“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.”
Have you ever found yourself lying in bed, asking yourself soul-searching questions like, “What the heck am I doing with my life?” or “Am I following a path that will allow me to live up to my potential?”
If you’ve experienced this recently, it’s worth taking note because it originates from a place of wisdom. Like an active volcano, your soul is rumbling with a passion that’s waiting to erupt into reality.
Of course, these aren’t simple questions. An individual who lacks self-awareness and is disconnected from their inner world will find these questions complex, esoteric, and idealistic. It’s easier to dismiss the opportunity to engage in self-inquiry and continue living on the path paved for us by our families, culture, and society. The established tribal mindset will coax us into following safer, comfortable, and foolproof ways of living as opposed to striking out on our own.
Breaking out of the tribe-dictated roles that we’re born into doesn’t necessitate outright rebellion but tact, diplomacy, and a willingness to challenge tradition. This is especially true if there are unreasonable rules that are hindering you from travelling a path that allows you to live from a place of power.
Walking away from the traditional path that’s been paved for us and moving into new territory can be intimidating from the outset. Like a maverick, you have to be brave, bold, and courageous enough to embark on the Hero’s Journey, an archetypal story pattern created by mythologist Joseph Campbell, commonly found in ancient myths as well contemporary storylines.
Mulan, the lead character in the 1998 Disney classic movie, felt despondent and questioned her place in society when she failed to live up to expectations. When the chance to join the army came to her doorstep, she took it, not only to serve herself, but also to better the lives of those around her. By heeding the call to seek her greatness she returned home as a transformed woman – confident and fully aware of her strengths and capabilities.
The narrative of Mulan perfectly aligns with the three stages of the Hero’s Journey:
Departure: The hero leaves the familiar world behind.
Initiation: The hero is faced with challenges while learning to navigate the unfamiliar world
Return: The hero returns to the familiar world.
Not everyone has to go on this journey. Some of us are perfectly happy with the status quo and feel in total alignment with the values and principles that we’ve been raised with. For the rest of us, we need to muster all our moxie to embark on this Hero’s Journey – an exciting adventure where we’ll find ourselves as we seek the path to glory and redemption.
These adventures will be different for each one of us depending on where we are in our lives and what we feel innately drawn to. It may involve going back to college to get another degree, changing jobs, taking a sabbatical, transforming a passion project into a career, starting a charity, having a family, or confronting a parent or partner about their dominating ways.
I can imagine that as some of you read this, there might be a voice within you that is intimidated by these ideas. It’s not so easy to walk away from your responsibilities and chase rainbows on an idyllic quest to “find yourself”. You’re not in a position to take an “Eat Pray Love” trip, leaving behind the bills you need to pay, and the people you have to take care of.
I’m not saying that you need to do that. Not only is that impractical, but it’s foolish. The Hero’s Journey doesn’t always mean a dramatic departure from normal life but involves strategic baby steps taken on a daily basis that gradually take you closer to the path that you feel is right for you. It does not have to shake up the foundation on which you’ve built your life.
No matter how you plan to take the journey, don’t delay taking action to change your life for the better. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal – This-is-it! Your time is limited, and if you want to make the best of it, you’ve got to develop the discernment to figure out whether or not you’re on the best path for you and blaze your own trail.
The path to success is not clear-cut and straight. In fact, it resembles an obstacle course with lots of twists, turns, and temptations along the way. We all want to walk the path that takes us to our destiny, but how do we know if we are on the path of truth?
Here are five signs that indicate that you’re on the best path for you:
1. Your path is aligned with your goals, vision, and morals: The best path for you will always bring you closer to accomplishing your goals and vision. You have to use your inner compass to help identify and stay on the ideal path. If you’re on a trail that you know isn’t taking you anywhere, you’re wasting time and will feel like you’re selling out by not doing things that align with your values.
2. Sacrifices and obstacles energize you: Being on the right path doesn’t imply that everything will be smooth sailing. Obstacles will arise but, instead of being drained by them, you want them to feed your energy. You’ll often find yourself stimulated by challenges, and use that to come up with creative solutions to get things done. You won’t experience the “bad stress” that comes with being in a place you’re not happy with. Like Stallone’s character in the movie Rocky, you’re okay with putting in the work, making sacrifices to become the champion in your quest for greatness.
3. You’re excited and optimistic about future possibilities: Even if outcomes are uncertain in your life, you will be optimistic about the future. You will wake up in the morning looking forward to your day because of an exciting future looming on the horizon, excited for the process of getting there. With each step you take and every milestone you reach, your vision will be crystallized into something concrete.
4. You witness synchronicities and signs: While the right path isn’t free from roadblocks, as you begin to make conscious efforts to make change, you’ll begin to notice that those blocks dissipate as things, slowly but surely, start aligning for you. If you’re proactive about fulfilling your destiny, the Universe will begin sending you what you need to accomplish your dreams through signs, coincidences, and synchronicities. The right people and opportunities will show up in your life to further your cause. If you witness these seemingly magical occurrences transform your life, it’s a cosmic nod of approval that you’re indeed on the right path for you.
4. It just “feels right”: When you’ve found the right path for you, you won’t be hearing trumpets or see colorful confetti raining from the sky. What you’ll experience instead is a subtle, but clear, feeling of “rightness”. You may not be able to put into words – all you can say is “things just feel right.” Intuitively you will sense that you’re doing something right. Even if you feel nervous, below that will be a feeling of calm and inner peace, the result of feeling in sync with your life.
As an independent being, you have the power to purposefully direct your life by making empowered choices. Be brave enough to question your direction and adjust your course as your consciousness evolves.
All my best on your journey,
Question: Are you currently on the best path for you? If not, what steps can you take to get back on track?