Do you feel stuck where you are in your career or life or a project you’re working on? I know this isn’t my typical post about photography or travel but I know that some photographers feel stuck so I wanted to share what helped me.
This past December was hard for me because I was trying to figure out where I wanted to take my photography. I felt stuck in this place of not knowing what to do. I don’t have all the answers yet but there were some things that helped me to get unstuck, think of the possibilities, and move forward.
1. Surround yourself with high energy people
I met and talked with a few friends that are really motivating and I believe we helped each other to see the potential in us. They listened to where I was at and told me some hard truths that only true friends will share with you and whether you want to hear it or not, it helps in the long run. Meet with people who are farther along in the journey than you and can help you get unstuck. You could find a mentor as well that can look at your journey with an outside perspective that you can’t see yourself.
2. Go to a conference or training
I went to a photography conference which was the biggest thing to help me get unstuck. I met a lot of great people and could talk photography with them. Being around people that were in similar situations helped me. I also listened and learned from experts in the field. It was a great experience and got me energized and motivated. I met new people, learned new things and came home with some actionable items to get started on getting out of my funk.
3. Step away from what’s making you stuck
I accepted a part time job to help make money and because I needed to focus on something different for a little bit. Something that wasn’t my business. I’m not saying get a job but find something that can occupy your mind and time for a bit. It’s hard to learn something new and only gets harder as you get older. It has been so good for me to focus on something else for a change and learn something different. New environments will make you think in a different way which may just be what you need to get unstuck.
4. Get uncomfortable
If you want to grow you have to get uncomfortable. When I get uncomfortable I will do everything in my power to learn how to get comfortable with it. I study it, research it and grow to adapt to the new change. Growth is a process of change so start getting uncomfortable to get unstuck. I decided to go to a conference all by myself without knowing anyone. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable this was until I got to my hotel room and everything set it and let me tell you I was super uncomfortable. I love meeting new people but being alone made me really uncomfortable. I ended up meeting a great person there that never would have happened if I stayed in my comfort zone.
5. Change something
One of the reasons you are stuck could be because you are trying to do the same thing in the same way. Change something drastically to make you think differently. That’s what experiments do, they change something (a variable) to see if the outcome is different then before. Pick one thing to change that you know will affect the outcome. What variable can you change that will make you think or act differently? Say your office is always messy and no matter what you try it always seems to get messy after you clean it. You are stuck with always having a messy office. Think about what you can change about your habits. Maybe you always wait until it’s really messy to clean it and it gets overwhelming. Try taking 5 minutes out of every day to pick up your office instead of waiting until it’s super messy. The big change is WHEN you clean your office. You have to be consistent with the change and not go back to old habits which is really hard.
6. Write it down
Sometimes when you write it down and get it out of your head you see it in a different way. Blogging has helped me to get unstuck. I don’t post all my blogs because some of the writing is just for me and helps me process the situation and get unstuck. This can be in different forms too. Write a to-do list, write your goals down, start a journal, get it out of your head and on paper/on your computer. Sometimes we get stuck because we are housing too much stuff in our head and need to get it out to clear our minds a bit.
7. Change your mindset
I like to think I’m a positive person but sometimes I can get down like anybody else. There are some days that I’m just not feeling it. I need to do something to change my mindset but first I have to recognize when I need to change it. If you are feeling down, do something that makes you happy. Try doing something for somebody else. Write a nice note or text to someone. Helping someone else can actually help you. I started a gratitude journal which I don’t write in everyday but when I feel stuck or not motivated I write 3 things that I am grateful for and it shifts my mindset from negative to positive.
8. Start with something small
You don’t have to make a grand plan and accomplish everything in one day. Break it up and start with small tasks and they will add up to bigger changes. Accomplishing the little things will help with getting unstuck slowly but soon you will be unstoppable and want to tackle the bigger and harder things. Maybe the idea of starting a blog is overwhelming because you are looking at it as a whole and you are just stuck there with no blog. Start with writing one blog about anything you want, it doesn’t have to be a theme just start. Then write a second blog and then another until you have 5 blogs. See what they have in common and create a blog based on this topic. Sometimes it’s just about starting, so start with something small and more manageable.
9. Do something or get something you never thought you would
Try something completely new and out of your norm. You need to get unstuck and out of that rut so do something you’ve never done before. This doesn’t have to be something big like skydiving. If you aren’t a plant person, get a plant and be determined to keep it alive for one week, then one month, then a year! I was never really a plant person until my son brought home a succulent plant from school and now my whole kitchen window, patio door and tables around my house are full of succulents.
10. Acknowledge that everything happens for a reason
When something comes your way whether it’s bad or good, there is a reason for it. Recognize when these things happen and see how it can help you move forward when you get stuck. I was in a networking group that only allowed one person per business area and you have to sign up every year to do it. Well another photographer took my spot and I was taken back for a minute but I thought maybe this happened for a reason and I embraced it as a sign to work on something else right now.
11. Stop making excuses and act
Sometimes what's keeping us stuck is making excuses as to why we haven’t done something. Stop making an excuse and just do it. Most of the time you’re going to say why didn’t I just do this to start with. Sometimes you are stuck because you just don’t want to do what you know you need to do. Or you just don’t feel like doing it today, maybe tomorrow. This is a revolving door and will keep you stuck unless you stop making excuses and just do it!
Hopefully one or all of these things can help you get unstuck! Is there anything else that you’ve tried to get unstuck?