Set your inner GPS
When you don’t know what to do, learn how to set your inner GPS
I heard this quote from a colleague as she contemplated her future after a period of uncertainty and upheaval.
“When you don’t know what to do, do nothing. Get quiet so you can hear the still, small voice—your inner GPS guiding you to true north.” Oprah Winfrey
Far be it for me to challenge Ms Winfrey, but I don’t go along with that completely. Your inner GPS needs data and that requires some activity. The time to tap into your inner GPS is at the time you make a decision.
Learn how to set your inner GPS
This is the time to explore your options while you are doing the equivalent of treading water. This state is only sustainable for a while. You might be in a difficult professional situation, an abusive or loveless relationship, or have family, medical or financial challenges. But the pattern can be applied to most situations.
Anchor yourself: This means you have to firmly centre yourself which requires self-reflection around your goals, values, vision and priorities. Define your purpose and how you want to make a contribution. It may not be via a single route, but composed of many small actions. Set goals and create a plan to inform yourself. Try to understand what’s holding you back and if it is a profound paralysing fear, seek professional help.
Research: You may have multiple options and that’s OK. Read, follow business trends, talk to people, network, and set up informational interviews. This is just about accumulating knowledge to be well-informed when the time to make a decision comes.
You can start testing the waters gently. If the uncertainty is around your professional future test the job search market. if you are looking for an internal change talk to your boss or HR business partner.
Surround yourself with people, books, and experiences that inspire and motivate you. Engage in continuous learning and seek out information related to your interests and goals. Expanding your knowledge broadens your perspective and equips you with valuable insights.
If the indecision centres on other issues which you can’t address with general knowledge in the public domain, such as health, finances, romantic relationships, parenting, and elder care – again, seek professional input.
When you have pulled all this information together evaluate your options. If you can take any decision based on your long-term goals, values, and vision that is the best course, but sometimes it’s not always possible. The “right now” decision will be a compromise and temporary marker until you can make the “right” or best one.
Setbacks can be opportunities for growth even though it may not seem like it at the time. Reflect on your experiences, identify lessons learned, and make adjustments accordingly.
Now is the time to pause. You have successfully re-calibrated your inner GPS with multiple data points. Get in tune with your emotions and process your options in a calm way, whatever works for you.
Only you know how long you can sustain this position. And if you find the decision isn’t the optimal one, note the reasons why and change course.
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