This year I’ve spent some time walking in the Yorkshire Dales and it strikes me that so much of life is like going on a hike.
You have a destination in mind; you plan the route and tuck the map and instructions safely in a pocket.
Then you set off. You want to stick to the route so you regularly stop to consult the map and instructions. You know that this paper is telling you exactly what you must do and if you veer from it, you’ll get lost.
The path is uneven and you don’t want to stumble so you keep your head down as you put one foot in front of the other. You stop from time to time, for a drink or lunch; then carry on again, head down and determined.
After a while you notice that time has passed, so you stop.
In a moment of clarity you realise that you’ve been walking blindly, following instructions written by others towards a destination that someone else decided was right for you.
And you question whether the destination you thought you wanted to reach is, in fact where you want to go now.
You can see there are many different paths you could take and it’s all overwhelming.
As you raise your eyes, you notice how far up the hill you’ve climbed so you take a few moments to celebrate your achievements and admire the view.
Welcome to my world.
Over the summer I’ve been pausing, noticing how far I’ve climbed and considering which path I want to take next. I’ve been reflecting on both my personal life and my business.
I set up this website just over three years ago and for the first time in my life I’m doing what I love and is authentically me. And it’s wonderful.
At times the trail has been rocky and I’ve had to climb a few stiles. And I feel like I’ve been walking with my head down towards a destination I felt I ‘should’ be aiming for. So it was time for me to pause and reset my course. The view is pretty good though; I’m proud with what I’ve achieved and to be helping many women.
In those three years my life has changed a lot too. As an only child, losing my second parent has been hard and I’ve been working through this over these past few months .
I’m also different now; I’ve learned a number of new skills by attending training courses, and reading. I’m calmer, stronger, and more compassionate too. As a colleague remarked; having your own business is a good excuse (or reason 🙂 ) to continue your own growth.
On a personal level, there are many advantages to being childless, for myself and my husband they boil down to freedom and flexibility, and want to do more to fully take advantage of these and make the most of our lives. So we’ve been having a personal pause and reset too.
My tools for pausing.
When I work with clients we start with the wonderful Wheel of Life, so I started with it too. After I’d scored each segment I considered what a score of ten would be.
I also pondered some questions such as:
- What do I want (both in my personal and professional life)?
- What have my greatest challenges taught me?
- If I had 5 years left I would….
- What am I interested in/curious about?
- What do I love doing so much success or failure don’t matter?
- My gifts are…..
- What did I used to love doing (and how can I do more)?
- What and who make me happy?
What I discovered
Taking the big picture view I recognised that the route I’d already travelled was pretty much as I wanted; and in common with most people, some segments of my Wheel of Life need only minor tweaks; and others could use a more radical overhaul.
However, in terms of my business I realised that the destination I had in mind wasn’t of my own choosing and, most importantly it doesn’t reflect who I’ve become. I’d been blindly following the path that others said was ‘right’; the path of ‘shoulds, musts and have tos’. This was okay when I first started, and now it’s time to forge my own way.
I’ve already made some changes; I’m meditating and writing regularly, and making specific time to read. Being more organised behind the scenes and having accountability enables me to spend less time at my desk.
I’ve re-discovered how much I love being out in the countryside; and particular the Yorkshire Dales, where I grew up. Having grass under my feet, sky above and limestone around me brings me back to myself more than just about anything else.
Having my own business means I can create it to fit with my life. So, there will be changes to what I do here, but I’m not yet sure what they’ll be as we’re still working through some of the bigger questions as a couple.
Taking the time to pause has helped me to realise how far I’ve come and how much I’ve achieved.
Having the answers to the above questions means that I can integrate everything I’ve learned and who I’ve become into where I travel next. The changes I’ve made are already yielding great results so I feel more peaceful and relaxed.
And I’ll be moving forward with a renewed spring in my step knowing that the path belongs to me and no one else. I know that there will be ups and downs, stiles to climb and muddy areas to traverse.
But I am prepared for the challenges ahead and, instead of walking blindly with my head down I’ll be paying more attention to my surroundings and will be pausing regularly to check and reset my course.
Now it’s your turn – what would happen if you took the time to pause and reset?
How about gifting yourself the time to complete the wheel of life and answer the questions above?
Please let us know what you realised and how different your course will be now.
I’d love also to hear whether any of this resonates with you, whether you’re following your own path or someone else’s, and what you plan to do about it.
Please add your comments below – you don’t have to use your own name.
And if all of this is a challenge to you, a great place to start is my Small Steps to Healing