I remember being in my corporate job and not loving it. This was less about the companies I worked for or the people, and more about being on a career path I knew wasn’t right for me.
I was confused and felt overwhelmed trying to figure out what I did want to do. This thought storm went on for some time. I’m not talking weeks or months, I’m talking years.
Finally I decided something had to change. I gave myself permission to pursue a few different interests and see where they took me. I enrolled in part time study, pursued a hobby and did some volunteer work on weekends, while still working at my full time job. From taking action I slowly learned what I liked, what I didn’t like, what was going to remain a hobby, and what I actually wanted to pursue. Through this exploration from doing rather than just thinking, I started to gain clarity around what I wanted. From this experience I learned a lesson about taking action as a means to gaining clarity, rather than living in my head and getting lost and overwhelmed by unhelpful thoughts.
However, there was more to it than simply taking action.
If I really think about how I moved from being paralysed from overwhelming thoughts to starting to figure things out through action, there was an important step in between.
I took the time to get still before I started taking action. I asked myself a bunch of questions such as “what is it that you really want?” “How will you feel if you do nothing and stay where you are?” “How can you start to move from where you are to where you want to be?” And then I took the time to respond thoughtfully.
By doing this, I was able to quieten (not get rid of) some of the noise generated from fear based thinking, and let some calmer thoughts emerge. Then I moved into action. The combination of stillness followed by action is what helped lead me towards clarity.
If you have messy thoughts cluttering your brain right now, try getting still. You might start to recognise the insecure thoughts swirling around your head. Once you’re able to do that, you can listen for the thoughts that are less frantic. They’re the ones to pay attention to. Then go and take action.
How do you find clarity? Is it through action, stillness, or something else entirely?