How to discover your work when you feel lost

Hiking is an activity that suits my personality well. I love having steady forward momentum. Along with my adventure buddy, I have hiked several thousand kilometres summiting dozens of different peaks throughout multiple mountain ranges. We are both skilled at finding our way in the wild, but there are definitely occasions when we get turned around, even lost. Though, as I like to say, “We are not lost, we are just taking a more scenic route to get to where we are going.”

Whenever my friend and I do get “lost”, it’s not where you might expect. Strangely, we usually get off-course at the beginning of the hike. On one now-infamous occasion, it took us two-and-a-half hours just to reach the trailhead – and it was only 250 metres away from where we parked the car! We’re still rolling our eyes at that one. Suffice to say we started off in the wrong direction and did not listen to our inner guidance, even when it was giving us every indication that we were going the “wrong way”.

Our inner guidance is always with us, even when it comes to the journey of discovering our work. When we are heading the “wrong way”, there are clear indicators. If we are paying attention, we can sense it in our body. Generally, the signs include any kind of negative emotions or uncomfortable physical sensations. This is not to say the journey is always jolly, but we all have that unsettled knowingness when something is not quite right.

“I feel lost,” is a statement I hear often from others. I tend to meet people when they are ready to step away from what they’ve been doing for work, but they’re not clear on where they are going next so they feel directionless and uncertain. Some have been seeking their path for months, others for years. “I just can’t seem to find it,” they say. I reassure them they are not lost, they are just attempting to make their way to somewhere they’ve never been before and could benefit from having a few key resources, such as the ones below, so that they, too, can experience forward momentum.

 

The adventure of inspired work

Setting out to discover your inspired work is like embarking on any good adventure, there are certain preparations that will make it easier to find your way:

Study the terrain

Get a map. Before setting out on any journey into new territory, it is useful to gain information from those who have explored it before. Of course, it’s most exciting to venture into the unknown without any preconceived notions, and you are welcome to do that. It’s called being a “trailblazer”. It’s also called “going about it the hard way”. If instead, you want to save wasting precious time and energy venturing down various dead-end paths, then it can be helpful to have a map of the terrain.

The discovery of your inspired work primarily plays out in your inner world. If you are new to this realm relative to work, it is easy to get disoriented. I have spent many years exploring the inner terrain and have since charted a reliable map that helps people navigate their own way. I call it the Vision Program. It’s a step-by-step journey to discovering, creating, and living your inspired work. If you’d like to study the map, you can find it here.

Learn navigational skills

Magnetize your inner compass. At all times, you have with you the perfect compass that’s lightweight and easy to use – your own inner guidance. Many of us, though, have been trained away from trusting it. We’ve been conditioned to listen to others instead of to ourselves. To find your way requires you renew your relationship with your inner guidance, which is communicated through your body.

To get reoriented to your own directional device requires you to get out of your mind and tuned into the indicators within your body, which can be subtle at first. You know you’re receiving your inner guidance when you get those faint tingles of excitement that feel like, “Yes, this way.” You can trust your inner guidance. It knows where you want to go, even in regard to your work, and it’s guiding you toward the best possible path that will get you there.

Get oriented to where you are

Examine your beliefs. When you are trying to go somewhere new, it’s helpful to know where you now stand (and possibly why you haven’t moved from that spot yet). It all begins with your beliefs, which are your conditioned patterns of thought. Beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves about what we “think” is true. These stories dictate our actions, which then create the experience of our life.

The beliefs you hold about work might be walking you in circles, preventing you from even making it to the starting point of your journey. Take an honest look at where you are, it will demonstrate to you exactly what you believe. What do you believe about work? What do you believe about yourself? And do those beliefs support you in going somewhere new or are they keeping you stuck where you are?

Decide where you want to go

Set your guiding principles. When it comes to charting a course to your work, this is where the hiking metaphor falls away a bit. Typically with a hike, you have a prescribed destination in mind. However, with your inspired work, you can never know your exact destination before you set out because the journey is evolutionary. It gradually becomes clearer as you take every step. What you can determine is the general direction you want to go by establishing your guiding principles.

Your guiding principles include your purpose, vision, and mission. Without having a clear understanding of who you are here to be (your purpose), why you are here (your vision), and what you are here to do (your mission), it is near impossible to make a step in any direction that feels meaningful to you. If you make the effort to clarify these essential truths for yourself, you will have a much easier time of knowing whether or not you are on your path.

Move past your fears

Be inspired to action. Fear is a part of every adventurer’s journey. What stops most from moving into action is the tendency to want to suppress the fear instead of to acknowledge it. If you are brave enough to acknowledge your underlying fears, especially the fear of the unknown, it releases the resistance that has been blocking you from being able to imagine what’s possible. With that release, you are able to receive the seeds of ideas that become the birth of your new dream.

When you let a dream grow into a burning desire for something you want to see realized in the world, the creative energy that springs forth emboldens you to move into action. Even though you don’t know the specifics of how your dream will unfold exactly, the steps you take begin to shape your dream into your reality.

Use signposts as your guide

Benefit from the experience of others. Most trails have some form of wayfinding signage put in place by those who have travelled before you. Even though you want to have your own unique experience of your journey, it doesn’t mean you need to endure all the hardships of being a pioneer. You can make your way much more gracefully by heeding the tribulations of others.

This is why I offer my services as a guide on the journey to your inspired work. I’m not here to determine your experience for you, that’s up to you and your inner compass. But I am here to provide you with a framework for your exploration and to be a navigational signpost from which you can choose the direction of your work with more confidence. It can be comforting to know you don’t have to go it alone.

Remember to enjoy the journey

Trust the unfolding. When you feel lost, it’s easy to panic and get yourself even more turned around. What’s far more supportive is to pause and take a deep breath. Remember, you have all these resources at hand. Plus, you are never truly lost because from wherever you are, you can get to where you want to be.

The best news is that your inspired work is a never-ending, ever-unfolding journey. There truly is no place to arrive. Every new form your work takes on, eventually it will just become the starting point for the next phase of your journey. So, instead of being all fired up to rush to the top and take in the view, appreciate each beautiful step along the way.

 

Start your adventure

In the event of my friend’s and my hike that turned into an overly long adventure (we still ended up doing the four hour hike even after the two-and-a-half hour “warm up”), it really didn’t matter much that we went the wrong way. At the end of the day, our only real goal was to end up back where we started – at the car. Everything in between was simply an experience to be enjoyed.

In a sense, the journey to discovering your inspired work is similar in that you are also returning back to where you started. You are remembering who you really are – who you’ve always been. Once you’ve reached that point, you are free to create whatever kind of experience you want for your work.

If you want to start your journey off on the right foot and make strides in gaining clarity about the real work you are here to do, join me for The 5-day Inspired Work Challenge. It’s guaranteed to be the beginnings of a grand adventure.

 

 

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