‘If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.’ Siddhārtha Gautama
How often do you stop yourself from making changes in your life because you don’t know what to do?
Sometimes it’s appropriate to take time out and reflect on our dreams and desires, so we can find our sense of direction again.
Most of the time though this confusion is not even real. It’s just a construct of the mind, an attachment to the need to know everything now.
Confusion helps to keep us safe. It clouds our judgement and prevents us from making decisions that lead us to something new.
Not sure if this is what’s going on for you?
Ask yourself if you have a pattern of putting your plans on hold because you feel confused about what to do next.
The confusion is caused by a false assumption because of course we can never be certain about the choices we make.
But the confusion feels real. So how can you shift out of this state?
Start to notice where it stops you and investigate what’s really going on. Is it an underlying fear? A lack of confidence? Or just an old story about not knowing what to do?
Whatever you discover, make a conscious decision to let it go.
It’s safe to make choices without knowing how things will turn out.
Just tell yourself, I am no longer confused.
Let the fog lift. How does it feel to be free?
You know what to do. You always did. Let truth whisper the answer in your ear.
PS: If you need some help to find your direction, there are still some tickets left for my Transform your Career workshop on Tuesday. We’ll be working on dreams, desires and important mindset shifts for change. Book your spot here.
A couple of years after I moved to Melbourne I finally got myself a car.
There was no such as thing as Google Maps back then, and relying solely on the Melways (remember Melways?) and my gut instinct, I was forever lost and running late.
The same thing was happening to a friend who had migrated from the US but her response was different to mine.
Where I would panic, get off at the nearest exit and make myself even later by driving around in circles, my friend would just stay on the road.
So how does that work out for you? I wanted to know.
Well the worst that can happen is I discover a part of Melbourne I didn’t know before, she said. But I know I’ll eventually find a sign and figure out where I’m going.
It struck me as a much better strategy for navigating the freeway system.
Stay on the road. Watch out for signs. Just keep driving.
There are times in our lives when we all feel a bit lost.
Maybe you know you need to make changes in your life, but you can’t see the possibilities yet.
We crave certainty and navigating the mystery of not knowing what’s next can be tough.
It’s also the time when we’re prone to making decisions we later regret, by forcing answers to our questions when they may not be ready to come. We decide it has to be this course, this job or this business idea. We would do anything rather than not know.
Before we make those decisions we need to be conscious of our dreams and what we really want, which is why this forms a core part of the work I do with clients (and also in this upcoming Melbourne workshop).
It’s amazing how unconscious our desires can be. If I told you right now you could have any job you wanted in the world, would you know what to choose? Or would you feel even more lost?
Allowing ourselves to be with the unknown is an important part of the process of change. This is not the same as procrastinating over a decision. Instead we’re allowing new seeds to take root, fresh plans to form. A gestation period is required.
So what can you do when you feel lost?
The best advice I’ve come across is to focus on what you do know about what you want, even if you’re just scraping away a corner to reveal a tiny edge of the big picture.
If you know that you want more freedom or you want to be more creative in your work, ask where can you give yourself that experience now, even if it’s just for one hour a week.
Watch out for signs that you’re on the right track, nudges giving you a heads up about where to explore next. Let curiosity be your guide.
The more you can tune into your internal compass the more oriented you’ll become and this is when the big picture does slowly start to reveal itself.
It requires patience and self-compassion to travel without a map. Feeling lost is a given, wrong turns inevitable.
But if you can stay on the road and resist the urge to turn off at every exit, you might just find yourself on the adventure of your life.
PS: If you’re feeling a bit lost with your career and you’d like to explore these ideas further, join me for the Transform your Career Workshop in Melbourne on 25th September. You can book tickets here.
I love to knit.
I picked up a pair of needles a couple of months ago and was instantly smitten.
Of course I’m not particularly skilled at it yet. I haven’t knitted since I was a child and it doesn’t come naturally.
The ladies in the yarn store raise their eyebrows when they seem me coming.
But my new pastime has taught me something important.
The act of creating something with my own hands is so satisfying that the dropped stitches and mis-purled rows don’t mean a thing. I persevere regardless.
I’m not going to tell you that doing what you love will lead to amazing career success.
The truth is that’s pretty unlikely, at least until you become skilled at what you love.
For years I tried in vain to find my passion.
In those days I believed that if I did enough soul searching I’d figure it out.
But my passion wasn’t something that could be figured out by thinking, only through doing. By pursuing new interests, going to new places, meeting new people or even trying out different jobs.
Without pressure or judgement.
Of course there’s an element of risk involved in this approach. You might fail. It may not turn out to be everything you’d hoped.
But when you lean into what you love, even if it’s a hobby, it starts reshaping your attitudes and changing the choices you make in other areas of your life too.
Doing what you love opens you up to more of what you love.
Start with one thing you’re curious to try.
Be prepared to suck at it in the beginning. Be open to enjoying it anyway.
Your passion is not something you accidentally trip over one day like a forgotten pair of shoes in the hallway. It might not cause a light bulb to click on in your head.
It’s something you actively create through the choices you make, day by day and year by year.
If you want to do something you love then my advice is: be curious and let yourself follow that curiosity without judgement.
It may all start with a pair of knitting needles, but you never know where it will lead.
Want more advice like this? You can download my 4 Step Guide to Creating the Right Job here.