Who’s Paving Your Path?

I ask people all the time what their goals are – what they want out of life. Sometimes they have an answer, like, having more money, better relationships, more energy. Other times, they aren’t really clear on specifically what they want. They are “open” to the possibilities that life will offer. That was me in my earlier years and still creeps up if I’m not careful. I have all too often allowed others to pave my path, so to speak. If you are not clear on what you want out of life, or you aren’t taking specific action to attain that life, then you are likely allowing others to pave your path as well.

While we may need help lifting the stones in our life, at some point we have to lay out our own path. The sooner the better, but it’s never too late. This is much easier said than done, especially if we have been allowing others to do the heavy lifting for us. There is some important inner work that must be done in order to become the bricklayer of your own life.

First, you have to identify what you’re avoiding by allowing others to determine your path. Are you indecisive because you don’t want to be the “bad guy,” and make a decision that would disappoint others? Are you afraid of failure, so by allowing others to make decisions for you, if it doesn’t work out, it really wasn’t your fault? Is the hard work that would inevitably show up, keeping you from taking on the role of leader in your life? You have to get honest about why you relinquish this responsibility to others.

Next, you need clarity on what you really want. What’s been missing in your life? What would you really like to have in it? What do you want to experience or accomplish? Dare to dream big. This step can be much more difficult than it sounds if you’ve been determining what you want based on what others say you “should.” This is not a ten-minute project. Spend some time every day asking yourself these questions. Your answers may change over time, but keep exploring them.

Lastly, you need to take action. Baby steps are fine, but start taking back control of your path. This could simply be sharing your opinion more frequently, or challenging what you’ve always done or how you’ve always done it. If it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, you can always alter course. There is no rule against changing your mind. What would you like your next step to be? What’s something, perhaps even small, that you would like and to hell with what others think about it?

This is a long, challenging process, as I have personally experienced. But it is, oh so worth it! It took me a long time and a LOT of baby steps to start embracing a mind of my own and sharing it. I continue to work on this area of my life, but with each passing day I continue to feel more in control of the path I’m laying for myself. You deserve to experience that as well. There’s a beautiful (and scary at times) sense of responsibility that comes with owning your own future. I can screw up and make mistakes, but I learn from them and use that knowledge to work towards achieving the life I’m trying to build for myself. The flip side of that coin, is I also get to revel in the joy of successfully accomplishing my goals.

No matter where you are on this journey, I’m certain you have some words of wisdom to share. Which of the steps listed do you think is most important to the process of paving your own way? Do you have a strategy that worked for you in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Comments

  1. “What’s been missing in your life? What would you really like to have in it? What do you want to experience or accomplish? Dare to dream big.”

    excellent questions, april! and an excellent lesson as well. i loved when you said you started embracing a mind of your own. such a lovely way to look at it. no more trying to please others, no more worrying about failure. simply embracing your own incredible mind.

  2. “There’s a beautiful (and scary at times) sense of responsibility that comes with owning your own future” – Well said April. It is scary but also so free to finally owning our future and start taking responsibility of our own choice. Many people have been living in auto-pilot and trying to do what other tell them to do. For me the hardest part is to figure out what I want in life and have guts to follow it, and everything else is secondary.

    • Erin, I think that battle is shared by many – knowing what we want, and having the courage to pursue it. No easy feat, that’s for sure, but then again, nothing worthwhile is easy!! Thanks so much for commenting!!

  3. Thank you for this post. It is all so true. It was not until I decided to get educated as a coach, and then continue my education in this area that I really understood what that meant, It is not easy… and we should also visit this process regularly to ensure we are on the path that we want, focussing on OUR goals!

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