Transformation is good; drifting through life means wasting your time. If you're making changes to your life or starting a new phase, people will applaud you. Embarking on a transformation is considered an act of courage. It takes guts to leave the known for something we aspire to be.
Drifting, on the other hand, is frowned upon. If we're drifting through life, we lack ambition. If we go with the flow, we don't know where we'll end up. „You don't seem to know what to do with your life“, people might say. And before long, that will become our belief, too.
The problem is that transforming and drifting are sometimes hard to distinguish because, in both cases, we can easily feel lost. Transformation is rarely a linear process. More often than not, things take longer than anticipated, or they take unexpected turns. I believe that's a normal and healthy part of transforming our lives. And yet we want to know whether we're still on the transformation path or maybe we took a wrong turn, leaving us adrift without a destination. I don't want drifting to hijack my transformation!
So, what can we do if we're unsure whether this feeling of drifting through life is still a healthy part of our transformation? Whenever I'm in this situation, which happens a lot more than I'd like to admit, I ask myself the following:
Is my drifting still related to my ambition?
I'm currently expanding and deepening my coaching skills; this learning journey sometimes doesn't feel very structured. Also, building my coaching practice isn't entirely driven by a thoughtfully crafted master plan. Sometimes, it seems to rely on chance encounters to a frighteningly high degree. It often feels like I'm drifting, but I'm still within my ambition's realms. So I guess that's ok.
Is my drifting a form of escapism?
Transforming your life can be scary. We have these high ambitions and perfect images of our future selves. When we turn our dreams into reality, we risk failure, and that thought can be hard to entertain. If, on the other hand, we drift off and do other stuff, we can keep our dream a dream. And we won't fail at dreaming. What a relief! The tricky thing is that you can easily sell your drifting as part of your transformation to the outside world. You can't rely on other people to nudge you back on track. You need to take an honest look at what you're doing to spot when you're drifting off to avoid any transformation's hard work.
Is now the right time?
Every transformation goes through different stages. It's rarely a linear process, and there are times when the concentrated effort will pay a disproportionally high dividend. I don't want to waste these precious opportunities. On the other hand, there are phases when things take their time and trying to rush it will consume much of my energy without adding much value. If that's the phase I'm in, a little bit of drifting may be precisely what I need.
Answering these three questions helps me decide whether I should relax and enjoy being adrift for a while or if I need to bring back my focus and drive my transformation more decisively.