Here’s a quick story that I believe many of us will identify with regarding finding our direction and purpose in life…
Pam was tired and confused. It had been almost two years since she committed to volunteer coaching for her daughter’s volleyball team, and she was still working two “half-to-three-quarter-time” jobs in order to make ends meet. Pam was an incredibly smart and talented individual. A long-time athlete, Pam graduated college with a business degree, got married and started the “life of her dreams.” As time went by, her marriage began to erode and eventually led to divorce. She found herself doing everything she could to prove to others (and herself) that she could survive.
But over time she found that working just to pay bills each month began to drain her emotions, as much as it did her physical energy. On top of that, she was being asked to volunteer at her church. Pam loved to help and serve others, but she was experiencing a lifestyle that she didn’t know what to do with, or how to navigate.
This simple story illustrates a need for clarity. We all need it.
I don’t know how many of you have ever taken flying lessons, but there is a unique similarity between the cockpit of an airplane and the inner workings of our soul.
In the cockpit of every airplane there are two of the exact same gauges. These gauges literally tell the pilot which end of the airplane is up. Under certain conditions the pilot may be deprived of an external visual horizon, which is critical to maintaining a correct sense of up and down while flying. A pilot who enters such conditions will quickly lose spatial orientation if there has been no training in flying with reference to instruments.
There are two of the exact same gauges in each airplane. This is to bring confidence to the pilot. If both gauges say “up” it is very likely they are right and the pilot’s feelings, if different, are wrong.
We often hear things like “trust your gut,” but in this scenario, it is about trusting the instruments that have been put there as a guide for you to get to your intended destination.
When I heard this story, it reminded me of life; it reminded me of times when I thought I was going in one direction, but I was heading in the exact opposite direction of where I wanted to go. When it comes to the choices we make in life, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a gauge that would reassure with “this is the right way” or “this is the right decision?”
But you and I both know it doesn’t work that way. We don’t have a gauge in front of our face that we can read and know without a doubt we are making the right “turn” in life. It is up to us to figure it out.
And it may not be as hard as you think.
There is a gauge that we can bring into our everyday lives that will help show the way.
It’s actually the first step toward becoming a resilient person. It’s called knowing your “why.” Because once you know your why, it will make seeing your way so much easier, clearer and more purposeful.
It sounds simple, but without this being at the foundation of our journey, we may get off course. Just like a map on a hike through a mountain, without knowing where you are going or why you are doing it, you may very well end up going in the wrong direction and end up at an undesired location.
The good news is, you can turn around at any point in life, unlike the pilot that may head in the wrong direction and find out too late. You may hit rock bottom in life, but a resilient person gets back up and starts again.
That is the brilliance of life. You’re not done until you are truly done. You can set a new course for your life at any time—a new destination—and begin walking that way. It is never too late.
The map you choose will be up to you. And your destination will depend on your goals, wants and desires.
What is your desired destination? It’s a question we all have to ask ourselves.
And…be willing to answer and take steps accordingly.