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.