This is a guest post.
Have you ever been driving on a long trip and suddenly you realize that forty five minutes have passed and you have no recollection of the journey or how you ended up at that spot?
What happened? Is everyone safe? Are there any other vehicles around and how did I not hit any? How many exits have passed by? It takes a minute to orient yourself and to re-establish where you are and what you’re doing…
I had been trucking along, on auto pilot really, heading down this familiar highway. After being startled into consciousness and determining my bearings, something had changed, and the traffic had stopped.
Maybe I was tired of driving. Maybe it was because I was moving past 40. Or maybe, it was the gnawing in my belly for some satisfaction that wasn’t about money or my career. I wanted more enjoyment, stronger family connections, spiritual development, and to see more of the world.
I needed to get out of this traffic jam right away – but I wasn’t sure what to do, or even how to get off the expressway. Panic was setting in. I didn’t have a GPS, night was coming, and I was running out of gas. It was then that I noticed the road sign for the very first time… ‘Welcome! You’re on the ROAD TO SOMEWHERE.’
I don’t know how many accidents I caused as I got off this crazy road and pulled over. People were whizzing by and I realized that everyone was going somewhere and I wondered, how many knew where that was?
Now parked, I was finally checking the map and asking myself: “ What makes me happy?” It should have been the first thing I thought of BEFORE I started this trip. I think my ego fueled by my ignorance on fire attitude had prevented me from thinking that way before.
The real truth is I didn’t know what “happy” meant to ME. I define “happy” as the equilibrium you reach when all your pie pieces like: career, financial, personal life & family, and hobbies & interests are identified and cultivated. It’s different for everyone. Your happy list should be YOUR list. It’s really not a destination but an ongoing renewing process we have to make in each area of our lives or; we get lost in speeding to a destination that no longer exists or is somebody else’s idea of what “happy” is. I think I would have figured things out faster, if I had read something cool about a life-changing, self-realization moment with a good highway metaphor, and these key lessons:
You may not like the answer you get. I understand that. We all have our insecurities. However, if you don’t think about what makes you happy, and what you need to: (do / become / clear away) to BE happy, you will have a narrow chance of reaching your potential. Seriously, I am not talking about some 2 week feel good thing here. I’m also not suggesting some unrealistic notion of giving up all responsibility and becoming a wanderer.
I’m saying life isn’t supposed to suck 80% of the time so we can “live it up” the remaining 20%. I’m talking about feeling good, regularly. Is the 80% of your picture a good representation of how you want to feel about your life? Sorry, not trying to be heavy, just honest. Make a list. Nothing fancy, just outline all of the things that make you happy even if you aren’t doing any of them right now. It’s powerful. You’ll thank yourself for remembering why you are supposed to get out of bed everyday.
Pretend you have accomplished the task list you put together and you are doing everything you thought would make you happy. Visualization is the key here. How does it feel? Is there anything missing? Could you do that, feel that, every day? For a week straight? How about for a year without becoming tired of it?
Get started. You don’t have to figure out everything out at one time. Do one thing on your list (big or small). Then do another. For you planners (I’m one too), loosen up. Make a plan and be open when it needs to change, because it will. Remember the goal here, it’s not about the plan you put together. Always be open to better, faster channels to reach your personal nirvana.
Your reasons are not strong enough. In that moment when you knew it didn’t feel right is where you’ll find what’s missing in your plan. Do your list again. It takes a few times. It’s a process. You can’t do this kind of serious introspection in one night in your hotel because you’re pissed and want to quit your job and go home. YES. START THEN and know that it will take some time to really create a strong vision of what you want. Seriously, don’t rush to drive another bad route. For pete’s sake, at least think about it some more on the plane ride home.
And so it’s out.
All my action to move myself forward, didn’t really. It took me miles to learn that the The Road To Somewhere doesn’t really go anywhere. I’m not complaining because I changed direction. I am just grateful that I saw the sign at the right time. Keep an eye out. Don’t be driving and texting and miss YOUR sign. I found a lot of roads pour into The Road To Somewhere so make sure about the road you’re on, and know where it’s taking you.
DP is an idea man, entrepreneur, and bottom liner. Check out his latest project at www.thedooverblog.com .
Photo by PeterJot