Ever come to a crossroads in life and you’re not sure how to proceed? You know, which job do you take or romantic interest you date when it’s time to make a choice and everything seems relatively equal. Should you take the leap and move across the country or stay in a city that feels comfortable. We all have moments like that. While it would be cool to get direction from a couple of online searches or even shake up an old school Magic Eightball, the truth is that we often have the answers inside of us. Here are three ways to determine if you are on the right path in life:
Follow your curiosity. I just listened to an interesting new podcast called Meditative Story featuring Paola Antonelli, the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design/Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. In this episode, she talks about initially studying economics and statistics in college because it was hard, but it sure didn’t make her happy. Antonelli left school and started exploring numerous other options. However, it was the sense of deep curiosity she felt in visiting a creative architecture class that alerted her this was the right path. Because of that choice and trusting herself to lead with curiosity in the decades that followed, Antonelli is now one of the art world’s leading influencers.
Listen to your body. Let’s say you are at a career crossroads, trying to decide between two new job opportunities. Your brain has urged you to create a pro and con list about each role. On paper, one job clearly looks better than the other – greater compensation package, the company has a more recognizable brand that would impress friends, and free lunches are served in the employee cafeteria. However just thinking about that job makes your stomach hurt and causes a spike of anxiety. The other role offers slightly less money with a smaller organization, but you smile when you’re considering it, and your whole being feels lighter. Your body knows which opportunity is in your best interests and is trying hard to give you clues. Trust it and make the decision that literally feels better.
Go back to your “Why.” Simon Sinek, the author of “Start With Why” and one of the most popular TED Talks of all time, says that great leaders inspire action by connecting people to the purpose and cause of their organization. As comedian Michael Jr. notes in his “Know Your Why” video, “the key isn’t to know what, the key is to know why. Because when you know your why, you have options on what your what can be. Your what has more impact because you are walking toward your purpose.” Wise words, right? Think about what your “why” is – that purpose for being, the values and aspirations that motivate you. It’s so easy to get lost trying to do what everyone else thinks is right or choosing the road most traveled when your heart aches to move to the beat of your own drum. Stepping back to consider these core beliefs will help you determine what the right path is moving forward.
Baz Luhrmann, the award-winning Australian filmmaker and writer, is well-known for his innovative vision. “Ultimately, you have to pursue your own path, not someone’s idea of the right path,” he said. “You need to stay on your path.” I couldn’t agree more. Looking inside to determine if I’m on the right path has helped me make my best decisions, from meeting my awesome husband to crafting a purpose-driven life.
How do you determine if you are on the right path?