How To Get Out Of A Standstill
We all experience times in our life where we aren't quite sure what to do. Times when we feel stuck. It may come after a major decision to alter ones life whether moving to a new place, a change in careers or the launching of a creative endeavor. In the time of a standstill we feel lost. Our vision becomes muddled and we might ask, “What are we doing?” During this phase we may feel doubt or even depressed. Being in a standstill is not fun but there’s good news— it is a good sign!
Change is happening. You are growing. Old framework in your life is collapsing and with that, the opportunity to build new framework— better framework— is presenting itself.
Recently we were in a standstill. We asked the question, “What are we doing?” We felt the doubts come in. We had no idea what to do next. I felt a complete lack of creativity and even entertained the idea of shutting the blog down. But we managed to get through it and not only that we are now riding a fresh wave of enthusiasm and creative inspiration as we take action on some new projects. Here are some tips and strategies that not only got us through the standstill but helped us utilize it to its fullest potential.
Step 1: Stop Fighting It
The first step is to make peace with the standstill. At first I fought it; I gave into distractions trying to avoid it. I found myself giving into negative self talk and judgement. You too may find yourself giving into these tendencies. Take a deep breath and accept the situation. Tell yourself, “Its okay if I don't know what to do right now.” Realize that this situation is what it is— a catalyst for growth!
Step 2: Gain Clarity
The next step is to get clear. Find time to go on quiet walks and just be; listen to music that moves you; spend some time in nature or an environment that gives you a sense of peace; severely restrict your time on social media and avoid mindless scrolling down your news feed. Instead, read books that inspire you or develop a meditation practice. If you have no experience with meditation I recommend downloading the free app Headspace. You can enjoy the benefits of mediation in as little as ten minutes a day.
Start journaling or free writing. Free writing is a ‘stream of consciousness’ writing technique where you write anything and everything that comes to you for a given period of time. There’s no wrong way of doing it. When we physically write our thoughts on paper, we force our mind to focus on one thing at a time. With that we start to develop a dialogue with ourselves and the insights we reach can be amazing. Author Julia Cameron prescribes it as ‘The Morning Pages’ in her book The Artist's Way. A great number of successful artists and entrepreneurs swear by it. You can find more info on it here. Do whatever you need to get clear and develop a vision.
One of the best ways to gain clarity is to clean up your environment. It’s amazing how much our external environment affects our internal environment!
Set a donation box aside and assess your belongings. Fill it with items that no longer bring you joy, items that are no longer useful for you. Make your living space a place of comfort and peace. A space that rejuvenates you— that inspires you.
Clean your car out. Make your vehicle a comfortable space that puts you in the right mindset when your'e commuting. If you have a work space or creative space then reassess and declutter that as well.
If you don't have a creative or workspace then figure out a way you can create one. It can be a whole room, a place at a library or cafe, an outdoor space or even a desk in the corner. I recently realized that I was lacking a designated work space and as a result, I was putting important projects off, adding to my standstill.
As you declutter and clean your environment you may very well notice an inner clarity start to emerge. Possessions take energy; they take maintenance; and they take time. By ridding ourselves of unnecessary belongings we create room to have more energy for areas of real interest in our life. The more space we have in our environment the more space we will have for creativity and inspiration. We reward ourselves more time and freedom to do the things that we love, the things that really turn us on in life. It’s often easy to put off our larger callings due to seemingly never ending chores that emerge out of ineffective environments.
Step 3: Take Action!
Now that your environment is (hopefully) cleared up you are probably already feeling much better. During the cleaning process, inspiration and ideas may have even come to you. It’s time now to think about your goals and create clear steps that you can begin to take action on—no matter how small!
List out three goals you wish to accomplish. Then add a list of directives to reach that goal. For example if your goal is to launch your own website by a certain date then your directives could be like this:
- pick a domain name by x
- find a host by y
- learn how create a website by z
And so on and so fourth. By creating specific deadlines we will are less likely to procrastinate getting things done.
In the classic self help book The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz he talks about becoming an “Activist”, someone who is always taking action. He states, “Action feeds and strengthens confidence; inaction of all forms feeds fear. To fight fear, act. To increase fear—wait, putt off postpone.
So build your confidence and start tackling what you have been putting off! Everything from your deepest callings to the little projects you keep postponing.
The more things you start crossing off your list, the more momentum and energy you will start gaining. You may find yourself waking up early, eager to get going on your day. If you do well then congratulations, you are out of your standstill! Run with this energy. Take action. Build new habits. Develop your skills. Conquer your dreams. Keep at it! If you start to feel stuck again at any time, then don't give up. Take a break to refresh yourself, get clear and centered, then try again. Success comes from showing up every day. So don't wait any further— get started now!