Feeling Stuck? Try Stepping Back

When change isn't happening, maybe it's time to step back and soften your stance.

We all have frustrating moments—times when we really want something to happen and it just won’t budge.

So we keep trying. But when it still feels like nothing is happening, the more we try; and then when things don’t change, we just feel worse—especially when we’ve been patient… or at least thinking we’ve been patient.

It’s like getting your car stuck in wet, thick mud. The more you try to get out, the more your wheels spin and dig you deeper in the ground.

Sometimes life feels like that. We try and try, but end up only digging ourselves in deeper into frustration or disappointment.

So what’s the solution? Without some sort of assistance—which sometimes we find and sometimes we don’t—we’re left to figure this out on our own.

How about walking away? At least, for the time being.

What?! That seems counterintuitive. Why don’t we just try harder?

If we’re truly stuck in the muck, we may need to wait for a change in state—a transformation. Sometimes we need to walk away from the problem and wait for conditions to change.

In the mud example, what happens after a storm passes? The sun comes out and dries up the moisture and the mud eventually solidifies.

But you’ve got to give it time. And time requires patience.

Ah, yes. That patience word again. Yep.

If we can walk away from the car and come back at a later time, the mud dries and transforms into clay. Then we can just put the car in gear and drive out.

Applying this metaphor to my life has given me powerful results. When I stopped trying so hard to make something happen and softened my stance, a transformation takes place. Then when I come back to the issue, a solution comes more easily.

What would happen if you applied this example to areas of your life? Try it. Step back and see what happens.

You might find things begin to transform on their own. And then perhaps then you can “drive out of the muck” and get back on the road of your life.

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a career coach, best-selling author, and founder of The White Box Club™—live coaching and resources for people in career transition. Find his syndicated blogs on Thrive Global, Medium, and The Huffington Post. Learn more at

Looking for clarity? Download the Personal Priority Grid™ clarity tool. After you’ve completed your grid, schedule a FREE 30-minute call with Michael. It’s your time to shine!


The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.