Does anyone else have major problems getting lost? Well, if there is one thing I’m good at, that’s it. If you ever need to not know where you are, come find me. I can accomplish that in about two and half seconds! I invariably seem to end up places that I don’t mean to go and sometimes it can get me into trouble… big trouble (cue the time I almost got beat up after getting dropped off at Skid Row by a directionally-challenged taxi cab driver – I hope he’s reading this). Getting lost in life is never easy – it’s when I feel my most vulnerable or afraid. But I realized that these “wandering aimlessly” experiences might have been the very things that helped me find myself; they are the ones that saved me. Sometimes you just have to get lost to be found.
Get Lost to Be Found
Now don’t get me wrong, getting lost in the Sahara desert is most likely not going to end well. But what about getting “lost” in other aspects of life? Careers, relationships, or overall attitudes? Sometimes, this is just what we need in order to find what we are looking for, hidden beneath all the layers of life and decisions and pain and wonder.
A literal example of the benefits of getting lost include one of my childhood friends. As an avid marketer in the tech world, she was sent to her first tech convention in Dublin, Ireland. Upon arriving there, she entered the four story convention center and had no idea where she was. The rest of the professionals in attendance looked like they felt right at home. As she walked through the crowds, she realized she was in fact on the opposite side of where she was supposed to be. She turned around and suddenly a man approached her and asked if she was lost. Flash forward 2 years later, she has never been happier… they are married with a beautiful baby girl! Ha! Now isn’t that romantic? So yes, getting lost can produce some of life’s most beautiful treasures.
The Journey of Getting Lost
Let’s dive a little deeper and talk a little less literally (say that ten times)… After high school, I decided to attend community college because I had no idea what I wanted to be. There were three options in my family: 1) high tech genius 2) engineer 3) doctor. Scanning through the coursework, I was lost. I had NO interest in any of these careers, and I couldn’t have been more confused or frightened. I decided to focus on the general ed classes and explore some hobbies.
A classmate was hosting a fashion show and she asked me to step in as a last-minute model. What? Model…? I thought. I was SO shy growing up, that my highschool marked me as absent half of my Senior year because I was too afraid to raise my hand during roll call. THAT’s how bad it was. So, if you can imagine your own terror to model… times it by ten and that was mine.
I decided to take a risk because being lost was the worst feeling in the world… turns out I loved it. Flash forward two years, I had walked for Macy’s, been in a Coca Cola commercial, and co-owned a fashion magazine. I had completely changed – I was no longer afraid of people and in fact I welcomed the opportunity to be the center of attention. I attended UCLA for Communication Studies, modeled in Hollywood, and experienced being a celebrity publicist. This wasn’t the path that I was supposed to take or that I every saw myself choosing. This experience of being lost at 18 has led me to be found at 25.
The Journey of Being Found
At the end of the day, I know that my final destination in life is to be at a place where I have inspired people. I want someone to tell me that because of me, they didn’t give up. Yes, I still try to take the straight and narrow path, but I usually end up zigzagging along the way. I never know which prong to take at the fork in the road and sometimes I follow cookie crumbs off the beaten path. My journey is not GPS calculated (and frankly, thank goodness – I can barely keep up with Waze).
I know that my inability to stay on track all the time does not hinder my growth, it actually forces me to be even better (that’s how my Instagram was created). Remember, being lost can be scary and confusing, but it can also open you up to the unexpected. When I don’t know where I am or who I am, that’s when I discover the most. And when I am in the most pain, that is when I appreciate the most. When I am lost, that is when I am found.