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Creating Successful Leaders

When you’re in a rut–be it in a job, in between jobs or just in general–becoming “unstuck” can be very difficult. While in this position, you may feel trapped, unmotivated or defeated. You may be tempted to settle. Don’t!

We all get in ruts, at times feeling trapped by our circumstances, and this is okay. However, the worst thing to do in this situation is to remain engaged in whatever it is that is making you unsatisfied. Something needs changing and changing takes action. Today, I’ll give you five tried and true ways to free yourself from the funk so you can get back to living a rewarding life.

Get out of the comfort zone! Often the real cause of feeling stuck comes from the very habits we’ve created to be more comfortable. Our comfort zone feels good, but also has the potential to keep us from experiencing life. When we see too much of the same thing day after day, it’s easy to fall into the doldrums. Do something new! Get involved in an activity you’ve never tried. Give it a shot even if you’ve failed at it in the past. In doing so, you’ll prove to yourself that you’re adaptable, resilient to setbacks and who knows, maybe you’ll find a talent or passion you weren’t ever aware of. Why not try dance?

Exercise, exercise, exercise We often forget the brain is part of the body, and the body was made to move. Research continues to confirm that the brain performs better and we feel better when we exercise.1 Whether it’s yoga, jogging, taking a walk or lifting weights, daily physical activity will motivate you to get out of the funk by stimulating your brain.

Travel somewhere new

Like exercise, travel stimulates the brain as well, (probably due to the fact that we humans were nomadic creatures not too long ago). It’s in our nature to crave a change of scenery. It doesn’t need to be an expensive, extravagant trip. It can be something as simple as a weekend trek to a neighboring state, a train ride across the country, or a camping adventure with the family.

Make a point to be kind to those around you This obvious step is easily ignored when we get trapped in ruts. We become so wrapped up in ourselves, we forget to reach out and engage with others. Taking time at work, at home, and with friends to connect and share is one of the best ways to enrich your life. Kindness is reciprocal, after all.

Try to read for pleasure (everyday!) Reading for pleasure forces your brain to create entire worlds out of thin air, and books offer differing perspectives on life that you may have never considered. What’s more, reading gives you time to recover from exercise and have a moment to yourself, and works as a great sleeping aid if you get into the habit of reading right before bed.

These suggestions promote positive change, but the key to each of these is your attitude. You must eliminate the words “wish, hope, maybe and should” from your vocabulary and replace them with “can, will and do.” Feeling stuck is temporary and common, and you have the power to get yourself out of it. Trust that you will!

1 “The Human Brain,” The Franklin Institute, accessed October 22, 2012, http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html

2 “Staying on Top of Your Game,” Psychology Foundation of Canada, accessed October 22, 2012, http://www.psychologyfoundation.org/pdf/TopOfYourGame/3.pdf

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