Everyone is on a journey; that’s what life is. From the cradle to the grave, we’re travelling, each of us, on and on, always searching for what is right for us, always moving. Sometimes we surge forwards. Sometimes we fall backwards. Sometimes we’re distracted by other people, places, things, and we slide sideways. But as long as we’re still moving, we’re still living. We’re still experiencing everything that life has, good or bad, fulfilling or not.

We do it without even knowing we’re moving. We have an internal life map that leads us wherever we want or need to go, and we follow it, no matter what.

The problem comes when faced with a choice in which direction to take, when our life map offers us an alternative route which, although it may be a longer road, will ultimately get us to where we want to go much more quickly. There are so many paths, each one leading to somewhere new and exciting, somewhere that will change us as a person, that it can feel overwhelming, and suddenly, despite years, maybe even decades, of happily sailing through life, we’re struck with the enormity of it all. Do we want that? Do we need that? Or is it a frightening prospect that most will shy away from, not realising that every day we make thousands of unconscious decisions that spin us from side to side and up and down and take us to other places? Is it only when the idea of choosing confronts us that we finally stop moving, and think about where we might want to go?

It seems to be that way – it’s the way that human beings are programmed. It’s a survival tool; life changing milestones and crossroads are met with moments of confusion, indecision, and self doubt because if they weren’t, we would blithely rush headlong into these momentous opportunities or about turns without really delving into what the consequences might be. And that’s what scares us – changing from where our life is now, to where it could and should be. Or we would ignore the signposts and alternative routes, and keep going where we’re going, trudging ever onwards. And that’s scary too – we could be more than we are if we just take time to read the map.

But why change at all? If we’re heading down a fairly smooth track, why veer off when we see a signpost directing us to somewhere that was never on our life map before? It may be that we suddenly realise that our job is not making us happy. Perhaps it’s a partner or friend who isn’t good for us. Maybe it’s the house we live in, or our health.

Whatever it is, if it isn’t making you happy, or giving you life fulfilment, it’s time to change direction. It’s that simple. And that hard.

Once the decision to change has been made, the next question must be which path to choose, and how to make sure it’s the right one? How many options on the map are there now that you’ve stepped back to read it? There will be at least one. There may be dozens. Once you know it’s time to move on, these opportunities will begin presenting themselves to you; but it’s your job to look out for them.

It’s exciting and exhilarating, and there are countless moments when everything could change. Did a flyer advertising a dance class come through your door at the same time that you decided to lose weight? Take it! Did you start scanning the job ads in your lunch break and spot something that would suit your perfectly? Apply for it!

Did your life turn out the way you wanted it to when you set out on your journey? No? Change it! Choose another path and start a new journey – one with better scenery and a destination that will make you happy.

And if you’re still unsure, talk to someone about what’s worrying you. Sometimes speaking to another person is all that is needed to unlock the direction that you’re supposed to be travelling in. Talk to a performance coach.

Finding your path is part of life – don’t rush past the turning that will take you to where you’re supposed to be. Missed opportunities are the worst of life’s regrets.

And, most importantly, enjoy the journey!

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