Three ways you’re stuck

A feeling of being “stuck” is one of the most common reasons people start working with a coach. Three frequent causes:

You’re asking the wrong question

I get clients all the time who feel stuck; they desperately want to do something yet they don’t do it. But here’s the thing. If you wanted to do it, you would. If you’re not doing something, chances are you don’t want to.

The question is not why aren’t you doing something you want to do. The question is – why don’t you want to do it?

You don’t want to know what you know

When you feel overwhelmed by a decision – so at sea you can’t even think about it – it’s almost always because you know the right choice and you don’t like it. You know what’s best for you or what’s most ethical but it’s difficult or unpleasant or tedious. So you refuse to face what you know in your gut. That’s the paralyzed feeling; refusing to accept what you know.

You’re lying to yourself.

The world is a difficult place. Sometimes you have to pretend you don’t need something, or fake happiness. But never to yourself. Not inside your own head. Save the lies for other people. Deceiving yourself just screws up the data you need to make good decisions.

If you’re a doctor pretending you don’t hate practicing medicine, no amount of changing your role as a clinician will make you happy. You’ll get stuck in an cycle of change without improvement. You need to own your truth and find a non-patient-care job that still uses your education. You can only do that if you tell yourself the truth in the first place.

You get yourself unstuck from these situations by tapping into your intuition, facing hard feelings, and being scrupulously honest with yourself. It’s uncomfortable, but it can be done. You can also, generally, do it faster with a coach. Someone outside your own head has perspective you lack; they recognize your patterns faster than you can do it alone. A really good coach will point out when you’re lying to yourself. Only you know your own truth, but a good coach can spot the lies for you.