Cure you say? Unfortunately there is no cure, no magic potion or formula for figuring it all out. There are however some approaches, tools and resources that can help you to begin to sort things out.
In my journey of working through getting ‘unstuck’ and redesigning my life post grad, I decided to break out of my shell and comfort zone and ask questions. Reach out to others and ask them about their own personal journeys and approaches to this process.
So I did just that. I recently sat down with Grant Schroll of Mission Collaborative to talk through his approach to getting ‘unstuck’, as well as what are some of the tools and resources he shares with participants who take part in Mission Collaborative as they craft and try out different routes and paths.
Schroll and his partners at Mission Collaborative help individuals figure out their ‘what next’. The goal is to help people to build a career they love and that is fulfilling. Through engaging workshops, courses, and community building, Mission Collaborative help individuals to make connections and build relationships, strategically determine next steps and then test drive potential career paths through self-exploration and provide a source of accountability. Essentially helping people to design and create a life they love and that brings them joy.
Of course this process isn’t easy and can be personally challenging. I asked Grant about many of the questions I have been trying to figure out and answer myself. First being how does one work to get themselves ‘unstuck’ when they are feeling in a rut?
Open (Trusted) Source
When asked about how he begins to work through being stuck in one’s own head, Schroll says that he often will try and sit down with someone and process externally. If dealing with a work-related issue or challenge for instance, he may sit down with colleagues. This process helps to identify what’s important versus what may not be so important. When wrestling with personal life challenges or grappling with challenges related to career, relationships, etc. having a go-to person can be helpful.
Vulnerability & Authenticity
In order to identify one’s trusted source you have to well try. Be open to trying to share your thoughts and ideas. Other than speaking with colleagues, friends, family, or mentors, try a form of ‘crowdsourcing’ perspectives. Write out your thoughts and ideas and then share them. You can send in an email or write it in an article for example. Schroll says this allows for engagement and the ability to receive feedback.
Often times, when we are struggling or feeling ‘stuck’-it can be a challenge to see and be open to other perspectives or trying different avenues or routes. Through sharing our thoughts and challenges with others, it opens the door, allows for and makes room for that possibility. Taking the chance to speak with and reach out to others can help to provide some clarity.
Well, what happens when we receive for instance less than positive feedback? Try anyway.
This process Schroll says takes being vulnerable and authentic, or “being authentically vulnerable.”
Linear Path Myth: Identifying Our Other Selves
‘There is more than one you in there.”
Schroll offers that there is often this myth that there is one clear, linear path and that this belief can be limiting. There are many multiple paths that could be similarly fulfilling. By understanding that there can be multiple paths, it helps to eliminate the myth that there is only one path or passion. By helping others become aware of this limiting belief, just as opening up to others, changing this perspective can open individuals to the possibility of exploring different paths.
So how can one begin to explore their others sides?
One such way is through crafting side projects or side hustle. At Mission Collaborative, this strategy is part of the process. They help others, like myself, to identify what are some potential other pathways and things they may want to try out. And then leap. In other words-go out and practice. The benefit of crafting a side project allows for experimentation without walking away from one’s current situation or having to make a drastic change. In my experience, when I have gone on a search in trying to figure out different options and strategies for getting unstuck or out of a rut or self-care, I run across many stories of people sharing how they left their job, their belongings and set sail across the seas. Well that isn’t the reality for most. By creating a small project that allows for you to test the waters, you’re able to do so within reason.
Besides fearing uprooting one’s life, one of the other challenges Schroll mentions that often holds people back is a lack of urgency. He says this lack of not necessarily having an immediate need for change or something driving that can be debilitating for some. This fear can keep people from taking a risk, getting out of their comfort zone and trying something new. Schroll says, “One must be willing to stop overanalyzing and just start doing it.”
I tend to do this myself-a lot. Questions such as, “What if this doesn’t work?” or “What if people don’t like it?” or “What if it gets slammed?” In these times I should be asking myself well what if none of those things happen? Then I could have missed out on a great opportunity and closed a door that could have led to something quite great. So what does one do? Take a leap of faith. Just do it. Beyond having a lack of urgency, there are other factors that come in to play that hinder individuals from trying something new or even practicing being authentically vulnerable with others. Failure.
‘It was all for nothing!” “I knew it wouldn’t work!” These thoughts can then lead to a very debilitating cycle in which we get down on ourselves, heavily criticize ourselves and can stop us from trying before even beginning. Schroll says there is a misconception that if one tries something out and it doesn’t work then it will be all for nothing. Once again-a myth. You have the ability to walk away if it doesn’t pan out the way you expected. The key is again to just try. No one is ever truly certain that something will work out in a certain manner. We aren’t fortune tellers.
So, how does one get comfortable getting uncomfortable?
Trial and error. In other words, build the muscle. You have to just start. Somewhere. Anywhere. Every little bit counts. Schroll says that while life happens, and we can’t necessarily choose what will happen to you, you can choose how you react to it. Be proactive in being an active participant and intentionally explore the possibilities. In other words, don’t get complacent.
In reaching out, sitting down and writing this all out, this is my attempt. This is me working on that muscle. Making myself sit down at my local Starbucks, opening up the laptop and typing away. Sharing my journey through confusion, analysis paralysis, the highs and all of the lows. And just like that I’ve got a few pages of thoughts, some great insights and many more questions to explore.