Career Map, career transition, choices, clarity, creativity, Forward Momentum, Life Map, Life Mapping, motivation, Psychology of Transition, Roadmap for Life, stuck, transition

Feeling stuck is no fun! It’s frustrating, energy draining, and isolating. Getting relief from the trap and anxiety that accompanies these feelings is critical to your peace of mind and ability to move forward.

In fact, your ability to think and behave creatively is linked to your anxiety and stress level (the higher the stress the lower your creative ability. This can keep you stuck in a potentially endless cycle.

There are various ways we get and stay stuck. Here are a few – let me know if any of these resonate with you or your circumstances:

“Help! There are so many directions to go I don’t know which one to take. I am overwhelmed and frozen with indecision.”

“Help! I can see only one way to move forward and I don’t like my options.”

“I am afraid if I move forward too quickly I will make a mistake. What will others think of me if I fail?”

“I am moving too slowly. All the opportunities will go away if I don’t make a decision, but nothing feels right.”

“I secretly want to take some time, proceed slowly and find my own way in my own time. But, I am afraid that I’m lazy or that others will see me as lazy. Yet, I can’t seem to do anything else.”

The above statements are taken from clients (who have given their permission to be quoted anonymously) who have been stuck in the past or are currently feeling entrenched by their lack of movement.

One of my favorite exercises for helping people to Get Unstuck is called a Life Map.

This activity effectively engages all the ideas, choices, patterns of behavior, action steps and barriers onto one page and brings clarity to any set of life challenges.

To begin, start with a blank canvas or piece of sturdy paper. In the center of the paper draw a circle. In the middle of the circle list your question, concern, block, or any new ideas you would like to investigate.

For example, if you are interested in changing careers but uncertain how to move forward you might put a set of words like “New Career Focus” in the center of the circle. Start with the name and then build a road map stretching out from the center labeling each major crossroad that relates to your discovery process.

Some ideas are:

Getting Started: “What do I need to get started with this process? Or What questions do I need to answer?” Sample questions could be “What is a growth industry?” and “Is this market open to those with transferable skills?”

Resources: “What resources do I need?” List all possible things you can think of; remembering that you are in a germinal or creative phase. You’re not making decisions just exploring your options.

Ideal Situation: This is a place to dream big let yourself feel how it would feel to be doing work you love. An idea such as “Everything falls effortlessly into my lap.” or “I can easily support my family doing work I love” could go into this path on your map. Maybe you wanted for decades to return to school. “I return to school to complete my studies easily. This is a great opportunity to pursue that long held dream”.

Now create a road for Barriers: Questions such as “How do I stay motivated everyday when I’m feeling frustrated or discouraged?” listing all the ways you could intrude on those thoughts and feelings or concerns about the economy; “Will the economy support my dreams for the future?” Even age related barriers. “Am I too old? What careers value experience and wisdom?”

Next create a road called Action Steps: “Do I need to conduct further research or find an accountability partner? Take time to explore what others are doing? Or set up informational interviews with those who have completed midlife career shifts?”

These are just a few examples of questions and ways to structure your Life Map. This process can be used over and over again to help you logically, yet creatively explore, assess and fine tune any areas that feel stuck in your life or need to be nudged out of lethargy.

I would love to hear how this idea worked for you and what experiences you have when working with a Life Mapping process.

Let’s hear from you!