What to do when you feel lost.

“The last few months I have been in a fog and now I am lost.”

Ever had a sense of not knowing where you are or what direction you are heading in? And yet a desire that you should move?

The above quote was the opening line from a new coaching client and rings bells with other coaching conversations I have been having. This sense of being lost, not knowing where I am, not liking where I am and not knowing what to do about it.

It is undeniable that the current situation is creating a new way of living and working. And as more places reopen in the UK, that means the situation is changeable. Emergent. So many people are experiencing a sense of “being lost”.

“Lost” can seem a confusing place. After all, you’re not where you thought you’d be, where you want to be, or you may have no idea where you actually are. So where do you go from here?

The confusion is understandable.

The thinking mind doesn’t like confusion.

It likes the known.

Certainty.

Which is why in times of uncertainty it reaches for known habits – things that it can do in order to feel like it has certainty. (Have you noticed any old habits starting again or habits becoming exaggerated?)

Uncertainty can be uncomfortable. The thinking mind doesn’t like that either and will do what it can to avoid discomfort, hence habits being triggered as they provide the illusion of comfort.

Sometimes being in a state of confusion or being uncomfortable – i.e being in the unknown – is the perfect place for finding unexpected solutions.

But these are often not immediate and therefore discomfort arises again, and the thinking mind convinces us that getting back to what we know is the best policy.

After all, with no guarantees staying in this unknown place, being lost, well all sorts could happen here, and that’s unsafe.

I may make a mistake = that’s not safe

I might fail = definitely not safe

I could look foolish = nope. Not having that!

Let me stick with what I know, then that sense of being lost will go away and I can imagine I am safe again and relax.

Do you recognise any of this?

I sure as heck do. Not just witnessing it professionally as a coach, but I KNOW THIS PATTERN… PERSONALLY!

I know that awareness is the key starting point of any change, or as Einstein put it, “the first point of change is to notice.” We can’t change anything unless we are aware that it is going on. My coach is an invaluable resource for bringing things into my awareness that I am being blindsided by. And this is one of my intentions with clients too.

I want to make 3 suggestions that I would use during a coaching session, to help you move from that place of ‘lost’, whilst staying in the unknown so that you can learn, grow and awaken to what else is possible for you.

First point of awareness is being honest with where you are. Accept it. It may not be where you want to be, but it is where you are. Maybe you are not lost at all? Just not where you expected to be? Be honest and clear with yourself and take a good look around. It’s a bit like stepping on the scales or going through the bank statements or credit card bills. Things may not be as you’d like, but they are as they are, and the more honest you can be – taking responsibility without criticism – the more you are no longer lost but have acceptance. It may not be comfortable, but it is a far more empowered place to be.

From here, you can look for further clarity, explore and get the ‘lay of the land’.

What is around you?

What can you see?

How does life sound in this place?

Exploring and getting a sense of where you are can relax the thinking mind, as long as it’s not comparing itself to where it thinks it should be or is not worrying about where it has been.

Last year I was on a map reading course – a skill I certainly need to develop – and I noticed how the thinking mind wanted to panic about where it thought it was, rather than being specific, checking out the landscape. I had to remind myself to breathe, whilst scanning my surroundings. Again this still may not feel comfortable, but at least you will have more information.

Whilst in this new place, you can also look for any familiarities. This helps the thinking mind relax even more as it makes more and more connections, realising that the unknown isn’t necessarily as big and scary as thinking and imagining can make it out to be.

And finally, now you have clarity on where you are and what’s around you, you can make a calmer even more informed decision as to which direction to now go in. You will be clearer on where you are heading, even if you do not know if you are immediately going in the ‘right’ direction. You will know what to be looking out for, the clues that will help you on each step. Or you may choose to stay here for a while longer until the ‘fog’ lifts some more. Or maybe there is more exploration to do of the area before you move on?

Whatever is next, you can’t get out of ‘lost’ without knowing where you are, so start there!

Has this resonated with you and you now want a companion to help you move out of being lost? Email me jules@juleswyman.com and let’s have a coaching conversation and create you a map!