LeadHER: When You're Stuck

Written By: Cathie Ostapchuk 

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A few years ago, we were packing to move to our new home and I was left with the task of taping up boxes.  However, my best attempt left more of the tape attached to my thumb, and then my fingers and in a few seconds, I was quite literally….stuck.

As a leader, you can find yourself stuck for a number of reasons.  It could be lack of confidence.  It could be fear of failure.  It could be a challenging voice that is telling you things are not going to improve and it might be better to just quit.  Sometimes, that voice is not the voice of an enemy but someone you trust. 

What gets me stuck most often is when I have had to make a decision to risk a little more than I am comfortable with.  It’s when I have had to go out on a limb and take team members to a place that none of us have ever been but we need to go there to expand the vision and mission of the organization we serve.  Sometimes, I get stuck if I think too hard and too long about the risk, and become paralyzed with fear.

When I am stuck, I have a go-to set of principles that create momentum for me so I can become unstuck.  I have learned the longer you let the fear hold you back, the farther away your dreams for yourself, your team, your family, your ministry, or your organization, will seem. 

  • Don’t forget your daily rituals.  Rising early, reading from God’s word, spending time in prayer and journaling, and healthy self-care are often forgotten when the stakes are high.  Do what you know to do to establish order and stability in your life.  Investing in the everyday disciplines can create a wealth of new insights because you are focused, paying attention, and asking questions of your life.
  • Make your first lifeline call, not to a friend, but to your Best Friend.  We often call someone to help us out of our situation and expect them to respond like it is a 911 call.  Picture Jesus reaching out to you as you step out of the boat, and saying, “Do not fear.”  That is always His word to you when you are in His presence.  Go to Him first and receive the peace that He offers.
  • Gather your tribe.  Process what is holding you back with trusted friends.  Spiritual friends.  Friends who are there to challenge you and pull you forward.  There are friends who may want to keep you back, because you are someone they know they can keep pace with.  Choose friends who are calling you to move into your future and even make risk seem natural.

Are you stuck?  What rituals do you have in place to keep you grounded?  Who will you reach out to first?  And who are those you can gather as your tribe that will say, “take the risk”?   We all become stuck. 

At some point you have to move forward.  Jesus reaches out His hand and says, “Come to me”.  You’ve got this.