What to do when you’re stuck: 7 questions to ask yourself

Are you stuck? Got a problem you need to fix? Found yourself in a tight place? Yep, we all know the feeling. There has been a flurry of activity online about the fact that having too many choices can cause anxiety.

Personally, I have experienced this to be true. I tend to be a relatively anxious person, I get stressed very easily and often feel hamstrung by choice. If you are feeling stuck, here are 8 pertinent questions to ask yourself.

When I was 20 I worked in a French jewellery shop. My manager Chantal (“from de South of France!”) once admonished me for showing a dozen or so rings to a customer.

“That eez too many!” Chantal told me. “Bring her just three rings and she will better be able to choose.”

And she was right – I consistently noted that if I gave my customers too many options, they would get ‘confused’ and I’d lose a potential sale.

Question #1: What are you trying to do?

You won’t be able to do anything until you clearly articulate it. Give yourself a broad, over-arching definition of your goal, write it down and memorize it.

Be very clear about what you are trying to do. If you can’t answer this one simple question, you are not ‘stuck’ you’re resisting.

Question #2: How did you get stuck?

What has caused you to pause? Was there a single event that stopped your progress or have you simply drifted into entropy?

Ask yourself why it’s so hard for you to move right now – what are your fears, limitations, responsibilities and advantages?

Question 3#: What are you aiming for?

This is where you really start to nail down how you get from where you are (point A) to where you want to be (point B). Try to nail down exactly what you are aiming for.

Look at your goal from a fresh perspective and see where you might have gotten derailed. Think of times in the past where you may have achieved similar things and look at what was going on in your life at the time.

Question #4: How long should it take in the best and worst case scenarios?

To really aim for a goal, you must have a timeframe. I have known some brilliant people who could achieve great things, but they never get anywhere because they don’t put realistic practices into place.

Every goal should have a realistic timeframe. If you’re not sure what your timeframe should be, consult your contacts, do some research and look to others who have done what you are hoping to.

Question 5: When will you give up?

This is not a negative question, it’s part of your realistic plan. There comes a time with every venture where you need to realise that you need to try something new. Work out when and where that point should be, and don’t ignore it.

Planning for a ‘worst case scenario’ can be the thing that gives you the edge over your competitors. Steve Glaveski admits he didn’t do enough research for his start-up hot-desking business and he believes this caused it to fail, big time.

Question #6: How will you know when you’ve reached your goal?

On a more positive note, it’s also important to have a finish post in mind – you need to be able to identify when you reach your goal. Without benchmarks, how will you know when to celebrate?

The more specific your goal is, the better your chances of reaching it. Set clear objectives and aim for them within the timeframe you’ve determined, this then forms your roadmap to success.

Question #7: What will happen next?

You also need to have a plan about what to do when you reach your goal – what will you do next? If you are feeling stuck and you’ve lost momentum, considering not just your final goal but the point after your final goal might help you to reframe.

Once you’ve asked yourself these 7 questions, you’ll be in a better position to be realistic with yourself. Everyone gets stuck from time to time. We hit roadblocks and get distracted – that’s just part of life.


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