Feeling lost? You're not alone. Life's little ups and downs are apt to steer us all off course from time to time and make us doubt our 'sense of purpose'.
"Everything changes in life - those who lose, bend and go with the flow are the real survivors," says Carole Ann Rice of The Real Coaching Co. "Cling on to what is or was and you will lose even more."
While it may be uncomfortable, feeling that you have ‘lost' yourself can be enlightening, says Sue MacGillivray of Life Coaching Solutions. "It's a wake up call to make positive changes and take action," she declares. "Feeling lost signifies that we need to "give back to ourselves, rather than always ensuring that others come first." Sue has shared her pragmatic approach to finding a sense of purpose in our day-to-day life with us...
When you may feel lost
"Most people don't know what to do with their lives," Carole reassures us. "Illness, bereavement, job loss, relationship breakdowns and unexpected traumas can all destabilise us and make us question who we are." This makes it essential to develop a strong sense of self in order to see us through life's upheavals.
"We're so used to being a mum, partner, wife, sister, daughter, leader, work colleague or friend that we often forget about us and what makes US tick," Sue argues. "And we've often lost sight of what's important as we deal with everything reactively.
"Life can feel overwhelming, with a sense of it all being too much to sort, fix, understand even - never mind make decisions about."
How to find yourself
"Finding ourselves is about connecting with what feels right and good," says Sue. "When our mind is muddled or we've lost our sense of self, everything can feel out of control."
But there's no need to feel overwhelmed. Sue advocates a simple 3-step approach to finding ourselves and regaining what she calls a sense of true being.
"It's often a case of unravelling, just starting with some key foundations."
"Firstly, we need to chunk things down to gain an understanding of what is working and what is not," Sue explains. "It's important to know what's going on in your world, putting yourself at the very centre."
Note down the following headings, covering each of the key areas of your life:
- - work/career
- - relationships
- - social life/friendships
- - money/finances
- - health and vitality
- - emotional wellbeing
- - interests/passion
- - learning/personal development
Think about how comfortable YOU are with each area. Tick the area(s) in which you feel in control, good or ‘on track'. You might feel a little calmer already, simply knowing that certain aspects of your life are sorted.
"As for the others, tackle them one at a time," Sue advises. "What needs to be done to move you forward? Write down all your thoughts and ideas to create an action plan that's right for you. Then get started, making the changes step by step. Taking control and doing what's right for us can feel empowering."
Still feeling stuck? "Make it a priority to know yourself," Carole recommends.
"Know what your strengths are." That means knowing what comes easy and what makes your heart ‘sing' as well as what you wish to avoid. "Look to the books or articles you read, the things you are naturally drawn to, and you will see what makes you tick," she advises.
Expanding your horizons is often helpful. Start small, by going on day courses and trying taster sessions. This is the start of "a journey of investigation to realign yourself with your passions," she tells us. Uncovering your true values might just indicate new directions for you and your life, too.