For most of my twenties, I felt like such a failure. I felt lost, frustrated and, worst of all, I felt stuck.
Back in college, I prayed time and time again, “Here I am Lord, send me,” expecting God to lead me on an epic journey worthy of a made-for-TV movie.
Instead, my life consisted of months on the road making sales presentations and lonely nights in motel rooms, only to come home to my shoulder-high, rainy-day-gray cubicle walls. I wanted my life to mean something, yet I had no idea how to take that first step forward.
So for the last 10 years, I took that frustration and began studying, writing and learning the secrets and strategies for getting unstuck, which has helped me move full-time into doing work I love as a full-time author and speaker.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are five tips you can implement today to start moving forward:
1. Focus on the Small, Daily, Underrated Core Habits
Sometimes I think we view people who are truly successful as somewhat mythical beings who must have some big secret that has produced a shortcut to success.
The more I study and speak to successful people, the more I’ve realized that successful people’s profound secret of success is that they don’t have a profound secret. They aren’t searching for that big, secret shortcut. Instead, they are focused on mastering the small.
Their life consists of discipline within crucial core habits that add to their life, instead of draining it.
Examples like: Exercising. Eating healthy–identifying the foods that drain them and removing those from their diet. Getting up early. Praying. Having times of silence. Letting God fill them with His presence instead of being overwhelmed with the ruckus and racket of the day-to-day.
A lot of times, the key is learning to embody Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Lean into God’s peace and presence as your source of daily consistency. If you try to get unstuck with your own strength, then you’ll quickly become disillusioned and burnt out.
Crush the things that are holding you back by being consistent at the core habits that can propel you forward.
2. Have Goals Built Off Your ‘Signature Sauce’
Defining, refining, owning and honing your unique Signature Sauce becomes a framework where your passion, purpose and career collide.
People who are living a life of impact have goals that aren’t created out of context. They create goals as a culmination of who they are, what they believe, what they’re good at, what they value, where they want to go and what needs and problems they want to alleviate.
Finding your Signature Sauce is uncovering and leveraging the unique mix of ingredients within you that God has masterfully blended together.“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).
You are uniquely made by the Master Craftsman who designed you with purpose for a specific purpose. Hide that under a bushel? Heck no.
3. Do ‘Relationshipping’ Really Well
I think we need to stop networking so much and start doing what I call “relationshipping.”
“Relationshipping” is about authentically building relationships not just when you “need” them.
Too often, networking is about us–our needs and the things we’re passionate about. Relationshipping is about focusing on the person you’re with–and getting excited about what they’re excited about.
Stop networking like a machine. Start relationshipping like a person.
4. Care More About Learning Than About Your Ego
Want to know a simple test on whether or not you care more about learning than you do about your ego? How do you receive feedback?
Honestly, receiving feedback graciously hasn’t always been a strength of mine. It still isn’t.
But more and more, I’m realizing if you’re able to receive constructive feedback from a boss, parent, spouse or teacher and then implement what’s needed to do it better the next time, you care more about learning than your ego.
If the moment you smell feedback, you attack it like an angry buffalo charging a tourist, then your ego (and the insecurities it’s protecting) is probably a little too sharp.
If your ego keeps charging at everyone who tries to help, then people are going to stop helping.
5. Realize God Wants Truly to Give You Strength to Overcome
For years, I felt frustrated and bitter that all my prayers of “Here I am Lord, send me” seemed to fall on deaf ears as I wasted away in cubicle life.
However, through a stark vision I had one night, I saw very clearly the errors in my thinking and in my faith.
As I write about in my book All Groan Up, in this vision, I saw myself sitting in a wheelbarrow, praying and waiting for God to start pushing me around.
Then I heard God tell me, “Get out of the wheelbarrow. I’m your savior, not your sled dog.”
I wanted God to roll me into the big and the substantial, and then I’d be faithful in big ways. Instead, God wanted to give me strength by teaching me to use my own legs. God wanted me to learn how to do big things by first learning how to walk forward in the small, everyday steps.
Yes, He would walk next to me, but He wasn’t about to sled-dog me to my calling.
I realized my expectations of the sexy, big, “social media worthy” calling, looked very different than the calling Christ embodied on the cross.
All along, He was teaching me a valuable lesson: Our purpose isn’t just found in the outcome. Our purpose is revealed in the process. It might be messy, but it will be full of meaning.