It was 2013. I’d just had my second child. It has been a tough pregnancy; the pelvic girdle pain had been a lot to bare. I’d lost my grandmother months before and my father had just been diagnosed with cancer. My newborn was unsettled and whined all day long, at night he woke every few hours.
Beyond the baby that was impossible to feed, a rambunctious toddler I was in constant worry about my job still being there when I got back from maternity leave. Though I’d been feeling stale in my role I was too scared to go for anything else.
I was feeling anxious, low in mood, feeling like my life was a treadmill going nowhere. Felt I had lost my excitement about life, all the dreams I’d had seemed to have died. I felt frustrated, I felt stuck in life, like there was more but just didn’t know to access it.
Somehow listening to health podcasts led me to discovering my first self development podcast The Chalene show by Chalene Johnson. This turned everything upside down!
I started to listen and read self development books, and along with my faith and CBT I started to turn a corner. The CBT helped me with noticing and challenging negative thought patterns as well as in the moment techniques to deal with stressful situations.
The CBT alone wasn’t enough as it helped me deal with current but not the future or one of the underlining causes to my negative outlook. I realised that I wasn’t living my life in line with values or the picture in my head of how I envisioned parenting my children.
I knew I needed a dream for my life, one so strong, so exciting, so vivid that it would propel me forward, push me out of my comfort zone and take brave steps forward when anxiety sought to hold me captive.
Over the year to come I got so clear on what I wanted from life, what my values were, and how I wanted to impact others through my gifts and personal story. In the last few years I went for my dream job, realised it wasn’t my dream anymore, found work that fit in with my lifestyle, started a business that failed but got over to get to where I am now on my passion project Called Out Living
Over at Called Out Living I serve other women that feel stuck in life, who got fed up of treading the path they had set themselves at 18, women who want change and want to bring more and be more but need the tools and guidance. I create printable and physical products that help you go from feeling stuck in life to getting clarity, defining your values and dreaming big again.
The most important thing that helped me get unstuck in life was to start to dream again. When you were a child it was so easy wasn’t it? “I want to be a princess!! “I want to be an artist!” Your dreams changed all the time, from big audacious ones of being a world class popstar to the small of getting 10/10 on your spelling test. So, what happened as you grew up?
We slowly start letting our dreams die. Grow up, we become ‘realistic’ we get told to ‘keep our feet on the ground’ well meaning protective loved ones may say “don’t put your eggs in one basket”. We want to feel accepted, we try to conform. The failures we experience along the way start to build up and wear away at us.
Grab a pen and paper, give yourself half an hour and sit with your thoughts and feelings. Remember all the things that used to light you up, what brings you joy? What makes you excited? And what leaves you feeling good? What made you proud? What makes you feel like you’re contributing? Jot down any thoughts, don’t censor them, just let them flow on the paper.
Imagine that you have all the money in the world, you have any resource needed at your disposal and the confidence to boot. What would you be doing? How would you spend your life? What would you do for work? Write it all down, don’t worry about the how, what and when. Just let those ideas to start to flow. If you haven’t ever done this, you could find it hard but persist. Make a habit to do it regularly. As you start to re-dream it gets easier and you see ideas and possibilities where you once saw grey clouds.
The second thing that helped me stop feeling stuck in life was to think about what is important to me. I want you to do the same. What are your values? How do you want to live life, parent? How do you want to show up in your romantic relationship? It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, strive to achieve the standards set by the world but it won’t bring us true happiness or fulfilment. It won’t make the most of our unique gifts and talents if we’re trying to be someone else and live in a way to make other people happy.
Get that piece of paper out again and write down the values that you feel connected to. Is it security or adventure? Familiarity or spontaneity? Understanding what your values are will help you make key life decisions. A well paid job with long hours won’t be a good fit if you value personal time, when you know your values it will be easier to navigate life.
So, you’ve got your list of dreams and you’ve dug down into your values. The next step to stop feeling stuck in life is to create a plan. You know your big dreams but how do you go about achieving them? How do we turn them from just that to a reality?
Start to work your way back from your end goal, work backwards plotting down on paper all the steps needed. For each step further break that down. What can be achieved in a year? In a quarter? A month? A week? A day? Keep breaking them down until you have a clear plan set for your next 90 days. Working in 90 day sprints helps keep focus and momentum. Review your plans and action regularly. Change direction if needed, learn from mistakes, find creative solutions to challenges. What ever you do, just don’t give up! Take small but consistent steps forward. Even just one action a day equals 365 actions in a year, build on that over time and in a decade that would be 3650 actions towards your goal. If you keep doing that you’re going to get there eventually!
Ultimately, it’s a decision to stop feeling stuck in life. It’s a decision to take the steps above, or read a self development book or discover your big reason “Why” I’m sure that if you dig into those inner dreams, define your values and create a plan you’ll go from feeling stuck to feeling passionate and purposeful!
Are you ready to take control of your life and feel free from anxiety? Its time to build your confidence and live the life you deserve. Get all the support and resources you need in one place with the Mindset Mastery. Click here to read more.
Chi is passionate about helping other women get unstuck in life. She shares her personal story as well as tools and exercises that can help you rediscover your dreams, get clarity and fight against fear to make your goals become reality. Visit the Called Out Living website to connect with Chisomo.
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