Posted by: Michelle Knoll | June 22, 2012

Never Go Alone

I love forests.  Not as much as I love the ocean, mind you, but I do love forests.  The green foliage, the shade, and the quiet make for a very serene place.

But in the serene, you can get lost.  Especially if you’re marking out a new trail.

It’s exciting to embark on an adventure where you have the privilege of forging a new path and marking a new trail.  But it can also be scary, and frustrating, and discouraging.  Especially if the going is slow, or you’re down in a low spot where you really can’t see much progress being made.

When you embark on the journey of knowing yourself, truly knowing yourself, it can be risky.  There’s a certain amount of fear in the process of understanding one’s own life story.  What if you find that there’s really not much to the story of your life?  What if you don’t have a story at all?  Suppose you come to the realization that you’ve just existed, and not really lived?  These are the scary fears that confront you on the beginning of the journey.  Suppose you can’t find the trail markers.  Then what?

Then there’s the fear that you will get lost in the details, the tall trees that tower overhead and block out the sun of understanding, with branches overlapping and intertwining.  And since you’re forging new territory, suppose you end up in the thick underbrush of past memories you can’t just walk through.  Suppose you wind up on an outcropping of rock, a path of deduction that you just knew was correct, and find that you can’t move forward, but you must backtrack and find another way around.  This can get discouraging.

This is why an experienced trail guide can be the best friend you’ll ever have.  You may be forging a new trail, but if you have someone alongside who is an expert in forging trails, he can help you make sense, help you see the trees and the forest, and help you appreciate both.

I recently had the opportunity to work with a “trail guide” by the name of Jonathan Pool.  He’s the IDEA Professor at Free Agent Academy.  I’ve sat under his instruction for many months, and I’ve been developing a solid knowledge of who I am, and from that discovery, an idea for a business.  But the details were getting fuzzy, and I needed some extra help with forging out this path.  I wasn’t sure the path I was on was the correct path, and I needed a guide to help me see the true path under all the ferns of self-doubt, the grapevines of confusion, and the brambles of discouragement.

Jonathan and I spent two, one-hour sessions, going back over the details of my trail blazing through the forest of my life.  Granted, I was the one who was painting the blazes, hacking the undergrowth, placing the trail makers at the turning points.  But Jonathan was the experienced trail guide, asking me polarizing questions and challenging me to go deeper into this forest of my true self.

It’s been one of the most encouraging experiences on my journey in search of the real me.  To know that I’m not alone, that there is help on the trail, is extremely comforting.  Jonathan has a great talent in helping people develop their life story, and in creating life plans.

So, if you are ready to set out on your own personal journey, my advice to you is: find a trail guide like Jonathan Pool, who can help you place the correct trail markers, map out the path, and make sense of the forest.

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