How to Stay Stuck

I coached a client a few weeks ago who was not feeling well.  She had respiratory issues and had been sniffing and coughing for 2 weeks.  During our coaching, it really didn’t matter what question I asked, everything came back to how sick she was.

She believed there was nothing (nothing!) she could do to move forward until she was in perfect health.


Granted, it’s hard to be optimistic when your energy is low, but that little pity party reminded me of all the ways we keep ourselves stuck. We are masters!

Here are a few tools that are especially effective:

Have a pity party.  Feel sorry for yourself.  Often.  Remind yourself constantly of your circumstances and how unfair life is.  Keep your focus only on yourself and your lack so you guarantee that you get more… lack.

That will give you plenty to whine about and you won’t need to bother with things like synchronicity and serendipity.  Heck, you won’t even see them!

For a real party, surround yourself with friends that agree with you.  They will be inspired to add their own grievances.  Meet together often.  For a booster, add alcohol.

Sabotage your own efforts.  When I was planning my retirement from the day job, I paid off all my credit cards.  At the same time, I was rebuilding my coaching practice and developed The Unmarked Path as a product line.  I met a service provider at a conference who promised to help me launch my book and manage my marketing efforts for only $1000/month.  Since my business wasn’t making enough to cover that – yet – I put it on my credit card.

After 10 months of this, I felt steamrolled and had lost control of my business.  So, I fired them.  And then retired with $10,000 in debt and no strategy.  That’s what self-sabotage looks like.  It is incredibly effective.

Obsess over things you can’t control.  Weather events.  Catastrophes.  Family members.  Election results.  The list of things we can’t control goes on and on and provides many excellent opportunities to worry.

Control of anything outside of us is a delusion, so first of all, definitely believe that you have control.  Then, while your mind is focused on things you can’t influence, you won’t have the brain space to focus on fulfilling your own needs and desires (which is the only thing you can control).

Replay past events ad nauseum and regret your choices.  The notion of “what’s done is done” is for wimps – if you’re going to think about your past decisions, you need to suffer.  Stay focused on mistakes and how awful things turned out.  Remind yourself often.

This is the perfect way to stay stuck because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the past.   That credit card debt provided many hours of excruciating regret.

Never get sidetracked by gratitude.  Gratitude is just woo woo.  Stay focused on concrete facts and never deviate, never speculate and, above all, never appreciate.  You do not want to get sidetracked from your efforts to stay stuck!

Staying stuck is our cultural norm, so I hope you’ll take advantage of these time-tested tools.  You can then feel safe while you’re stuck in a small place with soft lining, rounded edges, and dim lights.

In that safe stuck place, taking a risk is not allowed.  You see, risk leads to growth, and if you grow, then you’re not stuck.  Just don’t go there.

Good luck.

4 Replies to "How to Stay Stuck"

  • Gaye
    June 7, 2018 (7:06 pm)

    Yep! That’ll do it!

    • Debra
      June 7, 2018 (10:09 pm)

      LOL! Thanks Gaye! 😀

  • Joann Thomas
    June 7, 2018 (8:03 pm)

    Thank you…I heard something recently that I like. Instead of saying I have to…followed by something you don’t want to do, say I get to …clean out the garage…I have a garage and a car to put in it and a creative workshop for my new fun creations…changes the feeling for me. Makes me feel grateful!!

    • Debra
      June 7, 2018 (10:08 pm)

      I love this Joann! “I get to” makes it sound like cleaning the garage is a party! I’m going to try that!

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