We may be walking blindly through life, never stopping to question whether we are headed to a destination we desire.
Did You Ever Stop to Wonder: How Did I Get Here?
Sometimes we get lost. We may not even know we are lost. The signs that we are off-course, that we are not aligned, might be small and easy to miss. When we don’t create space for regular reflection, we can miss the warning signs. Even when we see or hear the signs, we often ignore them.
Change is difficult and uncomfortable. In the balance of pain vs pleasure that underlies all of our decisions, we may perceive the pain of ignoring the signs to be more tolerable than the pain of change.
We accept “good enough for now” and it turns into “good enough.” We satisfice.
Once a decision puts us on a path, we tend to hone our focus on what we need to do to get to the next level, and the next, and the next.
How often do we stop to question whether we truly desire the destination?
How often do we stop to assess whether the vision on the board is aligned with the life we truly desire?
Why We Don’t Stop
To get off the path would be to lose time in the race to the finish. Who wants to get off the course and restart from the beginning?
So we continue on, in the trance of good enough, on the path to a destination we may or may not want.
We don’t stop to check in or recalibrate.
Until … we are jolted out of our trance by some external force.
Something happens that causes us to question who we are, where we are, how we are showing up, and where we are headed. Our once-familiar surroundings suddenly feel foreign, like we are looking at everything through a pair of glasses that distorts our world.
And we wonder: How did I get here?
Curse… or Catalyst?
Often what shakes us out of our complacency looks, on the surface, like a curse or misfortune.
9/11. The sudden death of a loved one. Losing a job. Cancer. Illness. A break up of a marriage or a friendship. Natural disasters. An unforeseen tragedy.
With the passage of enough time, or if we have the awareness to look through a wider lens in the moment, we may see that the external event that threw our life into chaos is not a curse, but a catalyst: it redirects us to the path that is aligned with our truth.
A Structured Wake-up Call
The Jewish religion doesn’t leave those catalysts to chance. It builds in an annual ritual to ensure that we stop to reevaluate and realign.
In about a month we will begin a new year with the siren call of the shofar: the loud blast designed to wake us from our trance. Just like a sheppard blows a horn to call in his flock, the sound of the shofar is our signal to return home to ourselves.
To our spiritual home. To our truth.
The sound of the shofar at the Jewish New Year is a call to recalibrate our internal GPS.
Values and Identity Before Goals
Unlike the secular new year, at which many tend to focus first on setting goals or making “resolutions,” at the Jewish New Year we focus first on what is most important: our values and identity.
Unless we align our goals with our values and identity, those goals will carry no meaning.
At the Jewish New Year, we start not with “what do I want,” but with the fundamentals:
- who am I?
- what is important to me?
- what do I stand for?
This is a necessary step before goals. Without the answers to these questions goals are irrelevant.
This begins the process of returning home to ourselves.
Until we come home to ourselves, goals are irrelevant.
We cannot align without a target.
Western culture says set a goal as your target and orient your life to align to that target.
This is backwards.
The goal is not our target.
The target is our values and morals. The target is our internal code of conduct. The target is our truth.
The process is not about shaping who I am to get what I want. Rather, it’s about defining who I am and what I value, and allowing what I desire to flow from that place.
We must begin with the foundation of identity and values. Then we can set our goals to align with that target. And only then can we take aim with the arrow.
This is a process that takes time. It’s not a day of setting some quick goals or resolutions. This requires deep introspection. It requires us to be willing to stop racing along our current path long enough to ask:
Where am I headed?
So that we don’t end up wondering
How did I get here?
The Opportunity in Every Moment
Change is difficult and uncomfortable. But if we are willing to embrace it, this time offers us an incredible opportunity to align with our truth and to set out on a new path.
We only get one life, we must seize each moment to live our truth.
The good news is that we don’t need to wait for a big event to shake us free. We don’t even need the shofar.
In any moment, we can decide to catalyze the change we need, and to begin the journey back to ourselves.
Are you ready to return to your truth? Contact me to schedule a confidential 1:1 strategy session and learn how I can help you.