How to Get Back on Path

S o, what do you do when you realize you’re off course? You do what you do when you come to a railroad track. Stop. Look. Listen. And then you Go!

L ast week, I wrote about the mind will attempt to distract you from the voice of your heart.  Though I’m good at listening into my heart, don’t think for a moment that I’m immune from the tricks your mind will play on you.  In fact, I am able to articulate that concept because it’s one I deal with on a regular basis.

I have filled many roles in my life.  These roles, whether it’s coach, writer, editor, project manager, friend or lover do not define who I am or what my job on this plant is.  My job is to make the lives of those I come in contact with better in some way.  Maybe I take on a project because it makes someone’s life easier.  Maybe I take on a client because I see the light within them.  Maybe I offer to help a friend get her website in shape.  And maybe my role in a relationship is to do little things with joy that makes life a little bit easier on my loved one.

It’s my why.  My dharma.  My purpose on this planet.  To serve others.

Sometimes, I get distracted from my why and I’m sure that you do as well.  In fact, just this week I realized that I had begun to drift away from my core purpose. My mind had convinced me that in order to serve more, I need to follow a specific path.   In the hustle and bustle of things, I had ignored the pleadings of my heart.

How can you tell if you’re off your path?  Personally, the signs were all around me.  I wasn’t my happy self. I was taking everything personally.  I was feeling that no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough.  Most importantly, my body was telling that something was off, but I was refusing to listen or honor it’s voice.

So, what do you do when you realize you’re off course?  You do what you do when you come to a railroad track.


Stop and refuse to take another step along the path. I know it may not seem easy to stop.  Your mind will try to step in and remind you how much work you’ve done, how hard you’ve been toiling away, or how you’re simply too afraid to see that you were wrong.  No matter what tricks your mind tries to play, remember you know to your core something isn’t right.


Look at what’s been going on in your life to discover the spot where delight became a should. This is not a process for beating yourself up.  Look at it with curiosity and without judgment.  If you are struggling to figure it out on your own, ask for help.  Often, talking it through with a trusted person will help you discover where you stepped left instead of right.


Listen to the soft voice of your heart for the answers.  Meditate.  Pray.  Journal.

Then Go!

Then you go and begin to take the next step that feels right.  This is critical.  Because you have realized you’re off course, you may feel paralyzed, yet if you make even the smallest step in the right direction, you’ll begin building your momentum.  You’ll feel delight.

Maybe the next step involves forgiveness – forgiving yourself or apologizing to loved ones.  Maybe the next step involves trashing a business plan and starting over.  Maybe the next step involves going for a ride on your bike for some playtime.  Don’t allow your lizard brain to freeze you!

For me to feel authentic, I need to not only talk my “talk,” but be actively walking it.  It’s not a comfortable feeling to be naked and vulnerable with you.  I’m a coach – I should always be on path.  I’m human.  Like many people, I am able to see the best in others yet have difficulties seeing the best in myself. 

And what kind of coach would I be if I were to not be walking my talk?

I’m thankful to say that I was able to find my next step and have taken it.

But enough about me.  What about you?  What is your job on this planet?  Tell me all about it and what I can do to help you embrace or discover it.

(Image is “A Real Stopper” by Gil Elvgren)

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

13 Responses to “How to Get Back on Path” Subscribe

  1. Angela Rockett August 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Lovely post, Deb! My purpose on this planet, which I’ve only recently acknowledged thanks to people like you, is to INSPIRE!

  2. kimberely August 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Deb, I so love your posts. I love the railroad analogy! Reminds me all the little things I’m teaching my young girls everyday, worth remembering even once we’ve ‘grown up.’

    My work on this planet? To be a sacred catalyst. It’s all about beauty + excellence!

    All good things,
    kimberely @unshakablesoul

  3. Marcie October 19, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    This is so inspiring..especially as I’m in the midst of so many changes..and trying to figure out what it is that is my purpose. Thank-you!


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