Tired of feeling like your inner GPS is offline? Try this!
Many Gen X women are trying to “future-proof” their careers – but they’re not quite sure what they need or the next steps to take.
Here’s why your inner GPS temporarily going offline is normal – and ways you can get it back on track.
Do you wake up every day feeling vaguely dissatisfied and bored with where you are now – and you can’t tune into your inner GPS and figure out your next steps?
You may walk around for months – or years – feeling like you’re losing your marbles. You may blame it on the weather. Or the world. Or “getting older.”
From the outside, you may look put together and self-assured – but your inner world is a different story.
Because deep down, you know you’re moving into a new mental space – and that low-level, frustrating feeling isn’t going away until you deal with it.
If only you knew how to deal with it.
It’s especially frustrating since your GPS used to be more reliable.
So you try different things to get back on track and figure out what you need.
Maybe you’ve tried talking to friends or family – and you found their responses were critical and negative.
It may have even felt like they were projecting their fears on you and were putting you into a box.
Here’s some of the “supportive” advice I’ve received over the years.
“This is an uncertain economic time. Shouldn’t you wait until things even out?”
“You’re at the top of your game. Why would you start over and do something new?”
Or my personal favorite…
“Aren’t you too old to start a new career?”
Screw that. You get to want what you want – even if others think it’s “too much.”
Unfortunately, the outside world isn’t overly validating to women 40+ (especially Gen Xers).
Plus, we’ve been victims of some weird conditioning. My father was a WWII pilot who would never show weakness, ask for help, or admit he was feeling unsure. Guess who I take after? Yup.
If you’ve received similar feedback, it makes perfect sense why trying something new would seem scary. Especially when that inner voice that helps you chart your path feels elusive.
I bring this up because many of you have been DMing me sharing that you’re “in a transition,” but you “don’t know what that means.” Yet. I’ve heard about dreams of “doing something different” and “helping others,” – but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, you incredibly smart and gifted women are stuck and scared.
You can’t tune into your inner GPS.
I get it. Oh, do I get it.
I call this time “the meantime.”
It’s that transition time between who we are now – and who we’re meant to become.
As smart, successful women, our first step is to think our way through the issue.
After all, we’ve figured out lots of complex things before. We think we should be able to figure this out too.
So we read books, watch YouTube videos, and comb through newsletters (maybe even this one) looking for THE answer. We’re hoping to find the perfect spark that transforms us into who we feel we’re meant to be.
Some of us do find the perfect video that sends us to an entirely new trajectory.
I envy them.
Most of us aren’t so lucky.
After the dopamine hit of finding the “perfect” article wears off, you find that nothing truly shifted. You’re still the same person and are still feeling confused.
You’re back at square one.
So you consider hiring a coach or working with a consultant to get stuff out of your head – but making the investment feels hard and scary. You’re afraid of working with the “wrong” person or choosing the “wrong” program, so you do nothing.
Or, you choose the cheapest possible option and feel disappointed that it’s not right.
Investing in yourself feels like a luxury you don’t deserve and can’t justify … at least, not right now. Maybe later, after the quarter ends/when you finish the project/when you sign the deal.
Besides, you should be able to think and effort into a solution.
So you go back to what wasn’t working before (watching YouTube videos and reading books and articles), hoping something sparks.
Because you SHOULD be able to figure this out by yourself. Right?
I know this phase well because I’ve been there myself. Many times.
After the Great Recession, I was depressed, confused, and felt off track. I couldn’t figure out why things weren’t working. I would spend hours journaling and rehashing the same stuff. I kept searching outside myself and waiting for the perfect business partnership/guru/book/video to make me feel better.
It didn’t work. I eventually pulled out of it, but the confidence hit was hard to shake.
Fast-forward 10ish years. I knew I wanted to shift my focus, but I couldn’t tell how. I went to coaching school and realized a crucial thing about myself:
Books and videos don’t cut it. If I wanted to find the answer, I needed someone to ask me questions, mirror back what I was saying, and help me remember my brilliance.
Turns out, I had the answer all along – it was just buried under a bunch of fear, past conditioning, and obligations.
You have the answer too. It’s waiting for you to find it.
If you’re feeling this way, know that everything you’re feeling is normal.
The good and the bad stuff – it’s all normal and part of the process. There is nothing wrong with you. Your marbles are intact. You’re shifting into a new mental space. Your values and needs may be completely different from what they were twenty years ago – or even three years ago.
But, that inner GPS is still there.
At the same time, if you’ve been feeling like this for a while and your brain isn’t clearing, you may want to ask if what you’re doing is working – or if it’s rooted in fear-based behavior that’s keeping you stuck.
Because stepping into your full power and future-proofing your career can feel freakin’ scary. Especially when you’re used to things being a certain way. Or you’re worried about what other people may think.
My solution? WWFHD?
It’s taken me over 50 years to internalize this concept. When I’m feeling stuck and I'm not sure what step to take next, I ask myself one question:
What would future Heather do?
How would future Heather – the woman who has already gone through this situation – reconnect her inner GPS and finally tune into a strong signal?
Would future Heather take those days off and focus on personal planning and strategy? Or would she prefer to act in the moment without setting a goal?
Would future Heather hire a consultant and upskill faster? Or would she want the opportunity to muddle through and see what she works out on her own?
Would future Heather decide to pivot while she’s feeling inspired? Or would she prefer to continue doing what she’s been doing?
The next time you’re wondering what to do next, cast yourself into the future and ask what would best serve you.
Choosing yourself is always a choice – and it can finally make that low-level blah feeling go away.
And enjoy the feeling of your inner GPS coming back online.
Do you need help finding your inner GPS?
Contact me and share what’s on your mind.