I was listening to a song by Darius Rucker (aka “Hootie” from Hootie and the Blowfish) called “This”. The basic premise of the song is that everything that happens in life happens for a reason, taking you to where you are today or “this”. As I thought about the song, I reflected on my own journey through life – career, marriage, raising a child and so on – and agree that I would not be where I am today without going through all of the things that I have gone through.
A few years ago, my comments about finding my “this” would have been different though. Being a traditionalist in every sense of the word, I saw my journey as defined steps that led directly to the next. Not a winding road, but a direct route that meant I was in control. I saw my career as a direct showcase of my formal education (long since obtained) and of others’ influence on my potential path. I saw control and stability as the driving factor in my life. In my mind, I saw that the next step was always 12 inches higher than the one I was on, never varying. Until one day, when my passion changed and instead of coming from a by-product of my education and what others expected, my goals and drives started coming from my heart, my mind, and reimaging my potential both professionally and personally. To find my “this” and handle the changes in my path, I synthesized a lot of articles and suggestions turning them into guiding questions.
- Ask yourself if you are on a path to somewhere. Do you know you passions? What drives you? What do you want to learn? Seems easy enough. This one step can at least get you on a path.
Do you have a goal or goals for your life? I didn’t for a long time.Understand that goals may change. You are a work in progress.
- If you have a path, is it traditional as I described? If it is, take out a sheet of paper and draw a wavy line from top to bottom. The draw another and for fun, one more. Add some wavy horizontal lines to connect the vertical ones. This picture is more of what life’s path looks likes– crossroads, changes in directions, and diagonals.
- What can you do to progress on your path? Evaluate things in your life are directly in your line of sight. What daily changes can you make to see path movement? Do you know someone who can help you work through an issue? Have you made a list of free or low cost resources available to you?
Know that your “this” will only come with a lot of hard work. It is not a hand out or a giveaway. “This” is when you see your paths and you finally understand why you are at that point at that moment. If it isn’t where you want to be, look at where you came from and where you are going. If it is not moving you in the right direction, start over. As someone who understood his “this” might take him down different paths, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”