Have you limited your options to the point where you feel stuck? Here’s how to get yourself out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into.


First step: identify your corner.

Because your corner is where you feel stuck. And you might use other words. You might say you’re on the ropes. Or out of luck. And words are important. But whatever words you choose, it comes down to this: you’re feeling trapped by your own actions and decisions. And it may be what you’ve done, or by what you’ve left undone. But it doesn’t feel good. So what can you do? Start by identifying your corner. What does it look like? Acknowledge some of the cold hard facts of what that stuck place looks like and feels like. Otherwise, it just feels bad. And without definition, the chances of you finding a solution that will get you out of that place are minimal. But when you actually stand back and look at what has you pinned down, you can begin to solve the problem.

So — did you do that?

If not, please take a minute to do that. You could close your eyes and try to see what the problem is in your mind’s eye. Or — perhaps even better — you could write about it. And you may be shy about writing. But you don’t have to make it sound good or proper. Just take out a sheet of paper or open a document in your computer and describe the place that has you stuck. 

Next — take one small step.

And here’s the challenge. Once you have identified what got you stuck, you may want to go whole hog and change everything. And while this is natural, it’s usually not the best strategy. Instead, for a sustainable change, take one small step out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into. 

For example: let’s say that when you did the exercise above, you identified that the corner you’re in is that you don’t speak up enough. In other words, you stuff your thoughts and your feelings. So to get out of that corner, you might be tempted to get super aggressive. But if you do that, your spouse or partner or work mates might freak out, and then you’d get embarrassed, and go right back into your corner. Instead, take a small step, and speak up on one small issue. And then, do that again. It’s the repetition of small steps that will give you the confidence to make a meaningful, lasting change.

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