When in Doubt, Look to Your Life Force
It’s the foolproof move when we’re lost. Here's what that looks like.
Common in coaching work is folks needing support for a lack of direction or motivation. They’ve got a sense they’re not in the right job, not showing up fully, not doing enough with their unique skills. And they don’t know a right next step.
I’ve been there. It was why I sought out some incredible coaches, why I chose to become an Integral coach myself.
Back in 2018, I was COO of this small, mighty upstart Wagyu beef business. I’d helped build it for 10 years. I got clear that I was no longer suited to run it. I wasn’t a beef guy. I was passionate about building businesses, about branding, about a boutique food enterprise doing it more values-aligned than most. But I wasn’t a beef guy. It was the classic startup tale: founder hits a ceiling, needs to step aside so a domain expert can take the helm. That’s what I did.
But what was next for me?
I’d been so deep in my role and struggling to feel aligned that when I ventured into the unknown waters, I was lost, rudderless. I felt like the grind had severed me from my passion. Cue the vicious circle: I felt lost, but I attempt to make moves, but I don’t feel lit up because the fire is out, so I feel even more lost. I questioned every next step.
Here’s what I learned:
When we lose our direction, get lost in an existential way, the foolproof move is to concentrate on our life force.
Dr. Phil Stutz — therapist subject of a recent Netflix documentary created by actor Jonah Hill — clarified what focusing on life force looks like. According to Stutz, our life force is nurtured when we concentrate on three simple things: our body, the people in our lives, our Self.
For many of us, when we’re in this existential knot, we forget about our own basic bodily care. Getting exercise and stretching the body, feeling whole in your temple, are simple practices whose rewards are at least linear if not logarithmic. You get back in spades what effort you put in.
And when we’re stuck and squelched, many of us recoil from our people. We might not shut them out, but we may keep them at a distance, show up less, show care less. Taking the contrary action of stepping out and showing up for and with the people in your life — that also has impact beyond expectations.
Lastly, when we’re lost, we can find ourselves with blinders on to our authentic Self — the part of us that is above the wounding from our past. This Self is what we want to bolster — in whatever ways, by whatever means. Whether it’s meditating, getting into the forest, plant medicine, or whatever, connecting to and nurturing the Self is the torch that lights the way.
So note to self: when in doubt, look to the life force. Focusing on the body, the people, and the Self, that’s the mindset move that helps us unstick.