7 Things Really Stuck People Refuse to Do

by Alli Polin on October 6, 2015


“I’m not stuck, I know what to do,” Jane told me during our first conversation.

“That’s great!” I replied. “Why aren’t you doing it?”

“The list is just long, it’s going to take forever.”

“Take something off it,” I suggest. “Focus in.”

“I can’t. It’s all important.”

“What if you pick one place to start instead of cutting something out?” I ask.

“I have no idea where to start. That’s why I called you.”

Jane could call it what she wanted, she was definitely stuck and keeping herself there through her choices and perspective. Moreover, whether she knew it or not, she was refusing to get unstuck.

The more stuck you are, the hole that you’re standing in becomes a canyon that feels impossible to climb – even if you know how to do it. In my experience, most people don’t get stuck from not knowing what to do, it’s the things that really stuck people refuse to do that keeps them in a stressful limbo.

Here are 7 things many really stuck people refuse to do.

How many are you hanging onto in your own life and leadership?

Pare down the to-do list. 

If your life is overflowing with tasks and to-dos, take some off. Not everything on there is equally important, but it is taking up mind-space. Pick two or three TOP priorities and get ‘em done.

Make progress on one thing at a time. 

Multi-tasking has become today’s badge of honor. Imagine if I had my child read a book to me while I balanced my checkbook, made school lunches and returned emails. Sounds silly, right? It is. Start one thing, finish one thing (or at least take it as far as it can go for the moment)

Pick and choose.

Don’t be Veruca Salt – you can’t have it all NOW. It sucks, I know. Get unstuck by picking instead of doing and having “it all.” I hear it all the time, “I don’t want to compromise.” You can’t be 42 places at once and you can’t do 150 things at once (I’ve tried, I swear.) Pick and choose, get moving and get unstuck.

Set interim milestones.

Really stuck people refuse to acknowledge progress – they’re too focused on end goals. Here’s a tip – set interim goals and make them frequent. Celebrate steps and you’ll see and feel PROGRESS. It’s awesome.

Redefine success.

The most stuck people I know feel like failures because they’re not moving, flowing and flexing. They refuse to pick a new dream, define a new vision or redefine success.

Build a 3d model for success.

Try: Dare (set an immediate dare – stretch), Dash (get some hustle and make it happen – give it your all), Dazzle (let your accomplishment shine instead of rushing to the next). Set small challenges to test your assumptions before you label anything impossible.


Perspective changes everything and to get unstuck you have to stop refusing to shift yours. Physical movement is a proven way to shift your thinking, not only your body. If you’re always sitting at your desk mulling over what to do, why not get moving, pump up the jam and then reconsider your challenge or problem.

Believe it or not, some people like being stuck. They refuse to admit that stuck is an excuse for standing still. You don’t need an excuse for a visit to your comfort zone, it’s a place to regroup, stretch and grow before you conquer challenges ahead.

Your goals and dreams matter, yet your choices and perspective keep you stuck. What have you been refusing to do and when will you start making another choice?

If you’re ready to take your next step and finally leave stuck behind for inspired action, the eCourse, Get Unstuck and Choose to Move is for you. 


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck October 6, 2015 at 6:06 am

Great post Alli! Loved DARE, DASH and DAZZLE!

Have a brilliant week!

Kind regards



Alli Polin October 6, 2015 at 6:22 am

Thanks, John! I’m in the middle of a dare and dash of my own. Feels good!




Jon Mertz October 6, 2015 at 7:06 am

Excellent points, Alli. I believe paring down our list and setting key milestones help a great deal. Too often, we get distracted and undertake initiatives that are important to others rather than ones important for our change. We need to renew our focus and work on our path. By doing this, we can better help others along the way, too. Thanks! Jon


Alli Polin October 6, 2015 at 7:21 pm


You’re right. It’s a great idea to pause and ask whose priority am I acting on? Sometimes, we discover that a loud voice has taken us off mission.

Appreciate your insights!


Terri Klass October 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

You present such practical, yet powerful strategies to get unstuck, Alli.

Taking action has always been key in empowering me to make my next move. I especially love your idea of visiting the comfort zone when we need to regroup.

Throughout my career, I try to keep my values front and center and then talk myself into taking a leap. As long as people are in my view, I’m good.

Thanks Alli for a great post and I will share with my network! Enjoy Sydney!


Alli Polin October 8, 2015 at 5:04 am

I replied to this comment and somehow it didn’t publish! Totally with you on values being a key guidepost that can make a muddy path clear. When we’re about to leap against our values, usually something feels off – for a good reason!

Love this: “As long as people are in my view, I’m good.” Connecting with people on a deeper level truly is one of your gifts.

Thanks, Terri!


LaRae Quy October 6, 2015 at 11:42 am

Love this list, Alli!

We’ve hit “stuckitis” at some point in our life and career…your points are spot-on.

I particularly like “Pick and choose” because our brain does get tired over the course of a busy day. It actually uses about 10.8 calories per hour! So prioritize what is important to accomplish each day and start off with a bang!


Alli Polin October 6, 2015 at 8:02 pm

What an interesting fact! I can remember my first job out of college and feeling absolutely exhausted with a mushy brain at the end of the day – now I better understand why.

Prioritization is so critical to our success yet far too often people create overwhelming and unsustainable situations. A pause and a re-organization of the endless to-do list can have a HUGE impact.

Thanks for your comment! Fascinating info!


Karin Hurt October 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Such an important post, Alli. Often what you need most to get unstuck is a little momentum in the right direction. The hardest part of going on a run is deciding to put on your shoes.


Alli Polin October 6, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Your comment made me smile. There are days that I know are going to be really busy and I just want to get down to work but make the choice to put on my workout clothes anyway. The mental arguments I have with myself are crazy but first things first.

Thanks, Karin!


Vanessa Wiltshire October 10, 2015 at 3:40 am

The hardest part about running is getting out the door. Which I’m doing literally right now, even on a full stomach of rice cakes and tuna.


Alli Polin October 11, 2015 at 5:06 am

Yay! I hate my first few steps on the road… until I’m down the street and know I’m not turning back. In running, in life 🙂 Thanks, Vanessa!


John Bennett October 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Think about it… Being ‘really stuck’ happens but cannot be acceptable for anyone!!! So, thanks for seven great suggestions for those not willing to consider options themselves!


Alli Polin October 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm

It’s so painful! Tolerating stuck is like tolerating… I don’t know… something awful. Nothing happens until we choose to change. Hope this makes it easier.




Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ October 6, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Bam Alli you’ve nailed this one not only with details but also with the energy that will help everyone get moving. Nobody needs to be stuck for very long when they “change it up a bit.”

Great post! FYI: This Sunday #Peopleskills chat topic is all about “Changing When People Around You Don’t or Won’t.” Dave Moore is guest hosting in my absence. Your post is a great lead in to it!!



Alli Polin October 7, 2015 at 4:15 am

Many thanks, Kate! It’s funny how we think of change in terms of big, huge leaps but really it’s the smaller shifts (and a series of them) that can make the most difference.

This week’s #Peopleskills chat sounds fantastic!

If you read this comment and don’t usually attend the #Peopleskills Twitter chat at 10 AM ET on Sunday mornings I strongly urge you to check it out!

Thanks, Kate!




Brenda Pace October 8, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Hi Alli,

I had to stop by and comment on this because it hit so much at home for me. At my current job, I feel stuck. I can’t get ahead of the game and it tears me apart. I’m one that likes to make progress and move onto the next. So when I can’t, I get a feeling of defeat. However, if I sit back and take a moment or two, or days, or months 🙂 to regroup, I can finally come to realize I will never be able to get ahead until I do something drastic. That is what my new mission is so I can “unstuck” myself.

Thank you, as always, for the inspiration. You rock gf!


Alli Polin October 9, 2015 at 10:08 am

Doing something drastic is scary but it’s also courageous – you’re taking a stand for what you want in your life and what you’ll no longer tolerate. Keeping one foot in the status quo, waiting for a sign, could take forever. HUGE congratulations to you and your clients that you now serve as a Virtual Assitant.

Thanks for leading the way!! 🙂


Cynthia Bazin October 11, 2015 at 10:47 am

Another fabulous article Alli! I appreciate your leadership, friendship and inspiration. Everyone needs to read this article!


Alli Polin October 12, 2015 at 12:42 am

Thanks, Cindy! Means so much! I appreciate you tremendously too 🙂


Aubrey McGowan October 14, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Alli, I love this list! One of my mantras used to be “Progress not perfection.” I got it from Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach. But what I realized is that progress is not only preferable to perfection – it IS perfection. We know we can’t be perfect, so why even keep it as a notion? Forget it all together. Progress is perfection. I have just come across your site. Keep up the great work!


Grenae Thompson November 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

Alli, I just read your latest blog post and hope you are well on the way to recovery by now. I am convinced you will come back stronger and better.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, my friend.

Big hugs to you,


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