Recently a young woman approached me after a presentation, confused and stuck in two big life areas: personal and career.
She wasn’t sure she should stay in her marriage (but had spiritual beliefs that suggested divorce wasn’t a good option).
And neither she nor her husband made enough money to support their kids.
What to do?
I don’t offer much outright advice, particularly in a public situation, and especially when I don’t have time to delve into coaching.
We quickly explored a few initial options, including praying for clarity (since she has a spiritual background), and exploring her hunches about further education and going in a new career direction.
However, she was limited by one common illusion. She seemed like she needed to know her destination including all the steps, before she could decide or act confidently.
(In an ongoing coaching relationship, of course we explore the totality of what a client wants.)
But if you’re stuck, sometimes all you need is one action step. You just need to know (and act on) your next step. I call it “your next best step”, although if you’re a perfectionist, it just needs to be “a next step”. 🙂
After prayer (an action step!), her next action step was to call about potential student financial aid for the field she’s considering. It was that simple.
Does that “solve” the marriage or money dilemma? Of course not.
But it starts her on the path. And we all feel better when we get a sense of our own movement towards a goal.
If she were my ongoing client, we would celebrate every single action to ensure she’s giving herself credit for each step she takes. And we would ensure every time she leaves with at least one more “next best step”.
Clarity may accompany taking action.
If you’re feeling stuck, find one thing you can do to create movement. If there’s a direction you’re considering, make that one phone call, google that one website, gather the information you need.
Then commit to one more action step, with a deadline for doing it. Tell your mom, your best friend, or your partner you’re committing to one action step. Then do it.
And repeat every day.
May we pursue our paths, even without knowing our final destination,