Deb Sofield

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Do what lies clearly at hand

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What do you do when you don’t know what to do? That is a question that has come up a lot lately with some projects that I am working on. Sometimes despite my best intentions I look down the path of life and wonder – what do I do next?

I am sure it is an issue that many face since, in our world of plenty, we have many great choices. And sometimes there are more ways than one to get to the finish line. But how do you know what road to take? And what measurements should one use to make sure they are doing the right thing and the best thing for their purpose?

What I have found is similar to my thought for today. Whenever I don’t know what to do, I just try to do what comes next. What comes next in a moderately logical order helps move me to the next goal, the next job or the next project.

Instead of stopping, because stopping doesn’t get you anywhere but stuck, you have to make a leap of faith, a walk of courage, or a run to the finish line…to push through.

Lately I have been reading a little devotional book that was sent to me by my friend Heather and in the book I came across the quote from Sir William Osler: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

I think sometimes we get discouraged because although we can see a light at the end of the tunnel – the end seems so far away. So instead of becoming discouraged, lets turn that into courage and do what clearly lies at hand. When you don’t know what to do, you have a few choices: you can stop, you can re-direct or you can move in the direction that you feel led.

Stopping seems to be the most common of all the options. I cannot begin to tell you about all the people I meet when I am speaking who want to talk about next steps for their life. When I ask, “What are you doing now to move you to where you’d like to go?” They just look at me and usually reply, “Well, I don’t know what to do so I’m just waiting.” Waiting for what, I ask. “You know – waiting“… to which I reply, “Waiting for your knight in shining armor, to win the lottery, waiting to get the call from who knows who?” Really what are you waiting for?

Unfortunately most don’t know who or what they’re waiting for, they’re just waiting. Waiting for someone to show the way, waiting for someone else to do the work, waiting for someone to make his or her life complete.

I understand that we feel safe when we wait for something to happen, a chance to opening, a call to come or an opportunity to present itself. However, when we stop for any great length of time it might signal to ourself that we have given up, we’ve grown weary, we’ve accepted the idea of failure. When that happens I find it fascinating that the short rest along the path now has become a stopping point, the end—finished.

Now sometimes in life you do have to stop. If you’re heading in the wrong direction stop and get back on the right path. If you find yourself careening to the edge of the cliff stop and hold on. If your life is dangerously close to ending, by all means stop and breath and get help to get back on track. There is no shame in stopping if continuing would cause great harm to you or others.

Instead of stopping perhaps you can re-direct your walk to set you on another path for success. If you can, then by all means let’s take the other path.

Please don’t be discouraged if others question your choice in life. They don’t know what you’re going through and they don’t know your calling. I doubt they know the reasons you have for your detour but as long as you are continuing to move down the path for your success, I encourage you to keep going.

We all grew up with the poem of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both…

For many who are reading today please know that sometimes in life you have to re-direct or take the road less traveled to reach your calling, your destination, and your future.

Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

One of the reasons this quote caught my attention is that too many times I see people of good will simply get stuck staring down a darkened tract. They are hoping to make sense of the darkness instead of turning around and looking at the light that lies clearly at hand. For you to be able to do that you must move in the direction that you feel led.

I like to believe that most of us have an internal compass that knows the way to true north. I know you probably hear that phrase true north a lot but do you know its meaning? Here is what I found: True north refers to a point on the earth that remains stationary, for all practical purposes. By using the North Star as a reference, one can always tell the direction of true north and by measuring the angle of the star from the horizon, determine their latitude. The North Star is the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper.

Hence the metaphor: In life’s journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what is the right path for us personally. Knowing our true north would enable us to follow the right path.

Or stated for my purpose today – move in the direction that you feel internally led.

When we really strip away all the expectations of others and stand alone in the light, we will find and see and make a decision to follow our true direction. If you are healthy enough to understand that you have been put on this earth for a purpose, then you should know instinctively that you have worth, you have value, you have significance.

And I will add as a person of faith, I believe that our Heavenly Father knew us before we were born. And if He knew us, then rest assured that He knows you now and He knows where you’re going.

So today believe that, our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. You have choices: you can stop, you can re-direct or you can move in the direction that you feel led. Choose wisely friend your future may depend on it.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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