When we’re looking to make change in our life – big change – some of us become too afraid to even begin, and unfortunately never do. While others get going, but with very little preparation. These people think if they just start walking perhaps the answers will come to them. This may be true for some, but for those whose answers never come, they either stay stuck where they are or go back to where they came from. How many of you relate to this so far? I know I’ve tried the latter approach many times and guess what happened to me – when the answers didn’t come (and they didn’t), I looked to others and got the wrong advice, I scanned for signs and chose the familiar ones, and then stood in wonder as I realized I was right back where I started. I had walked in a complete circle and didn’t know how the heck it had happened to me – again!
It took many attempts for me to realize that a bit of preparation and support might be a better approach, plus I was tired of walking in circles. The journeys weren’t a complete waste of time. I would always bring something back with me – a souvenir of my travels. It wasn’t until later that I discovered my souvenir was a life lesson, but at the time I chose not to look at it. I was just too tired and disappointed in myself, and didn’t want a reminder of yet another wasted trip.
Although there was some physical activity involved in my journeys, I’m not talking about a trip to foreign lands. I’m talking about my professional journey – my career path. I had become lost and unhappy with my career and every time I decided the answer was to quit my job and find another – I chose the worn and well-travelled path. The one with the familiar signposts pointing the way and the familiar faces offering me advice. I didn’t have to figure much out for myself. Why should I? It all looked familiar and the people telling me where to go – they knew what they were doing, right?
What I failed to mention to anyone was that I wasn’t just looking for a different destination; I was also looking for a different journey. The reason for this is that I didn’t truly know what either of them looked like, so how on earth could I explain it? I just hoped that by doing the same thing over and over again, expecting something different would happen – you’ve heard this line before – insanity, right.
I tell you my story because I find our stories have power. Yes, they have the power to give us clarity to make sense of our lives, but they have another power – a secret super power, if you will. They allow us to find our own answers. When you look back at your life story and look at the times when you were at your very best, who were you, what were you doing, and who was with you at the time? I’ll save that for another blog post.
When I finally started along my new path to change, and stopped walking in circles, I discovered a few things that made all the difference for me. Now, if it’s a smooth, short and familiar path you’re heading out on, then perhaps a granola bar and a pair of well-worn flip flops will do. However, if you’re heading out on a long journey of transformational change, along a path less travelled, here’s a few key things that you might like to pack (metaphorically speaking, of course):
Strong working boots – filled with confidence and support. These will give you courage to climb over the rocky terrain. Remember to ‘test’ them out a bit before you set off – wear them in a little.
A GPS life planner – to calibrate the route that best suits the experiences you want to have throughout your journey. You have the confidence and courage to reach your destination, but you also want to choose from the many different routes that will get your there. Do you want the most scenic route, the fastest route, or perhaps you want to stop off at important points of interest along the way? It is about the journey after all.
A self-care pack – to nurture your mental and physical health throughout your journey. You’re going to need all the energy you can muster to get you to where you want to go, so don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way.
A souvenir of your past journeys – as a reminder of why you’re walking this more challenging and unfamiliar path. The souvenir might be a lesson you learned when you were back walking in circles (like me). It might have been an easier path to walk on, but you always returned unfulfilled and disappointed. Carrying this souvenir will keep you motivated and energized, knowing that this new path is going to lead to a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
A navigator – to support you in your journey. You don’t need a guide because you now have your map; you know where you want to go, and you know how you want to get there. The navigator is there to support you when things feel challenging or you start to doubt yourself, or to challenge you when you change direction, or perhaps help you draw out another map should you decide on a new destination.
For the next chapter in your story, if it’s going to be one filled with mystery and intrigue with lots of twists and turns, consider what you’re going to do to plan and prepare for it. Perhaps there’s going to be a cliffhanger or perhaps something significant is going to happen that changes the direction completely. I don’t know about you, but I love those kinds of stories!