Michelle Elman on why we should embrace exploring the unknown

Michelle Elman
By Michelle Elman,
updated on Apr 28, 2023

Michelle Elman on why we should embrace exploring the unknown

The twists and turns as life unfolds mean it’s rarely straightforward, and could leave us feeling lost, or lacking direction. But what happens when we don’t try to force ourselves back onto a familiar path, and instead get curious about exploring the unknown?

In December, I found myself waking up dreading the day ahead. It was very unlike me, and seemingly came out of nowhere, which obviously resulted in quite strong confusion. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong per se, but there wasn’t much that was particularly right either. The things that used to excite me in my job just weren’t energising me in the same way, and the things I used to look forward to had all become a little ‘meh’. I was the definition of fine. Nothing wrong, nothing right, just fine. And I hated it! Usually, I’m a person who jumps out of bed. I loved my job, I loved my life, and now I had become a person who looked forward to the weekend, and counted down to the next holiday.

Maybe it was because I wrote two books in one year? Maybe it was because I had achieved everything I spent a decade striving for? Or maybe I was just exhausted because it had been a long year of health problems that seemed to never end. Confused, I headed to my life coach, Michelle Zelli, to ask her what the F was going on? Who was I, and what had changed?

She suggested it might be all of the above, or perhaps my values were simply changing. I was looking for different things from life. I was a different person to the one who had entered their 20s, and now that I was leaving that period, it was understandable that the life my 20s self-built was no longer satisfying.

When you don’t know what you want from life, a simple way to figure that out is to ask yourself what is important to you, and so I did. I sat down to do my values again and she was right, they had completely changed. My priorities had, too. For the past decade, my work had come first. Even before friends and family. Now, people matter more than any job. My health hadn’t really been a factor for the past decade, whereas now, it was at the forefront of my mind.

When it came to what I wanted in life, for my 20s, I was always striving, always busy, and always on the go. Now, I wanted peace, calm, and a relatively quiet and simple life. I didn’t want the nights out, events, and parties that consumed my 20s. I wanted homebody vibes. I also took a look at what drove me at 20 versus what drives me now on the precipice of 30. In my 20s, stability was something I craved. Having never lived in one place for an extended period of time, I relished the idea of finally having a home. A decade later, I still live in the same place, but now crave adventure, exploration, and, ultimately, a change.

So, now that I knew all of this, what was I going to do about it? Largely nothing, actually. The solution I found is that I realised I was in a period of transition. I didn’t need to know all the answers to everything, and maybe it was actually OK to not know what I wanted next.

In a world of five and 10-year plans, maybe it was fine to not even have tomorrow’s plan set in stone, and in a world of toxic positivity, maybe being ‘fine’ was good enough for now. I changed the word ‘fine’ to ‘content’, and realised that actually there was a peace in the fact I was no longer striving. There was hope and potential in the uncertainty that my life held and, most of all, that throwing all the balls in the air at one time meant they might bounce around for a bit, but one day, they would settle. I knew I needed a new direction, but what I realised is that this new direction wouldn’t come by forcing it, and, instead, I have just allowed myself to be led by curiosity.

The only way you figure your way out of feeling lost and stuck is allowing yourself to experiment. Try something new, and then pay attention to how it makes you feel. Instead of aiming for a perfect life or even how you used to feel in your life, aim for any improvement, whether it’s 10% or even 2%. Notice that 10-second burst of energy. I have paid attention to what excites me and when I feel energised. For now, it seems to only be with the conversation of moving somewhere else – something which I have not entertained for the past decade – and while I have no answers, I know they will come one day.

I’ve given myself the gift of time, and permission to not know, so if you are feeling lost, stuck or confused, just remember you are in the midst of a transition, and when you come out the other side of the tunnel, the tunnel will seem like a blip of the journey!

Love, Michelle x

Subscribe to Happiful to make sure you don't miss out on Michelle's fantastic regular column!

Photography | Brett Cove

Michelle Elman

By Michelle Elman

Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited life coach, most known for her campaign ‘Scarred Not Scared’. Her new book, ‘The Joy of Being Selfish’, is published by Welbeck in February.

Join 100,000+ subscribers

Stay in the loop with everything Happiful

We care about your data, read our privacy policy
Our Vision

We’re on a mission to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society.