2008 is 25% over. Here we are facing the first part of April. Do you feel stuck where you are? How many of you feel like you are doing all the right things but are still coming up short when it comes to seeing much positive progress towards reaching your singing career goals? Does it seem like you can’t move up to the next rung of the ladder on your career path; nothing new is happening and you are frustrated and ready to throw in the towel?
Whether you are wrestling with a big new idea, feeling at a dead end or trying to move through a time of major change in your life, whether it is career related or not, every moment of being stuck is a lost opportunity. Maybe it’s only been a day, or a week or a month, but it is crazy making because you can’t figure out how to get out of it and move on. Everyone gets stuck at different points during their lifetimes. Having the tools to recognize getting stuck and how to get unstuck are worth their weight in gold because it happens throughout every part of your life, and as you know each part is related and reflects on the other. And of course the more you use this tool to get unstuck, the better you get at recognizing the symptoms and making the necessary adjustments.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
~ Johann von Goethe
There are three steps to getting unstuck and here they are:
1. Admitting you’re stuck by recognizing the symptoms. Things are not going well and you’re coming to terms with that fact.
How is it really going? Here is an opportunity to write down your thoughts and answer some questions concerning your symptoms. Be very honest and open so you can really benefit from your answers.
Just how stuck are you?
Are you afraid to admit that you are stuck?
Describe the nature and duration of your being stuck.
How do you honestly feel about not being able to figure out why you are stuck and can’t seem to move ahead?
Do you know exactly what you are stuck by or on? Is it on or in a particular thing, person, or situation?
What are you trying to achieve? Is achieving this “thing” messing with your core values and what you believe in?
Identify the roadblocks if you can. Write each one down.
Have you already tried to get unstuck with slim results?
Who could you reach out to if you need some help with this?
Now that you have recognized and admitted you might be stuck, what do you do with it? Ever notice that the more you feel stuck, the more you notice only the trees and not the whole forest? In other words, it’s time to zoom out and look at the whole, the big enchilada not just each ingredient. Once you do that the actions you need to take to move on become clearer. You start seeing that you can start rejuvenating the different parts of your whole life and put it more in balance. That means that all the parts can work together rather than working against each other.
“We see things not as they are, but as we are.”
~ H.M. Tomlinson
And instead of treating just the symptoms or broken system, you can start getting to the root cause. It helps put the excitement back into getting on track because you recognize your real purpose, the engine that drives it all.
More questions to diagnose the severity of your stuckness. Look over your previous notes to help get to a clear answer.
Do you have a clear, inspiring purpose? (How much are you living your personal mission statement each day?)
Do you have the right people on your support team that can help you when you need it?
Do you work effectively when getting things and projects done?
Do you know how to make decisions? Do you make your decisions stick?
Can you think outside the box and do the necessary brainstorming either by yourself or with others of like mind?
Can you think of someone who’s skills and tools for dealing with life you admire and can you “act as if” you are them while getting unstuck?
“The aspects of a thing that are most important to us are hidden to us because of their simplicity and familiarity.”
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
2. Diagnosing why you are stuck by understanding what is at the root of it all. You definitely feel stuck, but aren’t sure why.
Once you understand and recognize that you are stuck, it is then time to find the causes. There are basically seven primary reasons one gets stuck. Here they are.
Overwhelmed – You don’t know what to do next. You used to be so certain about where to go and what came next, but here you are now, floundering. Everything seems like too much work, there are too many moving parts, and you don’t have enough time, energy or money to get it all done. This is a definite invitation for a visit from whatever type of procrastination you may practice off and on during your lifetime. This can often be fixed by working with the structure and process of your plan of action. What parts of it can you be in control of right this minute? Try letting go of what you didn’t accomplish in the past and the emotions that go with it and turn your focus to one small thing you can do today to help get you to your weekly goal. Don’t worry what others are accomplishing. Create your own individualized path and enjoy your journey.
Exhausted – It’s not like things are broken, but you are too burned out to move ahead. You start feeling resentment with others successes even if it has nothing to do with your own life style or career path. Fear becomes the focus of your thoughts and you may become a cynic. Most of the time, this means you have let your life get out of balance. So, give yourself a week or two off from even thinking about your career or getting ahead. Meet with friends for coffee, take a walk out in nature, visit family, just live an ordinary life where you stop to smell the roses and laugh a little. You will feel reenergized, have a clearer head and feel much more like starting the career process once again.
Directionless – You have no big picture to check in against from time to time. Sure, you’re busy but not necessarily effective. You don’t see any tangible results for all your efforts. You are so busy, you don’t have time to think things through and it just becomes habitual routine. It’s time to create a strategy, a system, a plan of action to get you from here to there. This helps create the big picture, then you can chunk it down putting the smaller tactics on your daily “to do ” list. Or if all you see is the big picture, try thinking of your goals as climbing a ladder. The main goal or big picture is at the top. Start breaking down the biggest chunk into smaller bites and see where they will fit in as you start your climb to the top.
Hopeless – Remember when you were so passionate about having a singing career? Now it just seems like any other job, just hard work with little sense of achievement or reward. Want to quit? This might be the time to spend a day, an afternoon or evening with those that can help motivate you. Someone who can help you see the picture, hear and feel the excitement you used to have when thinking about a singing career. It’s time to find your purpose again cause without it, there is no energy.
“Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great.”
~ Golda Emir
Battle-worn – You are doing all the same things your colleagues are doing to have a career, but you are not getting the same results they appear to be getting, so you start feeling hurt, protective, not willing to resolve conflicts, and loose your ability to communicate well. Everything starts being emotional. This kind of chaos becomes both internal and external in your life. So stop what you are doing, get the internal “Brat”, your inner dialogue listened to and have a serious talk and listening session with him/her to start getting things back into a more balanced place. The thinking mind is a great tool, but we also have an intellect that knows how, when and where things get done. Spend some quiet time listening to that for a while. You will start to feel more energized and things will start being perceived with a better perspective.
Worthless – You don’t know what victory looks like, so you wouldn’t recognize it if you actually achieved it. Creating a plan of action seems out of the question because you don’t know which goals to pursue. Your commitment wanes and you find very unique and interesting ways to sabotage yourself. Spend some time figuring out exactly who you are and what you really want out of your whole life. When you become congruent on the inside, it is much easier to become consistent on the outside. Listen to your inner most self, your soul and your heart and believe what they have to tell you about yourself. It may be time to let go of some of your old inhibiting habits and behaviors.
Alone – Do you try to make it on your own without finding the singers community in your area? Having people of like minds around allows us to laugh, cry, complain, be joyful, etc. without judgment or criticism. It’s realizing that other singers are not only to be looked at as competition, but as colleagues. It becomes a 40/40% relationship with the remaining 20% of the attention given to whomever needs it the most in that moment. This allows you to both give and receive. You will find support, feel like you make worthwhile contributions and feel included in a loving, caring community.
“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.”
~ Northrup Christiane
3. Getting unstuck by knowing what you can do about it right now. You now know why you are stuck and are ready to move forward. Knowing why you do what you do is of paramount importance in getting unstuck. That means rediscovering your purpose which drives your ambition to do something worthwhile. Here are some questions whose answers will help you get started in getting unstuck.
Why do you exist?
What must you do, be or accomplish before you consider yourself a success?
What is your contribution to your life?
When you find your true purpose, can you articulate it both to yourself and others at the drop of a hat? If not, work it until it is the first thing that comes to mind when making decisions and choices.
How much do you trust yourself?
Do you hold yourself accountable for your reactions, inaction or your actions?
“It’s easy to be brave from a safe distance.”
Here are some other ideas to help you get restarted once you get unstuck.
How much time have you allocated to performing the business aspects of your singing career? Knowing you have time set aside to do business leaves your mind free the rest of the week to devote to other activities and chores.
Do you have a designated office space in your home or apartment that is just for doing business?
Do you have all the supplies you need to make doing business easy?
Do you rely totally on yourself to get ahead or do you have a great networking system of friends and colleagues to turn to for advice, suggestions, and constructive criticism?
Are you always looking for new ways to expand your people skills?
How good are you at communicating in person, on the phone, via text messaging or email or any other way possible?
How balanced is your lifestyle?
“He who spends time regretting the past loses the present and risks the future.”
With this information, these possibly new ideas and suggestions to work with make the decision right now to get unstuck. A decision today is often twice as worthy as a decision tomorrow There is a deep opportunity loss when one does not make a timely decision. This is a thought that is know by everyone, but rarely considered. Whether it is because you have not enough or too much date, are tortured by potential failure, don’t know that a decision is required or are simply afraid, keep in mind that not deciding is likely to perpetuate a state of being stuck. This more than anything else, is what will be most damaging. So, get out there and get wildly innovative. You can be both inventive and also use basic principals, but get busy doing something, or someone or something else will start making the decisions for you. Move from stuck to unstuck.
Hope this answers your question H.J.?
Ciao until next time.