A step in the wrong direction is still a step in the right direction if you are stuck.

My TEDx talk turns 1 in 12 days! To celebrate I thought I might share some things I’ve been thinking about since I shared Finding Your Best Next Step

A step in the wrong direction is still a step in the right direction if you are stuck. 

Have you ever felt that feeling of “I don’t know” so deep in your bones that you just couldn’t do anything? It’s a deeply stuck feeling. All decisions feel like overchoice and no choice at the same time. 

This feeling of being stuck is often anchored by a desire to make the “right” choice. But here’s the truth about being stuck: ANY step – even the wrong one solves the problem of being stuck. 

Let’s take an example I’ve been hearing a lot lately: I feel stuck in my job. I don’t like it but I don’t know if I can find something else and I don’t even know what I want to do.  

Our brains finds a problem: We don’t know what we want to do for work.

Our Amygdala (a part of our brain that is charge of keeping us safe and has done a very good job of it up to this point) has a response to this: fear and floods the system with adrenaline and cortisol for good measure. 

From here our whole brain gets to “work” on the problem. Thinking. But this is a big challenge. Your brain isn’t going to process the numerous steps from I feel stuck to finding fulfillment in your current situation or starting a new job all on the inside.

Our brain finds its shortcomings VERY annoying and decides that what we need is more time and maybe snacks to feel safe again. 

And that is when we have our real quicksand moment. We’re thrashing about in the thinking getting ourselves more and more stuck. 

And that’s where we can realize that the problem is not really we don’t know what we want to do for work. That’s not really the problem of the moment. It is perhaps still a problem. But it’s not THIS MOMENTS problem. 

The problem of the moment is that you FEEL stuck. 

And to solve that problem you just have to do SOMETHING. 

Now if your problem is that you are in a deep hole, I don’t recommend picking up a shovel as a Best Next Step. But EVEN if you did pick up the shovel you would feel less stuck than you did the moment before. And who knows maybe you’d figure out you can dig steps into the side of the hole. 

A good place to find your Best Next Step: 

  • What did you do last time you felt this way? Try that again. 
  • Do the opposite of it this time. 
  • Go for a walk. 
  • Ask yourself to imagine what someone else did. 
  • Ask someone what they did. 
  • Consider this important question: How could I explore this question and feel safe? 

Helpful? I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me at [email protected].