I’ve come to realize that sometimes the inspired ideas we follow are there to show us what we don’t want.
I used to believe that every inspired idea was a step in the right direction. Turns out some steps on the inspired path are steps we take to confirm that’s a path we don’t want to follow.
I’ve had several instances of this in my life but just recently had this epiphany.
Years ago after I left my full-time job to start my own business, I was wooed back into a salaried position with the firm. Up until that point I had been doing contract work for the firm and getting my own business up and running on the side. Both were going relatively well, but the offer to resume a salaried position seemed too good to pass up. The work was inviting, the pay was good, and it was a 30 hour a week “full-time” position. I thought it was the perfect solution to my work-life balance situation.
Almost immediately after beginning the new job I became ill.
What was never diagnosed as anything more than a virus lasted for more than three months. I spent several weeks home in bed and then proceeded to go to work feeling quite crummy for months. While I was grateful for the paid sick leave, the employed stint did not last long.
Very soon I realized I did not want to work full-time for someone else, even if it meant only 30 hours a week and paid sick time. That, combined with several other personnel issues at the firm at the time led to me quit and go back to my own business.
In some ways I think my body knew immediately it was not the right choice—it got sick and tried to tell me!
Taking that position was an inspired action, not something I was looking for. It just showed up and appeared to satisfy all of my desires. It ended up validating what I already knew: I didn’t want to work for someone else. I wanted to do my own thing.
A few years later, it happened again.
Once again, after repeatedly being asked to join a firm full-time, that I was contracting with. Once again an offer of flex time and 30-hour work-weeks. I loved the people and the work. Once again it seemed like a great opportunity. I jumped in. Yet, almost immediately I knew it was a mistake. I lasted six months but only because I really tried to make it work. After all, the opportunity had showed up. It had all the markers of the perfect fit. Wasn’t I following the inspired path?
Once I again I had validated that employment was not for me.
I believe this situation arose to finally validate my decision to work for myself. Being in business on your own is not always easy. Often we look back with rose-colored glassed on the jobs we’ve held. The steady paychecks. The bonuses. The annual raises. The camaraderie of fellow employees. The annual holiday party. Just being able to do the work, instead of having to drum it up, administrate it, and the whole ball of wax!
This step on my inspired path was another action to validate my choice to be an entrepreneur.
Recently I have been making some changes in my business and shifting direction a bit. All as a result of following inspiration. In the midst of all this, several opportunities have arisen that are more in line with where I have been instead of where I am going. The most recent one was inspired for sure. I met someone. It seemed like a cosmic connection. An opportunity arose. It felt right. I jumped.
And once again, after all was said and done, I realized the purpose of this latest opportunity, which was not in line with where I am headed, was just another validation of this new path I am on. While following through on the opportunity had several bright moments, in the end it felt like I was taking two steps backwards. It threw me off my path—the one that feels so right, right now. My body responded by giving me a giant headache that lasted several days.
It validated what I am moving away from, and what I am moving toward.
I know that I can’t go back to where I’ve been—it just doesn’t feel right anymore. I need to move forward on my new path, as scary and uncertain as it may be. I believe I needed this latest experience to confirm that for myself.
So the next time you take inspired action and it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, ask yourself if perhaps the purpose was to validate a different path. Perhaps it was just a way to confirm your decision to do something else, that you may have been wavering on, or may have been a bit uncomfortable or uncertain about.
Once again I am grateful for the clarity.
And I’m ready to move forward on my new path!