I live about 30 miles from Washington, DC and even though I’ve lived near there for 20 years, I still hate driving in that town. No matter what I do, I still get lost – even with a GPS!
A few years ago I was driving to an appointment in DC, and my GPS kept sending me in circles – I was doing the same thing over and over, and I got extremely frustrated. I was calling my GPS lady horrible names, and my estimated time of arrival was already showing me being late (and I hate being late!) I got so focused on being late, that my anxiety made my navigation worse. I didn’t want to pull over for sake of losing more time, so I got even more lost. Then I ended up in a very bad neighborhood, and then I became scared.
Whether you’re driving or just trying to navigate through life, getting lost sucks. The more you try to find out where you’re going, the worse it gets – and it can put you in a very seedy place if you don’t take the time to pull over and assess.
Every time you are in transition, you feel as if you’re lost, without a compass or a GPS. And even though people may tell you where to go (like a GPS does), they don’t always point you in the right direction.
So you get frustrated, and you keep driving in circles, repeating the same path, and hoping for a different outcome.
This is when you need to trust your gut, pull over, and reassess your steps. You can get so focused on where you need to be, that your anxiety about not being there will only make things worse (like when I was driving in DC). Don’t worry about being late. Don’t get caught up in the additional time it takes you to reassess.
Pulling over means making a plan. For instance, let’s say you’re dating all the wrong people, and no matter what you do, you keep meeting the same losers. You’re lost, yet you keep circling around hoping for a different outcome. Hope isn’t a plan. Hoping means you’re not in control.
In this case, you would pull over and take a step back, and look at your end goal – who is your ideal partner? The more you get frustrated by who you’re not meeting will only keep you lost, and dating the wrong people!
Like any plan, it comes with an outline:
1) What is your objective or end goal
2) What is your strategy to get it
3) What are the tactics
4) How will you implement
Using the dating example your plan might be this:
1) My goal is to be in a committed relationship, with someone amazing
2) My strategy will be to date online, and be open to any introductions
3) My tactics are to research how to make a good online dating profile; write a list of deal breakers and boundaries for my dates; date at least 1x per week.
4) I will implement by trusting my gut, being open to the right person, but discard the ones who aren’t
People often struggle with making a plan because they stumble on Step 1 – having clarity on your end goal. It’s hard to use a GPS without an exact address, right? But we make excuses for why we shouldn’t have what we want, so we therefore don’t get it, even though we think we want it! Making excuses is like muddying your GPS signal – without a clear signal, you will get lost.
So if you’re lost, try working on just Step 1 – don’t do the other steps until you are crystal clear on what you want. Write it down and sit with it for a week. Ask yourself, “Is this truly attainable right now? Am I afraid to have it because of what other people will think?” Once you have clarity, then work on the other steps (and don’t forget to have fun with this – lighten up your mood!).
It’s funny – about a month ago, while driving in DC, I found myself in the exact location where I was once lost. But this time, I knew exactly where I was. I had circled around that same neighborhood so many times, I knew how to navigate my way out.
That’s the cool thing about being lost – it only happens once. While you’re feeling so aimless, you’re actually learning new skills and tools that will equip you the next time you’re thinking you’re lost. But you won’t be, because you’ve been there, done that.
To your own GPS and finding your destination…