Have you ever been faced with a decision and the path wasn’t clear to you? I’ve been learning that being brave enough to follow the threads is essential.
Recently, I was choosing the next destination on my Latin America adventure. My original plan was to spend a month in Antigua, Guatemala, a lovely looking UNESCO protected town, and then live for a month by the lake (such a good movie!) in nearby Lake Atitlan.
Yet the closer I got to my leaving date in Mexico the more I wondered if my original plan was right for me. Did Antigua have enough to keep me occupied for a month?
I was comparing the town to Playa del Carmen, where I’d had a wonderful time over the last two months. I’d taken Spanish classes with a great bunch of people, enjoyed swimming at a gorgeous beach, discovered my love for paddle boarding, taken part in outdoor yoga classes and fallen in love with puppies while volunteering at a local dog shelter. Let’s face it this was always going to be hard to beat!
The more I looked at my plan the more uncertain I became. The prices of food and accommodation were high, the closest dog shelter was an hour long bus ride away and where oh where was the water?!
Now you might be sitting there thinking I’d love to have that kind of decision to make! Or maybe, you’re wondering what on earth does this have to do with my business decisions?
At the heart of each goal there are decisions to be made. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to start a business, grow a business or become location independent – important decisions need to be made.
So I began to follow the threads . . .
As I researched different dog shelters I came across Workaway.com. The idea of the website is to connect people who are travelling with hosts who need some of their time. In return you’ll be given somewhere to stay and food. It’s the same idea as WWOOFING.
And there it was. A housesit for 6 weeks in a small town on Lake Atitlan. The dates seemed right, the location was lovely and I’d have a cat for company. The downside was that I needed to pay US$29 to join the site. Now that might not seem like a lot of money but we humans can have strange logic sometimes. We will do more to avoid a loss, especially of money, even if the gain could greatly outweigh way the loss.
I decided to take the leap and join up. I did this after a healthy dose of overthinking, because that is the way that I’m wired.
The answer was no
Our dates didn’t match exactly and the homeowner wanted to meet her future housesitter. Her friend, who had posted the housesit, had another option as she was also going away. It was my turn to say no. Her home had rooms rented out on Air BnB and I prefer to have my privacy.
And then a funny thing happened . . .
She bumped into a friend who was also going away at the same time. Her friend had 3 cats that needed caring for and she didn’t mind if she met me before she left. We exchanged a few emails and…
I now have my first international pet-sitting gig
While having a plan is a great way to reach our goals, it’s equally important not to be too tied to the plan if it no longer feels right for you. To keep diligently making a plan happen, when the goal itself no longer appeals to you, is a swift road to unhappiness.
Sometimes you need to find the confidence to follow a different thread.
How often do you take a look at the goals that you are pursing and ask yourself if they are still right for you?
Perhaps now is the time to follow the threads that have been gently calling to you and see where they lead.
A couple of extra tips:
Don’t be put off by other people
Be careful to not let other people’s views on what you’re doing put you off from pursuing a different path.
If I’d listened to those who said it was a shame to “throw away” a 17 year legal career, I wouldn’t be leading the extraordinary life that I now have. Instead, I would be chained to a desk, highly stressed and wondering if this was all that life had to offer.
Don’t be afraid to change course
We can become trapped into a certain path because we feel it’s what we “should” be doing. It’s what we’ve told people we are doing – what will they say when we change our mind?
Changing course after some considered thought makes far more sense than continuing to pursue a plan that you know that you no longer want.
Have you decided to follow the threads? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.