Channeling Andy Rooney, I ask you: “D’ya ever notice that it always takes longer to get to your destination when you don’t know how to get there?” I’m referring to the multiple impatient glances you make toward your directions- possibly downloaded on your device or those which have been inked onto the back of a phone bill envelope as you lurch your way through a neighborhood, squinting at house numbers.
You fret as you drive, annoyed with the pokey drivers ahead of you, worried that you will be late for your appointment. Anxious, you may even take a wrong turn ahead of the light, and wander off course on side streets until you find your way back to the main arterial.
It’s maddening to not know where you are going. By comparison, the way home is a breeze, as are subsequent trips to this particular location… Because you already know the way.
When we’re pursuing our goals, we can become impatient with our progress. Sometimes we can also doubt ourselves:
Â Are we on the right path?
Â Is there a shortcut we could have taken?
Â Why is it taking me so long to get where I want to be?
Â Why do other people seem to know where they are going?
“The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~ Barbara DeAngelis
Although I can intellectually appreciate this quote and I know that it is true, that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Change is a pain in the butt. Why can’t we just get what we want without having to change? I mean, we *know* what we want, right? Why can’t the Cosmic Vending Machine just spit it out after we’ve paid our presumed dues? (ie. getting married, graduating with a degree, landing the proper job).
So why not? Because you have to experience the journey in order to find out if it’s the one you really want. Taking stock of the moments as you lurch through the “signposts”Â of your life is where you decide if you really want to “drive” this direction after all.
“You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it.”Â ~ Viktor Frankl
This is how we hone our compass as we meander through the journey that constitutes our lives. Take a moment and look back at your life over the previous 10 years. What were the best parts of the job or careers you have had since then? Are any derivations of them in your current position? Have you refined and enlarged a specific skill? If so, there’s a clue that you are on the right path.
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”Â ~ William James
Perhaps there is only a small commonality between that person of 10 years ago and your current iteration, but you realize upon reflection that you wish that you had more of that quality in your current life. That means that you are on a figurative side street. Double back and recommit to what makes you “come alive,” and develop it. You’re not lost. You are seeking.
“Often the search proves more profitable than the goal.”Â ~ E. L. Konigsburg
Part of your search will create a network (as a side effect of your motion through your life). Oftentimes, these people are part of the “profit” of your search. However, a caution: there is a discrete but significant difference between USING a network and ENGAGING a network. When you are out there seeking,Â and contributing to your path as you travel your journey, you will interact with many people.
If you are just using people, there won’t be a two-way benefit and your interactions with them will be brief, shallow and not productive in the long term. When you give your best to the people in your networks, you will reap what you sow. As you learn and grow along the way, even through “wrong”Â turns and ill-fated shortcuts, you are growing stronger. You are gaining experience.
The day will come when those folks along your path will intersect with your life in a positive way.
These genuine intersections enrich your life, both in a literal and figurative sense. Have you ever watched the movie Big Fish?Â Every time I watch the final scenes, I cry slow, knowing tears during the telling of Albert Finney’s (Edward Bloom’s)Â death. As his son, who finally understands the beauty and poetry of the Tall Tale, recounts the manic journey his father takes from the hospital to the river, they encounter the various characters from his father’s storied life.
When you learn to embrace the chaos of your life, silence your worry and enhance your awareness of your true center, you will find that you are always on the right path. Even when you are lost.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter asÂ @mckra1g orÂ @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive) or like them on facebook.