What To Do When You've Lost Your Way

The other day, while walking the dog, I was stopped by a woman in a car full of children frantically looking for a birthday party. Nothing unusual -- I am often asked for directions while walking the dog. Our neighborhood is not the easiest to maneuver, with some streets changing names in several places, and the street she was looking for is even more confusing because it ends partway down one street and picks up again in another block altogether.

was unusual was that before I could even get the words out, "You can't get there from here," she drove off. I called after her as she drove away because I knew the directions she needed, but she just kept going. I hope she found what she was looking for.

So what do you do when you've lost your way?

  1. Stop and get your bearings. You can't know how to get where you're going unless you know where you are. It might have helped this woman to know that she was on the wrong end of the street.
  2. Breathe deeply. It's nearly impossible to think clearly when you are full of anxiety and worry. Take a deep breath and let go of any fear. Know that all is well.
  3. Ask for directions. It's important that you ask someone who knows the way you want to go. This woman was right in asking someone who knew the neighborhood and humble enough to admit she needed help. But she forgot Step #4.
  4. Listen. When you get still enough to really listen, chances are you will get the help you need. Our frantic mom was too full of anxiety to hear the directions she needed.
  5. Follow. Once you've heard the directions, you still won't get where you want to go until you follow them. You have to take action and you have to follow the steps. This lost woman apparently thought that if she just kept driving she would get there eventually. In this case, skipping the steps would take her straight through my neighbor's yard! (How like us to want to take shortcuts, huh?) Fortunately for my neighbor, she chose to drive around in circles instead.
So what about you? Are you driving around in circles? Cutting a path through someone else's yard? Or are you following the steps?