When you’re Confused, Stuck, or Overwhelmed — Do This


Ever had that feeling you just don’t know what to do, that you are pulled in a million different directions, and you are seriously confused, overwhelmed, and just plain stuck?

We know what that’s like and we have something simple to share with you. Simple, but surprisingly effective — possibly even profound. It’s so stupid simple it’s a wonder we sometimes forget it. But we do. And so will you.

We call it, Doing What’s In Front of You to Do. In other words, the very next step is always right in front of you. The problem arises because we can’t see beyond that next step — and that’s when we get anxious — am I right? Sometimes, you just can’t see the second step or the third. But you can always see the first. I dunno; that just amazes me. Because: true.

Admittedly, there’s often something deeper going on. In reality, that next step might require facing something you’re avoiding. Facing your fears, your reality, or something else that’s a bit challenging. Maybe it’s only the mess on your desk, the phone call you are afraid to make, the taxes, the dishes — but maybe that messy desk reminds you how chaotic and uncertain your life is at the moment. Even so, take the damn. step. Clean the desk; make the call. That’s what’s in front of you to do. And surprisingly, it chisels away at that block of ice lurking deeper down. It starts to melt.

What is hanging over your head right now? What could you do that is “next” — that needs to be cleared away? What could you do that gets your will into movement when you are feeling stuck? Because after all, what is actually stuck? It’s your will, to get moving, to get into action.

And why are you stuck? Maybe it’s because you are afraid.  I know with me, that’s often the case.

Here’s the key.  When you’re venturing into territory that you’ve never been in before, relaity always gives you the next step, but not the steps after that.  And when you’d very much like to have the answers — when you’d like to know whether you are doing the right thing because the stakes are high, the next step can feel trivial, or unnecessary, or small beans.  Or it can feel insufficient: doesn’t the next step need to be big, huge, important? The stakes are so high!  Shouldn’t the next step save the day?  Otherwise, why bother?

The world always gives you a next step — no matter what. The real question is whether you can see it, and the only way you will see it is if you are prepared to face your fears and potentially any avoidance that could be going on.  

So, get your will moving, get your body into action and take a step, even if it’s as insignificant as cleaning up, throwing stuff away. Most of all, face your fears and check in with yourself to see if you are avoiding something.

And of course, once you have taken that step, the next step will then be revealed to you. DO WHAT ‘S IN FRONT OF YOU TO DO. With LOVE. It works wonders.


  1. Sue Barnum on February 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I call it the Hansel and Gretel process…you only get one bread crumb at a time to follow!

  2. Brooking Gatewood on February 19, 2016 at 7:37 am

    David Whyte agrees 🙂 …a favorite poem on this topic:


    Start close in,
    don’t take the second step
    or the third,
    start with the first
    close in,
    the step
    you don’t want to take.

    Start with
    the ground
    you know,
    the pale ground
    beneath your feet,
    your own
    way of starting
    the conversation.

    Start with your own
    give up on other
    people’s questions,
    don’t let them
    smother something

    To find
    another’s voice,
    your own voice,
    wait until
    that voice
    becomes a
    private ear
    to another.

    Start right now
    take a small step
    you can call your own
    don’t follow
    someone else’s
    heroics, be humble
    and focused,
    start close in,
    don’t mistake
    that other
    for your own.

    Start close in,
    don’t take
    the second step
    or the third,
    start with the first
    close in,
    the step
    you don’t want to take.

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