There is a common misconception that once we find that “thing” we are meant to do, everything will come together for us like magic. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
While it’s totally true that operating from your strengths, leading with your talents and claiming your unique zone of genius builds resilience (science shows us this) and accelerates the velocity with which you can move forward, it doesn’t mean you get to sidestep learning curves.
Actually, choosing the right path often means your wrong turns are just beginning.
As a coach, I often help my clients find the sweet spot between inviting in more ease without becoming struggle averse in the process. (Struggle is sometimes super healthy; but, we want to be careful to not get stuck in it either.)
In my practice, one thing I commonly work on with my clients is letting go of the need to struggle, and releasing the addiction to fighting with life. For instance, I’ve coached many women who do not acknowledge their work unless it comes as the result of sincere struggle. Somewhere in their lives struggle became part of their narrative and identity, and a benchmark for evaluating how they are doing. So, even when miraculous things happen for them, they quickly look for anything that went wrong and obsess over that. Or, as soon as they cross a major threshold, they begin lusting after the next monumental hurdle, and worry that they won’t make it. Struggle is so embedded in their psyche that they use it as motivation and look to it to substantiate their purpose. When I notice this with my clients, I help them discover where this came from, and how they can shift it.
On the other end of the spectrum, I also see some women so struggle-averse that they have a hard time making progress. They believe if things don’t just fall into place, it’s a sign they are on the wrong path all together. With this set of clients, there are a lot of false starts. They get going, think they’ve found their “it”, are met with loads of green lights for a while, but when they hit a red or even a yellow, they begin to question everything. These clients have an underlying belief that once they find the right path, everything will flow. When reality doesn’t go that way they return to the drawing board quicker that Bob Ross can paint a fluffy little cloud. The irony is that the search for ease has them caught in a cycle of struggle. With this group of clients we work on building resilience so they can stay the course, despite difficulty.
In my life, I have a strong orientation to ease, and constantly invite more of it into my life. However, I understand that sometimes growth is straight up uncomfortable and I also have a healthy relationship with discomfort too. For me, staying true to my total right path has caused me to ruthlessly redirect my life on a moment’s notice, as well as stay the course of things even when circumstances were utterly grueling. I’ve had to make a ton of super difficult decisions while bearing the brunt of many well-intended people who didn’t understand my choices at all. Then, at other times my journey led me to experience strings of total-blue-sky-perfect-breeze-umbrella-in-my-drink-fabulous times where everything effortlessly fell into place. It’s been a “both/and” situation through and through. Once I learned to manage my wrong turns by just pivoting in a new direction without choosing an entirely new path, the ease in my life increased profoundly. (But don’t get it twisted. Ease does not imply easy. Instead it means accepting your true path in all its topsy-turvy glory.)
When I started seeing a therapist in college, I told her that my goal was to work out my issues so I could go about my life problem-free. She laughed of course, and explained that what I was hoping for was a fantasy. She taught me that while it’s true that I could resolve some of my issues and build better coping mechanisms to deal with my nuanced psyche, no amount of therapy could ever lead me to a problem-free life.
What I’ve learned since that fated afternoon in the Inner Richmond of San Francisco on Clement Street on my therapist’s couch is that failure is a beautiful, important, necessary part of success – a vital part of the equation.
When I travelled around the world on one-way tickets without any plans, I had a ton of choices to make every single day: Where did I want to go next? Where would I stay? What if I didn’t like where I ended up? I remember arriving in Madrid, Spain with a feeling of dread. I had zero idea what I was doing there. I was a mess. I felt pressured to make the “right” choices, to go to the “right” places, to have the “right” experiences. It took me a while to find my rhythm on my trip but it eventually hit me: there is no “right”; there’s only a “right now.”
I realized that if any moment my now stopped feeling right, I could simply move on.
Prior to that trip, I made a solid pact to myself to ONLY do what’s true for me on a heart level, a.k.a. my total right path. So I already knew I was on the right road, doing what I needed to do. It was just a matter of being able to redirect my course when I made the occasional wrong turn. In fact, making wrong turns on the right path are necessary. While wrong turns usually don’t feel glamorous, glamour doesn’t come from achieving a perfect, problem-free life. In my world, glamour comes from taking a stand for the authentic YOU. It comes from choosing to live life according to your rules, your desires, and your truth despite the 40 million wrong turns that can (and will) spawn from being on the right path.
Remember: taking a wrong turn doesn’t mean you need to abort your path, it just means you need to turn again. The most important thing is to keep moving! Do your best to avoid cul-de-sacs and try not to question yourself so deeply that you head back to square one at the first sight of a problem.
If you are on the right path but have made a wrong turn, all you need to do is turn again. Just pivot. That action will lead to your next right move.
The goal is to call ease in, to intend for it, to appreciate it, and simultaneously not let difficulty run you amok. Wrong turns on the right path are a cause for celebration. You are on the right path after all, learning each step of the way.
This week I want you to consider how you can celebrate your wrong turns. What are you learning from them and how can you apply this gained wisdom to your life so you can invite in more ease?
Leave a comment for me below. I’d love to hear from you.
As always, I send you my deep, deep love.