Jason Hietbrink

Four Keys for Getting UN-Stuck from a Mental Rut

Have you ever found yourself STUCK in a “funky place” mentally?


A place where negative self-talk, fears about the future, and “what if” scenarios run rampant, sometimes spiraling out of control in your mind? We’re easily angered or irritated, ungrateful, and self-focused, and feel like the world and everyone is against us (or at least they’re always getting in our way!).


If you’re like me, just for fun, you’ll heap guilt on top of yourself for not being able to “snap out of it” because you know better, you’re a leader, you’re above having these feelings!


You may not be in a mental rut right now. But the truth is, if you’re honest, you’ve hit those mental ruts before and you’re likely to encounter one again sometime soon.


You’d think after YEARS of experience in leadership and the thousands of hours we’ve put into personal/professional growth, at some point we’d graduate from finding ourselves in such places.


But it still happens to me and many others – more than we’d like to admit.


Harvard University recently published a study on this exact topic after a couple of decades of research on over 2,500 people. Through the course of their research, they discovered a name for this condition.


It’s called: Being Human.


(Okay, so there wasn’t a study done by Harvard… but I had to have a little fun with you! 😊)


The question is not IF we will find ourselves in these types of mental ruts, the question is WHEN we do, how do we more quickly shift our focus, perspective, energy, and mindset back to a place of confidence and strength?


Last month, one of my clients, who I would consider to be one of the strongest, most courageous, and positive people I know, was wrestling through one of these mental ruts.


Here are four keys I shared with her that helped her get un-stuck quickly: 


#1 – Get an accurate perspective.

It’s okay to be where you are – you just don’t want to STAY there.

Sometimes you can feel guilt over not feeling or being “yourself” lately. Beating yourself up and gripping the steering wheel tighter to change your state only lengthens the amount of time you’ll be in this place.


Getting out starts with letting go, not trying harder. So, relax, let go and don’t pressure yourself. You’re human. You’ll never totally master this game – but this is an opportunity to learn and grow.


Getting here was a gradual process and so is getting back.

One of the most discouraging things we do when we slip is to focus on “how far we’ve fallen” from where we were and think we must make up all that ground in a day. That’s overwhelming and ineffective.


More than likely, getting in this spot has been a steady decline and wasn’t as complicated as you think. It’s just a handful of simple, subtle shifts we’ve made over time that have compounded over time, leading us to where we are currently.


Getting back to where you were could literally be a few days or a week or two. Don’t rush it or put a ton of pressure on yourself. You’ll get out.


#2 – Get clear on what’s at the core.

You can’t fix a problem without first identifying its source. You can’t move back to a healthier emotional place if you don’t know where you are currently and how you got there.


  • Name the emotions you’re feeling.
  • Trace back the circumstances of what’s been happening lately to identify what situations those emotions are tied to.
  • Ask yourself, “what thoughts/beliefs about those circumstances have led me to feeling this way?”


When you are clear on those three things, you’re 80% of the way to getting out of your mental rut.


#3 – Change your focus.

Preservation knocks us off track; purpose gets us back on.


Nine times out of ten, the reason we’re in a mental rut is because we’re attempting to protect and control our circumstances to ensure a certain future for ourselves. We’re completely focused on ourselves, our wants, our desires, and we start to believe it’s our job to ensure them.


Focus your attention back on your PURPOSE – on others. Why you’re doing this (parenting, marriage, this business, etc.) in the first place.


People are always the most powerful “purpose” we can center ourselves on.


Write down five reasons you are called to impact the lives of others and you’ll start to see the shift happening inside. The goal is not a transformation of our thinking, it’s simply to change the direction of it.


Identify how you changed your focus: 

Have you stopped an important part of your routine?

Have you compromised time needed to process, recover, reflect, journal, meditate or pray?

Have you been putting in extra hours during the evenings and/or weekends because “you’re behind?”



#4 – Start Small

Ask yourself, “what is the tiniest step I could take to move toward a place of peace, love, joy and presence?”


Then take that step.

Then tomorrow take one more.


There is no such thing as a “wrong step” in that direction. It’s all a matter of what you feel confident you can do in that moment. Keep it small. I promise, getting back to where you were is NOT as far of a distance as you imagine.

Step 3

Level Up

If we decide to move forward into a coaching relationship, Together, we’ll create a custom coaching plan to help you reach your goals in your business and your life. 

Step 2

Schedule a Breakthrough Session

We’ll do a free, 90-minute coaching call to define your goals, set a vision for the future, and deepen your commitment to that vision.