That’s a question that brings a lot of people to me. People who’ve expected their work – and lives – to go in a certain direction. To have just the same enthusiasm today as they always had yesterday.
But then something happens.
Someone close gets very ill – or they themselves do. A relationship hits the rocks or, conversely, an unexpected one is kindled – an affair, perhaps. Unexpected performance feedback hits them deeply. A business they’ve expected to do well fails. Their job disappears, or is restructured in an alien way.
Maybe their passion for what they once did ebbs away and they have to confront the gnawing reality that something about them is changing.
Whatever, there’s suddenly a crisis of meaning. Life no longer bobs along in the same knowable, predictable way. Work just doesn’t feel the same or they don’t feel the same in it.
If you recognise yourself in this, you’ll recognise too the struggle to reassert yourself. You strive to get your energy and focus back to where they were, and you notice how exhausting that is. Because there is no going back, only forward.
You search for answers outside yourself; words of wisdom to buoy you up or give you some structure. These may work for a while, but sooner or later you have to admit to yourself that they’re not the real deal.
The decision to trust yourself
The only solution that in my experience really works, is to look inside yourself for the direction you need to take now, and for the resources that will help you. There’s so much noise out there. So many gurus with The Answer that it’s difficult to trust that your own being knows more about you than they ever could. But that’s how it is.
Of course such discovery work is often best done with a guide; someone who knows this territory and can help you make sense of and give shape to your journey. But the starting point for it is always you, and the self-belief that you can get yourself out of whatever porridge you feel you’re currently wading through.
Trusting yourself starts with a clear decision. Sure, it sounds easy, and does hard. But once you’ve made that decision you’ll be amazed at how your own and other people’s energy mobilise to take you forward differently. You need to be ready to pay attention to all of the subtle as well as obvious ways that will happen. The longer you hesitate, the longer you stagnate.