Sometimes I get into a rut. I feel stuck. Stagnant.
When I first moved to Missoula, I felt this way. I didn’t have many friends. Just a few acquaintances. One acquaintance invited me over for game night where a group of us sat around playing board games, drinking wine.
It turned out that the get-together’s host, Rebecca, was a theater director. When I asked how her most recent production, Thisillusionment, was coming along, she said, “Everything’s great … except I can’t find someone to fill the main role as Ivan the Magician.”
Feeling the courage provided by three glasses of wine, I extended my arms in front of me, palms down, and then flipped my palms upward with exaggeration, rolled up my sleeves one-by-one, and said with arms spread wide, “I think I might be the magician you’re looking for.” Rebecca laughed and tentatively said she’d let me audition for the role.
So I did.
Now realize, I’ve never acted in a play, so I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the lead role.
I spent the next eight weeks rehearsing, five days a week, four hours each evening, getting ready for the production (video clip). Without even trying, I slowly moved out of my rut. The growth I experienced in just two months was astonishing; I’ve never grown that much in such a condensed period of time: I gained an exponential amount of acting experience, learned how a play was developed start-to-finish, and, most important, I made great friends with whom I now have a strong connection. In short: I became unstuck.
A lot of my mentoring clients ask me how to get out of a rut. The best advice I can give is to change their physical state. This doesn’t mean that I suggest all my clients go audition for a play, but I do suggest they do something offbeat.
Diving into something you’ve never experienced before can be terrifying, or at least it can feel really uncomfortable, but those feelings of discomfort are indicative of growth.
If you’re experiencing stagnation, or if you’re feeling stuck, then find a way to change your state. Do something offbeat: go audition for a play, or take a photography class, or take tango lessons, or go out in your yard and do cartwheels. Whatever you do, do not continue the same old routine.