Two small shifts in focus to help with that feeling of powerlessness

We don’t make changes in a vacuum. Even if you live alone, there are still moments where you have to rely on or wait for someone else’s decision.

  • You wait for the job offer.
  • You wait to see if your application was accepted.
  • You wait to see if the financing will go through.
  • You wait for the test results.
  • You wait for 3-6 months to see if anything changes.
  • You wait on their input about the project.
  • You wait for that person to say yes or no.

And it can be hard to wait. Really hard. Their time table isn’t yours. To you this might be everything, to them it’s another email in their inbox, one of many.

And so you wait. It’s so easy to slide into feeling stuck, feeling at someone else’s mercy, feeling unable to move forward.

It becomes far too easy to slide into feeling powerless to make the changes you want to make.

when things are out of focus, how can you tell where you are?

This is the space I’ve been in recently. I’m waiting on quite a few different things, and I’ve been sliding down the slippery slope of “I can’t do anything about any of this” and “everything I’m trying to do ends up on hold.” And it’s all over my life, from big things to trying to replace my dying phone.

It’s not an enjoyable pattern to be stuck in.

(Translation: it is incredibly frustrating and freaking sucks.)

There are two small shifts in focus I made that have helped me move from feeling stuck and powerless to feeling better.

Focus on telling the truth

In the middle of feeling like nothing was happening at all, I was saying things like “I can’t even get my phone replaced!” Which wasn’t true…I could have bought a different phone right then, just not the one I wanted.

Absolute truth: I was waiting for what I really wanted instead of settling for something else.

Also truth: there were things that were moving forward, just not all of them.

I also focused on the truth about was how I really felt. I didn’t blow it off, didn’t try to pretend I was fine, or that it didn’t bother me. I was really frustrated about the things that weren’t moving on the schedule I wanted, and I really hated feeling powerless to move things along. Naming what I felt for what it actually was helped much more than I expected.

Focus on where you CAN act

Whatever it is you’re feeling stalled in waiting for, there will be something you can do. It might be tiny, or it might seem completely unrelated at first, but there is always something.

A few examples I’ve seen:

  • Want to move but can’t yet? You could declutter, organize your belongings, or make a list of what you want in your next home.
  • Want to start a business but not ready or can’t afford to start yet? You could learn some skill that will help you, or do research about an aspect of it.
  • Want to travel but can’t? You could research places to go, make packing lists, strengthen your body, work on your health so you’re in good shape when you go on your trek.

I’ve spent the last few days working on focusing on the places where I can act. Sometimes, it almost seems like it’s too small to matter, but I’ve found this shift really does matter. What it does is shift me out of feeling stuck to reminding me that even when I’m waiting on others, I still have power over what I am doing, and the power to keep making tiny steps toward the changes I want to see in my life.

If you’re also feeling a bit stuck, I hope you try out these two small shifts and see what happens for you.


Tracy Richardson

I'm a writer, jewelry artist, web designer, and homeschooling mother of two. My mission? To help people create spaces for their stories and truths.

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5 Responses to Two small shifts in focus to help with that feeling of powerlessness

  1. Sonja_Amsterdam says:

    Great post Tracy and it came just at the right time! Hope things work out for you.

  2. A timely post, Tracy. I’ve always considered myself a patient person and one who was able to go with the flow, roll with the tide, and all that. These past two years have tested both qualities to the max. I think I still have some lessons to learn about letting go and knowing what I can control and what I can’t. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! It truly has, and continues to be, a great help to me.

  3. […] all those other things that I’ve been waiting on are still out there, just as unresolved as […]

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