When You’re Stuck, Stopped and Stalled:The Perils of Limbo

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Many people choose to live their lives like they dance the Hokey Pokey—with one foot in and one foot out. On one hand they’re yearning to make a change, a difference, an impact, or a stand. On the other hand, they refrain from taking the focused action that could bring their dreams, desires, and needs to fulfillment. Loathe to commit to one thing or another, they choose not to choose, and so they choose a kind of limbo by default.

This is especially true of women, who, according to a study by Anna Fels in the Harvard Review, tend to consider, then repeatedly reconsider an interest and often abandon it. They are quick to back off of their dreams and quick to apologize for their ambition (a dirty word for many females).

I can attest to this. Many of my female coaching clients are stuck to and saddled with relationships that shrink their spirits, jobs they hate, or extra pounds that weigh down any good feelings they have about themselves. They’re married to beliefs or attitudes that keep them stuck in neutral, pinioned to misery and gloom. Though they know they can and should take action to make change, and are even aware of the steps they need to take, they don’t believe they are worthy of taking the steps to affect the change they so badly need. And so they stay exactly where they are—in limbo. They dream of being a novelist but never put pen to paper. They talk about going back to school but leave the application, unfilled, in the bottom drawer. They research the steps towards filing for divorce, but never take action to file the paperwork.

Maybe it’s safer not to try. But are you really here to play it safe? Where, I ask, is playing it safe getting you?

This tendency to play it safe, to having one foot in and one foot out, often occurs in the way women handle and deliver their speeches, presentations, and communications. Refusing to make strong, bold choices, they begin and end their presentations with a whimper, meander with no direction throughout the body of the speech, and surrender to being utterly wishy-washy. Limbo, yet again.

Mark my words: When you choose limbo, with one foot in and one foot out of the basement, you never get anywhere. Which adds up to heartbreak, frustration, regret, and bitterness.

From Touch the Sky: Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth, Make Your Mark
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