Many want to help us get unstuck in your craft, art and work. But only a few understand that being stuck has its own merrit, place and wisdom. A sense of being stuck should be respected and explored without judgment. If decoded correctly, the value of its information is beyond priceless. It contains clues that no mentor, fellow-creative or friend can ever give us. It’s a guide from a crossroad towards a realm of opportunity.
You won’t get to work until the pain of not creating exceeds the pain of creating. — David Bayles
Feeling stuck means having a sense of stagnation, not knowing what to do, why we do it, or of not progressing in the direction of our desired objectives. In very simple terms, it signals a lack of confidence, a lack of clarity of purpose.
Instead of trying to get out of it as fast as we can, we might choose to view it from a different perspective. Feeling stuck is a portal between the old and the new, the known and the unknown. It is that prolonged moment in time and space where we’re asked to close a chapter, and sometimes to start an entirely new book.
It is an experience worth diving into instead of resisting. Resistance often leads to taking decisions and action for the wrong reasons. When our desire to get unstuck is predominant, little space is left for figuring out what makes us fulfilled.
To require perfection is to invite paralysis. — Ansel Adams
Stuckness is nothing more than the outer expression of an inner conflict. Conflicts arise when we’re torn apart between multiple, and frequently opposing, people, perspectives and priorities, and find it challenging to choose one and stick with it. Oftentimes, being stuck in a rut comes out of our very own fear of making a choice, having subconsciously decided that we are safer in stagnation.
The value of these conflicts has not been emphasized enough. A conflict in its less traditional interpretation indicates an opportunity for a breakthrough. A chance for a serious leap forward, for disrupting a pattern that might not be beneficial for us (anymore).
Thus, stuckness signals that we’re about to enter a new phase in our lives and it is a good idea to leave the past behind. It shows us that by inhabiting the present moment, we can use its generosity and re-focus our attention and effort upon the very small next step we can take.
Mind you, no grand visions, just the very next thing we could do, as soon as possible, in order to get going.
So here is what the feeling of being stuck tries to communicate to you:
- How well do you know yourself?
- Do you want to get to know yourself (even) better?
- Are you capable of sitting quietly and observing your thoughts as they arise?
- How honest are you with yourself?
- What do you truly find important?
- How good are you at prioritizing?
- What are your priorities? Or even: What is your Priority?
- Which of your obligations are imagined and which of them are real?
- Are you ready to let go of what’s not serving you?
- Have you allowed inner or outer drama/conflict to become part of your identity?
- Does the pain of not moving in the direction of your dreams (creating/painting/writing/working/travelling) exceed the pain of making these things happen?
- By whose script are you living?
- Are you willing to trust the emerging future by simply showing up on the page/canvas/drawing board?
- What if you’d not let the perception of where you need to be determine the speed of your progress?
You decide how to respond to its questions.
As artists and creative entrepreneurs, we all need some support and reassurance when we feel our creative muse is slightly less present. Here is an often updated collection of notes-to-self, ideas and suggestions how to appease our creative anxieties so that we can keep doing what we love and enjoying the business side of it.