Ruth Kao Barr, Wellbeing & Mind Coach

Sometimes being physically stuck at home can trigger our experience of feeling stuck in other places in our lives. 

What’s Stuckness?

“Stuck” is a state of being where:

  • We’re unhappy with where we are, yet can’t move forward
  • We want to try something new but we never start 
  • We begin something but don’t complete it
  • We’re paralyzed from taking any action 

Common areas where people feel stuck are in:

  • Creative projects
  • New experiences
  • Relationships
  • Job / Career 

Whatever it is, feeling stuck can be frustrating because it can seem like you’re on a road to nowhere with no alternative options. 

It can feel like you’re wasting time – and that alone can create anxiety.

So First off – if you believe you have no alternative options, you’ve bought into the lie you’ve told yourself. You always have options.

Second – it’s not your fault.

Third – you’re going to show yourself how to get unstuck today (if that’s what you really want).

Why Do You Get Stuck?

Before you get unstuck, let’s talk about why you get stuck in the first place. 

You get stuck because the rules that you’ve created have become rigid. 

Rigid rules do not bend with how life operates. 

Life requires you to be flexible because it’s naturally and beautifully unpredictable.

When your rigidity clashes with your ever-evolving desires and infinite possibilities of life, you’re paralyzed into inaction – and hence feel stuck.  

It’s definitely not your truth – especially if it’s not working for you. 

What Are Rules?

You might be wondering,”what?! I don’t have any rules.”

Rules depict itself in the stories you tell yourself. You don’t do this just once in a blue moon. You tell yourself stories all day, every day.

These stories become beliefs that you believe to be true about the world, others and yourself. 

Over time, your beliefs become the “rules” that you use to run your life. 

Let’s illustrate with a simple but real example.

I’ve worked with people who have felt stuck in their work. They were stuck because they didn’t enjoy an ounce of it, but yet they show up every day to a miserable job knowing deep down that it’s a path to nowhere. 

In doing so, they felt like they’ve lost a part of themselves to being stuck.

A few common “rules” that often reveal themselves in our coaching sessions are:

  • No pain no gain
  • No one really loves their work
  • I have to tolerate stress if I want to be successful
  • I have to pick between high-salary or a job I love
  • I have to pay my dues before I’m able to really enjoy my work

Our brain loves rules because they’re “short cuts” to help us make sense of the complicated world.

Usually, these rules were created by someone else and adopted by the person who’s now unknowingly using it to dictate his/her life. 

What we all have to realize is that stories and beliefs aren’t always truths or wisdom. And they’re definitely not your truth – especially if it’s not working for you. 

We get into trouble when we believe rules are our truth when they’re not – because our thoughts have the power to shape our reality.

Every time you feel “stuck,” there’s an internal battle going on – between your truth and your rules.

Change Your Rules!

When you change the rules from rigid to flexible, you’re broadening the doorway of possibility. This is the key to getting unstuck.

If you’re experiencing some resistance right now with just thinking about flipping the rules, this might be the same resistance that’s keeping you stuck.

Every time you feel stuck, there’s an internal battle going on – between your truth and your rules.

Let’s bring this concept home using the above example again.

If those are my internal rules about work and success, I will never reach my desire of experiencing purpose, meaning, inspiration in my work, and loving what I do, and not having weekly Sunday blues.

My brain will stop me from changing my miserable circumstances because my rules are in conflict with my truth. The more rigid and firm these rules are, the harder it is for me to shift out of my situation. 

This is just a simple example of stuckness. Your particular area of stuckness is likely completely different, but the fundamental principle is the same. 

How To Uncover Your Rules

Now it’s time for you to uncover your rules that are operating in the background.

You will free yourself and move toward what your heart’s been desiring.

What are the rules that you’ve created in the past to help you make sense of the world and survive, but that’s preventing you from thriving today?

To find out, you need to journal. 

Merely reflecting or thinking about these questions won’t work.

You can write it, type it or voice record it. The process of documentation will access a different part of your brain that allows insight to flow through you. 

3 Steps to Uncovering Your Rules

In your journal, complete the three steps below to help you identify and articulate the unhelpful “rules” that are operating your life.

Step #1 – Your Values

  1. What’s important to you? (ex. purpose, self-expression, growth)
  2. What’s the feeling you want to experience? (ex. authentic, connected, free)
  3. How does your stuck situation support or detract from what’s important to you?
  4. What ONE thing can you do today to make your situation honor and support what’s important to you?
  5. What ONE thing can you do today to honor and support the experience you want?
  6. What will need to change in the long run (1 week/ 1 month/ 1 year from now) to ultimately align with what’s important to you and what you want to experience?  

Congrats! You now can take action on getting one step closer to what you want starting today. You also have a longer-term goal to set your eyes further.

Step #2 – Resistance
As you reflect on #6 in the previous step, you will likely experience resistance. 

Give yourself permission to indulge in the resistance for the next 5 mins. 

Write down the reasons, excuses, fears, and doubts, that you have moving toward your vision. 

You now have the beginnings of the stories and beliefs you’ve created.

Step #3 – Your Rules

Look at all of your reasons for resistance. Can you find a theme? 

Here are some common “rules” to get you thinking:

  • “Good girls” don’t do this
  • People like me can’t do this
  • I’ll make a fool out of myself
  • I’ll fail
  • I don’t deserve better
  • I’ve ran out of luck
  • A good outcome HAS to be _______
  • Success HAS to look like _______
  • I’m not ________enough
  • I don’t have enough __________
  • It’s too hard for me
  • I’ll be see as a loser/failure/weirdo
  • All the good ones are taken
  • I’m too _________ 
  • Good things are taken away from me
  • Nothing I do is every good enough

Free Yourself From Your Rules & Get Unstuck

This is the perfect time to trade in the old for some new rules that will bring you freedom and inspire you to take your brilliant next step.

Let me know what you learn about yourself through journaling!

PS- not sure if you’re stuck? Find out here.