What To Do When Life is Just Not Working

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What to do when life is not working. Find new coping skills to keep moving forward.
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives. We set goals, made big plans, work really hard and still don’t see the results we’ve been hoping for. Sometimes there are external factors that get in the way, such as family issues, work challenges, health setbacks or maybe even a totally random global pandemic. (Corona virus, anyone?)

Maybe the thing you want to do is lose weight, change jobs, start that side hustle, or move. Whatever it is, if you keep putting out the effort without seeing ideal or even good results, you can end up feeling exhausted, frustrated and deeply disappointed. 

But most things in life are really an experiment; results are hoped for and not guaranteed. (and thank you Jeff Bezos for this little nugget of wisdom!) Nobody likes to fail, and we generally don’t want to admit that we’ve made a mistake or an error in judgment. This can keep you stuck spinning your wheels and caught up in doing something that isn’t working and isn’t going to. It’s the proverbial trying to pound a round peg into that square hole, hoping that by some miracle, that if we hit it hard enough this time, it’s going to fit. If you catch yourself doing this, and most of us has at one time or another, try to take a step back. Just stop and walk away.  What you really need is new information, and redirection, not more effort to keep going.

The great Jim Rohn once said; “If a person is going down the wrong road, they don’t need motivation to speed them up, they need education to turn them around!” Here are a few simple steps to get yourself turned around, when the road you’re on has been a path of frustration and not the direction of your dreams.

1. Stop What You’re Doing

So often in the grips of desperation we continue on pushing harder, even when it’s not working, and not getting us what we want. Stopping to reassess and replan doesn’t equal being lazy and unmotivated.  And it certainly doesn’t demonstrate that you didn’t really want “it” to begin with. Being deeply committed to a dream means allowing yourself the time to reevaluate and regroup, moving forward with clearer focus and better information.

2. Admit That You Don’t Know. 

I love being right as much as the next person! And sometimes ego gets in the way and I feel like I should have all the answers. 

But the truth and the reality is that from time to time we are all going to be in a position where we just don’t know why something isn’t working, maybe have no clue…which leads me to the next step…..

3. Seek Outside Expert Advice

Life can just be so much easier if we seek an outside perspective and expert advice. If your dishwasher breaks down, most people have no problem in calling in an expert, yet when it comes to personal issues such as body weight, careers, relationships, or life in general, we feel like we should know how to handle it and have to go it alone. Give yourself the gift of a little support, and get the help of someone who does know what to do when you don’t.

4. Protect Your Dream

Usually when you’re deeply committed to pushing forward in spite of less than stellar results, there is an emotional component to the desire. 

Maybe you feel the success or failure in achieving it, demonstrates your abilities and defines your self-worth – nothing could be further from the truth! And this is also dream territory. When seeking advice or help, be gentle with yourself and insist that others are too. Input should be constructive and creative, building on what’s working, correcting what’s not, and tearing down nothing. 

So if you’re faced with an insurmountable problem, or stuck on a treadmill of unproductive action, stop, take time, breathe, reassess, and get some help. It may be all it takes to turn you around on the road from failure to fulfillment.

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