You know that feeling of just being stuck? Whether it’s lacking the motivation to go to the gym or feeling completely unable to get up, turn on your laptop, and continue writing the book you have been working on. This list of 10 things that keep you stuck is going to open your eyes and help you figure out why you are feeling stuck. Once you start to see them in your own life you can work through the list of 10 things that keep you stuck and start seeing amazing success in all areas of your life. I know it’s possible because I have lived it and I see it every day in my programs. You can do it too.
10 things that keep you stuck and stop you succeeding
1. Fear keeps you stuck
Oh fear, there you are! I was waiting for you to show up. We’re tackling this one first because actually it’s pretty simple to get past. Now I didn’t say it was easy, before you write me an angry email. I said SIMPLE. How do you get past fear? You do the thing anyway in spite of the fear. See? Simple.
It’s not easy because we are biologically programmed to avoid anything that makes us feel fear. It’s our most primal survival instinct. Fear keeps you alive, it’s that straight forward. But in modern life, we don’t have the same fears we did when things would actually chase us, to eat us. For example, public speaking. It’s a massive fear of mine. I know it won’t actually kill me but the fear I feel makes it seem like it could be fatal.
Once you do the thing that you are so afraid of, the fear melts away. You show your brain that this thing you feel fear about is not going to chase you and kill you. No danger here. For all intents and purposes it is exposure therapy for fear. You fear something, you do it, you see that you didn’t get eaten, nothing to fear here. Getting the courage to face the fear and do the thing will all depend on how much you want it.
2. Guilt keeps you stuck
In my programs I don’t use the word should. We don’t say that we “should” have done something or “shouldn’t” have done something. It’s banned because it produces feelings of guilt. You can feel guilty because of things in the past that you should or shouldn’t have done. See how negative that is?
When you feel guilty for something it’s because you are telling yourself that you should or shouldn’t have said/done/received/given etc. The idea that you didn’t do the thing that is expected of you or that society says someone like you would do.
Moving away from the expectations of others and putting yourself first often produces feelings of guilt. Again because of what is expected of you. However, the more times you put yourself last on the list because of the judgement of others or obligations you believe you have, the worse you will feel.
When you stop feeling guilty and start living authentically as yourself, you are able to step forward and put yourself first, in your dream life, your dream job or your dream relationship. You stop feeling guilty once you realise that you too deserve all of the happiness and success in life.
3. Shame keeps you stuck
Shame and should go hand in hand. Just like guilt, should and shouldn’t bring feelings of shame. Shame and embarrassment are two very similar negative feelings. They come from feelings of being flawed or being less than what is expected of you. It can be so toxic that you feel that you are unworthy of love, let alone success in your life.
Shame is almost always triggered by an outsider’s opinion. Once you realise that you have no control over how people feel about you or think about you, you can let go of shame. A family member thinks that you shouldn’t (that word again) be working in a minimum wage job and that you could do better? If you believe that person you will feel shame about your job.
You can change your beliefs by reframing your thoughts. “I don’t feel shame about my minimum wage job because it’s honest work that pays the bills. I get to meet new and interesting people every day that make my life richer.” Remember my mantra: “Other people’s opinion of you, is none of your business”.
4. Lack of Fear keeps you stuck
Of all of the 10 things that keep you stuck, this is the one that surprises most people. Have you ever said “I can’t do this, it’s far too easy”. “There has to be something wrong with this”. “There has to be some catch”. “It can’t be this easy to be successful, happy, etc”. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, it might be what is holding you back from success.
When you step outside your zone of excellence (things that you are really good at but are not really passionate about) and into your zone of genius (things you are amazing at and could do all day, every day with much joy and little effort) it can feel very uncomfortable at first. It’s just too easy and you’re just too happy. You’re waiting for the other shoe to fall.
You shouldn’t (see how bad this word is?) get paid to do something you are really good at. Or getting a day’s work done in 2 hours and being well paid for it shouldn’t be a thing. When you feel like everything is going your way, you love what you’re doing AND you’re being well paid for it, it’s easy to convince yourself that something isn’t right because you have no fear. Once you realise that lack of fear is simply confidence in your capabilities you can move forward without a second thought.
5. Avoiding Discomfort keeps you stuck
Ah, so you’re being mediocre in your comfort zone? This familiar and mostly easy zone where you know what is coming and what is expected of you. You can plan and manage everything because you’ve been in this zone for so long that you can recite it in your sleep.
Your comfort zone doesn’t have to be just your job. It can be a relationship that is mostly ok, like a comfortable pair of slippers. It doesn’t exactly fulfill you but he does laundry so it’s better than nothing. Perhaps it’s exercise. When you start out it doesn’t feel particularly energising or fun. It can be hard work until you get stronger. So it’s easier to sit on the sofa than start.
Are you staying in your home town because the thoughts of moving away and starting again are scary, despite the fact that you’ve always dreamed of living there? Have you been sitting on a book idea for years and not even typed a word because you know that nobody will be interested in it or you’ll have to commit to a deadline if someone picks it up?
Yeah staying in your comfort zone and being mediocre is easier than stepping out into the unknown and feeling the discomfort. Guess what though? You know that the mediocre zone is unfulfilling and leaving you empty and yearning for more. Don’t let discomfort put you off. It means that you are growing and learning and adventure awaits!
6. Feeling Unworthy keeps you stuck
We all have a level of success we believe we deserve. Once we get to that level we start to feel discomfort and out of our depth. Then we are going to do a whole heap of sabotaging so that we end up back in the familiarity of the mediocre zone (see the last point).
When we are kids we pick up things from the adults around us. Sayings, beliefs and family mottos. They teach us about ourselves but unfortunately for us, they might not be true at all. For example your family motto might be “girls should be seen and not heard” (my Granny loved reminding me of that one) so whenever the opportunity arises for you to use your voice you chicken out. As a girl you are not worthy of using your voice.
Maybe you had a difficult childhood with a parent who continually put you down. The constant criticism gave you a limit to how much you believe you deserve. Maybe you were told you were a horrible child so you feel that you are not worthy of love. Who could love a horrible person after all. The good news is that this is just a belief and beliefs are a choice. You can choose differently.
7. Feeling Like a Fake keeps you stuck
You know that feeling that any minute now they are going to figure out that you are a total fake and fraud. You’re just waiting for the day that you are called out. No matter how many degrees or qualifications you have, it never feels like enough.
This feeling is called Imposter Syndrome. You ignore all of your talents, experience and qualifications instead you see yourself as unable to match the expectations of you. Again it’s not just linked to your job, it manifests itself in all areas of your life where you feel that you are not good enough.
The way to conquer feeling like a fake is to remind yourself often of your successes, your qualifications (institutional or life experiences), accept that you don’t know (and will never know) everything and that you will always do your best without striving to be perfect. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
8. Negative Self Talk keeps you stuck
How do you talk to yourself? What do you say about yourself? What do you say to yourself? When you do something that you wish you hadn’t done, do you give yourself a hard time? When you look in the mirror what are the things you say to yourself?
Unfortunately it’s normal to remember and repeat every negative thing that was ever said to you or about you that you were in earshot of. Any sort of criticism or comparison is exaggerated. Putting yourself down is the default in any situation. You will talk yourself out of pretty much everything because you’re not good enough/not smart enough/not tall enough etc.
The thing about negative self-talk is that mostly it’s not true. If you tell yourself that you’re too much or too little of something to follow your dreams, ask yourself “where is the truth in that?”. For example if you want to be an actor and that voice in your head keeps telling you that you’re too fat to be famous. Ask yourself “are there any fat actors?”. Of course, the answer is yes. Make a list of them, prove to yourself that this negative self-talk is wrong and is holding you back.
9. Listening to Others Opinions keeps you stuck
The post is 10 things that keep you stuck but this one could have all 10 spaces by itself. It’s keeping many women stuck, especially women who want to own their own businesses. I have met many women who have fabulous business ideas. Ideas that challenge the status quo and have the potential to improve the lives of many. These ideas rarely come to life however because others have told them that “nobody will buy that” or “who is going to pay for that?”.
In my mastermind business owners group there is a woman who is very successful. She told us a story about how important it is to ignore other people’s opinions when you are going after something that lights you up inside. She was at a family event and an acquaintance asked her husband how the business was going. Her husband confirmed that it was doing really well and they were very happy with the success she had. The family member’s response was “well it goes to show that people will spend money on any old shit”. The business had made over $6 million by that point.
Now imagine she had listened to this guy at the start when she had the business idea? How confident do you think she would have been with bringing the business to life? Yes, it’s easier to manage opinions like these after you’re already successful but it’s exactly the same as listening to them before you have started. If it lights you up inside then go for it. Other people’s opinions are none of your business.
10. Believing You Can’t
Somewhere and sometime in the past you got the idea that you can’t. It might have been someone’s opinion (and we know what to do with that), something a teacher said about you and your abilities or something you tried once, failed at so never tried again. You believe you can’t but deep down there is a tiny voice that says “but what if you can”.
Every so often you catch a glimpse of the things you can do. You feel alive, on fire, huge, strong, confident and able. Suddenly the feelings disappear and you feel like you have lost the mojo. It proves what you thought all along. You just can’t do it. Confidence is fleeting but if you use the low points to support the idea that you can’t then guess what? You can’t.
Henry Ford put it better. He said “whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right”. Self belief is hard work but worth it. You become unstoppable and you will find it much easier to take the opportunities that come your way because “you can”.
What to do next
How many of these 10 things that keep you stuck are you struggling with? At times I have struggled with ALL TEN! Working on yourself takes time and commitment but it’s worth every minute. A whole new world opens up to you once you see how you’re stuck and the path out.
Write a list, every day, of all the reasons why you deserve success and happiness in your life. If you see yourself in even a couple of those, don’t give yourself a hard time. Until someone points them out to you, you’re pretty much unaware. The good news is that they can be changed by challenging yourself daily. Reach out to me and tell me how you keep yourself stuck in life. I will be waiting to hear from you!