5 signs your life is holding you hostage, and 3 brilliant escape plans

fish leaving fish bowl with rocket

Are you making the best of your work, your health or even your relationship because, well, it’s the hand you were dealt? “It’s not so bad”, you tell yourself. “I’ll get through this.  Eventually things will get better”…

We all go through tough times in life, it’s true.  And knowing how to focus on the upside is important.  But after a certain point, whether that’s 6 months or 6 years, your upside attitude may be holding you back from living the life you aspire to.

Check out these 5 signs that your life is holding you hostage.  Do you find yourself regularly:

  1. Envying people around you?
  2. Low in energy for no obvious reason?
  3. Too busy with everyday details to work on your goals?
  4. Emotionally withdrawn or “checked out”?
  5. Wishing you had better options?

If you answered yes to these questions, you’re not alone.  The fact is, it’s much easier to stay in any situation, no matter how compromised, than to risk moving into uncharted waters.

Yet not being true to yourself is the #1 regret expressed by people as they looked back as they reach old age. 

The truth is, change is always happening, whether we like it or not. And when change pushes you forward without a compass, you may not like where you end up. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. The good news is, you have everything you need to set your future in motion, starting now.

If you’re life is holding you hostage, move toward freedom with this 3-step escape plan;

Get curious; can you think of other people who have overcome similar situations to yours? If not, do an online search until find some sources for inspiration.

Now try this exercise: Think about all the reasons you can’t do what other people in similar situations have done to overcome their obstacles. Pretend they could no longer stop you from making the change you would love to make if these obstacles weren’t there. What would your 3 year goal be if nothing could stop you from pursuing it?

Vision Board; take a step back for self-reflection. Ask yourself, what are your greatest strengths? Are you a great listener, problem solver, planner, or artist? Think about how you might expand upon your strengths and find new ways to use them.

Use these insights to create a vision board to illustrate your 3-year goal. Don’t get bogged down with which goal you should explore, this is an iterative process that will evolve along with your journey. Pick any goal you believe is achievable and will fulfill a need, purpose or passion.

Give yourself permission to be big, fun, and playful here. Envision your future as bigger than your past.
The more immersive, clear, and specific you get in your vision, the more effectively you’ll keep your eye on the ball when times become trying. However difficult the circumstances, and inevitably some will be, you’ll have that clear vision of success to keep you moving forward.

Find your tribe
Environment impacts our ability to succeed. Your support system plays an integral role in whether you reach your goals and sustain your success long term. Change creates waves, and there will be people in your wake that aren’t happy with this disruption. If you’re serious about your goals, you’ll need to let them have their opinions/fears/disappointments, but not enough to derail your efforts.

You have the right to prioritize your growth and fulfilment. When those around you don’t understand or encourage your new direction, it’s important to have a support system or a coach to help you stay motivated and accountable.

Difficult life circumstances make us feel trapped, as if we have no options. Yet no matter how stuck you feel, you can decide to pick up your compass and choose a new direction. Your escape plan begins curiosity, moves into a vision and builds momentum through action and the right support system. From there the opportunities are boundless!

Elizabeth Borelli is a certified career coach, life coach and motivational speaker. Frustrated by a lack of resources for candidates ready to return to work after a career break, she created Career Builder Bootcamps; a set of interactive, online courses to fast-track clients to job search success.
Her formula for success helps clients find their focus, increase their confidence and use a proven process to find the right new role, supporting them throughout the process.



Elizabeth Borelli

Elizabeth Borelli

Elizabeth Borelli is a certified career coach with a proven track record of helping mid-career clients to aim high and reach their goals. Beginning with mind-set, clients gain the clarity and self-belief to find work that's both meaningful and rewarding.




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