Finding your path in life can be hard. Finding the courage to walk it can be even harder.
But there’s one kind of hard that’s a green light and another kind of hard that’s a red light. Here’s how to know the difference.
An intrepid explorer slashes her way through the jungle with a machete. She hacks through some vines above and passes by some trampled undergrowth to the left and some brambles to the right. She knows she needs to keep moving forward at all costs. Everything depends on her. She grits her teeth, and with firm resolve takes one more step forward, hacking at anything that gets in her way.
An intrepid explorer winds her way through the jungle, ducking underneath some vines above. She notices some trampled undergrowth to the left and some brambles to the right. She curiously investigates the undergrowth and notices a pattern – there is a faint but definite path to the left! She eyes the dense jungle ahead, knowing her destination lies in that direction. She takes a deep breath and lets go. She turns left, and follows the path.
Pathfinding vs. Path-creating
This is the difference between pathfinding and path-creating.
Pathfinding is about noticing the patterns in your life, finding your calling, and then bringing that out of your heart and into the world. Path-creating is about deciding what you want and making it happen.
Pathfinding is about listening. Path-creating is about shouting.
Pathfinding comes from your heart. Path-creating comes from your ego.
The Machete of Divine Righteousness +2
But it’s not as simple as “Path-creating is power over, Pathfinding is power with.” It’s not as simple as control vs. connection.
The Pathfinder has a machete, too. She’ll use it to cut through obstacles in her path – but she won’t use it to create her own path.
The Pathfinder might shout, too – but she’ll listen first to be sure that shouting is necessary.
Both the Pathfinder and the Path-creator struggle. But it’s a different kind of struggle.
A different kind of struggle
It’s the difference between pushing the river and swimming with the current.
The river is the flow of your life. The river is your path.
Pathfinding feels like swimming with the current. You’re still swimming – you’re not sunbathing on the shore. You’re not sitting there and letting your life pass you by. Your arms are wheeling, your legs are kicking – but you’re swimming with the current, not against it.
Path-creating feels like swimming against the current. You’re swimming as hard as you can, but you’re having a hard time just staying in place, let alone making progress. You’re getting more and more tired, and you don’t know how long you can even keep your head above water…
Do you feel alone?
Path-creating feels like it’s you against the world. It’s all up to you. You’ve got to be strong enough, determined enough, creative enough, open enough. You’ve got to be enough.
Pathfinding feels like co-creating your life. Pathfinding feels like being the oboe player in an orchestra conducted by God – it’s still up to you to play that oboe as best you can, but you’re not in control of the whole symphony.
Do you feel like it’s all on your shoulders?
Path-creating feels like you’ve got to keep moving forward at all costs. Everything depends on you, and you can’t let go.
Pathfinding feels like you need to show up wholeheartedly and do your best.
Path-creating feels like being Link.
Pathfinding feels like being you.
How to switch from path-creating to pathfinding, in one not-so-easy step
It takes a lot of courage to create your own path. But it takes even more courage, plus a heaping teaspoon of humility, to
If you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders… let go.
If you feel like you’ve got to be enough… let go.
If you feel like everything depends on you… let go.
If you feel like you’re the last stalwart defender, the only one keeping everything from falling apart… let go.
If you feel like you can’t let go… let go.