My eyes scanned the shelves. I nodded and I smiled.
I recognized that I owned nearly all of the self-help books in the store. And I knew in that moment that I was finally on the road to getting better.
That was well more than a decade ago now. Yet I remember clearly the bleakness of that time. How very lost I felt.
Divorced; single parenting; raising boys; practicing law.
Making lunches; taking kids to school; racing to work; getting the calls from daycare, the fever of 102º; the homework; the soccer games; the parent-teacher meetings; the calls from the principal; and, oh yes, the clients and the cases and the employees and the office management.
Falling into bed at night, exhausted and depleted. One day melting into the next; every day like the last.
And wondering: Is that all there is? What in god’s name is the point?
Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself in dark woods, the right road lost. To tell about those woods is hard — so tangled and rough and savage that thinking of it now, I feel the old fear stirring… .
(Yup. He sure had that right.)
The truth is: All of us get lost from time to time. We lose our way. The road gets rough and savage and really hard.
None of us escapes. (It’s what brings many folks to coaching.)
And there really is no way out of that dark wood.
Good teachers and mentors and therapists, and of course dear friends, can help us along the way.
But only we can do the heavy lifting.
Nietzsche wrote, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’
Rediscovering our purpose, reclaiming our sense of meaning, finding again that grand vision for our lives, allowing for the possibility of our dreams, getting in touch again with what quickens our hearts, what fires our imaginations: This is where the work is done. These are what finally lead us to the forest clearing.
I remember climbing Mt. St. Helens after it had erupted, the volcanic ash ankle deep, two steps up, one step back. A demoralizing slog.
But the view; oh the view from the top, across that landscape of renewal and regrowth: It was magnificent.
And the slide back down the hill such fun.
It’s kinda like that.
So don’t despair. You will find your way through.
Purpose work is some of the toughest work people do. I know that it’s some of the toughest I have ever done. Coaching folks along this path is a tremendous privilege. As a way of giving back in gratitude for those who walked the path with me, and for the lessons I have learned along the way, I’m teaming up next week with a friend and coaching colleague for an hour-long teleclass to talk about purpose and meaning and finding the way. Join us. There’s no charge, no up-sell. Just a bit of perspective from the top of the hill.
Click HERE to join us.