: Be honest with yourself

3. Am I being over-sensitive about my dream?

Do you take rejection and turn it into something personal rather than simply thinking that it’s not the right time for what you are trying to do? Do you expect others to make your dream come true and if they don’t help you in the way that you believe they should, do you take it in and negatively make it a part of what you say about yourself and the world you live in?

What other people do and don’t do for your dream is about them and what is happening in their lives.

It’s not about you.

Grow a thicker skin and quit taking everything that doesn’t go your way as something personal.

Rise above it. Move on.

If you were in a foot race and another runner tripped and knocked you down, would you be the type of runner to take it personally and quit running right there on the spot, or would you recover quickly and get back in the race and finish?

In a lifetime of racing would you then make that one tripping event your defining moment and why you never win any races EVER, or would it just be an insignificant event that happened on your way to the Olympics? Was the runner really out to get you or was it an accident?

Does it matter? Really?

Feeling stuck: Quotes from the 4 Agreements on making Assumptions

4. Am I being clear about my dream and what I want?

If you aren’t clear about where you’d like to end up, how do you expect to get there? How can you ask for help if you aren’t clear about what it is you need help with? If you are all over the place with your dream, how can anyone get behind what you are trying to accomplish.

It’s like saying that you would like to be a flower-arranging pilot with a photography business. How can anyone help you with that? Where do you start? You may laugh, but I have seen people do this with their dream.

You have to MUST BE clear.

You must be able to say things like, “I want to be the first female pilot to land at XYZ,” or “In two years I want my elephant wildlife photos featured in National Geographic.”

These are statements people can get behind.

Being clear creates the road map for making your dreams a reality.

Feeling Stuck: Tony Robbins on why you need to be clear

5. Am I being remarkable? Am I willing to become remarkable?

Will people think your dream is remarkable? Does this dream bring out the best in you? Are you obsessed with improving your dream every chance you get? Are you willing to break the rules and be different — no matter what others say?

I like what best-selling author, Seth Godin says about this,

“Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.”

If you are doing an average job then you will feel unhappy and lost. It is only through giving your dream everything you’ve got that you can move past feeling stuck.

It’s easy to get stuck at average. You don’t have to break any rules.

Feeling Stuck: Seth Godin on being remarkable

6. Who am I helping with my dream?

Will your dream contribute and make the world a better place? How are you helping someone else? How does what you do change people for the better? Who (besides you) will benefit from your dream?

How do you make your dream about them instead of you?

When you step outside of yourself to find out how your dream can help others, then you find the spark that ignites your passion. It’s in the giving of yourself that you find your true purpose.

If you are feeling stuck then maybe what you are doing isn’t changing any lives…including your own.

Feeling Stuck: Leo Buscaglia on giving

7. Am I willing to accept and listen to feedback?

Sometimes you feel stuck because of feedback you received that pushed your buttons due to the painful fact that something in you thinks they have a point.  Pay attention to your buttons.

Coaches give players feedback. Star athletes take that feedback and turn it into something more.

How you accept feedback will affect your ability to make your dream come true. You need to understand your weaknesses (and your buttons) in order to deal with them. Everyone has them. Knowing where you may be falling short and being honest with yourself helps you learn and grow.

One of my favorite stories about feedback comes from how a restaurant handled a negative online review, which can be disastrous to a restaurant’s bottom line. One particular review went on about how bad the spaghetti was and others online agreed. Instead of taking it personally and getting mad, the owner decided to sit down with the staff and try the spaghetti together.  They agreed with what the reviewer said about the spaghetti.

Did the owner stop making spaghetti?

NO!

The owner posted on the review that he agreed about the spaghetti and decided to use the online forum to announce a spaghetti recipe tasting contest to come up with a spaghetti recipe patrons will love.  In accomplishing this he created what would ultimately become one of his most asked-for dishes at the restaurant.

Now that’s what I call dealing with feedback!

Feeling Stuck: Feedback is the breakfast of champions

8. Did I pick the right dream?

Sometimes you are feeling stuck because your dream needs to change from its present format. Movie producer, Adam Leipzig has 5 great questions that can help you see if you are on target with your dream.

Get out a piece of paper and a pencil and answer the following questions with the first thought that comes to mind.

1. Who are you?

The answer is usually your name…

2. What do you love to do?

Name one thing. Only one. A great way to answer this question is to write down what you feel qualified to teach. What do you feel qualified to teach?

3. Who is your dream for?

You can’t put “me”. Who is your dream really for?

4. What does who you put in the question above want or need?

Keep the answer under 8 words.

5. How do they change?

Again keep it short.

My example …

1. Catherine
2. Publish inspirational content
3. Women who feel lost
4. The courage to change
5. They make their big dream happen.

Adam would now have you take your 5 statements and mold them into one:

I am Catherine. I publish inspirational content for women who feel lost. I help them see that they have the ability to make their big dream happen.

Does your final statement line up with the dream that you’ve chosen for yourself? Does your answer offer the reason for why you are feeling stuck?  Take some time this week to explore these questions honestly and promise yourself that you will listen to what your heart is telling you.

Then get on with really living for your dream.

Catherine Hughes
Be a success online!

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Catherine Hughes, Be an Online Success

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed.
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  • Love the exercise in #8! Here’s my statement and I am loving the feeling I get when I read this out loud. Totally inspirational- thank you Cath!

    I’m Heather Montgomery and I write content to encourage women of all ages and sizes to find fitness in their lives. I help them see the benefit that extra energy and feeling strong can bring to their own dream pursuits.

    • YAY I like that! Now I need to get back into these comments!

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  • MS

    It is only through listening to and processing feedback can you become who you were meant to be.

  • ImanWoods

    The timing of this is incredible! I’m blogging about surviving burnout and the tips here are the perfect resource. :)

    • LOL because I sense where we are all are at — surviving the Dip — and the Dip makes you feel stuck. I love what Ernie from the blog, iHack, therefore iBlog once wrote about Seth Godin’s The Dip and we have to be honest with ourselves and ask if we are on a quest, here’s what he wrote –

      “That said, I do think his characterization of our lives into “Dips” and “Dead Ends” — while accurate — is too simplistic. That isn’t a criticism — [Seth Godin] he writes for a mass audience, and his genius is focusing on the simplest possible message to make a point. But geeks like us live for the corner cases, so I may as well follow his lead and name that which was formerly unnamed. :-)

      Joyrides are things you do just for the fun of it, without caring if you’re getting anywhere. Seth himself said (roughly) that “if you play the flute just because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to make a living as a flautist, then The Dip doesn’t matter.” It is worth noting that for some people college is Joyride, not a Dip!

      Lotteries are a particularly seductive variant of Dead End that looks like a Dip, in that we periodically see people who do make it out into the Good Life. Unlike a Dip, though, there is nothing we can do to ensure we make it through to the other side; we are at the mercy of external forces. Thus, even thought there is a non-zero chance we might win the Lottery, for most of us it really is a Dead End, and a complete waste of our potential for greatness. This is particularly true for Talent- (rather than Skill-) based disciplines, where the Lottery took place before we were born.

      Quests, on the other hand, are Dips that looks like Dead Ends. Seth encourages us to pursue Dips where we can make measurable progress towards a well-defined goal. However, he admits that this doesn’t apply to things like cutting-edge scientific research, where there there are no guarantees or guidelines; fortunately, he says people like that won’t be discouraged by anything he says in his book. :-) However, I think he overstates the case when he says Quests (like Crick & Watson’s search for DNA) don’t have measurable progress. They do, but it is a matter of personal growth and accumulated wisdom, not the usual business metrics. Even though we may not reach what we thought we were aiming for, a worthy Quest enobles us and ends up benefiting humanity.”

      We can get through the Dip and feeling stuck if what we are doing somehow benefits humanity — that’s the key…

      You are the best!

      Cath

      • ImanWoods

        I certainly feel stuck. I need to print this out and ruminate on each one daily. Thank you.

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