Over my life when I have hit dry spells, I sometimes have felt lost, without purpose. It’s not a wall you hit but its like running in dry sand and you might lose sight of who you are professionally.

Over the last few years I have aspired to become a marathon runner and triathlete. The finish line and the race to find it have become my newest focus to an end. In retrospect I have discovered that when I felt lost, I had no distinct or viable finish line to focus my efforts. It is now my opinion that searching for a job is similar to running a race where the finish line is the offer and the first day on the job.
I also believe one of my problems with job searching is that the finish line I seek around the corner never appears….it may move like a leaf blown by the wind.

In the race to find that job, you have a multitude of opportunities and time to apply to them in the 21st century. Two challenges exist in the current method: focus and expectation. For example, lets say you have no constraints for looking in regards to geography or shift. It is possible for you to spend all day and all night applying for work. With this sheer load of applications it can be challenging to focus upon any number of them and follow up. With this load and stretched out focus you may expect to be called for an interview from a wide array of employers.

Can you see where you could be overloaded and (OOC) out of control?

Many commonly wait up to a month or more sometimes to even have a response.. …waiting for people to reply has never been a strength for me. – I imagine I’m not alone. So, in the wait, and continual process of application you lose your focus and many times your purpose especially if you are unemployed. Coming back to the running theme, imagine you are jogging along, expecting the finish around the corner, and you never see it…and you are getting tired…you are thirsty and lost.

Basically, you may have lost your sense of purpose.

So you are at a loss. Are you now what you were? This issue of who can be another problem with a loss of purpose. Why?….because over time many people identify with what they do. Retirees and veterans have this problem especially when you have the same job or occupational area for a number of years.
As a veteran and retired Army officer I had trouble with identity in this regard. As a military civil engineer with no engineering degree it is basically impossible to continue this line of work in the private sector. It took me over two years after I retired to adjust to the fact my engineering days were over. I had to look in the mirror and figure myself out all over again. This reinvention process was a terrible process because I felt I had no worth and it was essential for me to get things back in control. Also, without an encouraging word of reply from an interested employer, I became quickly depressed and surly. What was my next step, I had no clue.

Throwing myself into farm work I discovered my sole grounding and constant: being a dad and a husband. I have been married to the same woman for nearly 21 years and I have 4 children….I am Dad first. Everything else is extra.
The grounding my family gave me was phenomenal. I wonder how many people take the power of family for granted – what a thing to do! I must admit this was not easy and I had to spend time reevaluating everything.

So, what do you do when you are lost? First STOP. Similar to when you are lost on a trail, get your bearings, look for things that anchor you.

Next, IDENTIFY your basic needs. If you have the means, make sure you can meet all of the basics. These might be the utilities, gas in the car, food in the pantry.

Then, find your GROUNDING place. After you stop, what is your magnetic North? A person or persons, your church, your faith, a hobby?…..
Find it ASAP and hold on. This is the most important part of coming back to yourself. Do not disregard the power you have in being grounded.

With your grounding, continue to meet the basics because you will gain confidence in this repetition. Your hobby may keep your mind sharp as well.

So, where are YOU?

Assess yourself,
Take a deep breath
-Step out—
and Raise your chin.
Take another deep breath.

You have just left the starting line, the course is before you.