Someone I cared about recently passed away. It’s made me question everything and if I’m on the right path. Something you hear me say often is that life is short and it’s been proven to me over and over in so many different ways.
Are you on the right path?
Life is hard. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what you have, or where you’re going. Life has this uncanny way of punching us in the face every now and again. It forces us to pay attention and take stock of our lives.
But this isn’t a doom and gloom post. It’s about realizing that our mind controls more than we think. When times get tough, it’s a positive tool we have at our disposal and it’ll show us the way.
So…. I don’t know about you, but after going through a particularly difficult period, I end up learning something or experiencing a shift in perspective. Or I question everything and wonder what is worth my time.
What about you? Do you question things?
What path are you on and does it feel right?
How do we even know and why does it matter? Ahh, so many questions.
We all have these defining moments in our lives where something that’s happened has deeply impacted us — both for better and for worse.
Can you think of 3 moments that have inspired extreme joy in your life?
Maybe the birth of your children, a career success, a marriage, achieving a personal goal, or a transformative vacation. These are things that have felt so right and have filled you with so much joy that they’ve affected your way forward in life in the best way possible. It would be impossible for them not to have had such an impact.
On the flip side, can you think of a few instances that have left you gutted, vulnerable, and like everything is wrong? I can. A particular example from the past for me was living through 9/11 in NYC with tons of other New Yorkers. A loved one’s health crisis is another. And the most recent experience was the unexpected loss of a loved one.
These moments leave you questioning the world and your place in it. What have we been doing and where are we going? Why do we doubt ourselves? Where do we go from here?
In the days following the loss, it made me examine what the heck I’m doing in life. I know being in France with Tom is right. But what about the rest?
Earlier this spring, I felt incredibly useless. Invisible, overwhelmed, unappreciated, unsupported, and without a purpose. Sometimes I think that I’m growing old in my corner of the world unable to make a difference, not helping anyone, and far from feeling like I’m living my purpose.
It’s not a good place.
Do you ever feel like that at work, within your family, or in your social circle? Our life experiences are different but core emotions are unifying.
What is your purpose and does it feel important to you to have one?
It does to me. I can’t just drift in life.
Maybe “normal” people don’t dwell on these questions, but I do. I’m a thinker. I do my best work when I’m out in nature with Dagny where my mind is free to notice the beauty around me. This is where I’m able to take a step back from the stress and think through ideas for work or my blog, relationships, or life in general.
When I’m having a hard time, I seek out that solace of walking my dog. I get perspective. Then I do my best to move forward. Luckily, I have been able to move forward and get unstuck. I focus on the positives — not because the negatives don’t matter but because I don’t want to feed them. That has never worked well for me in the past. Our thoughts become our reality so why not make it a good one.
How can you get unstuck, move forward, and find your path?
Let’s talk about it. Here’s what I’ve learned.
- Listen to your gut
- Gauge your excitement
- Say yes to opportunities
If you’re a deeply introspective type, keep in mind that this frequent questioning is normal. You live in your head. You talk to yourself. You don’t accept things for what they are and you want more.
Just because you’re wondering if something is right or wrong doesn’t mean it’s wrong in and of itself. The questioning isn’t a problem. It’s good to question things.
In my case, the challenges of living abroad make me turn inward even more than I normally would back home. It’s how I cope. I think, think, think and think some more.
When you aren’t living a traditional life, your life path might not follow a normal trajectory either. Whatever normal is. That’s OK. And it’s OK to look at your life and question things.
I’m talking about things like career opportunities, business ventures, relationships, moves, children, big purchases, whatever.
You wonder if you’re doing the right thing for yourself. We look around and see others doing things that seem valuable and fun and wonder if we should be doing them too.
So again, how do you know if you’re on the right path in life?
You have to let yourself feel. That’s #1.How do you know if you're on the right path in #life? Listen to your gut. Trust your #intuition and that little voice in your head. Most of all, you need to feel with your heart.Click To Tweet
Listen to your gut. Trust your intuition and that little voice in your head. Most of all, you need to feel with your heart.
How do you do this?
You stop moving. You get unbusy. You embrace the stillness.
And when we’re constantly busy, it’s so hard to be still. But find the time and do it.
When your mind is still, you listen. Maybe that’s when you’re out on a nature walk like me, while meditating, before falling asleep or whenever you have time to yourself.
When your mind is free of distractions and noise, you’re free to listen to your heart. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It just takes practice.
When you think about that toxic friendship or that job where your boss is horrible that’s getting you down and keeping you stuck, how does it make you feel deep down? Forget the narrative we attach to the facts and stop thinking. Just feel.
What does your heart say? That’s your answer.
Let’s look at a lighter example of how the story in our head gets in the way of feeling. Take standing in line for a thrill ride at an amusement park. You’re watching the ride go by and hear the whooshing and screams. Your heart beats a little bit faster. Your inner voice panics and says, “Oh my gosh, don’t do it, the ride is so scary! Listen to the people screaming in fear! Run away!”
But when you stop that inner chatter and tune in to how you feel, you ooze with excitement and are on the edge of your seat, full of adrenaline. The story attached to the feeling is one of panic but the feeling itself is a good one. You’re excited. So you trust the feeling, go on the ride and have a great time.
So often, there’s a conflict between our inner critic full of doubt and what our heart feels. We train ourselves to silence our heart.
Feeling is the truest expression of what we should do and it won’t let us down. My example above was about a ride, but let your excitement guide you in business and your personal life. Tell me, what do you get excited about?
The only advice you need is to listen to your intuition.
But how can we listen to our intuition and what our heart is telling us if we don’t even know how to get there?
We start small and take a chance. It’s never too late in life. Say yes to opportunities that come your way, no matter how seemingly insignificant. One way to find the right path is to try different things. By saying yes to new opportunities and experiences, you may find out what things you don’t want to pursue in life. Sometimes the way to find the right path is by figuring out the wrong path first. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
We hold all the answers to our own questions. If we’d only learn how to listen.