I hate getting lost. Whether I’m on my way to a business meeting, or just out doing errands, I like to know where I am. But sometimes, getting lost is a really good thing. Sometimes it leads us to possibilities in our lives that we hadn’t considered. But here’s the thing: you’ve got to be able to tolerate being a beginner. You’ve got to not panic when you’re lost.
Last year, I worked extensively as a speaker, and I not only spoke on topics that I’ve given before, but I was also invited to help associations with issues such as customer service, and I went back to my college to give a presentation on careers for English majors. I was flying. Busy. It was fun.
Then December came and I didn’t notice how quiet my work had become because I was recovering from all the travel and talks I had given, and I was focused on the holidays. But when January hit, I was like a hiker out in the middle of nowhere without a compass. It was really quiet. And my wonderful dog, Bella, my therapy dog died.
As I worked through my grief, I saw that I could either shake the bushes and look for more speaking engagements, or I could use this time to think about what I really want to do. It seemed important not to be too busy. Having worked as a writer throughout my career, it gradually dawned on me that this was where I wanted to put my energy.
There were bumps in the road, but having written for children years ago, I joined an association of children’s book writers and illustrators, and I signed up for their retreat. Now I have traveling companions and support. And one of the picture books I’m working on is “Bella and the Scaredy Cat”–a fun reversal where the cat saves the dog.
I can’t tell you how you’ll find your compass, but I hope my example helps, and that you’ll be less afraid when there are no road signs.