Each month, I receive hundreds of emails from women asking me questions, ranging from advice on starting their business, to how to rescue their failing marriage. And every conundrum boils down to the same essential question:
What do I do when I don’t know what to do?
Being in the space of having more questions than answers can be deeply unsettling. The worst part is, the more you think about it, the more seems to become an impossible-to-solve Rubik’s cube. Pro-con lists just offer a space to talk yourself both in and out of something, and gathering opinions from all of those closest to you probably leaves your head spinning. If you can relate to any of this, so can I.
We want to know what to do, but first we need to know how to gain that clarity.
Know, deeply, that you’re okay. When we’re upset, there is very often a younger “part” of ourselves – one who was angry/hurt/afraid in our childhood – that is being triggered by our present day experience. It usually happens without our knowing it consciously. For example, if you have a lot of things on your plate, it may trigger a fear that first crystalized in 1st grade when that girl at school said you were stupid. And voila! Decades later, there’s a sneaky belief that you can’t handle taking on a lot, and you freak out about your schedule all the time.
It doesn’t matter how much you may believe that you’re not being affected by your childhood today, I can assure you, you are. We all are. When you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, take a moment to visit your inner girl and soothe her. Being a loving, generous, compassionate and supportive mommy to yourself will leave you with the security of feeling deeply okay at your core, and will help create the confidence you need to move forward with clarity. Sometimes confusion actually comes from a deeper fear that needs addressing.
So, how do you want to feel? Once you’ve settled into “I’m okay”, it’s time to step ahead. The problem I most often see, though, is we jump straight into trying to “figure it out” – desperately seeking strategy (see Step 5 for that) – but miss that first, we need to know how we want to feel. The brilliant Danielle LaPorte teaches in her book, The Desire Map, that by getting in touch with our Core Desired Feelings – the core feelings we most want to feel – we have a compass to help guide our actions. Without being in touch with your CDF’s, you may be able to put your blinders on and take plenty of action… but without your inner compass in alignment, you may feel unsteady, lost or unsure. Worst of all, you can get to the finish line, only to discover that you’ve created something you don’t want.
Take a moment and notice what feelings you most want to feel (mine: Feminine, Joyful, Plentiful, United, Creative). In every choice and consideration, you can check in, “Does this align with my Core Desired Feelings?”
Craft a vision of your future. I often ask my clients, “How will it feel & what’s your ideal?” In other words, when they see themselves out there in the future they desire, how do they want to feel and what’s the ideal picture of what life looks like? If your Core Desired Feelings are your internal compass, your Future Vision is your north star.
Sit with a journal and craft a beautiful vision for yourself to live into. If that’s as challenging for you as it is for me, see if you can capture a “snapshot” of the future – a moment in time that you can hold the vision of. This will offer something to focus on that embodies both the look and feel of your future, from which you can choose aligned action.
Get out and play. Have you ever been frantically searching your house for your keys, looking in the same places over and over, only to give up on finding them and find them moments later? When you’re stuck in a decision ditch, unable to get out, it’s time to play. Part of the problem when you’re trapped in confusion is the tangled mental loops you can get twisted in. The only solution is play.
Get out of the house and get your creative juices flowing. Focus on something entirely different, like learning a new song, painting, taking a dance or cooking class, or hitting the spa with your friends. Once you’ve cleared the mental cobwebs away, you’re far more likely to find clarity.
Get direction. One of my biggest heartbreaks happens when I see a woman gather information for years and years and years, but never get the support she truly needs to take clear and focused action. It is so important to do the deep inner work, be connected to a vision and the feelings that call you forth, and give yourself the space to be in creative flow. That is all beautiful and so important. But so is action, and without it, change happens slowly if at all. For years, I was stuck in the as-soon-as-I-journal-on-this-thing-and-get-my-chakras-aligned-and-watch-this-webinar-I’ll-know-what-to-do-next rut. And whoa, was it a painful rut to be in. But the truth is, I needed direction from people who’d not only been there, but could honor my Core Desired Feelings and Future Vision. I needed to find out How-To with heart.
—> In the comments below, I’d love you to share which one of these steps is the most challenging for you, and what you’ll do to take that step today. I can’t wait to support you.