3 Powerful Ways to Get Unstuck and Into Action

by Alli Polin on September 23, 2014

Even when you're stuck, you can choose to move

Do you remember playing Freeze Dance when you were a kid?  You know, music played, you danced and suddenly, unexpectedly it would stop, and you’d freeze.  Stop, start, freeze, move, like a rhythm you were trying to outsmart, you’d try to be the last person standing without flinching in the freeze.  In life, most of us struggle at one time or another to get unstuck, but when playing Freeze Dance with focus and commitment, you’d try your hardest to get stuck in one place, knowing that the music would free you again.

There are many different approaches to this game.  What was yours?

  • Go all out, flailing and freezing in the funniest, most uncomfortable position possible?
  • Hardly moving to the beat so when it stopped, you’d be ready?
  • Dancing with a partner and swinging so hard, stopping wasn’t an option?
  • Avoiding eye contact with the judge as if that would stop them from seeing your arms and legs shaking?

No matter your style, if you didn’t learn to freeze on a dime, you were out of the game.  For some of us, it’s a lesson that we learned all too well.  I see a lot of grown ups in my practice playing freeze dance with their life, leadership and business.  They’re moving and grooving and FREEZE – they’ve stopped and it’s as if they’re waiting for the music to magically restart, giving them permission to keep moving, keep trying and keep growing.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been there.  I said I want to take my business to the next level, but made excuses about why it’s not the right time.  I decided I wanted to get really fit, but still didn’t make it all the way to the gym because I was too busy.  I’ve been unsure about moving to a new job, new country and new house.  I’ve been frozen, but eventually did the most freeing thing EVER.  I leaped. 

Truthfully, when frozen, and deeply stuck, the longer you stand still, the harder it is to move.  You worry that you’ll move to soon, before they music starts, and be OUT.  You worry that you’ll move too fast, unable to control the velocity of change, and you’ll be OUT.  You worry and it keeps you stuck.  Again, I know because it’s a human experience, and one we share.

You don’t have to be stuck.  You can choose to move even when you feel like you don’t know where, when or how.

Start with these three powerful ways to get unstuck and into action:

Don’t Wait until You’ve Got It All Figured Out

More than ever, in todays world, it feels like there is incredible pressure to not only know your next move, but also your next 50.  Go back to the freeze dance… it wasn’t choreographed, you didn’t know what was next, you felt the music and moved, you had fun, you laughed and played and danced.  Telling yourself that you need to have it all figured out to get unstuck?  It’s time for another ending to your story.  Nobody has ever had a 50 step plan and discovered that there were not shifts and turns and a heavy dose of the unexpected.  Call on your confidence and courage to move, and trust that you can and will thrive through ambiguity.

Put Yourself on the Hook

When you decide to take the critical first step, make it hard to wriggle out of taking action.  There is a gap between deciding and doing and you need accountability to close it.  Set a deadline for your next move that is in the very near term (remember not the next 50 moves) and tell someone.  Tweet it, put it on Facebook, tell your BFF or your carpool buddy and ask them to follow up with you.  When the only person who knows about your intended action is you, the door is left open for your saboteur, the devil on your shoulder, to talk you out of it.

Dare Yourself

I know, if you feel stuck, a dare may feel threatening, almost confrontational, but to get unstuck you need to shake things up.  Dares call you to play bigger than your comfort zone.  In fact, it feels intriguing to even consider how far you’re willing to go.  Want to start your own business?  Playing it safe is googling how to incorporate.  A dare is buying the website for your new business and posting it on Facebook with “coming soon!”  To get unstuck you need to take a step forward, not only think about taking the step.

What do you do to move forward when you’re feeling the most stuck?

If you’re feeling stuck, check out my new eCourse: Get Unstuck and Choose to Move for a proven pathway to un-freeze and move forward with more clarity, energy and inspiration.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck September 23, 2014 at 6:13 am

Hi Alli

If I wasn’t so unstuck, I would take the course! It looks and sounds brilliant to me!

I loved your suggestions … and the thing that really resonated with me was the need for accountability to close the gap between deciding and doing! You have to take personal responsibility for your actions, feel the fear and take the plunge.

What I find helps is an accountability buddy, especially for my writing, and I can’t thank LaRae enough for kicking my butt on this! Only kidding! She is a brilliant support to me and stops my being so unstuck from becoming too laid back!

Loved the post and thank you for sharing.

Thanks too for the tweet – it was very much appreciated!

Have a brilliant week ahead and every success with the eCourse!

Kind regards



Alli Polin September 23, 2014 at 6:55 am

Thanks, John! I’m really glad to hear that you are so unstuck! It feels great to move forward on things that really matter and the experience is foreign to many people.

I have the best accountability partner and I know how invaluable they can be! Awesome that LaRae has been there for you! When I feel like taking the easy road, or worse, retreating or just giving up they are there with me pushing, pulling and cheering me forward.

Your support means a TON to me!!! Thank you!


Tom Rhodes September 23, 2014 at 8:35 am


Working on unstucking (don’t think that’s a real word). I am finding the biggest roadblocks are fear, lack of confidence and difficulty letting go what got you stuck.
When you are dancing along and you are pushed off course that mole hill you thought was in front of you seems to transform into Mt. Everest. Then come choices to try and scale the mountain or redraw the map around the mountain, because you find the road back is closed. That’s when the questions come. What tools do I have? Can the mountain be climbed? How many times do I fall down before I decide to take a new path, and whose going to catch me when I fall? Where does that path lead and what’s on the other side?

Many questions, few answers.

The answer maybe you just have to get on the road a drive, but it would be nice to have a map.

Sorry for the long winded comment. Your post and course has me asking myself many questions. Maybe the answer is to drive and say H___ with the map, we will find out soon.

Thank you for all you do and for your amazing posts. I have no doubt the rest if the course will be amazing as well.



Alli Polin September 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm


Your comment is incredibly insightful. Letting go sounds so easy. Two little words that often feel like the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest!

For me, it’s the stories I tell myself about where I’ve been that are holding me back from creating where I’m going.

I also think you’ve really tapped into the greatest fear that I hear over and over about making a leap – no net. Who’s going to catch you? Assumes you’re going to fall. You may be surprised.

I’m a huge fan of metaphors and I think you’re comment will hit home with many.

Thanks to you, Tom for sharing your journey so incredibly generously!


Joy Guthrie September 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

We called that game “Red Light” as kids. 1-2-3 Red Light! Thank you for another great post Alli!


Alli Polin September 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

YES! I remember that game very well! Red Light Green Light was a camp favorite. Running towards the goal and stopping in your tracks.

Many thanks, Joy!


Terri Klass September 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

Very inspiring post for any of us who feel like we want to make a leap but are holding ourselves back!

For me, having it all figured out really resonates because I like to get my ducks mostly lined up before I make a move. What really happens to me is that I am always rearranging my steps and thoughts as I leap and grow. So maybe the moral is just do it and tweak my decisions as I go along.

I appreciate you tackling such a challenging concept and I know your course is going to help so many of us make our first move

Thanks Alli for for a great post and getting me to think about my next step!


Alli Polin September 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I hear you on getting ducks lined up! When I moved to Australia, family and friends nearly begged me to come out and visit where were moving before I made a final decision. Moving sight unseen, I was oddly serene. If it didn’t work, we’d leave. I realized that I didn’t have to know how it would all play out to trust that it would be OK.

Do and tweak seems like a good philosophy to me! (although, out of context, that does sound kinda crazy!)

Many thanks for all of your incredible support, Terri!


John Bennett September 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

The first one is so important to not only getting unstuck but also to getting optimum outcomes. When you think about designing a useful procedure or “thing” before trying something, it should be obvious that you are moving from design step to the next design step often (for any meaningful situation at least) – always presuming all previous design steps were good ones! What is the likelihood that indeed all were good??? Not very likely at all!!!

So not only to get unstuck (real word – came up in my suggested words) but to get the better outcome(s) in the time available, “don’t wait to (TRY TO) get it all figured out.”


Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:01 am

Absolutely with you, John! I can remember very few times in my career that I moved from design into the test phase that I did not have to adjust the product, process or both. I think that’s what I love about innovation… there is no waiting to get it perfect. It’s the testing and adjusting that brings an idea to life.

Excellent add! Thank you!


Susan Bowen September 23, 2014 at 10:46 am

Hi Alli. As always, your posts seem to fill a timely need in my life. Thank you for the encouragement to get unstuck. At times, I worry about the outcome being “perfect”. At times, I am concerned about others’ perceptions. But what I need to do is take a step and be daring. I will start “dancing with abandon”.

Hope all is well. Thank you again.



Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:02 am

Perfect is often subjective anyway…

LOVE that you’ll be dancing with abandon. I’ll be shimmying and shaking right along with you!

Hope all’s well with you too!

Thanks, Susan!


Karin Hurt September 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

What a perfect metaphor. Love it. It’s funny, I was just talking to my husband last night about a friend who once “danced” with so much passion, who now seems so stuck… and trying to figure out the best way to help her dance again. It’s tricky.


Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

I feel you, Karin. It’s so hard to see someone who you love, who felt the dance and let it bring them to life, sit in stillness. How awesome to have you on their side. Hopefully your friend will find their path.


LaRae Quy September 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Wonderful post, Alli!

The first point really resonated with me: Don’t Wait until You’ve Got It All Figured Out! This is my temptation! I have always been afraid of failing, so I waited until I was sure I could succeed before I made the leap.

In retrospect, that attitude has held me back so often in life. While its not easy, I’ve come to learn how to resist that urge to “have enough information” because truth is, you NEVER have enough information to eliminate all risk!

Great words of advice, Alli!


Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:12 am


I love to research all of our big decisions from education to our next big holiday adventure. I compile ideas, look at millions of options and at some point realize I’m going down a long, long drain. It’s at that point I realize choosing will yield a better outcome than continuing to fear getting it wrong. Once we decide, we can focus on helping to make things go right.

Great to know that I’m in good company with you!

Thanks so much, LaRae!


Samantha Hall September 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Great post Alli and an even bigger great big CONGRATULATIONS on the launch of your exciting new eCourse! Woot! : )

I had to face another incident that reinforced just how much ‘change’ has become scary for me. My daughter decided out of the blue that she wanted to quit the art school and go to a public high school. Naturally, I felt shocked, concerned, and wrestled with an entire host of thoughts and emotions as a parent. Wanting her to stay at the art school where she can continue to nurture her natural gifts and talents, yet also not wanting her to remain in an environment that was otherwise, not something she was happy with (outside of the art focus) i.e. longer hours and not getting home until 5pm each day while other high school kids get out of school at 2:05 pm!

So as the parent, I was really the one needed the reassurance and my 15 yr old was all ready to take the leap into new territory! She was ready for it and just did it!


Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:09 am

Thanks for all of your support with the eCourse!

It’s interesting how our children’s changes and shifts uncover our own discomfort and places we’re stuck. I’m sure your daughter, with you as her Mom, will continue to nurture her gifts and talents and look back on her high school experience as one where she was happy and true to herself! Kudos to you for loving her enough to do what’s best for her even when it is incredibly hard on you.

Thank you for bringing your real life to the conversation!!

Appreciate you, Samantha!


Jon Mertz September 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Great points and looks like a great course ahead, Alli! Taking that first step forward is always the riskiest yet the most important. After we do, we realize all is good and we are making forward progress.

I think another angle to getting stuck is saying “yes” too often. By saying “no” to things that are distracting, we can do more things on our unstuck path!




Alli Polin September 24, 2014 at 12:15 am

That first step does feel awfully risky, doesn’t it?

Fantastic point on saying “NO” to make room to say yes to what matters most. I’m a HUGE fan of how powerful a conscious yes/no can be.

When we’re stuck, everything feels like effort, but when we start to get unstuck, little by little, find our voice and the courage to say “no”, we get that spring in our step that keeps us moving forward.

Always appreciate your insights, Jon!


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