As promised, this post is a follow-up to Monday’s post, Don’t Get Stuck.
Almost inevitably there will come a time in each of our lives where we get stuck. Yes, we can all strive to grow constantly and experience new things, but it’s hard not to go through a stale period at some point. And that’s ok. It’s not the end of the world to be stuck, but it is the end of the world not to realize we’re stuck.
The end of the year is a perfect time to evaluate whether we might be stuck in a certain area of our life. It means we can recognize we are stuck, acknowledge what we need to do to get unstuck, and put the feeling behind us in pursuit of an exciting, growth-filled new year.
On Monday we’ll talk about how to get un-stuck, but for now let’s look at a couple of areas in which we can be stuck and then consider some thought-provoking questions to recognize how stuck we just might be.
A stale career can mean many things, but most of all it means waking up everyday without a pep in your step. It means showing up to work, acting like a drone (as opposed to a person with a ton of potential to contribute) and then going home. It means forgetting all about your passion and dreams in the name of a ‘steady job.’ Being stuck in a career means waiting on payday but never really doing much to go above and beyond… because its just not worth it.
If you are one of the few people who only works 40 hours a week, you still spend nearly 25% of your total hours at work every week. Take away 7 hrs of sleep every night and you’re spending 33% of your waking hours at work every week. Take away 2 hrs total time wasted getting to and from work… You see where this is going.
We spend way too much time working every week to be ok with being stuck. Here are some questions to help wake you up from the fog. I think you’ll know what kind of answer means you might be stuck.
When is the last time you were excited to get out of bed and go to work?
How many things can you think of that you love about your job?
Do you ever go above and beyond your goals and performance metrics just because?
What would you say is your purpose in showing up to work everyday?
When is the last time you significantly impacted the life of a colleague, boss, or customer?
Do you look forward to Monday or Friday more?
When is the last time you threw out a new idea at work and had it stick? Heck, when is the last time you brainstormed and threw out a new idea period?
When is the last time you got to be creative at work?
How much variety exists in your work day? Do you have any control over that variety?
Deep down in your soul… are you doing work that you love? Work that is fulfilling?
Humans are social creatures. At some level, every single one of us thrives on relationships. We were built that way. Maybe we have a very small group of trusted friends… Or maybe we have a large array of acquaintances with whom we keep in contact. But one way or another, stuck is no way to show the people in our lives we care about them and value their contributions to our lives.
Stuck in a romantic relationships means taking the other person for granted. It means forgetting the little things, not expressing our love, and sitting on the couch on nights and weekends instead of experiencing the world together. It means never surprising one another with fun gifts or a good meal.
Stuck with family means treating them like they’ll always be there. It’s picking petty fights with our siblings and parents, because that’s what we’ve always done. Being stuck with family is not going out of our way to show them how special they are. Being stuck with family means not encouraging them to grow and have fun together. It’s showing up at Sunday dinner because we have to, not because we want to. It’s telling the kids you’ll go outside and play later… because you’re tired.
Stuck with friends means we let the relationships whither. We go out drinking because its easy. No one makes solid plans because something else might come up that’s more intriguing. It’s letting birthdays pass and occasions for celebration lapse without batting an eyelash. Stuck with friends is letting the years go by without ever really having those experiences together you always dreamed and laughed about in college. You know – those someday conversations that get lost in time.
Significant others, family, and friends are too special to take them for granted. They mean too much to get stuck. Here’s some questions for consideration:
Do you have a significant other?
If not, is this intentional, or just for lack of trying?
If so, when is the last time you went on a date to experience something new together?
When is the last time you planned a dinner for you and all of your closest friends?
When is the last time you did something other than go out drinking with your friends?
How often do you call or see in-person the people you care most about?
When is the last time you went out of your way to do something incredible for a friend, significant other, or family member?
How often do you have fun with your family?
When is the last time you told someone you loved them?
How many people are you taking for granted that deserve better?
If you have children, when is the last time you woke up and asked them what they wanted to do… And then made sure they had that experience all day?
When is the last time you surprised someone close to you with a gift, experience, or visit?
Stuck: Personal Growth
Being stuck personally is reaching a peak and deciding the harder to reach peaks aren’t worth the valleys in between. Stuck means not learning, not growing, not expanding our skills because it might be risky. It’s settling for mediocre because excellence or greatness is scary.
Being stuck personally means ignoring our dreams and the things that truly make us come alive… Because that stuff’s for kids. It’s cooking the same five dinners every week because it takes effort to find a new recipe or item in the grocery store. It’s letting our health go because ‘that’s just what happens as we get older.’ It’s just showing up instead of thriving on the joys of life.
Being stuck personally means not pushing ourselves to experience new things.
But life is about learning, and trying new things, and getting outside, and playing and having fun. Life is too exciting to be ok with getting stuck. Our personal growth is the core of our being. It’s who we are. Here are some questions to consider your personal growth and whether or not you’re stuck:
When is the last time you read a book?
When is the last time you learned a new skill?
When is the last time you did something selfishly fun?
What made you leap with joy when you were a child? When is the last time you experienced that feeling?
Do you have a mentor?
When is the last time you took a class, hired a personal coach, or took lessons of some sort?
How long has it been since you found a new recipe to experiment with in the kitchen?
How many times do you exercise every week?
When is the last time you did something you loved outdoors?
When did you last try a new restaurant?
How many trips have you taken in the last year? How many trips have you taken to new destinations in the last year?
How often do you set personal and professional goals?
Of all of the things, experiences, people, and places in the world… What do you love most? How often do you make your great loves a priority in your life?
When was the last time you took a day, or evening to let go of all responsibility and do exactly what you want to do without feeling even remotely guilty?
How many times in the past year have you done some kind of community service or volunteering?
We’ll all get stuck at one point or another. That’s ok. We can always get unstuck. But first, we have to recognize that we’re stuck and might need help getting out. Stop back by on Monday for a post on getting unstuck and making the most of our career, relationships, and personal growth to experience life, love, and happiness just like we were designed to.
In the mean time, would you add anything to this post? What questions do you ask yourself to make sure you’re not stuck? How often do you take the time to do a self-audit and ensure you’re not spinning your wheels?
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