It can be frustrating to feel you are not where you want to be. Sometimes the gap between where you want to be and where you are can seem insurmountable. A bewilderment can set in that eventually serves to defeat our ambitions to the point where one simply feels as if they are stuck and can’t move ahead. The truth is life is going to have these seasons. The difference in our outlook during these times will boil down to a conscientious decision to focus either on the opportunities you have or those which you don’t. Choosing a focus on what you don’t have will not serve to move you forward in your personal or professional life.

The first step is embracing the fact you own the responsibility for your own development. While there are seasons and opportunities where we may have others investing in us the mindset that no one will intentionally move us forward unless we do is key to owning it. What this orientation will provide is an ongoing motivation to see what can be learned or improved. This type of mindset is the one that finds the opportunities in the dry seasons. It is difficult to feel 100% stuck when there are areas of your life that continue to move forward. Here are three mind shifts that you can adopt to help you start moving forward again.

1. Think through your life holistically, not just through one lens. We often get hyper-focused on the professional aspects of our life and miss the fact that what we learn in other areas of our life directly relate and can feed into our professional life. Think through your life in other interconnected areas? How healthy are you physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually? What aspects of those areas might you invest in that can bleed over toward professional goals? Examples such as how improving our disciplines in diet and exercise produce a grit and confidence that carries over to our professional attitude is undeniable. Your brain is built around rewarding achievement in a way that moving forward in other areas of your life will spill over to erode or fight off overall feelings of being stuck.
2. In your work-world pay attention to what no one likes to do. This is important to realize. When you are thinking of the place where you have the best chances of finding opportunities to separate yourself are more of them going to be found in areas everyone loves and wants to be a part of or in the areas either under-utilized or neglected? Not only are the opportunities more likely in the under-utilized or neglected areas, the skills developed by working on them are more likely to be unique among the team. Unique skills sets are a quick way to have opportunities put in front of you that will “unstick” you.
3. Take the long view. This is admittedly the hardest and most stretching attribute. Dry patches test our patience, but, is that in and of itself an opportunity? We can’t perpetually be in phases of rapidly moving forward. We are not built to sustain that and in doing so will miss out on mastering important competencies that can only be strengthened over time. Patience is but one of them. Patience is a virtue however, it is a defining characteristic which sets apart efficient managers from effective leaders. Leaders have to have a patience to understand things aren’t always perfect. Leaders have to have a patience to understand results most often take trial and error. Most importantly leaders have a patience in understanding that potential in people takes time to blossom. This feeling of being stuck could be the way God is teaching us a patience we will need to succeed later.

There is always opportunity in front of us. Some may be big, some may be small. Whichever the case all serve to create a portion of momentum that can break that feeling of being stuck and move our focus back toward what might be and out of an obsession with current circumstances.