When you feel stuck, uninspired, lost and demotivated and you don’t know what to do or how to get out of it start with step one: do not panic. Do not allow feelings of being last in the race, of being lapped and disgraced, or of being the only one not ‘making moves’ to assuage you. It happens. Sometimes you stand still for too long and negative feelings wash over you to the point where you feel like you are drowning. You’re not drowning. Breathe, focus on what is going right and keep the bigger picture in sight. One season of stagnancy will not impact you for life.
It happens – sometimes you start of with a plan, an intention and the much-needed energy for execution and end up running out of steam half way. It happens, sometimes your life goes from being “on track” and “on schedule” to grinding to a halt and looking nothing like you had hoped, planned or anticipated. This happens. The Second Step: acknowledge that this happens. You are not a unique failure for having gone off course, for having stood still and gotten stuck in a moment. You are not the first person this has ever happened to, you probably will not be the last and this probably will not be the only time you experience this. People have lulls; they have periods where productivity and passion are far from their person. You do not need to persecute yourself for this.
In these moments it is easy to want to compare your stagnancy to someone else’s success. Step Three: do not compare your stagnancy to someone else’s success! Comparison for the purposes of guilt tripping, demoralizing or inspiring by negative means is toxic, unproductive, never balanced and never beneficial. It is almost intuitive to talk down on yourself by reminding yourself of what others (without two heads) are achieving while you are sitting still and doing nothing, however this will not help you. I repeat: tearing yourself down will not help you. Lifting others up in a self-derogatory way will not serve you either. If you were going to be motivated solely by the movement of others you would never have stopped moving in the first place. Therefore making the comparison will not inspire you, if anything it will drain you further. So let’s not go down that dark road.
If ever you feel stagnant, lost and confused do not look down at yourself or look around in comparison. Rather look ahead at those who are still moving. Watch them in such a way as to be inspired. They do not have to be doing what you want to do, they do not have to be achieving what you dream of achieving, they just have to be moving in purpose, in passion and towards the fulfillment of their own dreams. That movement shows you that movement is still possible. After all they have their own challenges, their own setbacks and their own battles to fight, but that forward motion proves the possibility of it. When you are ready to get up and go again, you will be reminded that getting up and going again is possible. This is Step Four: get up and go again. No matter how long you have been immobile, you can always proceed to move.
Let those who you see moving inspire the motion in you. There are those around you who embody principles you look up to, watch them and remind yourself that you too can espouse these principles in your own unique way. Do not be intimidated or triggered by progress and success around you. Surround yourself with it. Keep those close who you look up to, who you are inspired by, who you see doing that which you find difficult to do, because they can light a fire under you. They can help you diagnose what is stopping you from moving, they can encourage you to move again. There is always room to move again. Lack of motion and emotion for a season does not mean that movement becomes impossible. It is always possible.
Sometimes people see the gap between what others are doing and what they are not doing as intimidating. It can makes us feel guilty when we see someone working so hard, setting and crushing goals and progressing while we are not doing all we know we should do. This does not have to be the case. After all we all might have seasons where things slow down, where we need mental breaks and where we just have to watch and wait. This does not make anyone better than us and it certainly is not grounds to undervalue ourselves. Instead there are ways to positively embrace this season. What those in motion are doing is worthy of note and can be grounds for inspiration – especially when we are ready to get back to business. The principles of hard work, determination and focus are worthy of emulating.
Rather than be intimidated we can choose to be inspired and channel that inspiration into fueling our own fire. This inspiration can help to get you back on your own path, to resuscitate your own dreams, to implement your own vision. Watching others turn their dreams into their reality can provide the energy, motivation and inspiration to do so yourself. So while you are not moving and not creating keep your eyes open to the motion of others. Do not bury yourself under negative emotions. Catch your breath, allow yourself to do less without the guilt and when you’re ready bring your greatness out from within and present it front and center. Give us all you’ve got, knowing that you’ve got what it takes. Do it in the ways you find healthy, happy and hopeful and do it because your dreams are valid and they are possible.