"What do you do when YOU cant see around the bend? When you KNOW on a deep soul level that you are meant to do something bigger and different and more expansive but you cannot see what it is? And every time you THINK you might have glimpsed it, something comes in that makes you second guess the thing you JUST thought was this huge revelation?"
That was the question staring me in the face as I read a check-in email from one of my Portable Coaching clients.
I blinked a few times while my stomach churned, not really sure how to answer. It was an all-too familiar question, one I've asked myself several times in the past 3 months. All of my best-laid plans have fallen short. I'm not dying over here, but it's discouraging to think you're on the right path, doing the right things, but not getting the results you had hoped for.
You start to question yourself: your motives, your actions.
Am I doing enough?
Am I really doing the right things?
It shouldn't be this hard should it?
What lesson do I need to learn and why IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY haven't I learned it yet??
I knew that she was asking the very question I needed to answer for myself. Like Richard Bach said, "we teach best what we most need to learn."
Then a memory hit me in a flash, and I composed my answer:
When I was younger, I was told a story about life out on the high seas. I can't remember who told me, but it was someone I trusted in a moment very much like this. They said that a ship lost at sea might be in the ocean for MONTHS with no land in sight. And once they do spy land, they could still be days or even weeks away from landfall.
Each crew member learned how to spot signs of land - even in the midst of the turbulent sea, with nothing visible but water in every direction. Twigs, seaweed, and other flotsam float on the water's surface. Birds tend to be more plentiful the closer you get to a shoreline. Clouds form and reflect light differently, depending on where you are in the world.
The ship might still be far away from land - and land might not even be a speck on the horizon, but those signs - those glimpses - encouraged the crew to know they were indeed heading in the right direction.
There are STILL plenty of times when I feel adrift.
Times when I wonder if I'm going to run out of supplies and have to cannibalize my crew to survive. I don't know if that ever changes as your business grows. But what I've learned is how to look for "signs of land" as confirmation that I'm on the right path - even if I'm months (or years) away from land.
It doesn't make the boat rock any less, it doesn't calm the tempest, but it does give me some peace of mind - a calm within the storm, so to speak.
Less metaphorically speaking, I do my best to stay connected to the Divine. I I keep saying "yes, and...?" to get guidance.
"Yeah, I see that my launch didn't go as planned, and what else is there for me?"
"Yeah, I lost that client bid that I thought was in the bag, and what else do I need to see?"
"Yes! I got that media placement that I wasn't at all sure about, and what else can I do?"
"Yes, I feel incredibly lonely in a town where I don't know anyone, and what is my lesson here?"
"Yes, and...?" has become my best friend in my hardest times. The silence that comes after is what takes practice. I got a VERY clear prompting to move to Nashville, so I dropped everything and moved as soon as I had a place to stay. I've been here a year, and I'm still asking, "Yes. I'm here, and why? What is it I'm meant to do here that I couldn't do anywhere else?"
I'm just now starting to catch glimpses of the answer.
A guy gets a copy of my book and says "this needs to be a movie!" Another guy (a movie producer) says "yeah. I'll read your treatment." Has anything really happened yet? No. It's all twigs and seaweed, baby! But I know I'm headed in the right direction, so I just keep showing up and trusting (and sometimes agonizing over) the process.
When you feel adrift in an endless sea, signs of land are your surest guide.
If you're feeling adrift, and need help spotting those signs of land, I'm here. Book a Next Steps session with me, or join the Accountability Club to get some ongoing support. A rising tide lifts all ships, remember. Let us be that for you.