Getting Unstuck - The Power of Purpose

Have you ever had a really hard time getting something done?
Something big?

(Or something that feels big?)

When you are up against a large task or project, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the details and the magnitude of what is before you.  Sometimes it hard to know where to start, and once you do it can feel like a never ending process.  To make matters worse, when the project you are working on necessitates that you do something new-something uncomfortable and challenging-it often elicits fear, frustration and anxiety.  All of these things can keep you feeling stuck.

In a state of overwhelm, the focus goes from the joy of getting something done to the aggravation of having something undoneWe can become mechanized in our attempts to figure out what needs to get done and exactly how to go about it.  We may also put a lot of pressure on ourselves and beat ourselves up for things we haven’t done rather than recognizing and acknowledging ourselves for what we have done.

In what is an often unconscious attempt to regain a sense of control, we are easily lulled into doing things that we know will be easier and potentially more enjoyable-tasks that don’t really need to get done right now (or ever) or that should really be delegated to others.  Some of the time wasters we get sucked into include surfing the web, making idle conversation, cleaning out your inbox, or-my personal favorite-making more lists of everything we think needs to get done and identifying all the steps we need to take.  This is actually a great thing to do when you’re focused, but in a procrastination mode it becomes to planning to plan-and then plan some more-until you have a rock solid strategy that you never actually execute.

It may feel like you are spinning your wheels -running like hell,

and just not getting anywhere.

I know this, of course, because I have been there.  Repeatedly.  And I’ve worked with others who fall into this pattern as well to stop the madness by recognizing what’s happening and making a shift to get back on a road that leads them where they need to go.

One of the most powerful things I have found for breaking out of a “spinning your wheels” cycle is to take some time to revisit your purpose-or the larger mission or goal behind what you are doing.

  • Get clear about what-or who-the work is for.
  • Identify how it will improve the quality of life for yourself or those around you.
  • Reflect on the degree to which it will help people, contribute to something greater, or allow you to achieve a meaningful goal for yourself.

This doesn’t have to take hours and hours.  Just pause for a few moments and ask, when this project/task/ initiative is finished, what larger goal or purpose will it accomplish?  What would you like to accomplish?  Write it down.  Add to it as you think of additional bonuses.  Then, sit for a moment and see if you can envision what it would feel like to satisfy that larger purpose, vision or goal.  See if you can feel it so clearly that you are actually grateful for it.

This simple act will help you reconnect with something inside you that will propel you beyond the minutia.  It will give you the courage and strength to walk through your fear or resistance to do something that you may not be so good at yet.  And it will help you to get back to the joy that comes through the process  as well as the attainment of the end goal.

When you approach things in this manner, all that you do will be instilled with a new energy-one that uplifts, delights and inspires.  Whatever you experience as you work on something will be the same thing people will feel when they partake of the fruit of your efforts.  The more we remember this, the more we will experience the satisfaction and gratification of having done something truly meaningful-something that lifts us out of the humdrum and into a place of brilliance.  And all who come into contact with our work will be better off because of it.

Image Credit: Martin Naroznik

About Diane Bolden

Diane Bolden is passionate about helping people actualize their brilliance in a way that inspires others to do the same. In addition to being the author of The Pinocchio Principle ~ Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, Diane is an executive coach, speaker, yoga lover and mother of three. Join Diane On the Road to Real, visit her Synchronistically Speaking blog, follow her on Twitter;, or visit her YouTube channel for more.

  • Erica Holthausen

    Diane, thank you so much for this article. I can get myself overwhelmed with my list of things I want to do that it’s easy to lose touch with *why* I want to do them! But when I do take the time to reconnect with my purpose, my big vision and my goals, it helps me to focus on what is most important. And then I can tap into the joy of my work. It always sounds so simple. Connecting to our core purpose and the reason why we do the things we do. But it’s easy to forget to make the time to connect with ourselves. I’ve started to meditate more regularly and found it to be immensely helpful.

    • Diane Bolden

      Good for you, Erica! I find that meditation is good for me as well. Journaling also helps me to reconnect and revitalize.