All of my life, I have avoided committing my professional path to one goal. The thought of choosing one path has always frightened me. What if I choose the wrong one? What if I find something different that I want to do? I think it’s been a fear of ruling out the “right” path that has stopped me from choosing just one profession.
It hasn’t been wrong to leave the options open, though. I have experienced so many events that I never would have, had I chosen one path. I have had different jobs, including fast food, being a probation officer, working as a regional administrator, and now an educator. I have met some truly wonderful people in every phase of my journey and have developed a breadth of experience from which I draw examples to help people find meaning in their own lives. The drawback is that I feel like maybe I have missed out on a certain depth in any single profession because of my wish to keep my options open. The “what ifs” have led me to a fear of committing professionally. The ironic part is that I have no problem whatsoever committing in relationships. So what is the difference between professional and personal commitment? It’s one simple concept: Trust.
What is it that allows me to trust another person but not my choice of profession? This is a paradox, because the implication is that I trust another person more than my own judgment. I’d like to add one more level to this paradox: trust in the universe (God, Goddess, Buddha, Bridgit, or whatever name you choose to assign to the power that transcends our own). I’ve allowed the Universe to guide my steps, which is theologically sound. I now see a relinquishing of accountability inherent in always relying on that higher power. Before I offend anyone’s beliefs about trusting your personal deity, let me clarify this a little: It is perfectly acceptable to “let go” and allow the Universe to guide your steps– as long as you remain accountable for the choice. It can be very easy to relinquish accountability to a higher power; for me, this has allowed me to drift a little from career to career, figuring that the Universe would guide me according to its plan.
What happens when the Universe wants to take off the training wheels? When you ask for guidance in your own path and that inner voice is silent and guidance doesn’t appear, what then? I think that’s the Universe’s way of telling you to trust in yourself. I firmly believe that the Universe is as close to me as breath, closer to me than my own heartbeat, as much a part of me as I am myself. This inner deity has guided me to trust in other people, recognizing that inner deity that shines through their eyes.
I find myself at a place now in my professional life at which I need to trust in myself to make the right decisions and to commit to a path that has only the first steps visible now. I have an idea where it might lead, but do not know for sure what will happen once I commit to it. It’s kind of like walking through a forest and having a trail that becomes obscured by trees and other flora within a few steps. For all I know, the path might lead to a dead end or a cliff– but it might also lead to wonders yet unseen and unimagined. This is the point where I can take the easy, known path or can trust myself and my inner deity and step into a path of professional commitment and unforeseen possibility.
Like I have so many times in my journey, I choose the unknown path. That is the path with unknowns, requiring that I trust in both myself and the Universe. Furthermore, this is the path where the Universe will let go of the steering wheel and act as a navigator, cheering me along every step and turn.