With a physical illness, the scariest part is knowing things feel off, but not understanding why. Without an understanding of what's behind your discomfort, you feel powerless to improve your situation. Getting a diagnosis is never enjoyable, but there is a sense of relief that you now have a specific cause, and can begin a course of treatment.
The same is true when you feel stuck. When you experience the symptoms, but don't understand the cause, it can feel highly frustrating. If you discover what's behind it however, you will feel more in control because you understand the why, and now can make a choice of whether to seek treatment.
What are some symptoms that might indicate that we're stuck? Below I've listed three of the common ones that I've seen. Read through each description and see if any of them resonate with you. If they do, then it's probable that the the root cause for that symptom is that you're stuck somewhere in your life.
1. From Choice to Bondage
This symptom can be summarized as a feeling of helplessness, often in relation to your job. You started out by choosing into a career or position, but now feel like you have no choice but to stay. Your inner dialog has changed from "I'm here because I want to be" and slowly has become "I'm here because I can't leave as there is nothing else that I could do/there is nothing else that anybody would pay me for/I'm not qualified to do anything else."
The transition from choosing into a career or position, which is a position of power, to feeling like you're staying because you have to, can be a long and subtle one. It is sometimes only when you start to feel dissatisfaction and think about leaving, that you realize this mental shift has happened. You feel like you're now in bondage to it and can't leave, and that makes your dissatisfaction all the more uncomfortable.
Do you feel like you're in a situation that you want to get out of, but don't feel that you can?
2. Yesterday, same as tomorrow
This symptom is when you feel like your life have become routine. When you can't remember what you did last week, or the week before, or the week before. It's all the same. Question: what are you going to do tomorrow? Answer: the same thing you did yesterday. This is a feeling that the only thing in your life that's moving forward, is time.
Do you feel like your life has become routine? That you're struggling to think of the last milestone you've passed through or the last big shift that has happened? Does it feel like your life has flatlined?
3. Words: the ultimate idea trap
Have you had an idea of something you've wanted to do for a while? Perhaps it's to start a new side business, change careers, take up a new hobby, get into shape, or to lose weight. You've talked about it, you've researched it, you've brainstormed, you've told friends about it, you've done everything except actually do it. Your idea has become trapped in your words and needs a way out! This is when you sit back and realize "wow, I've been talking about this for weeks/month/years!", or sometimes worse, your friends or family reflect this back to you.
You're at the starting line, you know the right shoes to wear, the right amount of water to drink, the right pace to set, the right direction to go, you just haven't ever taken a step to actually start the race.
Do you have an idea or dream that's been germinating for so long, that it's started to feel like it's rotting? Do you wonder why so much time has passed and you still haven't acted on it? You can't point at any one thing that's stopping you, you just haven't started for some reason.
If any of these three resonated with you (or perhaps several did), then you know now the cause, which is that you're stuck in some area of your life. The question now becomes, what course of treatment are you going to pursue? Your choices are:
- pain management: you can do things to numb the discomfort such as watch tv, bury yourself in work or family, bounce around with hobbies or social relationships. Basically anything to distract you from those feelings.
- seek a cure: you're tired of these feelings and want to deal with the root cause. You can recognize that what you've been doing thus far hasn't been working, and something needs to change.
Those that choose the second option are the kind of people that are ready for change, and right for a life coaching relationship. They recognize the symptoms, they've identified the cause, and most importantly, they've chosen to seek a cure.