Friday, May 21, 2010

The Answer You Need When You Need It

By Julie Marie Rahm

Are more people living lives of “quiet desperation” today, or are more people who are living such lives finding me? My male clients have been particularly metaphorical lately. One describes his state of mind as if he is clutching the stick of a fighter jet with all his strength and placing his entire focus on ensuring the plane does not spin out of control. Another says he feels like he is in quicksand, falling in more deeply with every move.

For both men and for many of my clients, confusion is the predominant cause of such thoughts. Our world presents us with too many answers, too many possibilities, too many judgments, and too many unknowns. People want their lives to be different. They want better relationships, better jobs, better finances, better fitness, better health – more overall prosperity. They want to know where their unhappiness comes from. But how?

This is a job for their metaphorical “plumb bobs”. Their “plumb bobs” keep them centered by pointing to the heart of the matter, to what is most important, to the answer. The first cause of confusion is too much advice. (Yes, I realize the irony here.) Conflicting advice is everywhere. The first step they need to take is to turn off the advice and tune into their hearts and values. Are they aligned with their “plumb bobs” that point to them being true to themselves? Or are they being true to something or someone else? Whose opinion matters most? That is the first place to make an adjustment.

The second biggest cause of confusion is their life purpose. Often people are confused about whether their lives, their work, their sacrifices have even mattered. Their “plumb bobs” point to a resounding yes. People do the most good when they have no idea they have done it. In difficult times, people need to be kind to themselves knowing they have done the best they could with the knowledge, skills and abilities they had at the time. And, if they did not do their best, they need to forgive themselves and move ahead smartly now. It is never too late.

Planning for the future is the third source of confusion. People know they want a certain lifestyle and do not know how to ensure they have it. In that case their “plumb bobs” point to what they cannot live without. The rest is gravy.

Confusion stifles action. Action creates results. Having too many answers is worse than having no answers at all. During times of confusion your “plumb bob” is your handle out of the quicksand. Climb out and get back into action with confidence.

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