"I feel like I am standing at a starting line, I'm not sure what training I have done and I am not sure what event is about to happen - what do I do?"
I often use sports as a framing tool for my life and this imperfect analogy is how I started a conversation with my counselor last week. It was the only way I could think of to describe the confusion I was feeling around most aspects of my life. I think we have all been in that state at some point. We feel like the ground has fallen out from under our feet and we are left somewhat directionless. It's quite overwhelming at first. My initial instinct would be to just start running and figure things out as I go. While this approach may work in some circumstances, it is largely doomed to fail.
A far better approach is to stop, wait a minute, assess what is going on and start gathering information. Take a moment to reflect, ask for help and guidance from those around you and then start developing a framework of what the event might entail. From there, you can start analazing what skills you've acquired over the years that might apply and begin to move forward at a slow, but more informed way. When you do that, things begin to get a bit more clear. The key here though is at some point you do in fact have to start - just don't necessarily rush into it!
As Guy Kawasaki wrote in his wonderful little book, The Art of the Start -We should “not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” The easy times look after themselves. It's in those challenging times that we get to draw on a lifetime of experiences, lean into outside support and start the, at times difficult but ultmately more rewarding, experience of pushing into the unknown.
Photo from the Lijiang Skyview Ultramarathon - China