My 10 Questions to Help When I’m feeling Stuck

I’ve been feeling stuck lately. Stuck in a job I never planned for, stuck in my creative work, stuck in my programming and stuck in my life. Well, stuck in all areas except one, I am getting married soon so that is some positive light in my life right now. It’s all the other bits outside of my relationship that I feel stuck in.

Quick hit about me, all through high school and university I railed against the cubical life. I thought that if I ended up working a desk job I would just end it all. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to join the army and live that romantic life of struggle and service to a cause greater than myself. I had dreams of serving for a few tours while writing books that would eventually get published and allow me to leave the service with some money in the bank and a life as an author lined up.

How naïve I was. Obviously that didn’t work out and looking at it now it is so clearly the dream of a young man with no clue how the world works. The equivalent of wanting to become a rock star. I didn’t end up getting into the army (medical rejection) and my books don’t sell. I got a five-year service award at my company where I’ve been stuck in cubical life.

My life is exactly what I didn’t want, but unfortunately, I have no real skills and I have bills to pay. So I have to sell my time at a desk and feel stuck. Gradually, as more of my creative endeavors fail and my entrepreneurial attempts die before launch, I am losing confidence in myself. The longer I stay stuck the more stuck I feel. The more I struggle to get out the deeper I sink.

I need to get unstuck. That’s where these ten questions come in. This is a post for me, a reference I can come back to when I start to feel stuck again. Hopefully, if you’re feeling stuck, this will help you too.

1. What will my life look like if I stay stuck by continuing down this path?

For me the answer to this is that I waste away in my dead-end job. Waiting for things to get better, hoping that something changes on its own. Maybe the company goes under or is bought out and I end up somewhere else, stuck in a different dead end. Stuck in the entry level forever.

2. What do I want the most right now?

This one is easy for me. I want time. Time to pursue my passions and improve my craft. Time to develop skills I have let languish. Time to work on projects I enjoy. Time to build a business that pays the bills. Time to write and sell and make films. I just want time.

3. What am I happy about already?

This is a good one because it pays to be grateful and look at where you are. There must be something positive about it. For me I am happy about my relationship. I think me and my future wife have a very healthy and loving relationship where we support one another and help each other as best we can. I am lucky to have this and grateful for it.

4. What is Standing in the way of what I want?

I want time, what’s standing in the way of that is my job. I need a job to pay the bills though, without the job I would have time to grow and do work that matters to me. So I guess at the core what is really standing in my way is money, or more so the lack of it.

5. What can I do right now that I have been avoiding?

I can get to work. Even though I don’t have a lot of time I can use the time I do have more effectively. Without going into specifics, I can do a lot.

6. Is my life in order?

Feeling stuck it helps to make progress somewhere. Sometimes we can’t will ourselves to get unstuck and that is where you must find something you can make progress on and work on that. So, get your life tidied up. Clean your room, make the bed, clean the apartment, do the dishes. Small bits of progress help.

7. What is the one thing I need to stop doing?

Wasting time online. I spend too much time watching YouTube and browsing reddit. I need to cut back on that. I don’t watch much TV or even play a lot of video games any more. My main time waster is the internet and I need to stop that.

8. Am I reaching for perfect?

Sometimes the drive to be perfect before starting leads us to stop before we even get into it. For me this has historically been the case, but I have been working on overcoming this. Sometimes good enough is enough to get started.

9. Can I disconnect for a bit?

Maybe some time away from the daily routine will help me think a bit clearer and come up with something viable. Some path forward that helps me get unstuck. I have some time coming up, hopefully that helps.

10. Am I willing to accept mediocrity?

The answer for this one is no, but I just don’t know how to get out of it. I need time and for time I need money and for money I must sell my time. I’m stuck in a loop because I can’t get good enough at anything to have it pay the bills. I don’t know, maybe something will work out for me if I keep trying. If I stop trying I’ll never get unstuck and will fade away.

If you’re feeling stuck ask yourself some of these questions and maybe the answers will help. I think a big part of feeling stuck is not seeing movement but really, as long as you’re working on something you are making progress. There are just periods where that progress is slower. In fitness this is called a plateau, plateau’s can happen in life too. The only way over them is to keep working.

The only surefire way to fail is to stop trying.

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