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How to Find Yourself When You Feel Lost

These feelings can be difficult to deal with, but they’re also a catalyst for change and growth.

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Shutterstock

My parents like for anyone else have been my true source of inspiration and their support in every stage of my life has contributed towards where I stand today. I’m a scientist by education and one of the reasons I opted for this field was various success stories of scientists my father narrated me during our post dinner walks when I was a kid. He used to tell me how they made a difference to the world and society at large and that’s when I decided, I too want to do something for betterment of the people around me. However, while studying to become a scientist I veered away from my path. 

During my graduation, for a couple of years I failed in multiple subjects. I was least bothered about my grades and led a vagabond like life, wandering around with my friends and the last thing I’d think of was studying. We had an extended break in college between 2 years and I visited home, this time for a longer period. I didn’t tell my parents that I had failed in various subjects, but this period acted as an eye-opener for me. I realized then that I had truly lost track of the purpose I had chosen in my life. While my mother didn’t know what was going on in my head, she realized the confused state I was in and just told me everything will be ok and she’s there to listen if at all I’d like to share anything with her. The realization that it’s ok and an understanding that you have someone to talk to plays a crucial role by providing you with a sense of support you need when you feel lost. There was no looking back for me after that, I was back on track with more determination to achieve what I earlier intended to and scored well in all my examinations. Hence, while I didn’t do MBA, the experience of failing in multiple subjects and subsequent learnings from the observations and hard work, I achieved the StreetMBA degree – The title I came up with for the learnings you get from experiences, observations and interacting with people you meet. So don’t feel upset when you lose track, it is a natural process of evolving. It’s an experience from which you learn a lot. It gives you the ability to emerge stronger when met with tough situations in life and helps you tackle them in a better manner, bringing you back on the track you want to be on.  

Feeling lost is completely normal and everyone does at some stage or the other in life. Embrace the fact, only then you’ll be able to deal with it in a better manner. Reasons for feeling lost vary from person to person and how they deal with various situations in life. For me as I stated earlier, I got distracted completely from my purpose and upon realization got back on track. Also, it’s important to have one go-to person in such situations. A person whom you trust, admire the most or feel is experienced enough to help you de-clutter your thoughts. Having an outside-in perspective provides you with a clear picture – you may feel that the problem is huge, but from that person’s perspective its simple and s/he may provide you with an immediate solution. Or it may be a grave situation, but just the act of sharing and calming words from your go-to person rejuvenates you, thereby guiding you to the right direction instead of you sinking down further by over-ruminating on the problem.  

There are also times when there’s simply too much on our mind day in and day out, it comes to a stage where we think – where was I? You feel so overloaded mentally and physically with endless responsibilities and demands, that you forget what you had set out to do. This in fact had happened with me when I had joined insurance industry, handling profiles I had no clue about. However, with this experience I learnt many management principles and it gave me a multi-disciplinary holistic perspective of the industry. There are also times when people judge you from the way you tackle such situations in life whether on personal or professional front. Know that it’s not the time to worry about what others think about you, instead it’s time to move on, explore and learn what you don’t know. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, see it as an opportunity to identify your true self. It’s a chance for you to figure out why you veered away from the path you had set, do you wish to continue further or is it the time to explore or set a new purpose for yourself in life. 

Demanding jobs and the competitive world we live in compromises our lifestyle. Ensure that you carve out some ‘me time’ during the day. It can be anything at any time of the day to pursue what you’re truly passionate about other than your work. If you keep doing what you’re doing, without a break from your ‘too busy’ schedule even if it’s a job you’re passionate about, you’ll eventually start feeling monotonous, incredibly bland if not lost. There are times when I work till late, but one thing which I really look forward to at the end of the day is being with my family and sometimes reading a book on my favorite recliner chair at home. So live every moment of life by ensuring you have time for yourself during the day. It helps you avoid from feeling lost as you give your mind and body some break from the daily chores.

Lastly and more importantly, know that this too shall pass. Don’t ignore the feeling as if it’s not worth the attention, do what you can do best to be back on track, give yourself sometime and confide in someone who can listen to you (without judging) and motivate you. Losing your way is not something you should feel embarrassed or bad about, it opens the door to something better and helps you bounce back stronger. Such feelings can certainly be difficult to deal with, but they’re also a catalyst for change which strengthen you further and help you become a better version of yourself.