Standing at the entrance to a tunnel, you may be able to see the light at the other end. Whether you can or cannot depends on how long the tunnel is and whether there are any curves along the way, and whether it is level. If it’s a straight, short path it can be easy to see the end and to be pretty sure what the path is like, but if the tunnel is longer, isn’t straight, or it goes downhill at some point the end is beyond your view and the way to it is a mystery.
There are lots of times when we encounter tunnels in life, when we want to change something about ourselves or where our lives are headed, but we cannot see how to get there. We look ahead and the way seems dark, with only a remote possibility of things turning out right.
It’s an intimidating feeling. You want to move ahead to a goal, but in front of you there is just a scary path where you can’t make out what dangers might be hiding, and the light at the end, which would let you mark your progress and keep you focused, is completely out of sight.
There are two situations where I think of this applying to LifeMatters clients. One is when a client wants to go back to college and the other is when the client wants to change careers. For the person settled into life, with job and family responsibilities, these changes are hard, and the logistics of how to make them happen are anything but obvious. Too often, people give up at the beginning for only one reason – because they don’t know how to get from where they are to where they want to be.
And this is where you have to remember that if you want to see the light at the end, sometimes you just have to start walking down the tunnel. Sometimes there is no other way, and the light is only visible when you get closer. You just won’t see it if you stay at the starting line.
So, if you want to go back to college, you make an appointment at the admissions office and tell them what you want. They are experienced with helping people figure out how to pay for school with grants and scholarships and other things, and can guide you to resources for the lifestyle challenges that you have to cope with.
If you want to change careers and are unsure what you really do want to do, you have to start to research. Find a career counselor (at ncda.org if you don’t know any locally), have one review your skills and explore different areas where they could apply, update your resume, and make sure that your interview skills are sharpened.
The important point is that you have to start moving forward, and just about any movement will get you closer, even if only by clarifying what won’t work for you, which is sometimes the case. Yet I see lots of people cut themselves short in life because they are intimidated at the beginning and get stopped even before they really try to start.
I hope that if there is a tunnel you are facing, that you will start walking down the tunnel and get closer to your goal.