How do you get out of feeling stuck? Ideas to try

What is your “go to” strategy when you are feeling stuck? An old manager once said (when talking about resilient people), that those with most resilience “know what to do, when they don’t know what do to”.  It took me ages to get my head round it.  For me, its more about recognising the feeling, riding the discomfort, and figuring out how to find out what to do.

The approach I often take in such situations, is to talk to someone (a coach always has a coach!), and/or, to move myself.  Taking myself to a different place, seek inspirations from my surroundings and the physical intuitions coming from the movement (you know the body was only designed as a mechanism to move he brain around, right?).

A technique that works is taking part in a Street Wisdom – their philosophy is “answers are everywhere”.  I used the principles and took to the streets of Poole last week.  It really was enlightening.  I came away feeling refreshed, with a renewed sense of purpose.  Here’s what I experienced:

How it works…

Sheela Hobden

One: Phase one is all about wandering to whatever attracts you.  I noticed myself being drawn towards construction, although also sensing a pull towards quiet, spaces away from everyone else.  This led me to open space and freedom.  Conclusions drawn from this were that the things I want to “build” need space to grow, and it’s the fact that they are a little different to “everyone else”.  It brought a sense of confidence to the projects I am quietly working on.

Two: Phase two works into your conscious the patterns that you notice.  Initially, I found myself hunting, and trying too hard, so I totally had to let go of that.  It started to bubble up, pairs, threes, lines, matching items and linear patterns that enticed you to follow.  It still felt tiring to “keep looking” though, and so I closed this phase out with the sense that I need to let a few things flow and not necessarily “fit in” to something.

Three: The third element brings in mindfulness.  Here, we slow right down.  Like, super slow pin steps.  All of a sudden, its like everyone around you is in a race.  Even meandering tourists look to have purpose and direction, but then taking it all in, I do begin to see many people without it, again, just going with the flow, happy on the “journey”.

Four: Before embarking on the final quest, the topic is beauty.  This made itself known very quickly.  I was able to see tiny things on their own, like a flower of a weed, which were beautiful, but hard to “see”.  So, this section highlighted that there are lots of things that could be beautiful, if given space and attention to grow and flourish.

Go! In taking my overall question to the street, I took a pause on a bench.  The stranger at the other end was also enjoying the moment.  We got chatting about the spot we had chosen, discussing what had brought us there. Strangers really are a source of intelligence!

Something he said stuck with me:

“You don’t get a manual for life do you? …the older you get, the harder decisions are…your brain won’t work!”.

Anon, Poole, UK

The question I was pondering “What should I put attention to?” started to be answered.  With no manual for life, we have to build it ourselves.  There are times when we need others around for ideas, and times we need to be alone, reflect, and do our own thing.  It can seem to get harder because we perceive the stakes and risks to be higher.

I love my work, I am deeply passionate about supporting people to build the lives they want.  Sometimes, that gets in the way of developing my own life.  It is SO easy for this to happen, when you care strongly for others.  Luckily, I “know what to do, when I don’t know what to do”, so I nipped it in the bud, and was able to re-calibrate.   See below for more ideas on what you might try (it is certainly not a one size fits all).

So, for this final week of “summer”, I must focus on myself – the mantra I preach to everyone who will listen.  What that looks like?  Getting the house ready for the arrival of the new puppy!

Feeling stuck?  Ideas to help:

  • Move yourself! Go for a walk – a different route or different place or draw the curtains and dance about!
  • What is the metaphor for your stuck feeling? How would you move on from that (again, in metaphor)?
  • Write down what you are actually stuck on, what you have done or tried so far
  • Brainstorm potential options – to the extreme – go wild with crazy ideas, and land somewhere in the middle
  • Use the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” method – split your options 50/50, ask the audience (friends poll) or call a friend (for a more detailed chat)
  • Go on your own Street Quest
Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching.  Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences.  She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients in whatever life or career conundrums they face!  She is also a Mentor Coach and Coach Supervisor. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds PCC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman.  Find her at or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset

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