Feeling trapped? You have options. You just can’t see them at the moment. Here’s how to get perspective when you feel trapped.
The first thing you need to do whenever you feel trapped is to stop (at least mentally) just like you would if you were lost in the woods (it’s a pretty similar experience). If you’ve ever been lost in the woods, you know the feeling of panic that sets in. But that same panic can grip you at work during a meeting, or at home when things aren’t going right. So remember: when you feel trapped, the first thing to do (which is counter-intuitive) is to stop.
Use your compass.
Once you’re stopped, reach into your backpack and get out your compass. If you don’t have one, well — you’re pretty screwed. So let’s take a moment to talk about your compass. Your compass is what you need to guide you all the time but especially when you feel trapped. Your compass includes what is most important to you, and where your life is going. To make a compass for yourself, take out a piece of paper, and draw a circle. Then, put a cross-hairs in the circle, like this:
Pretty simple, right? Yes. That’s the beauty of it. What should be in your compass? The four most important things in your life. You might have the name of a person, or a concept like freedom. Whatever is most important in your life is what belongs in your compass. Note the power of limits: you only get four spaces. This is because the limited number of spaces forces you to prioritize and choose.
You’re actually not trapped, right?
Chances are good that once you make and keep a compass, you’ll find that you’re not as trapped as you think. Here’s why. Let’s say that one of your four quadrants from the compass above was “freedom.” If your freedom is not currently threatened, then at least in that quadrant you are not actually trapped. And if your freedom is actually threatened, then you have a mandate to do something about it. Either way, your attention is focused on what is most important to you, either to relax or to take action. Either way, you’re not trapped.
Now that you’ve looked your compass, you will have a better sense of which direction to go, and what comes next.
When you feel trapped, use your compass.
Want more help?
I can help you get out of that trapped feeling — and back into motion.