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Unsure Where You're Going In Life? Step Through The Fog

Mar 29, 2008
Imagine for a moment that you are driving into a dense evening fog on a country road. Surrounded by white, you can barely see past the front of the car, much less the end of the road or your destination.

With the headlights only able to provide visibility on the asphalt directly ahead, you resort to moving forward slowly, as you focus on the part of the road you can see.

Almost magically, each time you reach the end of the headlight beam the fog seems to dissipate and you can see just a little bit further down the road.

Does your life ever feel like this?

We all love the times when we know what we want, exactly what steps to take to get there, and are able to just do it. Case closed. Mission accomplished.

Unfortunately life isn't always that clear. Sometimes it's more like driving on a dark, foggy road: you may not be able to see where you're going or how to get there.

Times like this can be frustrating and overwhelming. Whirring around and around in your head trying to figure it out, you struggle. You get stuck or perhaps you take random action so you're at least doing *something.* But none of this helps; you still can't see where you're going.

What Can You Do?

There is an alternative: focus on what you *can* see and take your next step based on that. When you take that step you'll be at a new vantage point, able to see a little further down your path and can then choose your next step from there.

It's just like using your headlights on that foggy night: look at what is illuminated in front of you and drive that part of the road.

It Happened to Me

I recently had a personal experience of not being able to see clearly through the fog. After two years of spending most of our time on a small island 1.5 hours north of Seattle, my husband and I have decided we want to make this our permanent home. We knew this meant it was time to face the project of getting our Seattle house ready to sell.

Being a good planner, I usually go directly to action at moments like this. But not this time. Instead I became completely overwhelmed with all the details, complications, and unanswered questions.

We don't have a permanent island house yet so where will all our belongings go? Since we don't know what size or kind of house we'll eventually have, how can we know what to keep and what to get rid of? What stuff should we remove and what should we leave to help the house sell better? What should be our top priority in the next few weeks, thoroughly clutter clearing the house or handling just the visible clutter so we can put the house on the market quickly? Where should we start with all that needs to be done? What really must be done and in what order?

Whew, it's exhausting just remembering this.

Eventually I talked with Denny, my best ally in life, and told him how much of a tizzy I was in. He had a clearer sense of where to start. We spent a few hours quickly cleaning and picking up the house. Then we did a fast pass through dealing with the obvious clutter that we could easily decide about. After that, we tackled the room with the most clutter.

By the end of the day, we'd accomplished an enormous amount plus I was clear about what we needed to do for the next few weeks. And I felt much better!

I had been lost, stuck, overwhelmed. After I took the first few steps I could see much further down the road and was then able to identify my next steps.

You'll Never See It All

When it comes to life, no one can see all the steps of her or his path. As my friend, Barry, said to me, "Life keeps life-ing." There are unpredictable twists, turns, and curves in the road. Sometimes the road is foggy and unclear.

Having a clear vision for where you want to go in life is exhilarating, wonderful, useful, and powerful. And even when you have a clear vision, as you move toward it you'll see different parts of the path, discover new steps to take, and evolve your vision.

Here's another example of taking the steps you see.

I'm coaching two life partners who also share a big vision for creating a healing center together. They are very clear on their vision and that the time for it is three to five years from now.

From where they are today, they cannot see every step of the path ahead. It wouldn't make any sense to create a plan for everything to be done during the next three to five years.

Based on what they can see right now, we identified a few steps for them to take in the next three months, including setting up a file folder for the center, contacting someone to explore healing ideas, and teaching a meditation class. Each of these steps "lit them up" (energized and enlivened them) and moved them in the direction of their vision.

In a few months we'll look again and see what is illuminated from their new point on the path.

In Your Life

Here are a few suggestions for moving forward even when you can't see your entire path.

1) Identify what you do know and what you are clear about.

It could be "I want to figure out what to do with my life that will be more enjoyable and fulfilling" or "I want to start my own organizing business to help people reduce the stress in their lives caused by clutter and chaos."

However general or specific you can be about your destination, it gives you at least some direction. Don't worry if you don't have it all figured out. It will become clearer over time, as you take the steps that are illuminated in front of you.

2) Now look at what you see right in front of you. What step or couple of steps could you take towards your destination?

Your steps can be small or large and will, of course, be different for each person.

I strongly recommend you choose steps that "light you up." They'll give you more momentum and are the foundation for sustainable action.

3) Keep taking whatever steps are illuminated in front of you. Then see what your new vantage point shows you regarding your destination and next steps.

"The journey of 1000 miles starts with one step" states the ancient Chinese saying.

When you're stuck and unclear, stop focusing on what you can't see or don't know about where you're going in life and how to get there. Look instead to where your lights are illuminating your path and take the steps you can see. Step by step, you can discover and create what you truly want in life.

About the Author
Bonnie McFarland works with women at midlife who are bored, stuck, or restless and wondering what to do with the rest of their lives. Visit www.labellavia.com for her free e-book and ezine to create more pleasure, passion, and purpose in your life.
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