Wanting just a little bit of clarity about where life is going is not too much to ask.
This barrage of doubt often leaves you with But how did I get here? How can someone who has worked this hard and piled up a treasure chest of achievements . . . someone who took all the right classes . . . someone who’s working hard to create a career (even if it’s sucking the soul right out of you) . . . someone who prides themselves on having it all together . . . feel so not together?
Because what you’re feeling is normal. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who hasn’t felt lost at some point. What you must remember in order to pull yourself out of that place of self-doubt sooner rather than later is that you’re not alone. Which is hard to remember when everyone on Instagram seems like they’ve got their shit so figured out. I know how insanely isolating it feels to believe that you’re lost.
Contrary to what you think, feeling lost is actually a wildly wonderful thing. These crap feelings are a part of your process for achieving clarity. Breaking points break you open. They lead you to the light. If you never face these feelings, you’ll never have the option to rebuild a path you’re fully pumped about.
Let me do some explaining about how you got here (because I have opinions, lots of them). I should probably mention first that you (well, all of us, really) were sold a bill of goods. You were promised that if you followed all the “right” steps, then everything would come together and your future would appear magically with each check on your list of accomplishments. We all believed it, passionately.
But the truth is, we’re living in a world that obsesses over achievement and outcomes and misses the messy process of the journey entirely. Maybe you sorta know what you want but you have no idea how to get there. Or maybe you’re at a total loss for both. Either way, you’re handcuffed both to your own obsession with thinking your way to a solution and to your belief that dreaming up the “big picture” is going to end the longing for direction in your life.
This obsession with the big picture is everything holding you back (and a fast track to an emotional hell). Life isn’t a well-planned trip down Highway 1; you don’t need to know where you’ll end up in order to begin.
Here’s what you do need: a deep, deep sense of self-belief. We’re talking an ocean of it, swelling to the stars. It’s the single most important skill that you’re missing in this moment, and the only one that will catapult you into trusting where you’re going even if you can’t actually see where it ends. Plus, it’ll ensure that you enjoy the process of getting there.
Let me just say that this isn’t a blame game. Missing the puzzle piece of confidence, especially as women in this world, is totally normal and understandable. There are so many goddamn external messages, cultural constructions, and institutions (ahem, patriarchy, anyone?) that play whack-a-mole with your soul. You’re told that if you are not a certain way (race, gender, sexuality, size, status, or fill in the fucking blank) you don’t deserve to be here. It grinds you down until you’re unsure if you even possess anything worth offering. And it can be hard to push back against it, but we’re going to, together, because coming out of your own personal lost fog depends on it. You get to decide to be confident and to take the actions that will build that confidence. And yes, the brain can be rewired like that.
Confidence in yourself will shine a spotlight on the exit route from your deafening doubt. Conventional wisdom taught you that you need to know where you’re going in order to begin, but actually, you’ll unlock it all by just beginning. You’ll start by starting. You’ll take one teeny, tiny step, something small, today. And then tomorrow. And the next day. And all the days after it. The steps will get bigger, and you’ll feel more and more sure about your path. You’ll also be less tolerant of anyone telling you to be different than who you truly are. Your steps won’t all be right, but they’ll all be forward. Plus, these micro-actions kindle a slow burn of confidence, which will turn into a bonfire of self-believin’.