I’m glad I don’t work the 9 to 5 lifestyle anymore. I remember it all too well.
I remember one day in particular that I simply didn’t think I could do it any longer. Yet I had no choice. Two hours left until I “punched the clock” and headed out the door.
I sat there. I chatted with my teammate. I took a stroll around the building. I surfed.
But no matter what I did, I realized I wasn’t in control. I wasn’t the one that determined my destiny. Sure, I could have walked out and never looked back. But without a plan, there was little I could do to pay my mortgage that month, or put food on the table. Nope, I was captive to my little ol’ job, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
I was a part of a team. Our team was assigned a project, and until the project was written off and approved by management, we couldn’t move on to another project. This particular project took on a life of its own. It weaved its way through upper management, waiting for everyone to take a spin on the final verbiage in the report. No approval, no new assignment. Which meant boredom throughout the office.
Eight hours with nothing to do might sound like bliss, until you try it for a few days.
Bliss quickly turns to distress. They can’t pay you enough to survive day after day with nothing to do.
So I walked. And I got lost.
How getting lost changes your mindset
Sitting and staring into the same space day after day can drive you crazy. There’s nothing productive about it. So why do it?
I walked. I walked the halls in our building. I took to the path around the building. Because we were close to a neighborhood, I wove through the streets, around the parks, and through the tiny shopping centers.
Walking does a lot for you when you have nothing else to do.
Walking can provide you with aerobic activity. Your heart pumps. Your legs strengthen. Your muscles tone.
But it does something else as well.
With all of that energy happening on the inside, it gives your mind a chance to focus in on what’s happening on the outside.
You notice the new flowers poking their heads out in the spring. You glance differently at the local businesses as you walk by.
You start thinking differently. You start asking “what if” instead of pondering “why me”.
Controlled getting lost
One of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves is “what if”. Unfortunately we don’t do it near enough.
“Why me” holds you back.
When I was stuck in a job I hated with nothing else to do during the day, I consistently asked “why me”.
Yet when I began opening myself up to the world around me, I discovered “what if” was much more fun.
- What if I quit my job?
- What if I started a business?
- What if moved to a new city?
- What if I changed my life?
The more “what if” questions I asked, the more change I started to see. The more I brought into my life, the bigger my “what if” questions became.
But life is funny, and no matter how far you move forward or how happy you think you are, there are always times when you wallow and think you can’t move forward any more.
Move to get lost
The more I asked “what if”, the more my life changed. And of course the more it changed, the more I wanted. Yep, I became a change addict. Still am.
When I no longer can write for the day, I take a walk to someplace new. I look at the flowers. I look at the trees. I look to the tiny spiders weaving their webs.
When you’re in the same area year after year, life becomes mundane. You always see things from the same perspective. But when you relocate to a new area, things are brand new every day.
Like the plants that poke their heads up in early spring. What are they? How long will they flower? Every day is like an explosion of color, a blast of intrigue built just for me.
I sat near a woman at a networking function not long ago. I spoke of all the trails we’ve hiked, the things we’ve done in the few short months we’ve been here.
She looked at me, impressed. “You’ve done all that? I’m a native and I’ve never seen that.”
That used to be me. When all of my worries were placed on the walls of a cubicle, waiting for my eight hour shift to end, only to drive in rush hour to get home, make dinner, do the laundry, go to bed.
And then I chose to get lost.
Because I learned the only way to get found is to get lost first. It’s the first step. Without it you can never ask “what if”.
You don’t have to get lost in a brand new place; just outside of your cubicle will do nicely. Because every day the world changes around you. It’s just waiting for you to discover it.
It’s Time To Discover
Last week we were driving to an event. As we were leaving, we came across a sign we had never seen before. Hmmm… Maybe its time to get lost.
We followed the arrows. We looked all around.
And we talked. And we shared. And we planned.
Some of our best ideas come from getting lost. Around every turn, every corner is something that will inspire you. But of course it’s only there if you no how to look for it.
Because if you close yourself off to the world, you won’t see what there is to see. If you leave yourself wide open, the view becomes amazing.
There are many learning opportunities available, much to learn, much to teach.
It’s all controlled by that little voice way deep down inside. That voice that says “what if?”
Maybe its time for you to get lost…