Where Leaders Come to Think

Feeling Frustrated and Stuck


there is no spoon

Endeavor as I might the almost supernatural ability to bend a spoon with the power of suggestion eludes me. The same can be said of making a pencil roll across the table with the energy of my mind. It appears I do not have the necessary beliefs to accomplish ESP object manipulation. What about you? Have you ever put a ton of energy into a project, only to fail?

Seasons of failure leave aspiring leaders feeling frustrated. I have had several of those seasons, and they hurt. Frustration, as a general rule, has the power to affect determination – leaving us in a place of frozen efforts. I refer to this situation as feeling, stuck. If your like me, being stuck is the root of all sorts of negative patterns of behavior.

In short, being stuck sucks.

Nonetheless, there is hope – even when you are stuck. Believe it or not, you and I are not the first people ever to feel stuck or frustrated. It’s a normal part of life, and a great tool (if used proactively), to gain momentum.

Typically, the “stuckness” we feel in our leadership life is due to three fairly common ways of thinking. I said common – not productive. These ways of thinking affect our ability to get unstuck quickly. They are feelings-driven, comparison driven, or stinking thinking driven. The reason you are stuck does not matter. If you stay in the “suck” position, life feels like riding a roller-coaster without a safety bar.

When emotions take over, and you can no longer think past your feelings – you have a problem. Unfortunately, you have fallen victim to the feelings-driven mentality. In this state, you cling to words of encouragement, but often find yourself drinking from the well-spring of despair. Every mood swing of those around you affects you intensely. Instead of controlling your emotions they control you.

Emotions are not a bad thing. They often alert us to dangers and signal urgent needs within the leaders heart. But out of control emotions leads to un-rational processing and decision-making. This is not a helpful situation.

Much is the same when you become comparison-driven in your thinking. This is the state that leaves a leader feeling that they never quite measure up – compared to the “other” person that is. Constantly comparing your abilities to others is a bad idea. It either gives you a false sense of accomplishment or diminished sense of satisfaction. Comparisons have been known to break up families, destroy friendships and wreaks havoc on team dynamics.

Most people caught in this mindset forget all the work it takes to be successful. They compare themselves to others with a limited understanding of the pain it took for the “others” to perform at that level. The truth is that success is a journey, not a destination. We should avoid comparisons and focus on our own personal growth and development.

Finally, there is stinking-thinking. This phrase was coined by a mentor of mine named, Lee Queen. Lee was the first to call out someone who was lost in this type of thinking. I wish I were immune to this kind of thinking myself. However, when the economic indicators turned negative, I found myself in a season of despair, almost paralyzed by my own stinking-thinking. When you begin to feel that a situation is personal, pervasive and permanent – you have nowhere to go but emotionally down.

Yet, to all these ways of processing there is hope. Having been down each of these roads more than once I can assure you that grounding yourself on a steady discipline of healthy thinking can keep you form locking up and giving in to the temptation of wrong thinking.

We can all learn to get ourselves “Unstuck” from situations by applying the proven methods of getting unstuck. It’s not easy, fast or affordable but getting unstuck in life is worth the price. Here are my three key ways of getting yourself unstuck once you become a victim of your own negative thinking patterns.

4 Keys to Getting Unstuck in Life:

  1. Identify the area of life you are stuck in and write it down.
  2. Ask the Question: “what does life look like in a perfect scenario?”
  3. Next, face the brutal realities of your today. Answer the question, “what is really happening in my life now?” Be very honest with yourself.
  4. Finally, create a list of three short-term, actionable steps you can begin to take that will bring your brutal reality into alignment with the perfect life scenario.


The key to gaining momentum in life and learning to stay sane through hard times is to take small steps first. Don’t go crazy by setting huge goals immediately. Remember your stuck for a reason. Slow down and take a few actionable steps first. Then you can cross them off your list as you go, and move on. This way your forward progress is evident and you can pick up momentum as you drive forward past your stuck place and into an abundantly happy life.

If you can persevere and get yourself unstuck from negative thinking, you will find that learning to bend spoons and moving pencils are the least of your cares. In fact, the sky is the limit for those who understand how to over come poor thinking and gain the winning edge in life.

How do you deal with the feeling of being “stuck?”  Let me know  by leaving a comment.


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