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Have you ever felt that no matter how much you do, you are in the same place? You have done your research, take a new course certification, talk to a leader, and yet still feel that you have not made any significant progress in your life.
Trust me; you are not alone. I’ve been there many times.
The most frequent questions that I have asked myself when stuck in my life are:
- What else do I have to do?
- What should I do with my life?
- What to do now that I feel stuck in my life?
Then add the feeling of guilt. How can I not know what to do with myself when I’m stuck in life even when I have had to achieve so many good things and goals?
Sometimes you don’t even know what you want or need or whatever the reason you are feeling like this.
Then you can add the feeling of guilt. How can I not know what to do with myself when I’m stuck in life even when I have had to achieve many good things and goals?
Being there “felt the pain.” Sometimes you don’t even know what you want or need.
This is what I called the “unknown” zone. And that’s the reason why you are reading this; that’s how you feel right now.
You are experiencing the symptoms like lost, lack of focus anger, frustration, no finishing what you started, disconnection with yourself and with others, and much more. I feel your pain, and I can identify with you.
The first thing to do when you feel stuck in life is:
Like the famous phrase says: Been there, done that, or I can say: “Being there, “felt the pain”.
Yes, awareness. Be aware of your current state. Take a note pad, sit down, and write exactly how you are feeling; all the words that come to your mind and emotions. Feel free to draw sketches (like kids drawing sketches) but sit down and acknowledge and be aware of your current stage.
You can’t compile new data, measure or analyze the data or improve anything if you don’t know exactly where you are and how you are feeling. This is called “Define” the current state of the situation.
Step#2 Categorize your outputs
In what Role of your Life do you want to work first?
- I was sad and frustrated because, by the age of 40, I would have liked to finish my master’s degree in project management (? – that’s me) – Category: Business and Career.
- I want to be in a healthy weight, and I haven’t done anything to work out and prepare a meal plan. – Category: Health -Personal Life.
- I feel mad because the time spends with my kids is rushing, homework, and giving them instructions to follow; instead of having quality and fun time with them. – Category: Relationships – Personal Life.
Step#3 Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Principle
Once you categorize your emotions, thoughts, and feelings, prioritize them using the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Principle. I learned the Pareto (80/20) Principle while studying for my Green Belt Lean Six Sigma Certification test and projects. I found out that if I spent 80 percent on my top 20 percent failed questions from my mock tests, I was going to be able to cover the most challenging material to pass my final test.
This step is about identifying how to spend 20 percent of your time and effort so you can produce 80 of improvement in the areas of your life that you recognized that you are feeling stuck. Do you follow me? (OMG, I feel proud of myself that I can put in practice what I have learned during all my Lean Projects wujuuuu!)
Let’s stop and do a brief recap in this Pareto 20/80 Principle
- You identified your emotions.
- Then, you classified them by areas of your life that are affected.
- Next, you work in the ones that produce you the highest percentage of satisfaction or the highest rate of return for your time, energy, personnel effort, and money (you can’t diminish capital).
- Lastly, you will spend some time planning to make this happen.
The important thing here is to understand that 20% of your priorities will give 80% of your predetermined goals (consequences), or it will provide 80% of your best outcome. You want a higher return from your prioritized activities to be able to achieve your predetermined goals.
Step#4 Prioritizing your 20 percent
How to identify the 20 percent of your priorities and organize them in a way that you get the greatest return for your time, effort, energy, and money?
- Make a list of all the areas of your life that you identified that you are feeling stuck.
- If one of these areas is removed/withdrawn or is dramatically change in your life, what will be the impact likely to be? An example of this is your health. If you are overweight and you suffer (God forbid and protect you) a heart attack, or you start to having high-pressure problems, or high sugar levels, Is this going to hamper your personal life, your work, your finances, and consequently the ability to get other important things done in your life (this is your cue)? I bet the answer is YES; put a checkmark next to that area of your life RIGHT NOW.
- Repeat this exercise with the rest of the areas identified. When you get through the 20 percent of your list, these are the ones that you will need your best resources to get unstuck in this area.
Step#5 Plan and organize your-self
I always plan my week ahead of time, and I teach others to do so. Spend time planning and anticipating things or problems that may happen, and that can impact your life (don’t wait until the last minute).
If I can give you one small piece of advice is: “Leaders spend time planning and no reacting,“ and we are in our journey to be Great Leaders.
Building a plan will help you overcome the resistance to change because even though priorities are not always black or white (the majority of the time, they are gray ? ), this will motivate them to reach that plan and stay committed to it.
We should prepare our days as we prepare when a Hurricane is coming: “ahead of time” and “specific.” I like to organize my schedule on Sunday (including meetings on my 9-5 regular job, my blog posts, training, social media) on my Google Calendar, Trello, and I also use a paper planner. I try to be as specific as possible, task, time, what, and how, that way I dont have any excuse.
In addition, consider the meetings where you are required to and what gives you the best return for your time or provide some rewards in exchange for your time.
I was feeling stuck in my professional career life, and starting and finish my master’s degree was a personal goal that I wanted to accomplish before my 40’s. There I was, 38 years old, with my master’s degree started but not finished and trying to believe that everything was fine. I made a list of things that I needed to do, like phone calls, visit places, internet research, and documents required to start my enrollment and decide to do what I needed to do. I added the dates, due dates, names, and phone numbers, and I opened a Notebook in my Evernote application. I planned my week every Sunday. Be subjective during your planning about the conditions that you need to satisfy to consider DONE a specific task; that way, you don’t have incomplete, half-way tasks.
Procrastination is part of self-sabotage, and I learned during challenging times in my life that my worst enemy was my self-limited mindset (as procrastination) that I was doing sabotaging my potential and my purpose. Just because the reason for not finishing my master’s degree was real doesn’t mean that the excuse was right.
Procrastination is part of self-sabotage
Step#6 Take Action- Move Forward
Taking action is uncomfortable, especially when you have other responsibilities like family, kids, husband, a 9-5 pm job, and extra-curricular activities (you named it). I want you to be aware of and overcome the “resistance to change.”
The key word for taking action is “Self Discipline”.
- You must show up and challenge your excuses. Remember what I mentioned above: “Just because the reason for not finishing my master’s degree was real doesn’t mean that the excuse was right.”
- Focus on what you want to accomplish, your goal. My immediate goal was to register in the school before the next school semester (no matter the available class).
- No rewards for me until I finished my registration process and was sitting down on the desk at the University. Until that day, I didn’t allow myself to do anything else besides my registration process. That’s it! No more excuses, nada, finito!
- After you are aware of what’s going on;
- You compiled information;
- You spend 20 percent of your precious time doing what will produce 80 percent of your goals;
- Identify the 20 percent that will make the ability to get other important things done in your life (remember this is your “cue”);
- Organize yourself– Be effective by organizing your priorities. Write down all the tasks, activities, estimated time, due dates, and how to do them. Delegate some of the tasks, if possible, and if you can.
- Act by moving forward and do what needs to be done (remember Leaders can’t delegate responsibilities and you are in your path to be a successful Female Leader)- take action exercising self-disciplined, focusing on your goal, and have a system on place. “No second-guessing or other activities until you finish what you started.”
The last step is Testing. Your job here is to check the goals outlined in your first steps and compared your previous state with your current condition. Check and balance. Testing is about progress.
I want you to ask yourself five questions during this step:
- What did you do to accomplish your goal?
- What will you do today when planning your next actionable goal to get unstuck in life?
- And there any impediments in your way for your next goal?
- Which technique or action made proved to be useful for your next goal accomplishment?
- If you could change one thing, what would it be?
This exercise helps you to be prepared for your next goal on your list. The main purpose is to get unstuck on life little by little, this is not an overnight process, this is not a quick fix, but a journey. One step at a time. I want you to feel confident that you can do this even though it feels uncomfortable.
Step#8 Be motivated by your potential
Never trust what you achieved as the final success, use it as a trampoline for your potential. Whatever you have done is no longer your potential, the potential is the “you nobody knows yet”.
Overcome fear, self-doubt, and procrastination by having realistic tools and a solid roadmap that you can follow without feeling dependent on others to do what you must do for you. Confident that you can learn new ways to make a difference in your life as everyone has the potential to transform their life.
Be Quality. Be a Leader. Embrace your Uniqueness and most especially, be blessed.