Updated: Feb 13
You may wonder what a T-junction is. Well, those I’m referring to are the times when you’re confronted with an outcome – a relationship breakup, redundancy, kids leaving home, a health scare, burnout or life fatigue – and you need to figure out a way forward.
Sometimes we see these T-junctions coming up, and often we slow down to avoid them, trying to study the directions. Some of us prefer to sit idling, not moving forwards or back, prolonging the turning point, thereby avoiding the change. Sometimes we hit the T-junction at full speed, not having seen it coming, and everything is a blur as we deal with the shock.
And then there are those moments when we find ourselves almost out of gas; we don’t really know where we are going, but we are laden down with so much bloody baggage – half of which isn’t even our own. Life seems mundane, and we question, ‘is this it?’ If you find yourself here, the realisation might dawn that you’re not even driving in your own lane – so whose lane are you in? Who’s steering you? And how did you get here? And… who the hell am I?
These emotions can be overwhelming, confronting and debilitating. You might feel in a daze and stuck as to what to do next. However, there are some steps you can take when you find yourself here.
Firstly; put the gear into park and catch your breath. Take stock of where you are, and reach out to a trusted friend with whom you can talk freely. Offload; talk about what you‘re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, get it all out. Talking enables us to make sense of our emotions. Hearing ourselves speaking helps both process and rationalise feelings. After this first purge, it can help to write down your thoughts and sensations – identifying where you are at. You may need multiple conversations; do whatever helps to fully clarify your situation.
The second phase is taking control. We often feel vulnerable at these T-junctions, as if we’re no longer in the driver’s seat. It’s therefore important to identify small steps you can take to regain control. It could be as simple as setting some sleeping goals – for example, getting to bed by 10pm each night – or scheduling in time for walks by the sea or in nature. Get things into your diary that will fill your cup and make you feel better.
The third step is spending time getting to know yourself. There is a great saying that change is the only constant in life; we are always evolving. T-junctions provide the perfect opportunity to check in with yourself and assess your priorities. What is important to you? What are your values, and are you living them? If not, what changes need to take place so you can? What are your strengths? Are you able to focus on them daily? What are your passions? Understanding who you are will give you much better clarity about your direction. It’s like programming your GPS – you have to know your starting point to understand how to move forward.
I’ve developed the Authentically You programme specifically to help with this reconnecting stage. It’s a six-week programme that gives you the tools to identify your values, strengths and passions; your overarching ‘why’. I’ve drawn on many best practice pieces of advice from around the globe and put them into a straightforward programme; visit themespot.me/online-course for more information.
You will hit multiple T-junctions in life – that is a fact. Yes, they are intimidating, upsetting and uncomfortable. But they are also opportunities for growth and learning; they’re all part of life's journey. See them as an opportunity to establish whether you’re living life in alignment with who you are, ensuring you’re in your lane, not someone else’s.
At these T-junctions, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like your best friend, with loving words and space to process and nurture.