Crossing the unknown sea

English: Catania, Sicily (Dec. 9, 2003) -- The...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personal voyages – your inner journeys – should begin with excitement. You’ve probably reached a point in your life where you’ve chosen to move on or move forward. But realistically, and in all honesty, personal voyages can start with uncertainty, trepidation and an empty feeling in your stomach.

This is not the right way to start anything so it’s best that you do some self-introspection and reflection if you feel that your start is stuttering – in other words if you have concerns and doubts.

I was talking to someone the other evening has been discovering his personal path sailing on the seas for the past two years. He was struggling being away from family and friends for so long, missing out on the significant milestones in their lives. But his “home” city wasn’t where his heart belonged. You can’t have your cake and eat it. What advice do you give when someone’s heart is split in two?

It reminds me of the young man Santiago in The Alchemist story. The young man on his personal journey is at one point undecided whether he should continue to follow his dream. The Alchemist tells him that he would live well at the oasis in the desert with the gold he had been given. He would marry his sweetheart Fatima but after a few years he would become miserable, his advice would become less respected by the community and basically he would end up being an an unhappy man.

Now some might scoff at this story saying it’s just a fantastical tale. But the core behind the story is about making choices in life. And living with them. Life without regrets.

No one can tell you what to do. The decision lies with you. When you know what your heart desires it’s up to you to decide whether you are going to follow your destiny or give up.There will always be compromises and trade-offs: you ultimately must know deep down what you really want. Where your passion lies.

These choices lie at the core of leaving home, travelling and working abroad, packing up to live and work in another city and starting something of your own. The start-up founder, the entrepreneur, needs to know what he or she wants. They must know their internal drivers, the fire that drives and ignites their passion.

The “Manager” in Goethe’s “Prelude at the Theatre” says:

“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

W.H. Murry put Goethe’s remark on boldness this way:

“‘But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’

David Whyte, the poet and author of “Crossing the unknown Sea” says, “To begin we take only those steps which we can do in a heartfelt fashion and then slowly increase our stride as we become familiar with the direct connection between our passion and our courage.”

Wrestling with your heartfelt want is good. It helps to simplify what you really desire. When you take that step forward on your new personal journey you will do it with excitement racing in your heart.

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