Feeling Lost or Stuck

Feeling Lost and Stuck? Use These Ideas To Help

Every day you wake up to a new day, even though sometimes your days are so similar they seem to melt together in your memories, making you feel stuck in monotony to the point where you're stuck thinking “Now what?”

I know this feeling all too well. After separating from the Navy in 2008, I spent several years applying for jobs and being turned down for being either “overqualified,” not having enough experience in the field I applied to, because I could not carry out specific physical tasks because of a service-connected disability, or because they found an ideal candidate elsewhere.

Each and every day was like a bad sequel to the movie Groundhog Day… each day was the same: drop an application, go to an interview, get my hopes up, attend a medical appointment at my local Veterans Hospital, receive a rejection callback, take a nap, criticize myself for what I could have done better while daydreaming about better results “if only I fill in the blank” all while dealing with debilitating symptoms that I desperately tried to ignore. I was in a funk. Something had to give.

Perhaps your situation is different. Feeling like every day brings on the same adventure (or lack thereof) can be incredibly daunting. And Netflix binges only go so far in forcing time to pass a little faster.

Determined to do something, I spent a few years in school, where I realized a love for business and finance and refined some lacking social skills. This is along the lines of what I would recommend for you. Perhaps school isn't your thing, or you're lacking the funding to make it happen. The biggest key is trying something different and new to you. For me, using my military GI Bill was the temporary answer.

Don't fret about change.

There comes a time in everyone's life when suddenly change occurs. Your choices are to embrace the change or to reject the change. At the end of the day, those who are able to adapt efficiently will be the ones who will succeed faster. Our society is rapidly changing, especially with regard to the economy. Inflation and the cost of living are skyrocketing, jobs are unstable, and everyone seems to be stressed over what tomorrow will bring. When I went through this, there was one phrase commonly used in the Navy that constantly rang in the back of my mind:

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

The number one thing that frustrates me is when I feel unproductive. Productivity is key to how I view my self-worth. If you're not experiencing productivity in your life, I encourage you to make small changes throughout your day… even if it is making your bed each and every morning.

I've also found a lot of comfort in gardening, and encourage you to give it a try. Watching vegetables and flowering bushes that I plant and nurture growth, and then harvesting my delicious rewards is absolutely incredible. Plus, playing in the dirt always brings out the kid within me. In fact, gardening is known to help relieve anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Training our dogs and seeing the results when they learn a new command or game (like our Rottweiler who enjoys playing hide and seek) is incredibly fulfilling. Sometimes just brushing our Newfoundland's long fur can be therapeutic, and offer a good excuse to get out of my own head to really be present and offer a nice break to encourage some creative thinking.

But what about professionally?

I, like many veterans, am among the ridiculously high veteran unemployment statistics. Yes, my friends, the struggles veterans face every day are real. There really isn't anyone to blame, and it has nothing to do with a lack of trying. Maybe you were also “overqualified” or perhaps you just didn't fit in with the office culture. Or maybe you, like me, experienced difficulty trying to break into a new career field. It takes a lot of passion and hard work to find where you belong.

Unemployment (and under-employment) creates a very stressful time and can do some serious damage to your self-worth. Whether you are a transferring military spouse, are transitioning from military service to the civilian sector, or you don't have any experience with the military whatsoever… it's the one thing we all have in common. If you haven't experienced it, I strongly suggest you come up with a plan “B,” just in case some time down the road you are also affected. If you're currently looking for something to help you, I strongly encourage diving into some entrepreneurship.

Being someone who specializes in business strategy and research, I tailored my broke unemployment season (without receiving unemployment benefits) into my own business teaching people about living a healthier lifestyle and creating their own similar businesses. I might have a few resources that could help you… contact me if you want them.

Follow a passion

What are you interested in? Everyone always asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. For a long time, I wrote down things that sounded fun to try, which is exactly what I recommend for you too.

I found a lot of career options I was good at, but nothing I really enjoyed. This is important because you need to know what you don't want just as much (if not more) than you need to know what you do want.

Little did I know, I would have to reflect on my childhood to really find what I was most passionate about. I made a list of three jobs I wanted to do “when I grow up” for a second-grade assignment. I wanted to be a mom, but the teacher said that wasn't a “career” (I'm so blessed for that to be my “job” today!). So I thought long and hard and I made a list.

  • I wanted to teach.
  • I wanted to be a nurse… to do something to help other people increase their health.
  • I wanted to train dogs.
  • I wanted to be a mom (this option wasn't an “appropriate” option, according to my teacher… though now that I am a mom, I fully believe it should be!)

While in the Navy, I was actively training and teaching the entire time I was on active duty, and even now I do a fair amount of teaching (usually one on one with the occasional small class), consulting, and mentoring. While in the Navy, I spent my last year conducting wellness physicals, providing required inoculations, screening Sailors and Marines for overseas duty, and re-enlistments. Now, I help people learn about and implement natural health alternatives and reduce toxins in their lives that cause illness. I actively worked on checking off everything on my list, until I found my place.

Are you stuck not knowing what you want?

Reflect on your childhood.

  • What did you always want to do, but haven't tried yet?
  • What brings you joy, and reminds you of yourself when you were a kid?
  • What could you talk for hours upon hours about without getting bored?
  • What kind of results would motivate you to achieve more?
  • What intuitively sounds like fun?

You'd be surprised about how wise children are (even ourselves when we were children). Often growing up, we lose track of what is really important. A job doesn't have to be stressful, boring, or leave you feeling unfulfilled. Find a passion.

Don't know where to start? Start by writing down everything that sounds enjoyable and work through the list, checking off each line as you go. When you find something you enjoy, stay there for as long as you enjoy what you're doing.

When you're creating that list, sometimes it's enjoyable to just sit and let the words flow, without really thinking… then look back over it. Often times that is your subconscious trying to guide you… you'll never go wrong listening to your inner voice.

Once you start finding yourself, continue growing.

Author: Nicole Graber

Title: Writer, Editor, Wellness Consultant, Business Strategist

Expertise: Natural Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle, Home Business Strategy, Motherhood


Nicole is a writer, healthy lifestyle consultant, and faith-based business strategist at Gracefully Abundant, with bylines on MSN and the AP newswire. As a survivor of homelessness and chronic health issues, she discovered a purpose in guiding people toward a healthier lifestyle and increased income.

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