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Feeling lost at sea? Let's talk about survival skills

Of course, this is a metaphor for life in general. I haven’t had a sudden career change and become an outdoor survival guide.

Although there is a funny story that’s sort of linked. When I told a friend that I was training to be a life coach, he said ‘you must be a strong swimmer.’ Took me a few seconds to realise that he thought I’d said life guard. The irony is that I can’t actually swim at all…but that’s a whole other story for another day.

Back to the real topic and what I have seen and heard a lot of lately - people saying they are feeling truly lost at sea.

With what’s happening to the economy and so many people suddenly out of work coupled with a general uncertainty, we can be left wondering what to do next.

Should we stay in our industry and fight on, or should we pivot into another role entirely. In either case, it’s hard to know where to start when we are still coming to terms with where we are right now.

The ocean as a metaphor for 2020

I quite like the ocean as a metaphor for the landscape of 2020. It’s cold, dark and mysterious. Just like the sea, you can’t really trust it. And it’s definitely about us sinking or swimming.

So if I put myself in the shoes of someone who is adrift in a metaphorical sea, then what might my next steps be?

Obviously I want to survive, and that requires a strategic approach. Depending on how far I am from shore I might consider swimming for land. But I also have to factor in how much energy I have. If I am starting out tired then I might not make it.

This is where many people find themselves currently – faced with a big battle but already battle-weary.

Some possible solutions

In our metaphorical sea there are also buoys and fishing boats – smaller, easier things to reach than the land, in much closer range.

What I’m suggesting here is that in your own situation you look for stepping stones – things to help you along your journey.

The buoy or fishing boat you head for might not be your ultimate destination, but it will help you get to safety sooner, and that means you can pace yourself with your energy.

While many of us might not be able to pivot into our next dream job right now, we may be able to take up smaller, temporary opportunities that will keep us afloat and give us a much needed break.

Worse things happen at sea

Above all, I want to remind you that you are not really lost at sea. I know it can absolutely feel that way, but let’s focus on the positives:

- You have solid ground under your feet – not freezing cold water and sharks

- There are more opportunities for rescue on dry land (meaning there are more jobs, friends and family about than there are fishing boats)

- We are all in this together…

I know that last one is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there are so many more of us looking for jobs or other opportunities right now. But on the other hand, there is something reassuring in knowing this is happening across society, not just to a few individuals.

You have the survival skills for this climate

As you are not in the sea, but actually on terrain you are very used to, that means you do already have the survival skills you are going to need.

A sense of feeling lost can be painful and really difficult to deal with. However, this feeling can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives and so we need to acknowledge the feeling and work out how we want to act.

You know how job hunting works. You know how navigating a tricky period of life works. You know how to balance your responsibilities with taking care of your mental health. And most importantly, you know when to reach out to a friend for support.

So, start to trust yourself and know that you can navigate whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you feel that you would like to get some clarity in your life, perhaps to look at other opportunities that you would like to pursue and would like some help and support to do that, please get in touch and we can talk about how working together could help you.

1 Comment

Tanuki Soba
Tanuki Soba
Jun 24, 2023

You lost me at, "We are all in this together". I believe we are all interdependent, but this truth has been buried under the weight of individualism.

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