10 Ways Out of the Mud

By: Jan Bolick


This Quick List is a companion piece to our Leadership Quote of the Week about wallowing in the mud.

Both soaring like an eagle and wallowing in the mud like a hippo can be an enjoyable and productive use of time. But sometimes we want to wallow in the mud when we need to soar like eagles. And then sometimes, wallowing in mud can lead to being stuck in the mud which is bad news for morale and productivity.

When we are unproductively wallowing, how can we get ourselves out of the muck?

Here are 10 Ways Out of the Mud.


It actually looks kind of cool in there.

Nice place to rest. Good for the skin.

Might want to stay a while longer.

As mentioned above, it’s easy to get stuck there.

How to get out of it when needed? How to “lead” others out of it?

1. Being stuck or mired in the mud in a particular area can be caused by lack of clarity. An answer to this question can clear things up: What is the desired end result?

2. Being mired in the mud could also be caused by lack of appreciation or recognition. In your Gratitude Journal or on a piece of paper, write at least 10 things you appreciate about yourself.

3. Then pay it forward and tell at least one person something you appreciate about them. That person will benefit. So will you.

4. Do something silly. See June calendar for ideas.

5. Play a song like Bruno Mars’, “You’re amazing just the way you are.”

6. Go outside.  Soak up the sunshine.  Breathe in the fresh air. Look up in the sky. See that eagle?

7. Take one baby step toward an important project. Something you have been delaying, avoiding or dreading. Do it. NOW.

8. Share this week’s quote with your team. You can do this at a meeting; post it on a wall, forward it on by e-mail.

9. Whether shared at a meeting or by e-mail, include questions such as:

a. Are there any parts of your job where you feel stuck in the mud?

b. When you feel stuck in the mud, what helps you get out of it?

Depending on your corporate culture, people may not be willing to share answers to 9a. That’s okay. Answers to 9b will be very valuable.

10. If you do #9, refer back to it in conversations with colleagues. Examples:

a. “I’m feeling stuck in the mud on this particular issue. Can you help me out?”

b. “It sounds like you are stuck in the mud on this. Is that right?” “How can I help you?”

c. If you see someone performing beautifully, confidently, you could say, “You are soaring like an eagle.”


11. Ask a trusted advisor for help getting unstuck from the mud.


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