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This Is Why It’s Alright For You To Feel Lost

This Is Why It’s Alright For You To Feel Lost

So you’re lost? That’s alright because so am I.

Let me start by saying that it’s perfectly alright to feel lost. It’s alright not to have the latest gadgets and gizmos. It’s alright not to be doing what everyone else is doing – or even wanting to do what everyone else is doing. It’s alright to feel as though you’re drowning in a world of expectation. It’s alright to want to travel instead of going to university. It’s alright not to do either of those things. It’s alright to want to better yourself. It’s alright not to become a part of the societal norm. It’s alright to feel lost.

I’m lost. I have been for a while. I spent much of my teen years and early twenties denying who I am. I denied what I loved in exchange to be welcomed and accepted into the community of those who valued the “traditional” life.

From time to time, I had moments where I knew this was not the sort of place I belonged, but I frequently denied any kind of question about how I was living my life. After all, I was at university getting drunk with friends most nights. However, I also had a job while I was working towards a degree. I was building my future! Wasn’t this what life was about?

After university, I joined the rat race and got myself a job. I even bought a car on finance. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Pay extraordinary amounts of money to show off to others how privileged we are and how well we’re doing?

However, that feeling of wondering where I belonged and the question, “What am I actually going to do with my life?” was unrelenting. Not only was I asking myself that question, but so was everyone else around me. They’d ask when I was going to get “serious” about my life. In other words, when was I going to settle down and have a family. My mum still asks me when am I going to have children at least once a week.

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I found myself getting tired of modern world pressures, as well as its values and rules about what makes me successful, and how we we’re all supposed to live. Eventually, life became so unsatisfactory that I found no joy in my day-to-day business. My days were empty. I felt empty. I was tired all the time, I complained about everything, and all I could see were the flaws. I was on autopilot wondering when the hell life would get its colour back. I knew I needed to get out, but I couldn’t see the path. I’d wake up in the morning and find it such an effort to get up out of bed. I was slowly being eaten up by who I was supposed to be. I didn’t like it.

Questions kept cropping up, like: “What am I doing?”, “Where do I belong?”, “What am I here to do?”, and “Am I actually achieving anything?” I’d see other people around me achieving so much and I wondered if I was living life wrong. Is there a wrong way to live life? The answer to that is no, but it’s extremely frustrating seeing others sailing through life with ease while I felt like I was caught in a rip-tide of confusion, expectation, and a desire to do more.

It was then that I realised I was lost. I had been lost for all that time, but to admit that to myself would mean I’d have to actually change my life and admit that I was quite simply unhappy! I’d have to take a bashing to my pride. Who wants that? However, ever since I admitted it, I’ve been slowly carving my path the way that I want it to be.

I’m still feeling lost, but it’s not as suffocating as it once was. It usually becomes unbearable when I start looking towards the future and I have a momentary panic about what I’ll be doing in five, ten, twenty years. Then I remind myself, I’m here in this moment and not there in the future. I try and remember that I need to concentrate on the beauty of the present moment.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of seven realisations I had about why it’s alright for us to feel lost. I find these are especially helpful to remember when I’m having a particularly bad day.

1. It’s an opportunity for you to reclaim your life

This is a time of empowerment for you. You get to decide what’s best for you. YOU. No-one else. And no, it’s not selfish to want great things for yourself. I often found that I used to feel guilty for wanting to do things differently to the norm because of how it might make others feel, but then I realised that it’s alright to do this for myself. I came to see that it was other people’s expectations that let them down, not me. You can’t sacrifice your happiness for someone else’s expectations. Take back your power and reclaim your life!

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2. Your life becomes an open book for opportunity

Yay! You’re now open to everything in life! What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad? What makes you burst with excitement? Avoid what makes you feel bad, find what feels good, and pursue what makes you burst with excitement.

The thing about being lost is that the universe has now got the chance to send you all kinds of opportunities. Some of which you may not have even previously thought about, but now you suddenly find yourself discovering that same opportunity showcased a talent you didn’t know you had! While the universe sends these opportunities, it’s up to you to decide whether you take them or not. Do you like to write? Draw? Paint? Make games? Cook? Skateboard? Act? Whatever it is you love, keep persisting with it. Johnny Depp lived out of his friends car and sold pens before he made it as one of the most successful actors. Let being lost take you to places you never considered.

3. It’s an experience

Like everything in life, being lost is also an experience. It’s different for everyone, but we all ask the same questions. The joy of it is we all arrive at different places with amazing stories to tell that may one day inspire and help someone else on their journey.

Once you accept being lost, you enjoy being lost. What?! Enjoy feeling this way! Are you mad?! Perhaps, but it means I have no-where I’m rushing to be. I realise I’ve taken the pressure off of myself. I can see what life gives me and decide whether or not I want to pursue it. Remember, you get to determine what kind of experience this is so make it a joyful one.

4. You realise how much love you have to give

That’s why we become lost in the first place. We care so much about making our lives matter that we start to question what we’re doing. In the process, we find ourselves unsatisfied. We find ourselves wanting to feed the homeless, rescue animals, construct sustainable buildings, and fight against GMO’s. Maybe you want to recycle unwanted clothing into blankets for the poor, give food to the food banks, or read to children one afternoon a week. Whatever it is that we want to do, the driving force is that we want to give a part of ourselves to other people. In the emotion of wanting to give so much to others, we can learn that part of feeling lost is realising how full of love we are, and how ready we are to give that love away.

5. You’ve reached the peak of who you’re told to be

You’re lost because you don’t want to be the person who works 9-5, or who works to pay the bills. You need to be so much more than that. You’ve realised there’s a bigger reason for why we’re all here on this Earth. You just want to play a role in creating an extraordinary world to live in. Suddenly, average doesn’t feel like enough for you anymore.

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This is a massive chance for you to ascend towards being your true self. It’s a chance to really focus on yourself and discover what really enthralls you about life. You know that you don’t particularly want what everyone else wants for you. Now, you’ll have time to slow down and think about what life you want to create for yourself. You’re evolving and that’s incredibly exciting!

6. Don’t ever be afraid to feel lost or to admit to feeling lost

Honestly, it’s so freeing and refreshing once you admit to yourself that you feel lost. It’s kinda scary too, but in that moment when you finally say, “I’m lost”, you give yourself the power to change your perspective and your life. I understand it’s hard to admit something like this in our world, especially when we’re taught that we must remain strong and we must know the direction of our lives. Where is this place we are all going, anyway?

7. No-one has all the answers

Yep, even all the self-help books, all the philosophical teachings, and everyone I’ve spoken to; they all make one thing clear: no-one knows it all. This is very reassuring for me because at least I know there’s not one absolute answer that I’m meant to be finding. It makes me feel more connected to others, so I don’t feel as lonely.

Maybe life isn’t always about rushing to and from some place? Perhaps, feeling lost is a chance for us to be still for a while? Why not take a little breather from the rat race? This is a chance to stop and observe the world, a chance to smell the roses, and a chance to just be. Do we need to be heading anywhere?

In Conclusion

I’m 26 and I still don’t know where I’m going. However, I know that I’m trying and I’m moving. I might be moving at a snail’s pace, but it’s still counts! Don’t ever feel guilty about “floundering”. I don’t. At least we know we’re lost, which means we can start to take action.

It’s alright for me and you to be lost because we’re collecting moments and experiences about ourselves and our world. We are each trying to make a meaningful positive difference in the world. For that, we can pat ourselves on the back. We’re not complacent, we’re not lazy, and we’re not expressionless. We are, by far, quite the opposite. Our minds and hearts are busy conjuring up ways to make our world a greater place.

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I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s a necessary process. At the end of the process we can say “we made it” with a sense of fulfillment and joy. I’ve figured that in the meantime we’ve got to roll with life, take our sweet time, and enjoy discovering new parts of ourselves each and every day.

I know it sounds incredibly cliché, but in this process of feeling absolutely lost, I have found pieces of myself. Even better, I’m allowing myself to put the jigsaw together to create an even better me. I will never complete the jigsaw, but that’s now become part of the fun. How much more of myself is out there to discover?

I don’t where I’m going, but I know where I’ve been, and that’s an excellent place for anyone to start.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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