Seeing clearly: three life lessons from a lost pair of glasses

I lost my eyeglasses last weekend while hiking in the mountains: snazzy designer glasses that I’d worn for years, but were admittedly less than perfect. They were constantly sliding down my nose unless I kept tightening the arms; the lenses were scuffed from being dropped too many times; one of the lenses was cut for an astigmatism that had miraculously cured itself a few years back. 

Bottom line, I was long overdue for new glasses, but must have been in denial. It seemed like an unnecessary and pricey expenditure while I was in the midst of personal reinvention. They were fine… like worn and comfy jeans, quirky and imperfect and familiar. 

Fast forward to today: I’m wearing new glasses that actually fit my face. And they’re clear! Holy cow, I had no idea the world was this crisp and clean and beautiful.

These new glasses got me thinking about all the ways we don’t see things clearly, and how we can improve that state of affairs when it comes to transitions and transformations. 

What we refuse to see

For decades, I refused to see and embrace the truth of who I was: that as a gay, neurodiverse and gifted adult, I would never fit into mainstream society. It was unsurprising that my eye developed an astigmatism, getting warped out of shape and blurring my vision. It was also unsurprising when my astigmatism (and my gut issues) later vanished once I decided to love my quirks instead of hide them.

We can never effectively work within a reality we refuse to see. Seeing clearly starts with embracing our uniqueness, and then intentionally designing our lives and work to fit who we really are.  

Questions: What do you not want to admit to yourself? Without any judgment, complete this sentence: “I am ____, and I’m good with that.” Given this truth, what wants to change in your life or work? 

What’s hard to see (where’s Waldo?) 

We rebels can be dazzled by too many possibilities. Our brains take in more information than the average person, and we’re usually fast learners. And that means we have a hard time prioritizing options and taking off the table anything that’s not a Hell Yes

If the authentic path forward isn’t clear amidst the clutter, our old and familiar way of seeing — overanalyzing and wheel-spinning — doesn’t cut it.  

When federal agents are looking for a handful of counterfeit bills out of thousands, they don’t rely on their eyes; they simply pull out a blacklight and look for the florescent symbols that are printed on authentic bills. The human version of a blacklight is our gut-level wisdom, which can easily detect our true priorities.  

QuestionsWhat does your gut say? Which option feels expansive, uplifting… like a Hell Yes?  

What we can’t see

“I have no idea if I might like that line of work,” is a common refrain from the people I coach through transitions. In the absence of direct knowledge, it’s way too easy to simply sit with the question mark, waiting for an answer to appear out of thin air, or just playing around the edges of the known world. 

It would be super nice to see a clear path forward: to have the equivalent of a map or GPS system for life. But in the absence of psychic powers, our only choice is to take a small action and see what happens.  

Remember in Raiders of the Lost Ark (yes, I’m totally dating myself) when Indiana Jones steps off a ledge into thin air… and onto a walkway that only revealed itself after he took the step? 

Our eyes can deceive us. Stepping into the void requires not only courage, but also conviction and faith. We have to go through the previous two stages — accepting what is, and listening to our guts — to know the treasure we’re seeking. And then, in experimentation, fumbling forward in the darkness, the path appears… an inner vision is activated… the right people and opportunities show up.

Questions: Thinking about a possible life direction that feels like a YES, what is one baby step you can take to explore that option? Who’s knowledgeable in that space that you can speak with? 


Ok, that’s a lot of insight from a lost pair of glasses! Did you glean anything new from this deep dive into clarity and sight? Feel free to leave a comment; I love hearing from you.  

PS. I only have one coaching spot left in 2020. If you’re feeling the need for transition or transformation but can’t see the path clearly, let’s talk. You can access my calendar here. 

PPS. Want to get these posts in your inbox once a week?

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Leave a Reply