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  • Gabriella van Rij

Feeling Stuck? How to Get Out of a Rut

Often when we are in a rut, we feel stuck and at an impasse, but the truth is we are not! We only seem stuck because we cannot see outside of the problems that keep us from moving forward. One thing that has helped me and that might help you is to look at your expectations first and acknowledge to yourself when there is a problem, especially if you are the team leader. Once you acknowledge the problem, then re-look at the goals you set and consider if they are attainable. The feeling of being “stuck” could simply be a matter of unrealistic expectations. I often see that the goals are unrealistic and that creates not only pressure on yourself, but also pressure for your entire team and then nobody can perform at a 100 percent. To recap the first couple of points: 1. Acknowledge the problem. 2. Reset attainable goals. Sometimes it is better not to ask advice about the thing you are struggling with, as you get so many opinions and too much feedback, which in turn makes you feel you are in a rut. Take a moment to look at what it is that makes you feel you are in a rut. When you really take the time to consider the problem area, you already often can move forward. It is imperative, however, not to take yourself too seriously or beat yourself up for not having accomplished what you set out to do. Next: 3. Pinpoint where you get stuck. Is it always in the same area? For example, perhaps your ideas are brilliant, but the implementation fails… then there is a common thread for you and your team to look at. Go back a few phases to see what did work. Usually, when you do this, you will get out of the rut without too much of a headache. This is my take of course what works for me and my team or consultants I work with. Then: 4. When you cannot do it yourself, find a qualified person to assist you. For instance, if you are the creative type, but if you get stuck doing administration all day, you will become discouraged and before you know it you will dislike the project, which won’t help you move forward. On the contrary, it will keep you stuck and unhappy. Acknowledge what you are good at, even better—what you excel at! Look at the skills of your team members… Let them do what they do best and find the people that you need to fill in the gaps. Lastly, the best way to get unstuck is this: You have to do what you love. If you are in it for remuneration only, the stress of financial pressure and expectations will eat at you and your energy… Before you know it, you will have zero courage to continue your undertaking. Always go back to where you felt good about the project, work, or creation. Once you are back doing what you love, whatever it is you were working on will continue to flow. In each moment you feel stuck, look, take a step back and find the erroneous moment where it all went wrong! Only then can you move out of your rut and into action. This is the method that I use and which I have perfected over the years. But now and again, we can fall back into a tiny sinkhole where nothing seems to work. Always stop and assess. Don’t ever forget that we are always in the driver’s seat, even if you don’t always feel or believe it!

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