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What to do when you’ve been left behind.

Woman in winter clothing walking down the middle of a frosty tree lined road.

Have you ever felt that for some reason (unbeknownst to you) everyone you know is overtaking you?

You’re in the slow lane and no matter how much you try putting your foot down, although you go faster, so does everyone else.

  • You’re swiping left like nobody’s business on ALL the dating apps.
  • You’re reading the motivational self-help books recommended by the friend who keeps ticking off life’s to dos.
  • You’re trying to be patient.
  • You’re getting out there and keeping fit, trying out new hobbies.
  • You’re doubling down on doing what’s advocated in the workplace to forge a career path.
  • You’re on the lookout for what else you should do.
  • You keep on trying…and trying some more.

And the result?

Frustration, weariness, disappointment and loneliness.

Where on earth do you go from here?

You need to go on a treasure hunt. 

Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly.

Staying with the driving analogy for a moment, I would suggest you stick the hazard lights on your car, pull over and get out. Take a deep breath, possibly kick the wheel for good measure just to blow off a little steam and call a taxi. You need time to dig deep under all the pain, frustration and trying to reconnect with the real you (and you can’t do that whilst driving).  Well, you can give it a go, but it won’t be half as effective as the taxi option.

Now we have that settled, let’s get treasure hunting.  

9 steps to digging through the ‘left behind’ layers to find the real you

Step 1 – Let yourself feel.

Speak or write out what is frustrating you. 

Try and identify the feelings you have and ask yourself if the feeling could speak, what would it say?

I have sometimes recorded myself speaking on my phone. It is as though I am actually talking to someone, which I find helpful and when I’m finished I can delete the recording. 

Step 2 – Who (or what) do you need to stop comparing yourself to?

Is it a type of person, someone specific, your younger self or maybe your ideal version of yourself?

Are there ideals you are trying to live up to?  Expectations that have been put upon you?  What are they?  

Step 3 – Forgive yourself.

Try writing yourself a forgiveness letter for all the missed opportunities, failures, falling short of expectations and not living up to the ideals that you have experienced in your life.

Don’t analyse what comes up, just go with it.

Step 4 – Observe what you are now feeling and thinking.

This is a moment for observing where space may be blooming in you as you have worked through steps 1-3. 

What are you noticing? 

Step 5 – Identify what you REALLY want in your life.

You may not feel ready for this, but just have a go. 

Keep asking yourself ‘what else?’ until all your ideas are captured, no matter how unrealistic they may seem! 

Remember, you are searching for the treasure and I think this is where you might start to find it.

Step 6 – A new approach.

Where could a new/different approach to pursuing what you want be helpful?

Don’t worry about figuring out what the new/different approach is, just notice where you feel stuck about the way forward in pursuing an idea. 

Where could some outside help be of value?  What could this look like?

Step 7 – What is possible from here?

What has shifted within you?  What is now possible?

Step 8 – What would you like to do now?

Commit to a small step you would like to take (I know you’re an action-taker!).

Step 9 – Treat yourself.

How are you going to treat yourself for your courage in digging deep inside yourself?  

That is a lot of digging. 

Give yourself time and space for each step – there’s no need to rush and if you need some support along the way, I’m here for you. 

Just get in touch and I will do my best to support you.

I shall leave you with this quote from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll to affirm you as you get out of the car and embark on your treasure hunt:

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?

Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

Photo by unknown on Canva.