I don’t care what industry you’re in, this feeling is universal. Feeling stuck not only sucks your energy, your motivation, and your mojo; but it also starts to let self-doubt sink its nasty teeth into your core as you begin to hear the echoes of “I told you so” mess with your psyche.
Being an artist is one of the most exhilarating yet exhausting professions anyone can ever choose. To take a leap of faith and know without any reason of doubt that THIS is what you were put on this planet to do is bad ass! Well until we get to a point in our career where we feel stuck and confused then all that feel good high gets thrown out the window and that paralyzing-excuse-blaming-holy-shit moment-of-uncertain-clarity decides to lay out its welcome mat and tries to kill your dream.
Being a business owner, actor and a showbiz parent, the rules to the game are so ambiguous. The only time I have ever learned a rule, is when I unconsciously broke one. Yep, won’t do that again. After a while you will start seeing a pattern and you’ll figure out what works for you. You’ll get to point in your career where you’ll stop comparing yourself to others and their success (or failures) and realize that just because they might look like your type doesn’t mean their choices will benefit your personal journey.
I feel stuck at least a few times a year. Ok, I’m lying, it’s probably more than that, but I’m also working hard on the power of intention, so I have to be a bit optimistic too. I know for myself, being a recovering overachiever, I take on way more than I think I can handle. If an idea even looks remotely appealing, I want to be a part of it. A normal person would take on one task at a time; I neurotically typically take on about four or five. I know, it’s completely self-inflicted, I’m slowly learning the power of “no”.
My brain can’t function on simplicity. My overzealous organizing issues become my savior and my crutch. With running two businesses, entertaining three small kids under the age of eight plus organizing their personal agendas, being a functioning and coherent showbiz mom and working a 40 hour day job, I am always surprised that my Friday nights don’t land me in some bar somewhere.
I can easily consume 5 to 10 college ruled notebooks in a month to organize my thoughts. Nope, not bragging, just being honest. I’m the type that requires everything be written down, color coordinated, tabbed, labeled and in alpha order. Hell, I’m the girl who makes lists for my lists. I have about five calendars (and yes I use them all), sticky notes, to-do notes, reminder notes on my wall and on my phone and yet at times I still feel unorganized!
Don’t laugh; I said I’m recovering, not perfect. Ha!
Yet with all this administrivia (as Dallas Travers calls it), I often times feel stuck, to the point where I feel paralyzed. When things are not flowing the way I planned (or hopped) they would, I just kind of throw my hands in the air and say, “ fu*k this, I can’t deal with it right now” and I just kind of put that notebook aside and pull out a fresh one, as if though that makes the problems go away.
I guess somehow in my brain I naively think that by not doing anything about a particular situation I feel stuck in, it means I’m not choosing to make a choice about it right now and I will come back to it later when I’m ready or when a better opportunity presents itself.
You want to know what many months of home schooled therapy has taught me?
NOT making a choice IS still making a choice….well hot damn, right?
It also taught me that feeling stuck is a feeling, not a fact or a choice. Yep, the light bulbs went on for me too when I read that. For as much as I school my eight year old about feelings being a choice, I should have known better.
Too many of us give away our freedom of choice to extending circumstances that we have no control over, and we allow those unfavorable emotions to sit in our bones and become our truths and paralyze us.
We each have the power and the ability to live up to the highest version of whom we want to be because we have the freedom of choice. When you’re pushing hard at your craft, auditioning and networking and staying involved and up-to-date with your target audience, but still not getting ahead; it’s easy to let self-doubt move in. You then feel overwhelmed, start making excuses and unconsciously playing the blame game when we are not in control.
I told you feeling stuck can suck at times!
Well, here’s my two cents on that. Being stuck can be a gift. No seriously, it is. See for me, feeling stuck is a perfect opportunity for me to realize that there is imbalance happening and it’s time for me to do some serious self-reflection and realign myself with what is truly important in my life. Am I over complicating things, am I missing something? Feeling stuck is my red flag to pull the reigns and bring in the hounds because something I’m doing is no longer in alignment with my journey. So when you have a moment where you’re feeling stuck, you should stop and ask yourself, Is this road your traveling on and the goal you’re trying to obtain still in alignment with what is going to make YOU the happiest? However here is the most important part of this exercise. Pay attention to this or you will miss the entire lesson. It is one thing to ask yourself all the right questions, but are you truly LISTENING and FEELING your answers.
A lot of us (especially actors) would never want to admit that being in front of the camera with other A-list actors is no longer the goal. Things change, interests change and it’s OK. I’ve met many of actors who realize that after pursuing it, they would much rather be behind the camera than in front of it. Or maybe they realize that voice acting is more their cup of tea or it’s hosting or casting or whatever it is. You just need to be OK with allowing yourself to be honest and give yourself the freedom to explore other opportunities without having to explain them to anyone.
It’s so easy to place blame on what you can’t control. You’re agent isn’t getting you out. You think your appearance is to blame or maybe it’s your green resume or because in that last audition the casting director never looked up from their computer to see you perform. You might feel stuck because you don’t have money to take classes or you don’t live in Hollywood. Yes, each of these reasons can play a small road bump in your journey, but don’t ever believe that they are THE only reason.
Your life is YOUR responsibility. You can’t control your surroundings, but you can control your perception of it. When you can change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. The feeling of being stuck all of sudden lessens the burden on your shoulders. No, it doesn’t solve all your problems, but it does make it easier for you to embrace it and move on.
Feeling stuck can simply mean you need a change of perspective or a change of habits or even a change of heart. Maybe you just need to step away and clear your head or decipher which of the things on your to do list deserve your attention today and which can wait a week or a few months from now.
Pride keeps a lot of us from progressing forward and accepting the answers our gut has known all along. If you just pay attention, you’ll know why you’re stuck. Yet, most (myself included) simply just don’t like the answers, so we make excuses instead. Trust your gut and know that you have all the inner wisdom you need; but be open to hearing it, no matter how hard it may be at times.
Feeling trapped or stuck is just that, it’s a feeling! Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Nothing! My mom used to tell me that there are no regrets, as long as you’ve learned something. So the next time you feel stuck, embrace it. Give thanks and get ready to roll your sleeves up and do some spring cleaning or just a simple mind shift is all that is needed sometimes. Good luck and let me know how you get through moments of feeling stuck.