13 Remarkable Pros Share How They Make Their Helpful Next Step When Stuck
Spring is arriving, and this season often inspires hope-infused feelings. However, we can get stuck even during this joyous time. Have you ever felt stuck? When that happens, do you find figuring out your next step challenging? If so, you’re not alone. Grief, life transitions, negative self-talk, fear, procrastination, exhaustion, overwhelm, and lack of information or expertise can prevent forward movement. Next feels elusive.
When I have too many next steps, I get overwhelmed. Instead of doing something, I ruminate about everything I want and need to do. Guess what? I become stuck. Depending upon the situation, I might make a list or chart, talk with a trusted friend, take a walk, or write in my journal. From there, I will take a tiny, doable action step. It’s enough to get me unstuck, build momentum, and journey forward.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re going to love what follows. As you’re about to discover, there is power and relief in planning, listening, reframing, and breathing.
I invited an outstanding group of colleagues to share their personal experiences with you. They describe being stuck and the next step that helped them get unstuck. These generous friends include Alison Nissen, Christine Li, Deb Lee, Diane Quintana, Ellen Delap, Jocelyn Kenner, Jonda Beattie, Julie Bestry, Lana Kitcher, Marcy Stoudt, Sabrina Quairoli, Seana Turner and Yota Schneider.
My deepest gratitude goes to this inspiring group for sharing their time, hearts, and wisdom with us. I asked them to respond to and elaborate on this prompt . . .
Describe a time you felt stuck and the next step you took to move forward.
13 Remarkable Pros Share How They Make Their Next Step When Stuck
1. Next Step: Breathe
“When I get too much in my head, it usually results in feeling stuck. I’m vulnerable when I lounge in bed too long in the morning, dozing in and out of sleep. When this happens, I become captive to swirling thoughts, the effect of which is mental quicksand – the ultimate feeling of being stuck.
I escape the mental quicksand by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths, then thinking about one or more things I am profoundly grateful for and creating a positive affirmation for the day ahead. This resets me, and I can move forward with lightness and positivity.
Jocelyn Kenner – Coach & Professional Organizer
2. Next Step: Plan
“I was losing track of my next steps required by the many projects in which I am involved and also of things I wanted to do for myself & my two businesses. I did two things. I created a weekly plan of the things I wanted to do day by day for my businesses & projects, which I put inside my planner. Then I decided to use the whiteboard in my office to list the tasks for the current day. Doing these two things has helped me get myself back in action and feeling in control.”
Diane Quintana, ICD Master Trainer, CPO-CD®, CPO® – Professional Organizer, Author, Blogger
3. Next Step: Reflect
“In 2012, due to family emergencies and having to travel overseas to care for loved ones, I put my coaching practice on hiatus. Life took its course. Late fall of 2019, I felt the pull and began to contemplate launching my practice again. As I revisited my services and website, I realized that something had changed. I did not want to begin again where I had left off. I had to rethink how I wanted to work with people. I let go of the past, hit pause, and let inspiration come find me. For a good two months, I reflected, wrote, and explored possibilities. At the end of that period, The Art of New Beginnings was born.”
Yota Schneider, Certified Seasons of Change® Master Coach – Life Coach, Retreats Facilitator, Blogger
4. Next Step: Change Viewpoint
“‘Alison, that's not how we do it,’ the voice articulated. The words stung and left me upset.
To stop the fear of becoming stuck when I'm distressed, I cross my eyes and look at my nose. Why, you ask? To remind myself that I can't always see what's right in front of me.
This simple action prompts me to look at a situation from another viewpoint, one without heightened emotions. Irving Berlin once said, ‘Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.’ Standing back to gain perspective is a choice, and it's how I move forward when I'm feeling stuck.”
Alison Nissen, DTM – Co-Founder & Chief Story Officer of Revel Coach
5. Next Step: Listen
“I recently felt stuck after the death of one of my parents. My next step was to pause to focus on my feelings and my family. And to listen for when my brain and heart were ready to start moving forward again. So I turned to my favorite listening activities: walking, cleaning, and organizing. They worked! While I'm not running full steam ahead, I'm in motion. Having my projects and ideas in Evernote made it easy to pick one to work on. Then, that one thing turned into three things. Interesting how it fueled fresh brain sparks. Just what I needed.”
Deb Lee, CPO® – Digital Productivity Coach and Consultant, Evernote Certified Expert
6. Next Step: Stay Open
“I went from teaching special education to becoming a lead teacher. I had high hopes. About a year into that stressful job, I knew that this job was not good for me. I knew I should retire. But I was frightened I would not be able to support myself and also anxious I would get sick if I stayed. I talked to people who had retired and to friends. Fate intervened, and I saw an article about Professional Organizers. I knew I had found my next career. Whenever I need support, I talk to people I trust.”
Jonda S. Beattie, M.Ed – Professional Organizer, Author, Speaker
7. Next Step: Write
“Knowing where to start when contemplating writing a new ebook for one of my blogs has been challenging. But, when I started to write down the points I wanted to make in the ebook, I found that the direction and details came more naturally. Writing things down is how to clear the cloudy fog when stuck. It lightens my energy and allows me to see the steps.”
Sabrina M. Quairoli – Professional Organizer, Blogger
8. Next Step: Check-In
“I love creating content, but perfectionist procrastination over choosing technology sometimes paralyzes my moving from idea to implementation. Once research stops yielding new information, I turn to others for a reality check and catalyst. Years ago, unable to pick a newsletter service, I presented my research and dilemma to a colleague. She encouraged me to pick a particular free trial but also reminded me that whatever I chose, I could always transfer to a different service later — I only had to commit long enough to make forward momentum. You can't edit a blank page; you can't evaluate an untaken step.”
Julie Bestry, CPO® – Certified Professional Organizer, Productivity Specialist, Author, Blogger
9. Next Step: Wander
“When my mind is on a negative repeat loop, and I feel stuck, I love to remove mental clutter. Here's how:
Go outside without any technology and allow your mind to wander.
Once you feel a slight separation from the problem, consider the situation and list everything in and out of your control.
Create two to-do lists:
List 1: What actions can you take to move forward?
List 2: What worries or items are out of your control? Place these on "The Universe's To-Do List."
Taking action is an excellent step towards progress. But, when it's clutter-free - it's a giant leap.”
Marcy Stoudt – CEO of Revel Coach, Founder of Nest by Revel
10. Next Step: Redirect Energy
“I remember a time when I was serving as a volunteer on a committee for an organization that I loved. Over time, I found that my ideas were being discounted, disregarded, and ignored. I felt discouraged and stuck. I finally realized that I was not in control of this situation, and the only way I could move forward was to resign from the committee. I found another way to serve this organization on another committee that allowed me to contribute, and that brought me joy. It turns out my best option was to strike off in a new direction.”
Seana Turner – Professional Organizer, Blogger, Speaker
11. Next Step: Build Team
“In creating an online time management printable for Etsy, I had done my best on Canva and added the final product to Etsy. It was not getting traction and lacked professional product appeal. After a few months, I asked a professional graphic designer to assist. Right away, we partnered on design and marketing. My go-to strategy to get unstuck is to build a bigger team.”
Ellen Delap, CPO® – Certified Professional Organizer
12. Next Step: Shift Mindset
“That period immediately after the birth of my second child, I was in bed, feeling happy but also wondering how I would break out of my long-held pattern of being very, very cluttered. I happened to see a segment on a morning show featuring Marla Cilley, known as ‘The FlyLady,’ and I decided to order her book right then and there.
It turned out her book, Sink Reflections, was a wonderful explanation of how even the most cluttered and distressed person can make a ‘comeback’ into a more orderly and organized existence. It was a great help to me, but what was perhaps even more helpful was my own decision to make a change for the good of my family and myself.
I encourage anyone who might feel in a similar ‘stuck’ spot that there are so many options to try these days. All you need to do is decide to make that shift!”
Dr. Christine Li – Clinical Psychologist, Procrastination Coach, Host of the Make Time for Success Podcast
13. Next Step: Enlist Help
“I became a mom a year ago and was feeling very stuck in my circumstances and my mindset. I had made the decision to reduce my work to part-time and was feeling lost with the transition to motherhood while trying to run my own business as well as a household on many fewer hours and much less sleep. I knew I needed help adjusting, but I wasn't managing to get myself to that point. So I invested in myself by 1) working with Linda and 2) enrolling in a 6-week mindset program. Sometimes you need outside help, new perspectives, and something different to shake you out of a slump.”
Lana Kitcher – Productivity Coach, Small Business Consultant
What was the circumstance last time you felt stuck? What next step moved you forward? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation.
If you feel stuck and want a thought partner, I’m here to help. I love supporting my clients to move forward. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-271-5643, or click the purple “How Can I Help?” button below.How can I help?