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  • Writer's pictureA D Ackerman

Yes, Indeed, You Are Stuck

young boy ponders next move on a chess board
copyright © Alice D Ackerman, 2021, all rights reserved

But the question is how are you stuck? What is making you stay stuck? How will you get unstuck? In fact, how do you know that you really are stuck?

"I'm stuck" is a common reason that my clients say they were motivated to find a coach. But for everyone I coach, the type and level of "stuckness" varies.

Some feel like they are behind the bars of a jail imposed by their environment or situation. Others recognize that they are unable to move in the direction of their choice because of fear of the unknown. For others, it is a sense of not being "good enough" to reach their desired destination. Still others may not have identified being stuck on their own, but are responding to something told to them by a friend or family member: "Gee, Bob, you really SHOULD be making more progress toward a promotion." But what if Bob doesn't want a promotion?

Are you stuck at the bottom of the hill, because it's too hard, or it seems like it will be too hard to climb all the way to the top? Or are you stuck at the top of the mountain, because you get dizzy every time you think about making the jump to the next level, or you are afraid of falling back down to the bottom?

Or are you like the child in the photo above, staring at the chessboard, feeling as though there are no safe options for a next move?

So, what does being stuck really mean? And what exactly can you do about it?

I am afraid I cannot tell you exactly what being stuck means to you because, as you have seen, there are so many possibilities, and what being stuck means to you and for you is not exactly the same as it is for anyone else.

But I can tell you that the feeling of being stuck is most likely related to a fear that you may or may not have recognized and/or acknowledged. You want something that seems out of reach; like the ring on the outside of the carousel, you can't quite grasp it. The other thing I can tell you is that most likely your feeling of being stuck is caused by a biased way of thinking. You are not seeing with the clarity you desire and deserve. Your habits of subconscious thought create stories in your mind that control your decision-making, and stop you from being able to make conscious choices to create value for yourself or others, and instead, lead to reactions that feed into your fears, feelings of unworthiness, lack of confidence, or the dreaded "impostor syndrome."

The process of getting un-stuck requires you to develop clarity, make a choice, and take an action. You do not need to take a big leap all at once; just a small "baby step" can initiate the momentum you need to start moving in the direction toward your goal. But that means that you have to have a goal. And, just because the first step may be small, doesn't mean it is going to be easy. Like the child and the chess board, your thinking may need to evolve over time to allow you to envision the broad range of options that are available for your next move.

While discussing this topic with some coach colleagues, they helped me to see that being stuck is the equivalent of having a scarcity mindset; where there is no apparent opportunity or choice, and as we discussed in my last post changing your mindset might require you to change your focus. So, how do you do that?

One of the best ways to open your mind to new options, opportunities, possibilities, is to ask it questions. Here are some you might consider:

  1. What do I know to be true about the current situation? [This allows you to check on those stories your mind has been telling you, and see whether they are true]

  2. What don't I know about the situation in which I believe myself to be stuck? [which then feeds into #3]

  3. What do I need to know?

  4. Where do I need more clarity?

  5. Is there someone I could ask, to help me get more clear on what's going on? [Getting another perspective]

  6. What experiment could I do to see what possibilities truly exist? [This would involve taking a tiny action to "test" the proverbial waters]

By asking questions, and by being genuinely curious, a new perspective may evolve. Just by opening your mind to the possibility that you may not be seeing with clarity, you may start to see with clarity. The mind is funny like that; sometimes what we have held as an absolute truth due to our old habits, which likely evolved to protect us from harm but now are not helping us one bit, begin to fade once their "tricks" are exposed.

Just as with so much else in our lives, this sounds simple, and it can be, but it is not easy. It requires the willingness, and the courage to move out of the old comfort of being in your stuck place, and into a new place which is generally uncomfortable. It helps to have a clear picture in your mind of where you want to go, how you want to feel, and what being "un-stuck" looks like. You need to see the value in being un-stuck. And that value has to be greater than the value your mind has convinced you comes from staying in the stuck place. [See this post if you want to read more about value and value creation.]

Let me know if I can help. Let me know your thoughts about being stuck, and what methods you have found help you get un-stuck. Your comments will help everyone on their journey to mastery of their own lives. Everyone is welcome here.


Thanks for reading. I value your time and am honored you chose to spend the last few minutes reading this post. I hope it provided value for you. If so, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might also find it of value.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below, come find me on Twitter or LinkedIn, or Clubhouse. Or send me an email at

To add more value to your life ask yourself this question every day: What choice can I make and action can I take in this moment to create the greatest net value? Then take the free VQ (value quotient) assessment to start your journey with Axiogenics, and learn how to consistently play your "A" game [and get unstuck].



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