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Feeling Stuck?
Try a New Domain

A domain is a sphere of activity or interest.  Most of the activities of your life fall into one of ten domains. Those domains are:

Career – the work you do, how you earn your livlihood.
Financial – your relationship with money: investing, saving and spending.
Relationships – the individuals in your life that you care about, spend time with, and feel connected to.
Roles – examples of roles include father/mother, child, sibling, spouse, partner, boss, employee.  Your interactions with others are determined primarily by how you “should” be, given the role you are in.
Physical – the ways you use your body which could include sports, outdoor activities, exercise.
Spiritual – this may include religion and religious services, prayer time, meditation, or quiet time.
Leisure – activities you participate in for the pleasure or enjoyment they bring such as hobbies, volunteering, avocations.
Reflection – the time you spend thinking seriously and deeply about your life which might include activities such as journaling, or being in nature.
Learning – includes classes taken, books read, as well as other forms of learning such as audio tapes, teleclasses, web-based courses, giving or receiving mentoring.
Creativity – endeavors in which you bring something fresh into being through activities such as the arts, performing arts, gardening, or cooking.

Assess Yourself
As you look through the list of domains, ask yourself how many of these domains you are currently living in. Are there domains you’ve abandoned over the years? Are there domains you’ve never entered?  In which domains do you feel most confident? Do you feel at ease moving from one domain to another?

These are important questions because to solve a problem in one domain of your life, you may need to access a different domain. Here’s an example:

Imagine that you are feeling stressed at work. One way to cope with your stress is to look for ways to better organize your time or your workspace. Maybe you need to learn how to say “no” and set better boundaries for yourself.  These are all solutions that are in the same domain as the problem – the career domain. Another way to approach your stress at work is to change domains.  Instead of trying to solve the work stress problem in the  career domain, what if you switched to the physical domain? It may be that the best way to cope with your work stress is to begin a daily exercise program.

Or perhaps the domain that would best serve you in managing your stress at work is the spiritual domain. You might find that by setting aside 20 minutes every morning for meditation or prayer, you enter the day calmer and don’t experience as much stress. You could also go to the leisure domain and commit to regularly spend time on one of your hobbies. By doing this you might gain a bigger perspective on your life so that stresses at work seem smaller and less significant in a life that has more to it than work and sleep.

Think about a place in your life where you’re feeling stuck right now. How have you been approaching your situation?  Have you been staying in the same domain?  Or have you stepped into a different domain for a new look at your challenges?  What domain would open you to the most possibilities in your situation?

Be Domain-Flexible
Some people discover that they repeatedly go to one domain to solve problems. For example, you might find yourself consistently going to the domain of the physical when you feel stuck or upset in your life.  Have a hard day at work?  Go to the gym and work it out.  Have an argument with your partner? Go play 18 holes of golf.  Friend hurt your feelings?  Take a brisk walk.   The physical domain may serve you very well.  That is, until you break your leg and can’t do anything physical for six weeks.  Then what do you do?  If you’re only fluent in this one domain, you may find you’re limited in your ability to cope with life’s ups and downs.

You could just as easily have relied on relationships as your domain to get you through hard times.  Work problems?  Call your best friend.  Marriage crisis?  Meet a friend for coffee. Financial problems?  Talk it over with friends. What if you’re transferred to another town, or you best friend moves, or gets sick? If this is the only domain you have available to you when something goes wrong, you may find yourself really stuck.

You can see how important it is to have access to all of the domains if you want to create a happy, successful life.  When I coach people I ask them all the questions that I’ve asked you in this article. You can be your own coach by taking the time to ask yourself the following questions and then enter the reflective domain to answer them.

Where are you feeling stuck in your life?

How have you tried to solve your problem?

Is it possible that the best answer could be found by moving to a new domain?

Which two or three domains offer the most possibility for a fresh approach to your situation?

Do you overuse any of the domains, always looking to it for an answer or the chance to feel better?

What new domain might you step into?

What could you do from this domain?

What will you commit to try from this different domain?

Encountering problems and feeling stuck are normal parts of the human experience.  As we commit ourselves to personal development and learning, we discover that there are many different ways to solve a problem. Perhaps moving to a new domain is your best answer for a fresh perspective.

Barbara Braham is the coauthor of Be Your Own Coach and works with individuals who want to fulfill more of their potential. Visit her website at or contact her at






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