How Being Lost Helped Me Find My Dream Path

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finding your dream path

I was away camping with my mom and dad, my two brothers and their families back in the back woods of Michigan, where there was no cell phone service and no Internet. We all got to enjoy each other while we went fishing, bike riding, and hiking. We sat around many camp fires, cooked hot dogs on sticks and ate lots of ice cream.

There is a tradition in our family: we never go anywhere or do anything without getting lost, and true to family tradition, my brother Larry and I, while bike riding down a very sandy path, ended up deep in the woods, carrying our bikes through knee deep swamp with no path in sight.

At one point I felt it was perhaps worth the cost of leaving the bikes and replacing them later not to have to carry them any further, but we persevered. One thing good about being a family that grew up getting lost is, we are quite good at getting ourselves out of our self made messes.

We followed the opposite direction of the sun knowing this was the direction of camp. We came out about a mile from our camp on a small fire road. It was enjoyable being challenged by being lost in the woods and spending time with the brother I was so close with as a child.

I realized there are lessons in how one approaches being lost that can be applied to our dreams

Don’t panic
Panic is your enemy. Take deep breaths, enjoy your surroundings and begin to notice what direction you were going – was the sun at your face – at your back – at your side? Take a while to get your bearings and figure out where you came from and follow that direction back. Think about this the next time you panic about your dream goals and direction – take a deep breath, bring yourself to the present moment and look where you’ve been.

Use a compass.
If you are a prepared hiker, a compass can help you plot your way to where you need to be. Just like setting goals can be the compass for your dream.

If you don’t know what to do – stay put.
Don’t become more lost and confused by wandering, hoping to find your way. Stay where you are until you are sure of the direction you came from. Not setting goals and not working a plan for your dream is just like wandering in a forest hoping to find your way out. You will just exhaust your spirit and end up giving up.

Follow a stream or river.
If you come upon a stream or river – follow it downstream. If someone else has enjoyed success at your dream, model your steps after what they have done – follow their stream and it should lead you to a similar place.

Life is to be lived and be explored gently. The key word here is live it. The true path to dream success is to live this life, right here, right now . . . gently . . . and forgive yourself if you get lost.

When you’re stuck – go for a walk, take a swim, eat some ice cream. Love life – but make sure you bring a compass.

And if you don’t – remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt: Do what you can – with what you’ve got – wherever you are.

What are you going to do about your dream this week?


Veronica acomplished two dreams with 8 Women Dream and left the group in December of 2010.

  • Heather, the e-commerce builder

    Love the post! I haven’t been camping in forever and am living vicariously through your experience. One question… how did you have ice cream if you were roughing it? I’m thinking I need to tag along with you on your next camping excursion. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kim, the traveler

    Camping is great. Progress is making us fat. Glad you had fun! I’m going this week, back to nature. It definitely is hard to get back on track after a trip. I’ve taken a nose dive after New York. Loved your post.

  • Wendy

    Your camping trip sounded like fun. I was thinking about what you said about being less food obsessed when camping. I realized that on both my trip to Mexico and my last week in the competition in another town, I too was much less obsessed and actually lost weight. When I came home the old obsession returned with a vengeance. Old habits? Boredom?

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    It’s amazing how getting away in nature can help with our perspectives of life. I’d love to see photos. Troy Michigan was one of my territories when I traveled as a trainer. The area North of Detroit is so beautiful and the people so kind. Hey – there’s lots of men there! Lots! All those outdoor types. And you didn’t snag one while you were there…?… or wait … too soon for that part of your dream?