Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pathfinding: Your Shortcut to Purposeful Choices

I just read about a great tool called "pathfinding" in Tim Kelley's book, True Purpose: 12 Strategies for Discovering the Difference You Are Meant to Make. Pathfinding is a method for using your natural intuitive abilities to make purposeful choices, even if you are unaware of your life purpose. The practice of pathfinding requires that you notice two types of feedback as you move through your day and through your life: external and internal. Regarding external signs, Tim writes:
"Whether you know your purpose or not, behaving in a purposeful way elicits different responses than behaving in a non-purposeful way does. If you can learn to pay attention to the synchronistic signs around you, you can begin to see whether you are on or off purpose. If the chance coincidences in your environment are negative, this is a sign that you are off your path." 
External Signs

Have you noticed that sometimes your life flows effortlessly, while other times conditions seem to conspire against you? Perhaps an unexpected check arrives in the mail when you need it, or you happen to overhear a conversation that benefits you in some way. Maybe you get a lead or a lucky break that advances your career, or find an unheard-of parking space that saves you from being late for an important meeting. What were you doing or trying to do when these happy coincidences happened?

Conversely, you may have experienced times when nothing seemed to go your way. Your car broke down in the worst possible place, or you missed important information about a deadline because of a phone failure. Maybe you were forced to choose between two important events, which resulted in letting a loved one down, or you got stuck in traffic and were late to an important interview. What were you doing or trying to do when these unfortunate situations happened?

Internal Signs

Internal signs relate to emotional and physical responses we have when making decisions. For instance, an opportunity that sounds good to the ego or looks good on paper might be a poor choice if it creates a sinking feeling in us or causes us to feel confused or conflicted. On the other hand, another opportunity might cause us to feel nervous but exhilarated, thus pointing us in the direction of our growth.

Positive/supportive internal signs might include feeling excited, energized, hopeful, or peaceful, while negative/non-supportive signs might include feeling stuck, bored, depressed, tired, or distracted. Again, ask yourself what you were doing or trying to do when you noticed the feelings? All of these answers (of the external and internal signs), will guide future decisions.

Looking Forward

As you contemplate present and future decisions, imagine the proposed situation in your mind and notice how you feel about it. Run through two or more possible options and notice how each one feels. How do they unfold? Which course of actions takes you in a direction you want to go? With practice, you will find that this helps you make better and more purposeful decisions as you go through your life.

This week, I invite you to try out this exercise on a decision you need to make. It could be as simple as which menu item to order at a restaurant, or it could be a more challenging issue. Either way, imagine the outcome of your choice and let that feeling sense inform your decision.