I do not enjoy the feeling of being lost. Whether it is on a quiet country road that wasn’t on my map and my mobile has lost reception, or being in a huge city trying to figure out their subway system for the first time, being lost scares me.
Being lost tends to bring up feelings of not being prepared, incompetence, and anxiety in me, especially if I am going to be late for something. I know, I am way too hard on myself, still working on that…
Without knowing it, I was lost for many years. Unsure of exactly where I was, not clear on where I was going, and trying to embrace the adventure of wandering. However, my wandering was not purposeful, and instead of it leading to discovery, I ended up wandering the same roads, same disappointments, same challenges, and the same conversations over and over again.
If you are like me, eventually a life of wandering gets tiring. And you start longing for some change, for something to be different in life, and for a shift to take place. You may feel like you are wandering in your job, your relationship, your family, your personal development, or even your health. Franklin Roosevelt likens wandering to drifting. He says, “To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor, sail not drift”.
My belief is that there are three steps we need to take before we can move forward in any situation where we feel like we are wandering. Three things that can help us pull the anchor of our lives up, stop drifting, and set sail.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE REALITY
This can be the hardest step. To take the leap out of wandering and land smack in the middle of reality. Many times, reality is painful. Painful because it hurts our pride and we have to own up to the decisions that we made to get where we are. Painful because we may have been betrayed or rejected and those feelings creep back up every time we look at where we are. Although this first step in the journey is usually taken timidly, becoming aware of where we are and acknowledging that reality brings so much freedom.
These are some questions I ask myself to see reality. Asking yourself these same questions may help you discover where you are, right now.
— What situations/relationships/clients in my life have negative emotions attached?
— What have I done to contribute to the state they are in?
— What area of my life do I feel like I am drifting? (Usually frustration, anxiety, worry and anger are emotions that creep up in these areas of our life, and may be a clue.)
— Why do I feel held back or limited?
2. KNOW YOURSELF
You are stuck with you forever. That used to frustrate me, as I was quite unhappy with myself, what I looked like, how I reacted, etc. Over the years I have been on a journey of learning to love myself. It’s only once I understood and accepted my skills, my talents, my personality, my default responses, was I able to truly become the best version of me.
Becoming aware of our weaknesses and learning to cover for them, and being confident in what we are really good at brings such peace to our journey. Being authentic with ourselves and who we are, is a critical step to moving forward.
I found that spending time reflecting on questions like these allowed me a deeper understanding of myself. You might find they help give you clues as well. It's often harder to think about the positive than focus on the negative things we think and feel toward ourselves.
— What are 3 things I like about myself?
— What are 5 amazing skills and strengths I have?
— How does my personality respond to various situations?
— What are 3 of my weaknesses, and how can I learn to compensate for them?
3. dream again
I know what it’s like to not know how to dream about the future. To have no fulfilling goals, desires or plans for the upcoming months or years. However, you may have heard it said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Proverbs 29:18. Taking time to think about where you might like to be someday is not about making you feel bad about where you are today. But rather to give you something to look forward to.
Holly Dowling recommends journaling for 10 minutes every day about what you love and what you dream about doing. If we all did that consistently I think we could discover some dreams hidden deep inside.
Here are some questions to get us started.
— If money were not an issue, where would I live? work? travel?
— What do I love?
— What is one dream on my life’s wish list?
— If I could change one thing about my life this year, what would it be?
Taking the time to get clear and be real will bring more freedom than you can even imagine.
To help you put these 3 steps into action I have created a free downloadable workbook to walk you through these questions.
You might get to a point where you feel stuck. When that happens, just step away and come back to it later. It is always better to move slowly and dig deep to reality than it is to skim through quickly and not make any true discoveries.
This is one of those times that I encourage wandering! Wander through your past, your memories, your thoughts, and allow yourself be present with yourself and the questions you are asking.
— Kathryn Hofer
I don’t know about you, but I lived years of my life with a victim mentality. It was everyone else’s fault my calendar was so full. Once I owned my power to choose - everything changed.
And I mean everything...