A 4-Step Framework for Taking Action When You Feel Stuck so You Can Live a Full Life

Mariko O. Gordon, CFA
2 min readSep 20, 2022


Illustration by: Mike Monteiro

I toggle between hurtling through life and stuckness.

The hurtling resulted in building a $2.5B institutional money management firm from scratch. The stuckness strikes when I feel conflicted between what I want and someone else’s often unspoken desires. I find myself paralyzed, afraid to create disappointment, disapproval, and abandonment.

Here’s what being a successful stockpicker for decades taught me about taking action rather than wallowing in paralysis:

  1. Inaction is just action that doesn’t want to take responsibility. Inaction is not less risky than taking action. We perceive it that way because we’re being passive. But Inaction is not the opposite of action. It’s a form of action. Own it.
  2. Focus on a range of outcomes, not a single point outcome. You’ll be less disappointed if you think in terms of all the possible outcomes, and their likelihood. There’s such a thing as no perfect outcome, and perfect conditions can still create awful results. Not being surprised by that possibility allows you to roll with things and have peace of mind.
  3. Separate process from outcome. A perfect process can still deliver an ugly result. Be sure to evaluate whether the process itself was robust. Don’t just do a post mortem on the result. It’s the process that needs to be evaluated. You’ll feel better about a disastrous results if you’re sure your process was solid.
  4. Make better mistakes tomorrow. Mistakes are as inevitable as sunrise. Embrace the wisdom contained in them, and don’t weaponize them against yourself. You will make mistakes, and they will make you a better person. Just don’t make the same one twice.

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Mariko O. Gordon, CFA

Built $2.5B money mgmt biz from scratch. Coaching badass women to build & love their businesses, manage their finances, and make sure the thrill is never gone.