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Not All Who Wander Are Lost

25 January 2017

Over the past few months I’ve met with a number of people who are at a career crossroads. Some are no longer enjoying their roles while others are looking to stretch themselves and explore new horizons. Regardless of what brought each of them to that point, they all had one thing in common …  a sense of disorientation and anxiety. 

That’s to be expected. After all, we’re smart, responsible adults. We know that it’s important to have clear goals. How it gives us a sense of purpose and helps us stay focused. So it’s natural to feel anxious and perhaps even a tad irresponsible when you’re slightly adrift with no shoreline in sight. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge believer of having clear intentions and goals. But I’m also an equally huge fan of those moments in between where you allow yourself to drift. I think a bit of aimless wandering every now and then is a really good thing. In fact, it’s something I highly recommend. 

What is this ‘wandering’ that I’m referring to? I’m not talking about taking an aimless walk. Or taking a year off to wander around the globe …. although that has its benefits as well. I’m referring more to those stretches of time in between when you’re feeling a bit lost and uncertain. When you’re standing at the crossroads, unhappy with your current job/career/life (insert whatever’s relevant to you) but with no clue about what’s next, much less how to get there. 

Those are the times when you give yourself permission to metaphorically wander. To sit comfortably in that space of uncertainty and ambiguity with no guilt nor expectations. To break free, even if it’s just for a moment, from thinking about what you ‘should’, ‘need’ or ‘must’ do next. To view that time in between as a wonderful gift of freedom to explore. Because that’s when the really good stuff happens.

That’s when you allow yourself to imagine what’s possible. To dare believe that there is more …. that you could achieve more, be more, do more with your career and life. That perhaps, just maybe, it truly is possible to have both freedom and success. That you could indeed have, not just a job, but a fulfilling career doing what you love, and make a good living doing it. That you are good enough. And believe that what you truly want is achievable.

So to all those wanderers out there, let your mind soar freely. Don’t feel guilty or anxious. Don’t be in a mad rush to jump onto your next thing. Give yourself room to breathe. To explore, to grow, to dream.

You are not lost. You’re just taking a brief detour on the way to your next big thing.