You are driving and the GPS is on. Suddenly you take a wrong turn and immediately start yelling at yourself or blaming the person sitting next to you. What does the GPS do? It reroutes and in a matter of seconds you are right back on track. It does not say “You are lost” or criticize your abilities to follow directions. It just smoothly reroutes (assuming you have an accurate GPS system!).
Well, the same happens to us while going through life. Sometimes we take a detour from the path we are on. Perhaps the difference is how each of us deal with this rerouting. How do you usually react when you notice you are on a detour? First of all, do you even notice?
From where I stand I see 3 possible scenarios:
1) You do not even notice you have taken a detour
2) You realize you are off track and feel lost and out of control
3) You embrace the detour and get yourself back on track
In the first scenario, it seems lack of awareness prevails. There is no sense of where you are at or where you are going. Perhaps you are just going through the motions, without having in mind what path serves you best. There is nothing wrong with that. Though do not be surprised if fulfillment is never in the picture. How can you fulfill your needs if you do not even recognize them? It might also happen that at some point you start wondering if there is anything more to life than just passing by it. And asking yourself this first question can very well lead you to the second scenario.
Now you have realized you are not exactly where you want to be. You have traced a roadmap to your success knowing where you want to go, but somewhere along the way you made a turn leading you to a different road. Struck by this sudden realization you feel overwhelmed. This sense of being lost overpowers you and you start wondering if you have completely lost control. Worst case scenarios run through your head at speed light leaving you stuck. How do you get out of this vicious circle?
This is where scenario 3 kicks in. You are on a detour. It is not exactly where you want to be or thought you would be. So what? What is the big drama? Either the prior road does no longer serve you which means it is time to get a new map. Or you are still sure the route you chose before is the right one and you need to get back on track. Regardless of the situation, you are in the driving seat. You have in you the means and the power to (re)define and stick to your path. If you need that extra time to re-evaluate or just to enjoy the ride, let go of self-judgement. Embrace the detour and enjoy what it has to offer.
Back to the GPS story, imagine you are in your car and just had a detour. Who knows what you may find along this new route. Perhaps breathtaking landscapes, a newly opened restaurant, a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Self-assured that you will eventually reach your destination for you know where you want to go.
Detour does not mean lack of direction, as long as you embrace it as part of your journey. Detour does not mean you are lost, insomuch as you are learning and growing until you are ready to get back to your chosen path.