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Disoriented and Unsure? Call That Lost Lost.

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Twice in the past month potential coaching clients used the same vivid and universal word to describe the way they feel. Lost. This is an experience we’ve all had while moving through our lives and through landscapes. Being unsure of your location (call that a little lost) is unsettling. Having no idea where you are and no idea what to do about it (that is, lost lost) can give rise to straight-out fear.

Different degrees of lost have different solutions. So how might these variations be defined? Two factors come to mind. First: Do you know where you are in relationship to the landscape? Second: Are you on the right track? From there, we can build this grid:

Let’s find our way through each of these metaphoric situations. The solutions that work in finding our way in a landscape seem to apply to situations in our lives as well.

disoriented in the landscape
unsure of route

This is the scariest position to be in. You not only don’t know where you are, you also don’t know which way to turn. You’ve made some mistakes. You realize you are going in circles or heading into dangerous terrain. Maybe both. You are beginning to panic and losing access to your best judgement.

When you are truly lost and darkness is pressing its way to you, the safest thing to do is to stay put, take care of your body, and call for help.

disoriented in the landscape
sure of route

We all willingly follow the direction of our device’s automated voice. We remain confident of reaching our destination and feel assured by an arrival time estimated to the minute. This can be done with little or no concern about where in the world we actually are.

But what about that not-automated voice? The inner voice. We’re all less comfortable with that.

Do you have a little nudge inside that keeps telling you to contact a certain person, pursue an idea that seems a little bananas, or start a new project? Do you hear a piercing thought that says, “I could do that”? Are you willing to follow that guidance even if you have no idea where it’s going to take you? That takes trust in yourself. And practice. Here are some ways to become better able to listen to your heart.

oriented in the landscape
unsure of route

It was fine but now it’s not. The path you are on is ending or suddenly taking a turn that makes no sense. You know where you want to go and it has become apparent you are not headed in that direction.

Context helps. Lift your head, breathe, and take a broader view. There may be a sign or landmark just ahead that clarifies everything. If not, look back. When did you last know where you were? Return to that place and survey the scene; you’ll likely see where you missed a cue. Pick up from there and continue.

oriented in the landscape
sure of route

The. Best. Feeling.

You know where you stand, you know how you got there, and you know where you’re going. Take this opportunity to sink in, feel confident, and enjoy all that you have.

Finding the Way

Feeling lost can be uncomfortable, even maddening. But this state of being often precedes pivotal times in our lives. We can find our way.

Exploration is my initial offering for personal coaching. In three one-hour sessions in we use the Web of Life and a Values Ranking to orient you to your inner and outer landscape. Vision Into Action points you in the direction of a preferred future and defines your first steps on that path.

Contact me to schedule a half-hour consult. No cost, no obligation.

Susan McDowell is a personal coach based in Central Vermont. She has been lost—both literally and metaphorically—more than once in her life and has lived to tell about it.
Read more of Susan’s Blog here.