Three years ago I got my MBA from Rice University. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because I went head to head with a major self-limiting belief I held for my entire life — “I am not good with numbers.” I always considered myself the creative one, the one who has a way with words. Numbers. Girl, bye. No way, José. Not for me. Ever.
After realizing that I had no evidence to really support that claim, I jumped headfirst into my Finance studies and, much to my disbelief, I did pretty darn good. I had to drop the story that I wasn’t good with numbers. It simply wasn’t true. After graduation, I decided that I wanted to continue learning about the world of Finance. I got a job in Corporate Finance and worked as a Senior Financial Analyst for two years. I am super grateful for my time in Finance because it taught me so much about life, business, and it pointed me in the direction of what truly lights me up.
However, it wasn’t all roses. I quickly came to the conclusion that the world of Finance was not for me. Day after day, I went into the office certain that they’d spot the fraud they’d hired and would rectify their mistake. It never happened. In fact, no one could really tell that I felt stuck in a role that I didn’t really want. I was going through the motions, creating the financial models, playing the role. Truth be told, I just felt stuck. Most days, I got to work before the sun came up and left after it had set. I barely had enough energy to shower, walk my dog, and order take-out. I will say that my team was amazing. I loved the company. I just knew that Finance wasn’t for me. I was aware that I would soon come to a crossroads where I would have to make a choice. I tried to prolong that moment for as long as I could. Sure, the money was nice, but even that wasn’t enough to get rid of the sinking feeling that time was moving forward and I was not.
You may find yourself in a similar situation in your life. You may not know what you really want to do with your life and it’s driving you crazy. You may feel stuck in your love life, your finances, your burning life purpose. I want you to know that it’s okay. You are not alone. This moment is teaching you so much about yourself, if you will only open yourself up to the lessons.
When I was in my stuck phase, I learned to take it moment by moment and to find delight in the small things. Here are five things that helped me tremendously on the days when I felt like I was in the trenches —
1. Tap into the power of music.
Like any good Financial Analyst, I spent a lot of time in front of a computer with Excel. I would listen to music as I created and updated my financial models. I realized that music really affected my mood. I used that to my advantage. I chose not to listen to any songs that had a sad melody, heartbreaking lyrics, or reminded me of a sad time in my life. I started to create my own playlists filled with music that made me feel good. I chose Ricky Martin’s song, “Pégate” as my power song. This song is infectious and when you translate the lyrics, you see that it’s all about dancing through sadness and honoring the love that unites us all. In the moments where I really felt stuck, I’d play that song and take a five minute break. If I was at home, I’d dance it out like Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels. I instantly felt the stuck energy start to move.
2. Create a treasure chest of goodies.
Using one of of my favorite boxes from Birchbox, I created my very own treasure chest filled with trinkets and photos. I included a picture of myself that I took at a moment in my life when I felt powerful. Whenever I felt stuck, I’d take out my treasure chest and hold each item one by one. I’d close my eyes and remember specific moments of joy. I felt my mood lift and I knew I’d be able to make it. At work, I surrounded myself with pictures of loved ones, tokens from concerts I’d been to, and quotes that inspired me. I tried to create an environment that inspired me, so that on the days where I wanted to give up, I’d look around and soak in the good energy.
3. Get moving.
When I consistently practice yoga, I feel better. During those two years in Finance, my practice was really up and down. On the days where I felt stuck, I’d make myself leave early and go to a yoga class. Even if that meant that I’d return to the office afterward or continue working from home, I’d give myself that 60-90 minute yoga class to move through that stuck energy. You don’t have to do yoga, either. Find what works for you. I believe our bodies were meant to move, so find your movement. It could be dance, Crossfit, swimming, Tai Chi, etc. Find what works for you and stick with it.
4. Write a letter to yourself.
The next time you are having a rockstar day, set aside 30 minutes and write your future self a letter. Write it as an encouragement for the days when you don’t feel like a rockstar. Say something kind to yourself. Describe in great detail how wonderful you’re feeling. Send your future self blessings and compassion. Remind yourself of a time when you felt like you were on top of the world. The next time you’re feeling stuck, take out the letter and read it as many times as you need.
5. Call for reinforcements.
I’ll never forget one day when I was super low. I’m normally one of those people that likes to figure things out on my own and deal with my crap by myself. However, on this day, I simply couldn’t do it anymore. I felt vulnerable and humiliated when I called two of my friends and asked them to hang out with me because I needed to talk. Looking back, I realize that was super silly on my part. When we got together, I instantly felt better. One of my friends cooked a yummy dinner and I had a much needed vent session. Once I told them how I was feeling, my energy completely lifted and I felt free and heard. They lovingly listened and gave me their point of view, which I so desperately needed. We then spent the remainder of the evening joking, laughing, and listening to music. It was amazing.
Ultimately, I ended up leaving my Corporate Finance gig to focus on my spiritual life coaching practice, where I help people design lives that they absolutely love. I appreciate the two years I worked in Finance because the experience taught me how to find delight in the day to day hustle and bustle. It taught me that I have more power than I realize when it comes to lifting my own mood. It taught me to treasure everything and to cherish my friends. It taught me that no matter how stuck I feel, the universe is always there supporting me and guiding me back to myself.
Comment below and let me know how you get unstuck.