What To Do When You’re Ridiculously Stuck
Have you ever been stuck? I mean really, truly stuck? Getting stuck is a certainty, but staying stuck is not.
I had my most embarrasingly stuck moment on a cold, dark, January-in-Minnesota night. For almost 5 years, I traveled all over the Twin Cities doing in-home kitchen demonstrations in the days before GPS and iPhones. I printed directions to my host’s home and relied on reading them, in the dark, while driving.
Taking a wrong turn was common.
On a very snowy night, one such unintended turn led me down an unlit, scarcely inhabited, poorly plowed road. I slid into a ditch. With disgust, I tried maneuvering my van out of the snow. When that failed, I got out and tried to physically shovel, with my hands, the snow around the tires wearing only light gloves, dress boots, and dress pants in knee-deep snow.
It was clear I was going nowhere.
As panic was setting in, salvation came when a large pick-up truck rambled up next to me, attached chains to my van, and yanked me back onto the road. Relieved and grateful, I thanked him and waved goodbye as he drove off.
Then, I did the most ridiculous thing ever.
I got stuck. Again.
Though I was out of the ditch, I was still facing the wrong way. Instead of finding a driveway to make an appropriate turn, I tried to u-turn it in the middle of the road, landing myself stuck in the other shoulder. The truck was long gone.
Dumb. Just dumb.
Eventually I worked my way back onto the road, fortunately less stuck than before. I arrived at my demonstration five minutes before start time with soggy pants, socks, and ego.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever shaken your head in disgust at yourself?
Here are 4 things to do when you are stuck:
- Evaluate your speed. Are you going too fast? This may seem counterinuitive, since being stuck means not moving. But sometimes speed is the precursor to stuck. In our haste, we don't see what's right in front of us. We land in unknown territory and rather than proceeding with caution, we barrel ahead and land ourselves in a ditch. It's easy to ignore the danger but we pay the consequences when our impatience wins (not that I know anything about that...)
- Accept help. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get yourself out of a tough spot. Even when it looks bleak, there’s always someone to lend a hand. Swallow your pride and welcome the tug. You may need a family member, friend, coach, or counselor depending on the depth of the ditch you're in. Don't let your ego get in the way of getting help.
- Don’t make it worse. When you do get unstuck, which you eventually will, don’t repeat the same mistake. Use the experience to make a better choice the next time you encounter the same obstacle. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again… and expecting different results.
- Do what you can. Sometimes you can't avoid getting stuck. Your situation may come at the expense of something (or someone) else's decision or chioice. Your environment may not assist you in getting you moving again, but that doesn't mean you are helpless. There's always something you can do. You can put your gloves on, get out of the car, and start digging.
We all get stuck. Whether we land there by our own poor decision making or by road conditions beyond our control.
Though we can’t always control when or how we get stuck, we can choose to right our path again to arrive at a place we'd rather be. Or a place we're expected. It's never too late.
Even if it's just in the knick of time.
Question: What was your most ridiculously stuck moment ever? Share your response below!