Ep #15: How to Get Unstuck

Are you feeling “stuck” on the path to achieving your goals? Are you blaming your job, your spouse, your finances, or something else that is outside of your control for making you stuck? If you are, I have some tough news for you, friend: Trying to change a circumstance without doing the real work I’m talking about today will only lead to the same frustration in a new surrounding.

Today’s episode is the next step in getting that dream life you really want. You have to move past the “reasons” you believe are keeping you stuck and focus on the one thing that is actually keeping you stuck: your thoughts. Good news? We get to choose every thought and, ultimately, every action we take or don’t take and therefore every result we get or don’t get.

Listen, I don’t want ya’ll to be stuck when you could be experiencing a whole lot of goodness instead!  So join me today as I share how to question the thoughts that are keeping you stuck and why, no matter what you think about yourself, you’ll always be right.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The one thing that makes us stuck.
  • Tobi’s Top 10 “Reasons” People Get Stuck.
  • Why changing your circumstances alone won’t get you unstuck.
  • Why no matter what you think about yourself, you’re right.
  • The role of action in the process of getting unstuck.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:


You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 15.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here is your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey friends, we are smack in the middle of summer in Arkansas, and that means it’s crazy hot here. But the good news, the really good news at least for me is that it’s yummy watermelon and tomato season. My two favorite foods. So good.

You know, my daughter just turned – literally, like a week ago, just turned 13. And it’s so funny because every time I think of watermelon and tomatoes, which is every summer, I think of when I was pregnant with her and the only two foods I craved my whole pregnancy were watermelon and tomatoes.

And my poor husband who doesn’t like either of them had to constantly head to the store to get more of them but the problem was she was born June 23rd. So pretty much my entire pregnancy was not watermelon and tomato season, which was a problem. Okay, anyway, you know, Arkansas summers, they’re good, enough watermelon talk.

Today, I want to talk about something way more important than watermelons. And that’s how to get unstuck. I think way too many people stay stuck in their lives not making progress towards their goals, and not believing they know why or what to do about it. And I don’t want y’all to be those people who are stuck when you could be experiencing a whole lot of goodness instead.

So why are you stuck? Well, I’m a big goal setter, personally, and I used to get stuck because I would set a whole lot of goals at once and that was really easy to get stuck because I had too many competing goals and desires and priorities. So right off the bat, if you’re attempting to do too many things at once, go back and listen to my podcast number six, I think it is, that’s called One Key Goal at a Time and that’s going to help you get unstuck from this problem of moving forward with too many things at once. And it’ll help you just pick one – the one most important thing and if you do that and achieve it, it’s going to make a whole bunch of other stuff obsolete.

So that could be one thing you could to do get unstuck. But that’s not the only reason people get stuck. All the reasons we get stuck and stay stuck actually are mindset problems. And you’re not going to think they are. You’re going to think your problems are your circumstances, you’re going to think that it’s your job, or your clients, or your vendors, or your family, or your finances, or where you live, or your spouse, or the economy, or your target audience, or the price of your services, or some other reason because there’s a million. And it’s going to be something that’s outside of your control or at least it’s going to seem like it’s something outside of your control that’s making you stuck.

But there is only ever one thing that is making us stuck, including in the situation I had that I mentioned before about me having too many goals, and that one thing that always makes us stuck, always every single time is our thoughts. It’s always, always, always our thoughts. Even when we think it’s not our thoughts, even when we don’t see how it could be our thoughts, even when we want to blame something else, it’s still our own thoughts that keep us from moving forward.

And we often call those thoughts when we’re talking to our self about them and about why we’re stuck, we call them the reasons, right? The reasons we’re stuck. And again, they feel like they are this thing outside of us, these reasons outside of us. And we think we’re just making observations about our lives when we say these things that are making us stuck, right? It’s these things that are like, they’re just happening to us.

But consciously or not, we are actually choosing every thought and ultimately because of that, every action that we take or don’t take. So therefore, we’re choosing every result we get or don’t get, whether we know it or not. So I think there are about 10 main things that are these reasons, which are really just thoughts, of course, that we practice and that keep us stuck.

So let’s look at those now and see if you can identify with what’s tripping you up from this list, and then we’ll figure out how to get you moving forward again. So let’s call these Tobi’s Top 10 Reasons People Get Stuck. And I didn’t come up with all these, you’re going to see what I mean. But these are the things that I – when I made a list of why people get stuck, there’s 10 things that I think are the main things.

So number one is a scarcity mindset. I’m going to talk about this more later in today’s podcast, and I’m probably going to do a whole podcast really soon just on this topic because it’s a huge epidemic we have. So scarcity mindset.

Number two, confidence issues. So that’s the I don’t believe in myself, I can’t depend on myself, I’m not good at this, all the stuff around confidence. Those are one of the reasons we stay stuck.

Number three, we keep doing what we’ve always done. We don’t innovate. We just keep doing it and you know what it’s called when you keep doing the same thing and want a different result, right? Yeah, insanity. So it’s that. That’s number three.

Number four, we consume information but we don’t use it. So are you a consumer but a person who’s not taking action? That’s the fourth reason that you stay stuck.

Number five, you play the blame game. So that means you don’t take responsibility. You blame people, you blame a lack of resources or money, you blame – whatever it is you blame, it’s the reason you’re stuck is that it’s not your fault. So the blame game.

Number six, general negativity. So every time you try to get unstuck and you try to think of all these reasons, really what you come up with is all the reasons why any and every option that comes to your mind or that someone else suggests to you won’t work. None of them will work because there’s no possible way that anything you could think of is going to move you out of being stuck. So that’s general negativity.

Number seven, waiting to see the whole path before you take the first step. How many of you are like that? You’re like, well I would get unstuck but I can only think of one step and I really need to see every single step that’s going to get me exactly to my goal perfectly before I take the first one because I don’t want to make any mistakes. Well, it doesn’t work that way, does it? We can see all the steps in hindsight but we can never see all the right steps moving forward. But if you’re thinking you need to, then you’re number seven. You’re waiting to see the whole path before you take the first step.

Number eight, comparing yourself to others. And I’ve talked about this on other podcasts, and this really relates a lot to the scarcity mindset because you’re looking at others and what they have and you’re thinking, what I have isn’t enough. Whether it’s the money I have isn’t enough to get me unstuck, the skillset I have is not enough, the education I have is not enough, so that comparison is a huge, huge reason to keep you stuck.

Number nine, the not being present reason. And that’s the reason I had when I was taking on all those things at once, like way too many goals. I couldn’t be present to move forward. I could get completely overwhelmed and be thinking about the future and all the things that I was supposed to be doing moving forward, and I wasn’t present. And you can only take action right now, today, in today, in this moment. So if you’re not present, you’re going to get stuck.

And then number 10, hiding from problems. So you know you have problems, there’s really – you kind of already know the solution, at least several of the steps. But it seems like it’s going to be super painful so you just are like that ostrich and you stick your head in the sand and you pretend like you don’t have them, which would have been a lot faster and easier just to fix the problems and move forward but we don’t. We stay stuck because of them because fixing them is scary, right? Scary and painful.

Okay, so before we go any further, here’s what you should know. Your being stuck isn’t because of a thing you should change, other than your thoughts. So here’s the reason. If you change a thing like quit your job, or change industries, or change your fee, your pricing for your business, or you get a divorce, or you move to a new city, or a new state, or a new house, or get new friends, or even change your actions like going on a diet or starting a new time management system, if you don’t do the thought work, the mindset work, you’re going to just bring all these same “reasons” that we were just reviewing over to the new set of circumstances.

And then you’re soon going to be stuck all over again because it’s not the circumstance that made you stuck. It’s your thoughts, right? So yes, there are some circumstances in our lives that do make it easier to take action, but most of the time, it’s not the circumstance, it’s the problem. If you are trying to change the circumstance because you’re afraid to do the mindset work or it seems like it’s going to be really hard, let me give you a hint.

It’s way easier to just go ahead and do the mindset work. Just do it because you’re eventually going to have to do it anyway to get the results you want. And if you just keep changing circumstances, you’re basically just procrastinating on doing what you have to do to get unstuck. So let’s do the thought work. How do we do that?

Okay, so here’s the thing. We talked about those circumstances. We’ve established it’s not our job or our husband or our kids or our industry or our neighbor that’s the problem. It’s our thoughts about them that are the problem. So here’s how you know that’s the case, or at least here’s how I know that’s the case.

So let’s think about this for a minute. Think back to early on when you started any of your current circumstances and you thought your job or that man or that woman that you were just crazy about, or that new house that you had to have that was amazing, or that pair of shoes you wanted to buy, whatever the thing was, you just knew it was the answer to your prayers and if you just had that thing, then you would be happy and you wouldn’t be stuck and you could move forward and all your dreams would come true, right?

Okay, well let’s look now. It’s still the same job, probably, maybe, still the same husband hopefully, maybe still the same house, you might still have that pair of shoes. None of those things have necessarily changed. But your thoughts about one or more of them have changed if you’re unhappy now and you’re feeling stuck.

So it’s important that you don’t allow yourself to think that you don’t choose your thoughts because you do. You choose every single one of your thoughts whether you’re even realizing it or not. And you can decide to be happy and to be unstuck and to love something that you currently have without that thing or that person having to change one single bit.

And I know this is true for me because I’ve experienced it myself. There have been times when I thought my clients were awful or my industry was completely dead, or my husband was a challenge, or something else, something with my weight, my child, my friends. You know, we all do it. We have these thoughts and we think that there’s something wrong with all those other people and things. It couldn’t possibly be us, right?

But then when I learned to manage my mindset, I learned that none of those things had to change, thankfully, since I can’t control any of those other things or people. But none of them had to change for me to get unstuck, or move forward, and to get the exact life I wanted just by changing my thoughts, okay?

So here’s the truth. We are in charge of how we show up in the world. We control our confidence by the way we think. If we think we’re amazing and qualified and a value to our clients, then we’re going to be completely right and we’re going to be able to sell our services like crazy and our bank account won’t be stuck, right?

But if we think, who am I to be calling myself an expert? Why would anyone want to hire me and especially at that price? And how in the world could I become tech savvy or launch a new type of online service or how could I raise my prices or try something new? If you’re thinking those thoughts, then you’re completely right also, and you’re going to stay stuck because we are what we think. Our actions are what we think about.

So here’s the two things you need to get unstuck. You got to want to get unstuck and you got to take action to get unstuck, okay? So ask yourself, what am I willing to do to get what I want? Because action is what gets you unstuck. Action is what gets you what you want. Thinking and worrying and talking to someone and complaining and researching and making a plan and procrastinating and buffering with food or alcohol or Facebook do not get you unstuck, ever. Dang it, they never work. What is it?

So in fact, I want you to realize this really. This whole numbing thing which we do and I do it too, anything that’s numbing you out like food or alcohol or Facebook or anything else, anything that’s numbing you out is numbing you out from your internal guidance system. Wow, think about that for a minute.

So every time you’re confused and you’re stuck and you’re overwhelmed and you don’t know, and you reach for the chips or the wine or your numbing agent of choice, maybe it’s Netflix or that scrolling of the iPhone on Facebook or Instagram, whatever your numbing is, I want you to realize that that big old dopamine hit you’re giving your brain when you numb is going to mask the answers you are looking for about how to move forward and not be stuck.

Yikes. That is crazy awareness when you let that sink in. It really gives me chills even though I even knew that already, it still gives me chills. So you can’t numb if you want to get unstuck. And if you can’t numb, then you have to feel your feelings, right? And those feelings aren’t always going to be super fun. They’re going to be a lot of things and probably one of the things they’re going to be is uncomfortable. So if you want to get unstuck, ask yourself, am I willing to be uncomfortable? Am I willing to do things that are uncomfortable? Am I willing to create a product and even if nobody buys it when I pitch it and put it out into the world, am I still willing to do it anyway and be uncomfortable and then find out why they didn’t buy it and then rework it again and then try to sell it again?

And am I willing to put in the time and the effort and be uncomfortable? To learn a new skill, even if it’s high tech and I don’t think I’m tech-y. Am I willing to believe I can learn anything and that I’m not too old or too scared or too dumb or too poor to be able to learn it?

You know, whether it’s your work or your weight or your relationships or anywhere else in your life that you’re feeling stuck, it’s all the same process. So hold yourself accountable right now. Not tomorrow, not tonight, not when you get home, but right now. Even stop this podcast and pick up your phone and take an action. Now, no texting while driving, of course. So don’t pick up your phone and start texting. Pull over and take an action.

But take an action right now that will get you unstuck. And then you can begin to dig even deeper about what thoughts you’re having that are making you keep getting stuck and staying stuck. And you can use the model like we talk about in episode number four to keep working on those thoughts.

But you should start to have a lot of clarity now, just from this podcast and become aware that anywhere in your entire life that you’re stuck, it’s a thought issue, which then leads to a feeling issue, which then leads to an action issue, which means you’re going to be stuck and not get the result you want because it’s our feelings that cause us to take any and all actions, or not to take an action.

So realize this: we can – oh my gosh, this is so exciting. I can hardly even say this. It’s so exciting. We can create any feeling or emotion that we want with our thoughts at any time. We actually get to co-create our reality. So we can always get ourselves unstuck. So tell yourself that right now. And tell yourself confused is not an option. In fact, confused is a lie.

We talked about this a couple of podcasts ago about confusion and other indulgent emotions. Confusion is a lie. You’re not confused. You may be scared, you may be scared to admit what you know you should do, but you’re not confused. We’re never really confused. And you’re no longer allowed now that you know this to even allow yourself to say you’re confused. Just try something. Anything. Because it’s action that gets you unstuck.

And also, you’re no longer allowed to say I don’t know. I don’t know is not an option for you. Every time you think or say I don’t know, do you know what you do? You cut your brain off from the possibilities of what steps you should take to get unstuck because you’re like, that’s it, I don’t know, and your brain agrees with you. Yup, I don’t know, okay, there’s nothing we can do.

As soon as you say I don’t know, stop yourself and go, no wait a minute, I do. I do know something. There’s something I know. Let’s figure out what it is, and then your brain will go to work with you to know what that step is you need to take. So never say I don’t know.

And again, you can’t be overwhelmed either like we talked about on a recent podcast because overwhelm equals stuck. You can never be overwhelmed and be taking action, and action is the key to getting unstuck, right? So sitting in indecision from confusion or I don’t know or overwhelm feels super safe because as long as you aren’t deciding, it feels like you can’t fail, right?

But here’s the thing: all of that is failure because that’s choosing to stay stuck. It’s exactly what being stuck is. And you must believe there is no such thing as a wrong decision ever. There’s such a thing as a learning decision and you might take an action, make a decision to take an action and it might not pan out the way you thought, but that doesn’t mean it was a wrong decision. It’s just a learning decision. It moved you forward. It kept you from being stuck.

So adopt that belief that there’s no such thing as a wrong decision. And then we can do the work of getting unstuck and moving in the direction that we really want to go in, that very specific and focused direction of getting to our dreams. So in a recent episode, we talked about how to get what you want, and I want you to realize that knowing what you want is only part of that process. It’s the first step.

But the next step is to not be stuck but to move forward in a way that you believe you already have what you want. And that may sound crazy, I know. But here’s what I mean because this is super important. So if you can figure out what you want and then you can take actions like you already have the thing you want, your mind is going to create a feeling that would be the same feeling you would have if you already had the results you were wanting in your life.

And that’s super important because we need that feeling to help us take the actions to get us to those results. And if you’re already feeling like you have the thing you want, then you’re going to be taking actions that really do help you live your dreams. So here’s what that looks like.

So we want something and what do we usually do? Well, we usually think I want that thing but I don’t have it right now. And that’s a problem because what feeling that gives us is something totally different. That’s more of that scarcity mindset and we think I wish I had that thing, I want that thing but I don’t want it right now, and we’re going to have feelings like sad or depressed or a whole bunch of other things.

And those feelings actually keep us from acting in the way that gets us to what we want. Those feelings actually keep us stuck. So wanting it and believing you don’t have it puts you in that scarcity mindset, it gives you those feelings that are going to make you take the exact opposite actions of what you need to to get to your dreams.

So let me give you an actual example. If you think your thin self is out in the future sometime and you want to be that thin self but you’re not her today, then what are you going to eat today? You’re not going to eat what the thin self would eat, are you? You’re going to eat what the other self would eat, which means that you’re going to justify eating the cheese dip or the cake today because today we’re still the girl who wishes she was the thin self but isn’t the thin self yet.

But those feelings that come up, yeah, they cause us to justify the cake. And that’s going to keep us stuck at a weight that’s not our ideal one. So you’ve got to already be the person that has what you want in your mind. So you get the feeling that that person would get so you take the action that that thin person would take, and then you get the physical result later.

So you got to ask yourself, how would I act if I were already in the body I want? If I were already thin and healthy and staying that way in the body I want, would I eat the cheese dip or the cake? Well, no. So you got to believe that and think that now so you don’t eat it now.

And it’s the same no matter if it’s weight or anything else. You get to that feeling that that person, your future self has, you’re going to make the right decisions today. So if it’s for your work or your career, you have to think every time a decision comes up, if I were already making a $150,000 a year or $500,000 a year, or a million dollars a year, whatever you want to get to, you have to say if I already had that salary today, what decision would I make right now?

Would I take on these not ideal clients that really can’t afford me and struggle to try to make them happy and lose money in the process? Well, no. You would never make that decision if you already had the money, right? But when you’re thinking, well, I don’t have it now so I’m going to make the decision today like the person who doesn’t have the money, you’re going to make a bad decision. You’re going to say I can’t afford not to take them and you’re going to take them anyway.

And taking them keeps you stuck in the old ways as that old person, okay? So you got to take this next final step to get unstuck of already being the person who has what you want. And this idea of making decisions from that place, which is a place of abundance but not scarcity is the way to not only get unstuck but to stay unstuck and to get the results that you really want.

So be the person you think you would be in that body or that marriage or that job that you think you want, show up the way you would show up if you were already that person. Be in that space already and that will lead you to the exact feeling you need to take the exact action you need to take to get the exact results you dream about and you won’t be stuck anymore.

Hallelujah, right? Like, I want to give a big round of applause. This was such a great concept that we talked about today. And I use it in my own life, that’s why I’m so excited.

And if you are loving today’s concept and today’s podcast, or any other podcast or all the podcasts that I’m giving you with the Design You Podcast, then please, please, please leave me a rating and a review on iTunes. I would just love that more than you can imagine so that other people can know how this podcast is changing your life.

So to do that, search for my show on iTunes and subscribe to it and then click on ratings and reviews to leave a review. Or you can visit tobifairley.com/itunes and we’ll give you the exact instructions on how to leave me a review on what you think about The Design You Podcast.

So get busy, get unstuck, take action, be the person that you want to be. Be her right now and I’ll see you again on the next episode of The Design You Podcast. Bye for now, friends.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. And if you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program Design You at tobifairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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