“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
One of the challenges of living in a fast paced and ever changing world is that we are feverishly and forever trying to keep up so we don’t get left behind and become obsolete. It is such a challenge today to be mentally fit and resilient that for many of us we find that it is too late and that we are destined for obscurity – giving up seems to be the only option. Like being left alone in a room and someone has turned the lights out and no one knows you are there. Hope has left the building!
A life wasted, dreams shattered and the feeling of emotional exhaustion is all that we have left, it seems.
Have you ever been to a conference and felt stressed about mingling amongst the delegates at the conference? Ever felt intimated in such situations? Thoughts such as “do I have anything interesting or important to offer” or “will anyone even find me interesting” or “I hope I don’t embarrass myself” or “why am I so afraid?” run through your head as you wander amongst the crowd seemingly invisible.
How about this? Have you browsed for 15 minutes on LinkedIn, for example, and have had to walk away from the computer because you felt that you just cannot “compete” with all the success stories, job titles, achievements and powerful profiles? In fact, the more you browse the smaller you feel and deeper your depression goes.
The crazy paradox is that you need people to get you where you want to go or give you the opportunity for what you want to achieve but those very “people” are now becoming, if I can say this without being too overly dramatic, a phobia. The thing is that this fear (real or perceived) is nevertheless, disabling.
Even more frustrating is knowing you are a nice person who is not out to hurt anyone and your desire and ambition to be “successful” is burning a hole in your soul but you just cannot get going. You are stuck.
In fact, you are so frustrated that you just want to quit life and go crawl into a corner. Your confidence is gone, your esteem is rock bottom and all of your past successes are now a distant black and white movie – devoid of joy. You are barely keeping things together and down, it feels, to the last thread of the frayed rope.
Maybe this is you now?
What is happening to me?
Well if you have been there or are there now then you are suffering with what I call Stuck-In-A-Rut Syndrome (SIRS), (sorry I got tired of all those sexy sounding syndromes so went with a title which was a bit more practical).
The Stuck-In-A-Rut Syndrome (SIRS) has 5 notable characteristics. They are:
- Your Past is Present – you just cannot get over the failures of the past. The decisions you have made and the opportunities you have squandered are still alive in your head and they play like a never-ending film reel. Over and over again you remind yourself of your failure and you feel over and over again like a failure. You carry this thought with you like a child carries a comfort blanket.
- Your Thoughts are Defeating – Your first thought in the morning is “will anything positive happen today”? Will I be able to move the needle forward today? What if it is another crappy day like yesterday? You are lost for any positive thoughts to get you motivated or at least to sustain your motivation for the week. You feel like you are having the same day over and over again. The world is looking bleak and empty and you feel likewise. You have lost your pep, your vim, your verve and your perspective. You carry negative vibes, which in turn impacts those who are there to support you which then leads to more conflict and frustration. Negative thoughts fuels negative situations – the cycle.
- Your Purpose Is Numerical-You have lost your meaningfulness in life and now you just want to achieve a monetary target, for example, which pays the bills and gets you through another month without having to dip into your savings. Your bank balance is constantly on your mind. The pressure to support yourself and/or your family is incredibly stressful and in fact it’s like this weight around your neck that is choking you – you cannot breath! Your whole life comes down to live month to month and you cannot see a future beyond that anymore. You cannot remember the last time you just got out of bed without a negative thought and just enjoyed the day without stress and pressure.
- Your Guilt Is An Anchor – Past mistakes haunt you and you can see before you broken relationship and shattered dreams because of what you did or what you decided. You feel like you have no one to share this with and you feel that no one understands you or even cares for you. You have tried your best and failed so what is the point? Your whole life and ever sinew in your body just wants to make up for those mistakes and wind everything back to zero but you are lost as to how to go about doing just that. You need others but you have lost your edge to influence which, is causing you to lock yourself away – to run away. You have run out of ideas and the weight of the past weighs incredibly heavy.
- Your Invisibility Feels Real – You have lost your faith, lost your purpose and lost your way. You are just like the beggar in the street that people walk past unaware that he (you) is a human being who needs a break, an opportunity. You want to be successful and want to have a good life like everyone else you see before you. Why is everyone else successful but you cannot get going? Surely you say to yourself, “I have the credentials and background why won’t anyone see me”.
You may be employed in a job, even an executive or you may be an independent consultant looking for the next project or you may be unemployed but I know that you will or have at some stage in your life suffered from SIRS.
SIRS is a state of mind but it feels so physically real – ever present, palpable and visceral. It keeps even the successful from advancing and keeps the talented and gifted from starting.
The good news is that every syndrome has an antidote.
The song by En Vogue has this great line “free your mind and the rest will follow”. Amen to that!
We at nStratagem can help you with your personal transformation.
Norm Murray, CEO, nStratagem
We look forward to your thoughts and comments on this article get in touch with us: contact@nStratagem.com
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Norm Murray is CEO of nStratagem. Norm is an acclaimed Executive Coach, Strategist, Transformation & Turnaround expert. He is an inspirational Speaker, Motivator and Writer & a Complex Problem Solver. He has counseled Executive Leaders and Executive Boards worldwide from start-ups to major corporations in the Middle East, Asia, North America and Europe to achieve transformation, adaptation and enhanced performance results beyond expectations.
** The views, information, words, concepts or opinions expressed in our blogs, articles and blog articles are solely the opinions of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of nStratagem, its employees or its affiliated companies.
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