I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.
– Michel de Montaigne
Have you ever been in fog so thick that you can’t tell where you’re going?
How about becoming disoriented in the dark?
Or have you ever been lost in a forest?
I can tell you that one of the spine-chilling times for me was driving in a blinding snowstorm near Mt. Shasta. Not only was there near zero visibility, my car was slipping and sliding as I drove. Both my ability to see forward to any appreciable degree and my stability on the road were compromised.
If you’ve ever experienced any of these things you know instantly how scary, frustrating, and demoralizing being lost can be. How interesting, then, that I was recently asked: What do you do when you find someone who has lost their way in life? It’s an absorbing question because I believe there are only four ways someone can lose their bounty in life and thus be unable to find their way in the world:
They have lost their faith
They have lost their dreams
They have lost their desire
They have lost their touch
What do these four areas of your life really mean? Well, I previously offered the following explanations:
Faith – This is what you are convinced by, think of as true, and puzzle over. It is your complete belief and self-confidence in yourself, someone, or something. This is your courage, your bravery, and your optimism. When you lose faith, you no longer trust in yourself or others, and your hopefulness turns to hopelessness.
Dreams – These are what burn inside you, light you up, and set your aspirations on fire. It is your ambition, your sense of purpose, and your fantasies. This is what you refuse to live without because it inspires you and helps you to plan for action in the real world. When you lose dreams, you become discouraged, demoralized, and you are prevented from experimenting with new ideas and plans.
Desire – This is your gut feelings, your instincts, and your heartstrings. It is your passion, your love, and your impulses. This is what you want and wish for, and where you admit what you are attracted to. Lose desire, and you lose your wishes for people, things, and events; your want for more in life vanishes.
Touch – This is when you grasp something, seize the day, and connect with or reach out to someone. It is your ability to handle anyone or anything. It is your capability for doing things well. It is being in command of your world. When you lose touch, you don’t feel that you are competent to apply yourself as you once did.
So what can be done for yourself (or for someone else) if you have lost your way?
FINDING YOUR WAY
STEP 1. Get Flat Out Real. Just stop and truthfully assess what’s not working in your life. This isn’t about adding drama or high emotion or placing blame. This important first step is all about figuring out what isn’t going your way.
STEP 2. Get Crystal Clear. Ask yourself two simple – but deeply probing – questions: How did I get here? and Where would I rather be going? This is about being accountable for and taking charge of the consequences of your own thoughts and deeds.
STEP 3. Get Up and Get Going. What you’ve temporarily lost is your end-to-end visibility (the bigger picture). You still have limited visibility, however. You still have options and alternatives. Use the answers you discovered in Step 2 to help you make the next, best decisions to keep you moving forward in the direction of your desires.
STEP 4. Get a Habit of Success. Successful people do successful things – they don’t just think about them. They don’t wait for success to come to them – they continually hunt it down with a vengeance. And, once you start moving again in the direction of your personal success, you want to do everything in your power to keep that momentum going and your impulses rewarded.
Always remember that there was a time when you were on the right path. There’s no need to panic if you think you’ve lost your way. You just need to remember what being on that path was like. And as you remember and gain renewed focus, the fog will lift, the darkness will give way to light, and the forest will start to thin. Use the clarity you gain from the Finding Your Way technique to stay on your personal life trail even if it means taking one baby step at a time.
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