We have all had moments of complete disorientation in life. Where direction, purpose, and clarity evade our every attempt to make progress or feel confident about any decisions we make. Our internal compass which may have been so clearly pointed days, weeks, or months before spins aimlessly. We spend our time toiling about our tasks, grasping for fulfillment in something, anything.
From my personal experience, I know this meandering space well. Having pursued multiple careers, attained a PhD, worked in international development, and now creating a business, I have felt the jarring confusion between each of these phases. I also know that with each iteration I have come closer to what is really important to me. With each new purpose I released the external demands of what I “should” do and created space for what feels internally aligned.
Without these moments of rebirth we could not shed all the pressure of who we are “supposed” to be, we could not find what truly fulfills us. The fact that there is confusion is a sign that something in our old paradigm is no longer true, that a more fundamentally purpose is trying to emerge. The author David Deida explained this process well by describing our life purpose as a series of concentric circles, with each outer circle representing a lesser purpose. The outer most circles fulfill purposes we adopted by default, such as being driven to follow in the footsteps of our parents or choosing a career based on social status. As these iterations run their course, we let go of the parts that don’t serve us. It is in this moment we have the opportunity to find what is truly more fulfilling.
So what do you do when you find yourself in the no man's land of your life purpose? Embrace the phase. You are there, you are the searcher, the seeker, and likely you have been there before. Do not judge yourself or question your self-worth, you will not be in this space forever. The sooner you settle into the power of this moment the quicker you will find what it has to offer. To navigate this space you will need to do two things, make decisions and trust yourself.
Try adopting the perspective of Confidently Lost. When lost you need to make decisions to find your way out. You also trust that when it is clear a decision was not the best option, you will reroute. You can never be confident that your chosen direction is the right one, otherwise you would not be lost. You do however, trust that when you find yourself at a cliff edge you will reroute. Through this experience you will find your way.
Most great things come from the space of the unknown. Being able to trust ourselves and embrace the void is often what brings us the greatest clarity. We are all far more capable, resilient, and resourceful than we can imagine. Make decisions, fail often, find that cliff edge, and trust in your ability to change course as needed. Have faith that through this process you will become a stronger version of yourself and your path will emerge in front of you.