How to Get Up When You’re Really Down

Ever been so stuck that you couldn’t see a way out? Even when stuck, we always have an optimum path to choose. If we can see it in hindsight, we could have seen it in foresight. There’s always one choice that will work best to get moving again. But how do we to find it? What’s the best way to find our optimum path when we are desperately stuck?

In 1997, I lost a business, my home, my marriage and, just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I ran over my daughter’s kitten.

For a couple days I raged from anger to sadness to every color of guilt and back. I was not yet a life coach, and I didn’t have the perspective to realize what was happening. Plain and simple, I was stuck in a deep hole. And I hated it.

When we sink that deep, it seems like the light will never shine again. If that’s you right now, then I feel for you. But is it time to quit wallowing in self-pity and start moving?. Of course, with my situation, my light did shine again. I want to share with you the lesson I learned during those dark days.

Movement works… any movement. Get up, get out and get moving! Do something differently. Anything! What did I do? I marched into the woods and played Little John by beating dead trees until I was emotionally and physically spent. That released my anger. Then I boldly marched back and forth while singing about where I was headed. It was the lift I needed to see things differently.

Any movement, even physical movement, works because it changes one’s perspective. If you’re looking from a different vantage point, you’ll soon be able to see new opportunities to which you were once blind.

Begin by walking to a hilltop or any expansive place and feel the new energy rushing into your body. Notice how your view has changed and speak about that. Out loud. Bold actions generally follow bold proclamations, and you need to be bold. You need to first stride boldly. Then you need to speak out boldly in your own name. Forget about what others want. It’s your own desire that will lift you from the pit of despair. Then naturally you’ll see an opening that just wasn’t there before.

You’ll be like the running back who keeps churning his legs because he doesn’t know when or where the opening may appear. But if he doesn’t keep moving, he’s not ready when the opening develops.

Know this. There are always five or six available options in any situation. Just keep moving with your eyes wide open until you see them. When you see more options, you can seize your optimum path. But first move your body or you’ll never see them.

Then, as you walk in bold fashion, find a bold action to take that was unavailable to you previously. Take it and realize the new consequences. Even if the action was a mistake, the realization will hold value – because you will have moved from stuck into momentum.

Momentum is energy gained by movement and it just doesn’t come from mere analyzing or planning. One must act and act boldly for new opportunities to be seen. You have an optimum path available to you right now and it will come by way of a bold action. Get moving so you can see it, and then seize it boldly and quickly before doubt comes to visit.

Really, what do you have to lose? Let go of your stale and stinking paralysis. Choose and move boldly right now and you’ll soon be blasting out of your funk.

Enthusiastically Yours,
Tom Volkar


  1. I could not agree more. I’ve been down a time or two, we all have, some of us worse than others. I have a young friend, 25 years old, who has been stuck for a while, when he ran into a whole ‘nother level of bad a few days before his birthday. I wrote him from the heart and I’d like to share some of it here.

    I’m sure this isn’t the best of birthdays, given the circumstances. I guess some birthdays are just plain fun and others are opportunities to take stock of things and see where you’ve been and where you want to point your boat.

    You are an amazing human being, with wonderful gifts, so lovable, genuine, trustworthy, free-spirited, intelligent, innocent, compassionate and if I wasn’t so tired I’m sure I could fill the screen with your special attributes.

    I’m longing to see you sink your teeth into something that allows you to feel you are making the kind of contribution you know you have in you to make. I’m sure you are too. Please stay open. Let it happen.

    I don’t know if you’ve done any sailing – my favorite activity. One of the trickiest parts is when you want to go in the direction from which the wind is coming. If you head straight into the wind, you go into “irons” (forgive me if you know this). When you’re in irons, you literally get pushed backwards. It’s only by tacking in a different direction – any direction, that you can literally “get some wind in your sails” and thereby gain some speed and then tack to your destination. You can’t head straight for it, but you can keep turning back and forth, crossing the wind, until you get where you’re going.

    So, I wish you wind in your sails. I wish you peace in taking any direction, knowing that you can always change course. I wish you guidance, and the courage to keep moving even when you don’t have it.

    You are a special guy.

    The world is waiting for you.

  2. Wow! Bill, what a good friend you are to share such words of wisdom in his time of need. We often under-estimate the impact we have on others. But we should not. Even in small doses, the encouraging word, the compassionate touch or a moment of listening does wonders. Often our human connections are among our greatest treasures.

    Inspiration to try a new direction can come from many places all birthed by movement, first as a seed of thought and soon as a burst of action. Supporting a friend with a heart-to-heart connection, like you did, is indeed the best way for us to acknowledge and encourage one another.

  3. I love the way that the words, love and encouragement come exactly when we need it the most. Thank you Tom, for the excellent blog, and Bill’s response as well. I love the sailing metaphor.

    After a series of challenging news this past month or so, I find myself walking the razor’s edge between financial disaster and glorious success, in the material world, anyway. Just as I have begun to accept the moment as it is, and to turn hopeful and open, I received word today that almost all of my IRA savings were embezzled by someone. My so-called safety net is gone.

    How did I respond? I took a deep breath, then another. I asked myself what there is for me to learn, and what a life with no safety net looks like. Maybe this is the fast track school for learning to trust in the ultimate goodness of God, humanity and my own best Self.

    There are endless paths to take, and as the Indigo Girls say, “every path is worth your while.” So, sell the house and live in India for a year? Who knows? This time, I want to move more surely in the direction of my heart’s desires. After all, working from a pile of shoulds and trying to make things happen sure isn’t taking me where I’d like to go!

    Tomorrow, I start running again, not for the miles in my log book, but for the sheer joy of the movement. When I wake up in the morning, I plan to spend the first 10 minutes laughing out loud, just for the heck of it.

    I’ll swing my feet to the floor, and take 3 deep breaths, and list 10 things I’m grateful for, feeling it from my core Being. I’ll act as if I had chosen this set of circumstances, and see where that takes me.

    Most of all, I’ll treasure my friends more, with fresh eyes and deepest appreciation, from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Kay, how powerful you sound. Your clarity about what you can do right now is inspiring. Yes, when we use the physical movement along with gratitude our perspective can’t help but change. Just holding that intention has already changed yours.

    Assuming the perspective that you’ve chosen these challenging events is so powerful. It connects you firmly with an acceptance of what is, right here and now. Acceptance without agreement or resistance will allow you to see your array of available options. Then I’m sure you’ll see your optimum opening and when you do – seize it with every wonderful cell in your being.

    Without down we would not recognize up. I have a strong hunch that your bottom is in the past. Enjoy the ride back up the hill as the beautiful soul you are.

  5. Just saw your recognition in Andrea’s newsletter and came out to see what the fuss was about. 🙂

    Funny how the same universe that I cursed today for non-support thru a very similar situation as what you went thru in ’97, can turn around and send me the gift I needed via a “stranger’s” blog.

    Thank you and those that have posted for loving enough to share.

    I’m making tracks…:)

  6. Lisa, welcome, we are strangers no more. I’m betting that you know what you want to focus on. Wishing you the lift sooner that is surely coming your way.


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