I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I have one of those moments when I look at my life and literally say to myself, “where the heck am I going?” (Okay, I really say “where the hell am I going!?!” but I know not everyone appreciates a good curse word the way I do.) I say this in moments when I feel lost, like I’m not headed in a particular direction and at the same time, headed in every direction. That typically happens once a week.
When I don’t know where I am are going, I feel lost. I hate being lost. Personally, being lost feels to me like being unanchored, as if there is nothing to hold me steady against the wind and currents of life. I’ve been know to get blown off course easily as it is so this feeling is particularly unsettling. Having direction and goals is important for keeping my brain focused on desired outcomes.
I’m not alone in this, either. If not reined in and focused, our very smart brains can turn on any of us! They can become a very formidable enemy. Our brains can make us chase bright shiny objects into nowhere land, they can make us worry about useless stuff, and they force us – absolutely force us – to lose hours on Pinterest or SportsCenter. Hence the need for identifying where we are going.
Here are some things I’ve tried myself that you can add to your arsenal of tricks if you find yourself needing to provide direction:
1. Add value. Whether to a business, relationship, or to the greater world, we are all on this planet to add value. Write a life mission statement about the value you plan to be adding, such as “I am here to help people live healthier lives.” If you can’t think of what you want to add, then it is completely okay to steal from others as long as they had good values. Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, or George Bailey come to mind.
2. Create small, low-hanging goals. Once you know the value you wish to add, set up some easy goals to accomplish. Some of your goals can be related to adding value, and some can just be fillers that you have to do anyway. If you put them on the “To-Do” list, they are legit and you can cross them off to demonstrate your progress. For example, call Mary, go by dry cleaners, vacuum car, send in one business proposal, research subject.
3. Set a daily schedule. Busy people get more done. It is the truth, even though it is not in the Bible.
4. Join with like-minded individuals. Find people to support you and hold you accountable. Most likely these people are not your close-knit group of friends.
5. Take care of your body. Sometimes we feed the pit of our stomach when hunger is not the actual thing that is creating the craving.
We all feel lost from time to time, so if you are feeling this way you are normal. It will pass. But if it doesn’t, hire a career coach like myself or someone else to help get you on track.