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Photo by Kevin Terrell

Why am I stuck? Many ask themselves this same common question day in and day out. Whether it is a job, you don’t like, or a relationship that has become unhealthy, or maybe a weight on the scale that does not seem to budge, whatever status quo you may find yourself in, feeling stuck is very common. Self-help guru, Bob Proctor, frequently talks about changing one’s paradigm to change their life or any aspect of their life. What Proctor and others like him also explain is that unless we fully understand what is keeping us stuck in our current paradigm, we cannot shift into a new one. While this might sound simple, this is the biggest hurdle to any breakthrough because most of our paradigms tend to be created by our unconscious mind.

According to neuroscientists, up to 98% of our thoughts and beliefs are unconscious. In other words, much of what drives our daily habits and actions, which lead us to make one choice or another and create our current reality, are driven by our subconscious mind. No wonder Carl Jung said, “until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.” So, unless we dig into our subconscious mind, we will more than likely remain stuck in this or that situation that has outworn itself.

In my journey as a conscious leadership coach, I have discovered that it takes three steps to help clients begin to lead their thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions from the unconscious to the conscious levels, which in turn changes their life.

01 |  Become Self-Aware
The most fundamental step to take in the journey from the unconscious to the conscious is to become self-aware. Self-awareness denotes being aware of our consciousness and its power to change our life. Self-awareness, when harnessed through a myriad of mindfulness techniques, enable us to choose the best thoughts, emotions, and actions at any given time during the day.

First, self-awareness allows us to observe the thoughts that are running through the monkey mind, evaluate them, and choose thoughts that are more supportive of our wellbeing. With self-awareness, we begin to closely examine our beliefs that generate many powerful thoughts, and we begin to deliberately adopt new empowering beliefs that give rise to positive thoughts.

Second, with self-awareness, we begin to choose to respond and not react to situations. Responding instead of reacting is the main characteristic of conscious living. When we are consciously choosing our emotions, we begin to choose emotions that are more positive that put us in a better state of consciousness, as well as inspire and motivate us to be our best self.

Third, we gain full reign over our actions when we choose to become more self-aware. We begin to sift and sort through possible outcomes and evaluate, mindfully, which one is in our best interest, and subsequently, architect the best response or course of action.

With self-awareness, we take back our power instead of giving it away through reacting impulsively to stress, frustration, anger, withdrawal, or conflict.

Self-awareness allows us to act from a place of being in charge, more centered, more clear-headed, and our actions tend to carry a lot of wisdom in them.

02 | Create New Habits
Much of what drives our daily habits, whether on the level of the mind, emotions or behaviors, is rooted in the subconscious. To change our life, we would need to use self-awareness as a tool to pinpoint what no longer serves our highest good regarding mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns. When we become conscious of our habits, we can then devise a plan to create new ones to replace the old ones.

Nothing stored in our subconscious mind can be erased or removed. It can only be overridden by a new powerful thought, memory or habit. Also, habits are formed in the brain at the level of neural networks. To create new habits, we would need to begin to create new neural connections. A synapse is formed between neurons in the brain when we expose ourselves to new information, beliefs, perspectives, and paradigms, and before we know it, our brain begins to respond to a whole new way to whatever particular situation or experience we wanted to change. This is why my favorite expert on the topic, Dr. Joe Dispenza, is often quoted as saying, “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

I have worked with many clients to help them create new habits, and they usually take anywhere between 21 and 90 days to see a real shift happen. I believe it all depends on the level of commitment to making the shift, as well as our beliefs around the new habit and our emotional attachment to the old habit. My clients have experimented with a range of habits that include re-writing their stories to more positive and empowering narratives, to creating beliefs around who they are and what they are capable of, to simple daily habits that set them up for success.

03 | Capitalize On Your Strengths
In my coaching practice, I use the Energy Leadership Index (ELI) assessment to help clients discover what unconscious habits, patterns or blocks might be keeping them stuck in the status quo. I am a big fan of the ELI assessment, not only because it is amazingly accurate, but also because it sheds light on both the unconscious aspects of ourselves and provides us with information on our strengths that are key to shifting out of the unconscious habits, patterns, blocks.

Let’s say that you have a tendency to feel victimized by your circumstances when faced with a stressful situation. At the same time, when things are going well for you, you tend to see opportunities everywhere. Feeling victimized under stress could be keeping you stuck from effecting change in your life in a positive way, and your ability to see opportunities everywhere could be your doorway into shifting out of the woe-is-me paradigm by reframing the situation and looking at it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Being stuck isn’t your fate . . .

Yes, life is not easy. And, what makes life even more complex is that most human beings go about their lives in autopilot mode. In autopilot mode, we give our power away to something outside ourselves. Shifting out of autopilot and into conscious living is the first step you would want to take to gain full reign over your fate and ultimately your destiny. Being stuck isn’t your fate. You are the master of your destiny, and it all begins with living consciously.

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