We have all had the experience of feeling "stuck" at some time or another in our lives or in our careers. No matter what we try to do, nothing seems to work. We spin our wheels and expend our energy, but don't seem to get where we want to go.

When we feel stuck, we are often seeing our situation from a particular perspective. Our focus is on our specific planned approach, a particular outcome we want to achieve, and/or how we want others in the equation to behave. When things do not go as planned, it can be frustrating. Sometimes we try the same approach over and over, hoping for different results. We are stuck. Then, we often may lock into a rigid approach that, frankly, isn't working now and probably won't work no matter how many times we try it.

When this happens, one of the easiest ways to get unstuck is to change your perspective of the situation. When you are stuck in the middle of a situation and it isn't going as you'd hoped, it can be difficult to think of a different approach. When you change your perspective, you are able to get some distance from the problem and your position of being stuck. This allows you to come up with creative solutions which might work.

The first way to do this is by giving yourself some distance from the problem that has you feeling stuck. Sometimes this involves just taking a break from it, walking away from it to give yourself some time to breathe and reflect on what is working and not working. Take a break; sleep on it.

You can also give yourself some distance by imagining yourself floating above the situation in which you are stuck, and viewing it from a "bird's eye" view. When you "rise above it" you are able to see both the situation and your role in it differently. You are less likely to experience intense emotion from this distance, and that allows you to think about an alternative approach.

The second approach is to give yourself the distance of time. Imagine yourself five to ten years from now, looking back on this time in your life–when you were in that situation where you used to be stuck. As you look back on that time in 2009, remember what it was that changed things for you. Remember how your feelings about the situation changed as well. As you remember back then to that time when you were stuck, remember what you did that helped yourself change. Once you have a clear idea of what changed, come on back to the present, bringing that solution back with you. Are there helpful ideas that can now help you get unstuck?

The change in perspective that time brings is what our parents were talking about when they told us that "in five years you'll look back on this and laugh." Maybe we haven't reached the point where we are laughing about whatever that situation was, but the principle is the same.

The third approach to getting unstuck through a change in perspective happens when a life event changes everything. Usually what happens is that something we think is a priority changes because of a crisis which puts everything into perspective. We realize that those feelings of being stressed and stuck don't matter as much because something else has assumed greater importance.

I had the opportunity to experience this first hand when my husband was injured in a fire at our farm this past spring. The things I was expending a lot of energy on at the time faded into the background because more important considerations needed my attention. When this sort of thing happens, the reasons for being stuck tend to evaporate because they suddenly are of little or no importance. While creating a catastrophe is definitely not a recommended way of changing your perspective, when one occurs, you can take advantage of it to get rid of feeling stuck. At least some good thing can come from that sort of experience!

If you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling stuck and "can't see the forest for the trees," widen out your view of the challenge and change your perspective. When you change your perspective, you discover new approaches, your emotions about the situation change, and you can become a creative problem-solver.

(c) 2009 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach, trainer and expert at helping people overcome the obstacles to their success using her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping people get rid of "mental clutter"--those negative emotions and self-limiting beliefs that keep them stuck. Download her free audio program, "Banish the Goal Setting Gremlins and Reach Your Highest Potential". Contact her for more information at http://www.InnerResourceCenter.com .