5 Reasons You Feel Stuck in Life or Work

Midlife woman with glasses, feels stuck in life or career

First published 5 May 2022 and updated January 2023

5 minute read.

Do you feel stuck?

You’re not alone. Many of us do – on a daily basis! But when it feels significant or endless it can make you feel miserable and this is one of the main reasons people come to Life Coaching with me.

Whether it’s work or life, feeling stuck can look like;

  • Really wanting something but losing motivation. Like; a new job,  moving house
  • Endlessly worrying about things out of your control, or that you are not (yet?) able to influence, instead of enjoying the here and now
  • Identifying something as important, or exciting to do – and talking yourself out of doing it

 

Why do you feel stuck?

“Why do I feel stuck?”…oooh that’s a LOADED question for some and so NOT the right question to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck.

Asking WHY often carries judgement and is critical. If you have a loud critical voice in your head, asking WHY will berate you.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung said;

“To ask the right question is already half the solution to a problem.” 

So instead of asking Why, start asking What or How – open questions, for a more helpful and kinder approach

Like this;

  • ‘What is it that is making me feel stuck?’

 

Reasons why you are feeling stuck

1.  You’ve outgrown your current situation

We change over time. What worked for us then, may no longer work now. Ie, the job you started 5 years ago, your friendships from when the kids were at nursery, the area you live in… If you recognise you have outgrown your situation, then ask yourself;

  • What’s changed for me?
  • What am I tolerating or putting up with?

Spend some time understanding what and how you’ve outgrown your current situation before moving on to what else you could do (tips how below!).

 

2.  You fear others’ judgement

Do you rely on what others’ think and say about you?  In her book, ‘Playing Big’Tara Mohr says;

'…feedback doesn’t tell you any facts about you; it tells you something about the perspective of the person giving the feedback'.

Know yourself better; get to know your strengths (USP’s) and skills (talents) to enhance your confidence.

 

3.  You compare yourself to others

If you recognise you constantly compare yourself to others , how’s that making you feel? Inadequate?

Focus on YOU instead and try to stay in your lane. Ask yourself;

  • What are my small wins today?
  • What was I grateful for today?

 

Research says celebrating your achievements and practising gratitude both improve mental wellbeing when you do them regularly and over a period of time. I’ve noticed this personally and professionally – it’s like our brains and hearts open up a little more as we start recognising the good. It provides a more balanced perspective.

 

4.  Your brain tells you that change = threat

Let’s play with this. You want to change something – perhaps it’s your job, (which you hate), but you perceive that your current job offers great pay and benefits. You’d probably be much happier if you had a different job, but ‘it’s too big a risk…’

Sound familiar?

It’s easy to reduce your thinking to see options as ‘either/or’, because your brain perceives potential change as a ‘threat’. An alternative is to reframe your thoughts and language and ask ‘what if’.

Example

The potential change of job mentioned above; ‘It’s too big a risk’..is a perceived threat to the great pay and benefits

  • Ask yourself ‘What if…’
  • Flip the thought round round; What if it’s a great opportunity instead? What if I could still have great pay and benefits AND feel happier?

 

5.  Your values are not present in your day-to-day

Values are your chosen principles to how you live your life. When your values are not ‘there’, things might seem off-balance; like your internal navigation system is off.

Ask yourself;

  • What are my top 3 values in how I live my life? 
  • Are they present?
  • What’s getting in the way?

 

Of course there are many more reasons you might be feeling stuck. But these are some of the main reasons I come across in life coaching.

 

Tree in Spring with sun shining through

 

Top tips to help you when you’re feeling stuck

  • Spend time constructively either thinking about what’s making you feel stuck or talking to someone who’ll give you space to listen. Coaching questions are great tools – perhaps try in a pair?
  • Go for a walk and get absorbed by nature
  • Try something new – what’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to do?
  • Celebrate your small wins each day
  • Talk to a Life Coach – book a free call with me if you like what you’re reading here. What if it helps?  😘

 

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Coaching together

Client agreement - ground rules.

1. Bring my whole self to this process; professionally and personally.

You cannot separate your professional and personal ‘lives’.

2. Be present in the moment and connected.

… to the coaching; what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing. And…to nature if and where we are outdoors. If we’re on headphones, I’ll invite you to be descriptive of your environment too.

3. Bring the agenda to each session and keep your overall objective alive.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Be goal and action orientated – bring what you want to discuss and achieve to the session; OR
  • Talk and see what lands – exploratory and intentional.
 

I will bring the process, tools, ideas, resources and best practice to best support you towards your goal/intention/objective. More in your pre-coaching questionnaire. 

4. Give feedback and be responsive.

Coaching is collaborative. Neither of us should guess where we stand. I ask you to give me feedback and respond – you can rely on me to give and do the same.

I aim to get back to you within 24 hours of you emailing me, even if it’s just to say ‘I received your message’ before I respond properly. If it’s over the weekend or holiday, this may take longer.

5. Do the work in the session and in between sessions.

…so that you get the best value, even when it’s challenging. I might suggest a piece of work based on what you brought to the session. Mainly you will decide your course of action.

Whichever way, I’ll invite you to:

  • Reflect more; through walking, writing and whatever else fires you up, to help you achieve your objective.
  • Explore more; be curious and follow those trails of thought, intentionally
    Practice more; habits? Actions? Keep trying/tweaking.
  • Note what’s coming up that’s important or interesting to you in the session. I may share a few bullet points with you after, via Google Docs.

6. Session duration and timescale.

Generally a session is an hour but happy to shorten or increase session lengths, as and when we both can, that day. Where either of us thinks it appropriate, let’s say in the session. Timescale – let’s keep to the timescale agreed in the contract.

Additional information...

  • Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate the development of personal or professional goals and develop a plan/strategy for achieving those goals.
  • It is comprehensive; it may involve other areas of your life beyond what you may have originally intended. It is your responsibility to choose and decide how to handle this, or even whether to.
  • It can be challenging; digging deep, creating better habits, becoming more self-aware, changing unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself to something more helpful. There will be ups and downs. You will gain new insights, learnings and perspectives to help you achieve your goal.
  • You – the Client, are solely responsible for creating and implementing your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results arising out of or resulting from the coaching relationship and your coaching calls and interactions with me – the Coach. As such, you agree that the Coach is not and will not be liable or responsible for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by me – the Coach. 
  • You – the Client, understand that in order to enhance the coaching relationship, you agree to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and to create the time and energy to participate fully in the program. I will do the same.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.  If you are in any kind of therapy, please tell me.  Tell your practitioner (medical or therapeutic) of you working with me.
  • I ask you to agree to commit to the coaching sessions to facilitate the required change.
  • I will treat you as the expert regarding the subject matter, which is…YOU.
  • I will allow time and space for you to explore your thoughts and think for yourself, no interruptions. There may be long pauses or silence sometimes to elicit more.
  • What goes on in your sessions is confidential. I do not discuss it with anyone. There may be occasion when it is my duty to break confidentiality:
    > If I feel you or I are at risk of harm.
    > Criminal / illegal activity.
    > A safeguarding concern or something else so serious that warrants concern.
  • I may talk to my coach or supervisor about issues arising in our sessions without ever naming or giving away you as the client. This is to ensure I am following professional and ethical guidelines and delivering my best. I subscribe to these by the ICF; https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics
  • Qualifications and CPD; I am an accredited coach. This means I have trained, practiced and qualified with Animas Centre for Coaching (Nov 2020). I hold a ‘Diploma in Transformational Coaching’. This is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
    > I have my own coach and group supervision
    > My CPD includes –  Outdoor Intelligence for Online Coaching (Oct 2020) -Positive Psychology (Feb 2021

My accreditations

Birds

My story

I’d been trying to work out ‘what else’ I could do with my career and life.

After 20 years in HR and with the children getting older, I wanted to change careers, but into ‘what?’ And ‘how’ was that even possible? And…’who would take on a mid-40’s apprentice?’!

I took small steps to boost my confidence and mindset; a regular ‘walk and whinge’ with friends to offload, short courses to up-skill, more running, more netball.
I asked my workplace ‘what else’ they needed that I could help with – ‘job crafting’. 

I was trying to make changes but it wasn’t really working. I was still frustrated and now, more miserable. I needed a different approach to find a way forward and release the building pressure I felt.

Hiring an accredited coach with whom I knew I could work with, enabled me to take a good look at myself – at times, uncomfortably.

To be listened to without any interruption, or judgement was empowering and I started to recognise what made me, me – my personality, strengths, what energised me and made me happy. What if these things amounted to a job I would…love…?

I followed my curiosity and dabbled with ideas about potential jobs, tasks and environments that would suit me, with a new, growth mindset.

I started to shift perspective. When I finally realised the ‘what’, I felt an energy and sense of knowing that was powerful. And I laughed, because it had been right in front of me!

Coaching undoubtedly helped me get to know myself, to see my potential and what was possible. I wholeheartedly decided through those sessions, on what and how I wanted things to be.

It had taken me two years of feeling stuck and miserable and a number of hours to be liberated.

This is what I now do with my clients. I help them rediscover themselves so that they can play to their strengths and thrive.

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