There is nothing worse than being stuck in life. The hard part is knowing you’re stuck and not being able to rock back n forth to break free from the mud. Stuck. Let me help push you out with five essential tools that have helped me gain traction.
In the autumn of 1998, I took a mountaineering class near Vail, Colorado. Back then I was a big outdoor girl hence the backpacking trip. This experience was awesome and changed the course of my life. But it also taught me something I didn’t expect.
My group consisted of eight people. The dynamics were a bit of a mishmash…many personalities, many opinions. What more can you ask for? Other than knowing you’ll be with these people for three weeks. During the course, we were given a variety of challenges on top of our normal survival tasks, which weren’t easy. We didn’t have coffee, a tent, or a fire! Filtered water, a tarp to sleep under, and a sleeping bag were what we got. I survived, but SO appreciate the comforts of my home.
A few challenges we embarked on were rock climbing, summiting a 12,500 ft. mountain, and we even learned how to do a survival search n’ rescue. On this particular day, our task was to follow a topographical map and use a compass to get to the next camp. Sounds simple, yet it was to be done without our guide and to not follow a trail. According to our instructors is was a six-hour trip. Easy peasy.
We got this, right?
The day started crisp yet sunny, things were looking good. However, the first snag we ran into, was the group dynamics. During our hike, each person was to take a turn to lead the group. Oh boy. You can only imagine. They should have added a rule for everyone to shut their mouth too! That wasn’t the worst of it though. After five hours into our trek, the sky began to darken. A bit of panic settled into some folks, including me. We’re in the mountains remember. I pointed out the dark clouds and no one said a word. We knew what was coming, we just didn’t know how powerful it would be.
Within minutes rain, hail, and wind pounded our bodies. We thought about stopping but that could cause us to get cold and maybe a little hyperthermic, a ‘no’ on that choice. It was hard to see and hear for that matter. The calm of quietness before the storm was no more. Exhausted from arguments, confusion, and complaining we all wanted to give up and signal our guides to find us. Our backpacks felt like cinder blocks and our feet were wet. We felt stuck. Looking forward looked bleak, and backward no different. We wanted to stay put and give up.
When out of nowhere, someone yelled, “Come on Nina, hot drinks. Christy, dry socks. Seth, spaghetti!” As silly as this sounds, that person was genius. He rocked us from ‘stuck’ to ‘moving forward’, and all it took was a little visionary picture. We pictured ourselves eating a warm meal, sipping hot tea, and wearing dry socks. As we continued to hike, we kept talking about how good the spaghetti was going to taste and how cozy our feet would be in warm dry socks. This picture naturally encouraged us. Our attitudes shifted. We got along, laughed, and grew stronger. Two hours later we made it to camp. Our goal of being cozy became a reality. There was so much relief we made it through.
The power of the mind
Having a picture to focus on pulls us forward to break free from being stuck. The backpacking trip is a small example of what vision can do.
No matter how short or long, having a forward-thinking picture for our future is one of the keys to surviving in this complicated world, most importantly through our personal storms. Why? Because it’s the storms that have the greatest power to derail us, to distract us, and to make us want to quit. Which leads me to share with you how to simplify the process and to prevent being stuck.
5 essential tools to break free from being stuck
- Get focused.
- Take a few minutes each day and think “big picture”. How are your decisions today going to affect tomorrow; and who will it impact? What is the one thing you absolutely want in life?
- Pray about it.
- Ask God to help you see the big picture of your life. Most importantly in the storm, “Help me see beyond this storm. Help me to be strong, focused, and…yes…thankful no matter what.”
- Line your vision up with your values, passions, and strengths.
- Ask yourself these questions: What is important to me? What do I love to do? Values play such a big role in our happiness.
- Talk with someone who understands your big picture or what you’re aiming for.
- Create a vision board or “Big Picture Board”
- There is power in ‘seeing is believing’. This is a fun tool. Here’s a free guide.
Daniel Harkavy says, “Vision defines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will become.” Having vision in a storm will not only get you through it, but it will make you stronger, wiser, and clearer about how to move forward.
This isn’t new news friends. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not put out the Spirit’s fire. Vision is bringing the picture out of our minds and hearts and experiencing it with our senses and neighbors.
Maybe all you need to do to get unstuck is to simplify the picture and aim for one thing at a time. For me, that was dry socks!
By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.