Career

The Benefits Of Feeling Lost

In a world where it’s normal to project a perfect, well-curated life on social media, feeling lost can be draining. It sometimes feels as though we live our lives on a hamster wheel, constantly struggling to keep up but feeling like we aren’t making any progress. For this reason, it isn’t uncommon to feel lost more than one time or another in our lives.

In a world where we are constantly connected and always comparing our version of success to other people’s, it can feel incredibly isolating to feel as though you lack purpose or that you are adrift from your life ambitions and career goals. When you feel isolated like this, it is easy to perceive your lack of direction as a failure of some kind. But feeling lost is in fact, a wonderful thing. If you use your “lost” time smartly, you might soon find yourself looking back on a wonderful period of personal growth. With the benefit of hindsight, what was once perceived as a rocky and uncertain year can mark a significant time of growth and development.

How to use this time to your benefit? We’ve got five suggestions:

#1 Career freedom

If you are standing at a crossroads and can’t figure out which direction to go, don’t feel the pressure to decide straight away. Feeling lost is a luxury, remember? Not being tied to any career responsibilities or commitments allows you the freedom to try out different careers and enjoy the process.

Think of this time as a career experiment, a real chance to try out a number of possibilities that you may not have had the time to consider before. In 2008, Sean Aitkin, feeling lost and overwhelmed with his career choices, set out to explore one job every week for a year. His endeavour quickly gained publicity and has grown into the One Week Job project with a global reach that encourages lost, bewildered people from all walks of life to explore career paths they had not considered before.

#2 Anchor yourself

A major benefit of feeling lost is the freedom to nurture areas of your life that need some TLC. Learn to anchor yourself and the foundations to your life. Anchors are the parts of our lives that make us feel grounded and tethered to something ~real~. Rather than fret about your self-worth and the lack of direction you have in your life right now, make an effort to focus on areas on your world that aren’t career driven and watch the rewards reel in.

Pick two or three areas of your life that are core to who you are and aren’t work-related (because not everything is about work). If family is your anchor, remember that being the World’s Greatest Uncle or Aunty is not dependent on your career status – nor is being a great friend or excellent cook.

feeling lost

#3 Explore new things

When we feel adrift and seem to be living a life without purpose, it can be super easy to Netflix your days away and fall into bad Deliveroo habits. As hard as it is to break the depressing cycle of emotional eating and One Tree Hill escapism, it is very important to be productive when your life is in flux. And what better way to be productive than by re-kindling your curiosity and investing in your number one asset – you.

Take a road trip to explore new terrain or set about trying that hobby you’ve always wanted to give a go. It might feel weird at first but all great things need to start somewhere. When you spend your time nourishing positive, healthy habits, you will notice and drastic shift in your mood and in your approach towards life. Which, let’s be honest, Netflix was never going to give you.

#4 Extended time to travel while you are young/healthy/OK with living cheaply

Still not feeling inspired? Spin the globe, pick a place, and pack your bags. Feeling lost is the perfect time to get lost. Without being tied to anything in particular, you are free to explore the world with abandon.

You might stumble across a career path that completely inspires you and feels like the call to action you’ve been waiting for. Or you might meet a top CEO on your walking tour and completely redefine your concept of success. Whatever it is that you are looking for, you are 95% sure to find it in travel.

#5 Have fun

There will come a time when things click into place. You won’t feel this way anymore. You will have a sense of direction and might even be working towards a goal. When you get there, it is 110% likely that you will look back at the time that you felt lost and adrift with rose-tinted glasses. You will most likely ask yourself why you didn’t do more with your glorious time awash in possibilities.

Remember that this feeling can spark a positive and liberating process that allows you to grow, to change, and experience all that life has to offer.


Claire Dalgleish is a freelance writer and art curator who currently lives in Sydney. She woke up like this. You can read more on her blog art/writing/projects and follow her via @art.writing.projects