I live in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. We have acres of woods behind our house. There are no trails. I actually prefer the unfettered nature as I go on my long walks. Given my innately horrible sense of direction, my penchant for getting lost in thought and not paying attention to where I’m wandering, I should prefer distinct walking paths. But I like the challenge of stepping on rocks to get over streams, grabbing trees to hoist myself up hills, and, I suppose, I’ve always preferred creating my own path. Today, like many days, I found myself temporarily lost.
The metaphors related to finding my way are very similar to my clients that I see for career counseling. The feeling of being lost creates anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. My work – as a career guide – is to help my clients move forward. Moving, even if just exploring, lessens anxiety and, of course, moving in a promising direction creates hope.
As I moved toward what I hoped would be friendly landmarks, I could see that Route 9, the wonderful north-south Connecticut state road that connects Shoreline Connecticut with the Hartford suburbs was in the distance. I realized that I was heading in the northerly direction as I had hoped. Still, I did not know how much further I needed to go. My career counseling clients feel the same way. As a career guide, I often have to point to the path that they should move towards.
Despite my hope that I was heading in the right direction, my anxiety increased as I had walked another 5 minutes without finding my bearings and then…
the wonderful recognition of a series of rocks that I know will lead me home. Joy! I love seeing the same expression on our career counseling clients when they get out of the career wilderness and find their career path.