Burnt out, stalled, demotivated, demoralised, feeling stuck in the routine, overwhelmed, simply lost in life and work. A lot of us feel or have felt that way. Me too.
It can be extremely hard to handle such moments as we get bombarded with motivational quotes, success stories, easy fix solutions that never seem to help us but also as we are faced with our own realities – bills, limitations, commitments and obligations.
Having been in such place and worked with people who are, I can offer these 3 tips that you may want to try.
One of the most difficult thing to advise (and do!) is to pause and stand still. It’s natural to want to move, run, rush and get out of the place we are now, but remember that such rushed decisions, choices and steps rarely produce sustainable and positive results. Visualise walking in the shallow water in the sea – as you move your legs faster, the water and sand mix, preventing you from seeing the clear water, shallow seabed, fish and all beautiful sea formations. Only when you stand still, are you able to see all of that, clearly.
I know it’s hard to do it in everyday life, so take small steps. Few minutes a day, however works for you- in silence, or with favourite piece of music, on your way to work, or when doing laundry. Switch off, and focus on you. Ask yourself what you really want, what frustrates you, prevents you from moving and simply note it down. Don’t be afraid to be bold, but most of all, be honest with yourself, and acknowledge those feelings emotions and thoughts. Nobody needs to see those notes. But they will help you gain clarity of what’s really going on.
The most difficult part for most of us. To connect with others and start talking. Yes, it can be a coach, but it may also be your mentor, work colleague, relative, friend, family member or anybody else you trust.
I know how hard it is to reach out and share. It took me years of suffering in silence to finally say “I struggle. Can you help me?’. I can assure you that once you start doing that, you will discover that others can help you by asking questions, sharing their ideas, suggesting new solutions and connecting you with other people. You will also discover that you are not alone.
Start simple, start small, with somebody you trust and share the thoughts you are comfortable sharing.
I know that we feel fear, shame and anxiety, which is perfectly natural, but I know that reaching out is an act of pure courage and strength. These conversations will help you gain confidence talking about your challenges and build support system to help you through this rough patch.
Once you have some clarity and ideas and start building your support system and getting connected with new people, you will realise that some of your original ideas have evolved, fears have not materialised and you can see opportunities you never saw as your focus was narrowed and often blurred by your situation and state of mind. Yes, some people may not react as we expected. Yes, some issues may not resolve as smoothly as we would hope. But focus on the positives, pay attention to little signs of progress and acknowledge them and build on them. That way, you start ‘walking attentively’ away from the place of challenge. Moving away and being very aware of new developments let you gain new clarity, new confidence and sense of control to shape your story. Just as we stood still in the water, now we walk slowly, admiring the seabed, little fish and seashells in the water.
Struggle, in any form, can be scary and overwhelming moment in life. It is important to find its source and reach out to other people. That is the moment when we can let others hold our hand and simply say ‘I see you, I hear you’, and that alone is a place of courage which will set you on a path to finding better life and new You.