If you’re wondering how to get unstuck, let’s start with some self-reflection. Do your days look something like this? 👇
You lead a meeting, check in to see how the team is doing on various things, delegate necessary tasks, tie up a bunch of loose ends, eat half of a sandwich while clearing 1/100th of your dreaded inbox, then push through an ongoing project that you really don’t feel like doing until after dark.
Then after it’s all done, you switch gears to tend to your family, partner, or pets?
Everything, including your team, is moving fast, but for some odd reason, you feel like you’re not moving forward.
It can be exhausting, and it doesn’t seem to give much back. You may not even be sure where you find the energy to do all of this — day in, day out. You might be struggling to find something that keeps you motivated — you’re afraid you might run out of steam soon.
Honestly, you might.
Speeding through life on repeat is a surefire way to feel stuck.
Stuck is that feeling you get when you do things without energy, without motivation. It’s all-too-common for leaders to feel this way at some point in their lives, and it’s the result of our stressful, fast-paced lives — combined with the responsibility of leading.
So the question remains: How do you get unstuck?
3 Coaching Strategies for How to Get Unstuck:
Throughout our decades as leadership coaches, we’ve found that our clients come to us with this question all the time. It’s our pleasure to help them navigate through their particular situation. But, there is a single answer to the question. It boils down to this: Yes, it is possible to get unstuck. It’s even possible to avoid stuckness in the future.
Of course, there’s no magic wand. It takes some reflective work, some awareness, and a bunch of honesty, but you can reframe the way you approach your days, your tasks, and even your life to pull yourself from that mud pit once and for all.
Strategy #1: Know Your Needs
Being stuck is a negative feeling. It’s that feeling that you get when things just don’t seem to be happening for you. Or it’s just that feeling of apathy towards things you think should be rewarding (or seem like they are rewarding for others but aren’t for you).
Because being stuck is a feeling and not a state of reality, you can take a breath of relief. Go ahead. Breathe in, and now breathe out.
We can address the elements of that stuck feeling to start to unstick ourselves.
Those elements are our needs.
Our needs tie directly to our feelings. When we get our needs met, we feel safe, stable, and healthy. We tend to feel stuck, at best, when we don’t meet our needs. This is where our negative feelings tend to come from. So, when you’re stuck, one way to find a solution is to discover which of your needs are not being met.
(Reminder: needs are required for a safe, stable, and healthy life. Needs are not the same as wants. It’s an important distinction. Some examples of needs are respect, trust, support, competence, self-expression, growth. There are plenty more, but these are just some of the things we need in our lives to feel safe, stable and healthy.)
Now, grab a pen or open a blank document. Think about your feeling of stuckness. Write down a short list of needs that are not being met in this situation.
Here’s a quick example: Let’s say you aren’t being challenged enough at work. You’re not learning, changing, or growing as a result. You’re bored. In this case, you could identify growth as one need that’s missing in this situation.
Or, maybe there’s too much coming at you. You’re drinking from a firehose and just can’t keep up. Maybe you have a need for support, rest, or calm.
It’s time to brainstorm a solution — one way you can get that need met.
Now, grab that pen again and start writing down your ideas to meet your needs. To get particular needs met, you could identify something at work or elsewhere in your life that could help.
Your solution won’t directly tie into the thing you think is making you feel stuck, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s never about the thing. It’s about you and your needs.
Let’s continue with one of the examples above: We called out growth as a key need that wasn’t being met. So, in order to meet that need, you could find an opportunity for growth in an online leadership course, take a class to beef up your technical skills, or even tap into resources to grow as a parent, person, or friend.
Strategy #2: Find Purpose
Now that you’ve thought through some ways to meet your needs (and you’ve recognized what your unmet needs are in the first place), it’s time to visit your work.
It’s not your fault you’re stuck or unmotivated. But you do have the power to re-discover your motivation.
Grab that pen again and write down your answers to these three questions:
- What do I do?
- Who do I do it for?
- How does it help?
Once you answer these questions, you can shine a light on your purpose — why you do what you do. Getting back to your purpose is critical to reclaiming your motivation. It helps you understand why you’re doing this, which is an incredible unsticking tool.
You can understand how the work you do (or helping your employees understand how the work they do) fits into your overall vision to stay motivated. You can establish a strong connection between the task and your overall goal.
Things are starting to sound better already, aren’t they?
Strategy #3: Connect
The last strategy is more obvious than we think: Connect with the people around you to bring meaning to the things you do.
True connection infuses our tasks with a sense of pride and satisfaction that can motivate us if we don’t know how to get unstuck.
Connect not only to the work you do but also to the people you work with to bring meaning to your routine tasks. This meaning can help motivate you to do your best and carry on to the next priority.
Here’s how to connect well: Hold dialogue with your people regularly, particularly in times when a mistake or a misunderstanding arises. Speaking openly and honestly can minimize guilt, blame, and shame. That alone will help renew trust, fellowship, and (oh, yea) motivate better performance.
Once you’ve got dialogue down, you push your connections a little further. Plan connections with the people you work with, even when there’s not a conflict or misunderstanding.
Grab a coffee with a colleague once a week or hold weekly game Zooms to let everyone be themselves and laugh together.
When you build up these relationships with others, you will likely feel more connected to them and to the work you do together. The power to connect — to really, genuinely connect — is one of the amazing perks of being a leader.
Still wondering how to get unstuck? Try these strategies in your own life to get some forward movement, and let us know how it goes! We can’t wait to find out what you create.
Love this? Sign up for our free course: 4 Foolproof Steps to Communicate Better with Your Team to discover how conscious leaders can do better in the face of mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscommunication.