5 Questions to Ask When You Think There is Nothing You Can Do

March 15, 2021

Maybe you’re fed up. Maybe you’re inspired. Maybe you’re furious. Whatever it is, there is an issue that you want to take action about or something that you want to change, but it feels too big. It’s too overwhelming. There’s nothing that YOU can do about it, right?

Wrong! A Purposeful Hustler overcomes these barriers and doubts to live within their purpose. These are my tips for how to do so and questions to ask yourself when you’re feeling inadequate to make the change you want to see.

1.  Is it fear that’s stopping me from taking action? 

Purposeful Hustlers aren’t fearless, but they do learn how to make their fears mean less. What are you afraid of that’s holding you back from your purpose?

Write down all your fears. List them out.

Now, rank their probability. How likely are your fears to actually come true? Highly likely, possible, or far-fetched?

Next, figure out how to mitigate your fears, how to make the consequences less severe if they were to come true.

If any of these fears became reality, how would you handle them?

Figuring out a strategy and an action plans makes your fears less powerful as you can imagine yourself facing them head on.


2. What do I already know?

Many people delay acting in their purpose because they feel like they don’t have enough expertise.

A Purposeful Hustler values knowledge, but they are comfortable gaining it as they go.

When thinking about the knowledge you need to do something, start with what you already know. Write it down.

Oftentimes, you will realize you know more than you think, and you’ll have a jumping off point to start from. You’ll see how skills you already have may be able to complement the change you’re trying to make. You’ll see that you’re more capable than you thought at first when daunted by an overwhelming issue.

Then after noting your assets, think about what knowledge or skills you are lacking to take the action you feel is necessary.

What skills are needed to make the impact you want to make? Can you fill those gaps and learn more about how to make the change yourself? Are there things you can teach yourself to make you more qualified? Otherwise, can you ask for help in certain areas and invite others into this work alongside you?

There are a lot of times when the expertise of others is needed when you don’t have the specific skills, perspective, or experience yourself.


3.  Where can I go to learn more about this issue? Who else is already doing this work?

If you’re passionate about something but truly don’t know where to start, then maybe your first point of action is seeking out educational experiences to strengthen you in the work.

Embrace a growth mindset. Develop a reading list. Start a listening tour.

This is a fancy way of saying, go around and talk to people with the goal of learning more about a particular subject.

Connect with people who could be considered experts or people who are working directly with or experiencing the issue you are passionate about firsthand.

If you are interested in education, talk to teachers and students. If you are interested in criminal justice, talk to law enforcement officers and people who have been arrested or incarcerated.

Make sure to center the experiences of those most directly affected by the situation you want to learn about.

In addition to listening, if you want to learn more about an area of passion, maybe volunteer with an organization who is doing work in that area.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and get as close to the action as you can. Look at your lack of expertise not as an excuse to stay stuck but rather as an opportunity to go deeper and stretch yourself.


4.  Am I waiting for permission to start making change?

Many people who feel stuck or unfit to make an impact with their work are waiting for someone to give them permission to do so.

Do you feel limited by your time, resources, or lack of a perfect plan? Do you come up with logical arguments to shoot down and diminish your passion and the drive in your gut telling you to take action?

Purposeful Hustlers build up the muscles that allow them to give themselves permission to take action about the things they care about. It’s important to recognize that plans are important to stay focused on a goal, but they also need to be flexible enough to change as circumstances do.

Can you give yourself permission to be flexible with your plan as it develops? Can you give yourself permission to be creative with your resources and your approach? Can you give yourself permission to get started and to not be too proud to ask for help, be scrappy or be vulnerable?


5.  What is one thing I can do TODAY to work toward living within my purpose?

The best way to get out of the funk of feeling stuck or overwhelmed is to take some form of action, no matter how small.

You know that feeling of satisfaction when you can cross something off your to-do list, even if it’s just “shower” or “make breakfast”?

Living in your purpose works the same way.

If you have a goal or something big that you want to work on but feel too overwhelmed by its size or your busy schedule, take some time to write out all the steps that are required to make it happen, then break the list down into bite-sized tasks, and knock one out at a time, day by day.

You’ll feel empowered and motivated to stay within your purpose when you feel like you’re moving and making progress, even if it’s incremental.

Purposeful Hustlers are not passive participants in their lives. They take initiative, and they take action. There are a lot of complex challenges in this world, and we do not have to solve them on our own. We each have our part to play, our unique role, our PURPOSE. I  hope these questions help you reflect and get started again next time you feel like there’s nothing you can do.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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