Have you ever had to stop short on the road because a squirrel darted in front of your car and then just stood there, frozen, staring at you? It’s as if the squirrel doesn’t know whether to run to the right or run to the left, but knows it needs to run and it needs to run fast. But the confusion is so paralyzing, it just keeps standing in the middle of the road, terrified, causing you to have to drive around it or wait a few minutes until it finally figures out which way to turn.
Do you ever feel that way? Like you know you need to move, but you’re not sure in which direction? Or you know where you need to go, but you’re not sure how to get there?
On Monday I got stuck. It felt as if the universe was determined to prevent me from moving forward. I tried to pay bills, and my online banking account was not letting me log in. Three hours and dozens of phone calls later, I tried to blog about staying cool under pressure, and wordpress was telling me that my account had expired (it hadn’t). I went to wrap a gift – no tape. Tried to make soup – no onions. It was just one of those days.
All of this frustration left me unmotivated – stuck right where I was and unable to move forward. If you’ve ever felt this way, here is a three-step guide to how to move on:
1. Figure out what is holding you back. When you are in a rush to move forward, the last thing you probably want to do is take a step backward. But it’s important to evaluate what is holding you back, so you can develop strategies that will help you tackle these things and get them out of your way. In order to reach your goals, you need to make space for them to materialize. Write down all of the things that you feel are preventing you from reaching your goals. What makes you feel like you can’t move forward? What do you wish weren’t the case, so you could move on? Next to each item, write five ways you can get past that item.
2. Before you try to tackle the thoughts you wrote down next to each item, take a deep breath and find some motivation. What pulls you forward? Who can you connect with and what activities can you practice that will help you get out of the doldrums? For me, running is a way I nourish my body and give it the energy it needs to move forward. I also look to my friends for motivation. I read my friend Jen’s blog for inspirational tips on how to live life to the fullest and be my authentic self ( really spoke to me), and I connect with other female entrepreneurs through a group my friend founded, . All of these things help pull me forward.
3. Next, set some small, attainable goals that will move you closer to getting what’s in your way out of your way and achieving the bigger picture. The key word here is attainable. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. If you set expectations for yourself that are too high, you’ll only be disappointed and hard on yourself. As my friend Karen put it this afternoon, we often want me time – we are our favorite people to be around – and yet we can be so mean to ourselves, we spend the entire time yelling at ourselves and being critical. Take a deep breath and treat yourself like you would a mentee or friend. You’ll be happier, more productive and more successful for it.