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Last Updated on October 31, 2018

Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here!

In my 15 years at Lifehack, I’ve come across many concerns and problems that readers have written to me about, in hopes of finding answers and advice. A common one I receive time and again, is readers asking for help on how to get unstuck in life, or how can they stop feeling stuck.

It’s quite a broad question if you think about it. Unstuck in what aspect of your life? And just how stuck are you?

You may be at a point in life where you’ve reached a wall or crossroad, and you don’t know how to progress forward. You don’t know what your next steps are. A total career change? A promotion with more responsibilities you’re not sure you’re ready to take on? Not ready to get married or to have kids? Not sure if you should carry on with your full time job or become a stay home parent to devote your time fully to the kids?

Or have you found yourself in a situation where you just want to get out of it, but can’t seem to? Have you been at this job for 10 years now, and you don’t see yourself progressing and don’t feel challenged at work? Do you not look forward to going to work, yet you can’t find the courage to quit because you’re too comfortable or perhaps afraid? Or are you not sure if you can find something better and if the risk is worth taking? And so you end up putting that thought on hold and on hold and on hold…

How Stuck Are You?

And, there are also different levels of feeling stuck.

Some could be feeling stuck only temporarily, whilst others could be feeling stuck for months or even years. Often, as time passes, the feeling of being stuck intensifies when nothing is being done or changes.

And ultimately, some people end up settling, or just resigning to their fate. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further away.

For others, the feeling of being stuck becomes so unbearable that they have to make changes. They have to get out of the situation, and so they make those life changing decisions in hopes of finally feeling free and unstuck.

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So how is it that we even end up feeling stuck in life? Take some time to recall an instance when you were feeling that way. When you felt trapped and stuck, as if there was absolutely nothing you could do to turn things around, do you know how that happened as you think back now?

Why Do We Feel Stuck?

There are many reasons for why we end up feeling stuck in life. Sometimes, it’s because we’re too afraid of taking risks or making mistakes. We play it so safe that we do end up living ‘risk free’ lives, but they also end up being uneventful or unsatisfying, which leads to us feeling stagnant or stuck.

Here are some common reasons for feeling stuck:

You Don’t Know What You Want

You may feel stuck if you don’t really know what it is that you want in life. You don’t have concrete goals or dreams to work towards.

Even though you may be hustling at work everyday, getting on with your roles and responsibilities, you ultimately don’t feel fulfilled.

There’s always something missing, and so you feel stuck, trying to figure it out.

You’re Not Getting Help

You could also be feeling stuck because you’re not getting enough support or help. You’ve only been relying on yourself to solve problems. After a while, there’s only so much you can do on your own.

You need fresh perspective, advice and support from others; whether they be mentors, counselors and coaches, your elders or loved ones.

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Influence is a good source of inspiration and motivation. If you surround yourself with peers or mentors who have succeeded or achieved goals and dreams in their lives, then you’ll likely be influenced positively.

You’ve Been Chasing the Wrong Objectives

It could just be that you’re feeling stuck because you’ve been giving yourself false objectives. You see what others have and you start comparing.

Your colleague just got a promotion while you’re still at the same spot. Your best friend just got engaged, and here you are, still single with time ticking fast away. Your friends are buying luxury watches, bags and shoes, but you can hardly afford to pay off your credit card bills every month.

Comparing is one of the worst things anyone could ever do, because it often leads to extreme feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

You start questioning your life, and that’s how the feeling of being stuck arises because you don’t feel adequate compared to your peers. You don’t feel as accomplished.

While this may sometimes be a good force to push you towards working harder, it can also become a huge demotivator when the wrong objectives are being compared.

How Do You Get Unstuck?

The list of reasons why we feel stuck in life goes on, but the good news is that it is possible to get out of whatever rut you’re in. It starts with accepting where you are right now and being willing to take a step out of your situation.

Feeling stuck is, only a feelinga state of mind. Which means that it is possible to get out of that feeling once you make necessary changes or actions in your life.

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If you’re feeling stuck because of false objectives or a lack of objectives, then the first thing you can do is to start setting some realistic and achievable goals. Whether it is in relation to your career or personal life, make sure the goals that you think about from here on are meaningful and truly matter to you.

Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

Once you’ve set the right objectives that are true to you, you’ll start to realize that the motivation to achieve them comes much more naturally.

If you’ve been feeling stuck because you’re afraid of even taking a step or risk, then I’d urge you to stop and just take the plunge!

While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to change your life around. Playing it safe doesn’t always mean not taking risks, and stepping out of your comfort zone almost always bring about better changes in a person’s life. Fear should not be seen as a negative thing, in fact it can be a powerful tool to push you towards becoming a better you!

Always remember that you’re never alone. There are so many avenues of getting help and advice these days. Especially in this digital age we live in, we’re more connected than ever before. No matter what area of your life you’re feeling stuck in, chances are, someone’s been through it. So whether it’s talking to your loved ones, seeking professional help, or even going on sites like this, seeking help is a powerful and affirming act. Many people continue to feel stuck often because they never actively ask for help.

The Power of Transformation

Feeling stuck is never a nice situation to be in. Yet more often than not, it is possible to get out of that situation once you’re able to transform your mindset and start taking action.

Whether it’s wanting to get out of an unfulfilling job or toxic relationship, move up the career ladder or find more meaning in life, it is going to require more than one change.

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What do I mean by that?

You don’t just embrace fear as what I’ve mentioned–to quit your job and that’s it, victory! You’re not going to be unstuck just like that. Sure, you may feel a temporary feeling of relief, but if you don’t make other changes in your life, chances are you’re going to end up feeling stuck or trapped again after sometime.

So if you want a lasting change, one that will allow you never to be in a situation of feeling stuck in life again, then you’ll need to master the 7 Cornerstone skills for a total transformation.

These aren’t exactly new skills to you either. You simply just haven’t connected the dots enough or sharpened them deep enough to use them to your advantage. These 7 Cornerstone Skills are what’s going to truly help you get out of your rut no matter what the situation.

Tired of being stuck time and again? It’s time to resolve that permanently and start living out your best days. We’ve got the solution, now will you take that step?

Featured photo credit: Ben Hershey via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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