Are you in a Rut or a Groove?

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A Chick-Fil-A commercial caught my eye the other day. The company is advertising chicken for breakfast. Now I’m not here to talk about chicken vs. sausage but the ad left an impression on me.

I’ll paint the scene: there was a man in some kind of trench in the middle of an office and a woman above him. The woman yelled down to the man and told him he was in a rut, to which the man replied, “no, I’m in a groove.”

I can’t get this 30-second image out of my head because I’ve been that man. A few months ago I found myself bored and uninterested. I couldn’t muster up the passion to exercise, create, or socialize. But there was a problem: from my point-of-view everything seemed fine.

My paycheck was consistent, my relationships healthy, and my puppy mildly behaving. From where I stood nothing could or needed to be changed. There was no way out! My life was business as usual. Instead of trying to make a change I tried applying Band-Aids: retail therapy, diets, and travel.

I kept trying to fix an internal problem with an external solution. All the while I was blind to my first mistake: I was operating on autopilot. I’m a firm believer in routine but sometimes routine can numb us of our why. The danger with numbing is it’s all or nothing. We can’t numb one area of our life and expect a whole-hearted life.

Have you ever sat in your car, and then arrived at your destination only to wonder how you got there? Like the entire car ride was a blur but somehow you ended up in the right place? That’s the way my life was going. Thanks to grace I had a friend bold enough to call me out.

The only difference between the man and the woman in the ad was perspective. The woman saw something the man could not: the trench. When my friend Julie suggested that I make a change I realized she saw something I did not. The friends we trust can give us insight into the changes we can make to live a life we love. 

If we keep our end goal in mind we will fan the flame of passion for the daily tasks that can be mundane. Do you love connecting with your friend across the country? Try writing letters. The slow, thought out, conversations on paper will knit your hearts together. Are you ready to be taken more seriously at work? Pay attention to detail and ask your boss for the raise you have earned.

When I start to see the warning signs of a rut in my life the quickest way to get out is to stop whatever I’m doing and write a little note to myself. It’s my way of pressing pause. In the note I redefine my goals, hopes, and aspirations for why I do the things I do. After I have a clear vision for why I execute those goals and dreams in new ways.

I like to run but maybe the treadmill isn’t helping my passion so I will go for a trail run instead. I work from home but switching up my office and clocking in from a coffee shop helps me refocus. A simple change of scenery with a shifted perspective helps me think about my day’s tasks instead of monotonously coasting through them.

Pushing pause is better than autopilot. Autopilot could mean we end up 10 miles in the wrong direction whereas pause gives us the to stop and grasp our situation. Wherever you are, press pause, assess your reality, change your perspective and create a strategy to infuse passion into your groove.

FaithMegan Miller