What it's really like to go from stuck to lit up - a 10 step journey
Updated: Sep 27
January is just around the corner. And I’m sure it’s got many of you thinking about fresh starts and New Year’s resolutions.
But changing what you do for a living, pursuing a new passion or really giving your side hustle all you’ve got are big, intimidating changes. Arguably more so than trying to make it to the gym more often or cutting sweets from your diet - but I’m biased.
So if you’re thinking of making 2020 the year that you really go for it, but you’re feeling overwhelmed and have no idea where to start, I’ve broken down the process into steps.
BUT the steps listed below aren’t prescriptive. They’re not a map you can follow because there is no prescription for getting from stuck to living a life that lights you up. We are all unique individuals living different realities.
These steps simply serve as an example of what you can expect if you are headed down the road of transformation, based on my own and typical clients’ journeys.
Reading them, you can decide for yourself if you’ve got the guts, stamina, and most importantly the desire to hurtle yourself forward through all of them this (woops NEXT!) year. If they look intimidating, I promise you the discomfort of making a change is a 100 times better than the discomfort of spending 2020 stuck in the same life you lived in 2019.
And if you’re curious about any of it, hop on a free consult with me to find out what these steps might look like for you (or you can read about my 4-step process in the Your Next Move package). You can do this, and I’m here to help.
Step 1. Unhappiness - otherwise known as feeling “bleh”
Even those of you who work in a field related to your degree, or who genuinely like your coworkers or who don’t completely hate what you’re doing, there is still something deep down that won’t quit whispering there has got to be more to life than this.
Even when I liked my jobs and the work I was doing, I still felt frustrated.
Frustrated at the lack of meaning I got from what should’ve been meaningful work, at the absence of any lasting impact from my work, at having to tone down my strengths in order to fit in at work, at the boredom that resulted from doing the same thing all day every day.
This phase can drag on for a while. It takes a lot of misery to tip the scales in favour of change over status quo.
Step 2. Denial
This is a stage familiar to so many of us. It’s a comfortable place to hang out because we don’t have to face reality, we can just complain about it.
This stage is characterized by victim thinking, which includes thoughts like: “I’m stuck,” “I have no other choice,” “If only XYZ were different,” “If only she/he were different …”
Victim thinking and your limiting beliefs about what’s possible keep you trapped and make you believe there’s no way out.
For me in this phase, I saw very few solutions available to me and talked myself out of all of them. I scrolled job postings and talked myself out of applying. I applied for internal transfers that wouldn’t have really fixed the problem anyway and when I didn’t get an offer, my victim thinking intensified.
Step 3. Burnout
When you’re miserable 5 days out of 7, it doesn’t take many other life stressors to put you over the edge.
When other things in life get hard and you still have to go to work, you only feel worse.
At this point in my journey, I had to take a leave from work.
The benefit to burn out is that it forces you to slow down, which can actually be helpful in finding the clarity and motivation to change things once and for all.
I really hope this doesn’t happen to you, because it can be avoided but if it does, I hope it’s a turning point.
Step 4. Ready to make a change but full of excuses
At this point in the journey, the pain of status quo has finally outweighed the risk/pain/fear/discomfort of making a change.
But you still might be finding yourself making excuses like: I don’t have time, nothing else I could do would work, I don’t have the right training for other things, etc.
Money and time were my major blocks at this stage. I knew something had to change but I was still so blocked and stuck that I couldn’t figure out how to get past the fact that I thought I needed an equally lucrative salary to the one I was making and I was adamant that I didn’t have the time to even explore other options.
Step 5. Inner reflection
When you’re stuck, the best thing to do is turn inwards to see what answers lie within your (because if the answers exist out there in the world, wouldn’t they be easier to find?)
I journalled, read self-help books, questioned the meaning of life and my place in it. But I also started really trying to think through what other career options might be viable for me, doing my best to think outside the box.
I needed help thinking outside my own box though and a few books that helped were You are a Badass and Born for This.
Step 6. Faith/surrender
I never considered myself a spiritual person. I was 100% convinced that it was me and only me (along with each and every one of us individually) that was in charge of my destiny.
But the belief that I was in complete control of all outcomes of my life made it so that it was all up to me to figure things out and because I couldn’t figure things out, I was defeated.
The second I learned how to let go and hand full trust over to the Universe, I became convinced of my inevitable future success. The Universe Has Your Back book really helped as did some powerful therapeutic experiences closely following my second miscarriage.
But even if you’re not a spiritual person and can’t quite understand how to mentally get to a place of faith, you can think of it in this simple way:
Do you want to believe that everything will work out for the best and that you WILL absolutely have what you desire?
Or do you want to believe that nothing will ever work out, change is too risky, and only the strongest survive?
Which belief serves you better? YOU get to choose.
Step 7. A leap of faith
This is where you start to get a sense for what you’re really meant to be doing and instead of shying away from it and getting scared, you walk towards it.
For me this is where my inner work paid off and the idea of becoming a life coaching came to me. I could’ve sat at home and spent a lot of time thinking about it but if I had, it’s likely I would’ve talked myself out of it.
Instead, I decided to go for it. It wasn’t cheap and required a big commitment of time and energy but I did it anyway. I was finally ready to make things happen.
Step 8. Doubts & Mindset Shifts
The moment you take a leap of faith, doubts and fears enter your mind. Was the program worth the time and money? Do life coaches even make money?! Can I really do this?
But thanks to my coach training and working with peer coaches, I was able to practice some mindset shifts around success, money, gratitude, living in the moment and perspective.
This is required in order to overcome those powerful doubts, otherwise you might give up and turn around just to avoid the fear and discomfort (but you’ve come so far, so please don’t turn back now!)
Step 9. Another leap of faith
You will continue to be confronted with opportunities to go for it, put yourself out there and walk the talk.
For me, I had to make another huge leap when I chose to leave my permanent, full-time job to do what I knew I was meant to do and which made me feel alive and fulfilled.
Step 10. Small steps, good habits, gratitude, more faith and surrender
The journey continues. Your fears return over and over. All you can do is continue moving forward, taking small steps and focusing on what’s right in front of you.
I personally work with a coach regularly and consider habits I can change or implement to support me in staying open, loving, positive, receptive and healthy. I continue to practice the belief that I can have all that I desire.
Practically, that looks like working part-time in an awesome job I love for a community-based organization where I get to use my degrees and work experience, freelance writing, teaching Applied Suicide Fist Aid Intervention Skills workshops, running Maek it Happen, coaching groups and 1:1 clients and generally being very intentional and planful about when and what I do with my time. I love waking up every day (I'm sorry if that makes you want to barf) and I have conscious but spontaneous feelings of gratitude everyday for my life and my changed mindset.
If you have any questions about my journey or about what yours might look like and the fears or excitement you have around it, consider a mini session to Get Unstuck. Book it here