“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.” ~ Francois Gautier

Last week I felt so off, and for the first time in a long while, I cried.

All I could think about was having to get up the next morning and force myself through another day. I snoozed my alarm too many times to count and I just lay in bed. I’m not one to wallow in self-pity and it generally takes me a lot to cry, so I forced myself to put on a smile and pretend to be happy. I went to my morning meetings and forced myself to act like everything was moving in the right direction.

In that tear filled moment I felt paralyzed, stuck, frozen and just not Ally. And while I think it’s important to let yourself have bad days, I also think it’s important to look inward and amend your “problems”. Cue: profound Instagram quotes about being in control of your own destiny. Cringe-worthy statements aside, it’s indubitable.

I know when I am off course because it begins the same way each time. Firstly I begin to have trouble sleeping, then I begin overthinking and my stress and anxiety levels heighten. This in turn leads to uncertainty in my career, my creativity becomes dormant and I start questioning the direction of my life as a whole. It happens every so often, but lately, a little more regularly than normal.

I suppose you could say over the last 8 months I have been trying to find myself, but the cliché-ridden nature of those words makes me cringe, so I prefer to say “working my s**t out.”. But even those words make me cringe, because then insinuate I don’t have my shit together; and I would like to think for the most part, I do. Over the past 8 months I have tried different things; read books, listened to inspirational talks, reached out to mentors, engaged in social situations and thrown myself into work. I did these things and hoped that all of these combine would lead me to that much anticipated eureka moment. But sometimes doing too much, just leaves you even more confused and clouded.

Over the weekend I had a huge moment of clarity and I began to think that I need to bring it back to basics and write it all down. Write down goals for everything in life. I no longer want to search for this magic moment where I feel like I am on the right course, I just want to work towards things that make me feel fulfilled, and trust they will lead me to where I need to go.

On Monday I wrote everything down that was troubling me, even if it was uncomfortable. And I didn’t settle for meaningless answers because I was only lying to myself if I wrote anything that was factual. The common denominator that I saw was that my values had shifted and I needed to get them back on track; because they are the very essence of who we are as individuals. And they really help guide us, so without solid values we often feel off-course and like we’re tangled within a proverbial spiderweb of problems.

This all may be irrelevant to you, but if it’s not, the first step is to write down what’s troubling you. Be raw. Be completely honest. Secondly, get an idea of what you want to do. Select one of the areas you are lacking in direction. Brainstorm some possible directions. Write them down. All of it. Then consider each one and narrow the field down to just a few of the best and most appropriate possibilities. Then thirdly write down some kickass goals. Big, small, get ‘em all down, because without a goal, how do you pick a direction, choose a road, or plot a course to get “there”?

And if after writing all of this down, you’re still finding it tough, look at changing a couple of these things, they will definitely help you find the right direction in life and help you work your s**t out.


I also love Scott’s views on this matter, so give it a read too!


Author: Ally Hayward

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayHayward

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