We’ve all been there, when you feel completely stuck in a discouraged rut.
Don’t give up, there is hope, a pathway out of your discouraged state and into life, energy, passion and purpose once again. And maybe you’re reading his and doing great, but you’ve a friend who needs to hear what’s about to be shared.
Below are ten steps, each of which you need to engage in with intent and focus. It needn’t be for a long time, but each step has the power to lift you out of your rut if that step addresses the problem. If that step doesn’t then return to step one and repeat.
- Find God.
All quests to get out of the rut begin here. Sometimes however awakening our awareness to God is a journey. This blog post: What every leader needs to do every three months will help you. If God still feels distant move onto step 2.
- Take a break.
Unplug from what you’re doing, have the afternoon or weekend off, take a vacation, create some space where you can find yourself and relax. Still feeling discouraged repeat the process by starting at step one.
- Fill your tank
Do something you love, something you enjoy, something that isn’t connected with how much you can achieve or succeed but instead is about who you are and who God made you to be. For me it’s fishing, for others it may be golf, surfing, hiking, shopping, reading a book. Still not out of it, repeat step 1 – 3 and move onto four.
- Plug back into life giving relationships.
Sometimes our emptiness and frustration is due to the relational drift in our lives. Go on a date with your spouse, organise to catch up with some friends, take your kid out. No luck in shifting, repeat from step 1 again.
- Eat, Sleep, Exercise and Laugh
These are the major energy sources in your life. Ensure your diet is healthy, you’re sleeping 8 hours a night, and you’re doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Make sure you laugh more too. Spend time with a funny friend, watch a comedy or some standup, etc. No joy, go back to step one and continue developing your awareness of God.
- Share with someone how you’re feeling.
It’s disheartening how many people are anxious about talking to a trusted friend about how they are feeling and what they are facing. Talking about things makes them real, otherwise you’ll spend your life boxing at shadows.
- Reconnect with your why
Simon Sinek in his book Start with Why: How Great leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action explains how essential knowing our why is. Understand why you do what you do, be clear about it and your purpose will clarify and your vision will sharpen. Still not out of the rut, try from step 1 again.
- Give yourself something to look forward to.
Creating incentives and measuring points to your progress is a very helpful encouragement that will cheer you on.
- Stop doing something that’s draining you.
In a post I wrote sometime ago called Why a To don’t list might be the smartest thing you do this week.
I speak about the importance of stopping doing those things that you don’t really need to do, that are sapping valuable energy that is needed for the things you should be doing. Work on a list of what you need to stop doing and then dare to stop.
- Start doing something that excites you.
It could be time to establish a new direction, initiative, interest, project, job or avenue that excites you. If 35% of what we are doing excites us the other 65% is bearable, and we can get out of our rut.
Discouragement can be the result of an accumulative effect and without accumulating the resources you need to get out of the rut, you could stay there and things turn toxic. May these ten steps as you repeat them help you out of your rut.
Question: Which of these steps have you found to be most helpful in helping you get out of a rut? Please share your story in the comment section below.
This was a guest post by Ralph Mayhew. Ralph blogs at www.ralphmayhew.com, to help leaders become better at their craft. He has just written a book called The Anonymous Leader: An unambitious pursuit of influence, which offers a fresh understanding of leadership and calls the reader to greater influence by aligning theirs to God’s – www.theanonymousleader.com. You can also hang out with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ralph.