Feeling Stuck? Here’s How to Get Unstuck


Whether it’s your career, relationship or health, feeling stuck is an all-too-common experience. But it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start.

In this issue of CxO, we’ll explore why you feel stuck and how to move forward. We’ll share tips and advice from experts across the C-suite to help you reset, reimagine, and refocus.

A sense of being stuck often stems from a lack of purpose. Having a strong sense of purpose can be your catalyst to change and break free of the status quo.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought forth a new kind of affective exhaustion, one that’s as much a feeling as a physical state of being. As people were forced to stay at home, diminish social interactions, and slash the scale of their everyday mobility, they felt a profound sense of immobility, as if not only their personal life but the very fabric of time itself had come to a standstill. This sense of being stuck, in turn, fueled a surge of anxiety and a latent aggression that surfaced not only in protests and riots but in the more mundane texture of everyday life.

Often, our feelings of being stuck come from doing too many things in too little time. While adding more meaningful activities is a good idea, it’s equally important to take stock of the ones you’re doing and see if you can add some “interstitial moments”—those in-between times for reflection and rest—into your schedule. Research has shown that doing less is often more productive, as it allows for a calmer focus and a more relaxed mindset.

Being stuck can lead to an existential crisis, characterized by the loss of the sense of meaning and purpose in one’s life. This is especially true in situations of high racialization and cultural conflict, as these situations can cause a person to become “fused into a small range of schematic responses, mechanically triggered by typical prompts, impervious to variation and blind to contrary evidence.”

A deep sense of purpose can be your anchor to get unstuck when you feel stuck in an unproductive, unhealthy or even dangerous situation. It can help you regain your composure and refocus on what matters most to you, putting an end to the feeling of being trapped and averting burnout.

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