I hate getting lost. Whether I’m on my way to a business meeting, or just out doing errands, I like to know where I am. But sometimes, getting lost is a really good thing. Sometimes it leads us to possibilities in our lives that we hadn’t considered. But here’s the thing:  you’ve got to be able to tolerate being a beginner. You’ve got to not panic when you’re lost.

Last year, I worked extensively as a speaker, and I not only spoke on topics that I’ve given before, but I was also invited to help associations with issues such as customer service, and I went back to my college to give a presentation on careers for English majors. I was flying. Busy. It was fun.

Then December came and I didn’t notice how quiet my work had become because I was recovering from all the travel and talks I had given, and I was focused on the holidays. But when January hit, I was like a hiker out in the middle of nowhere without a compass. It was really quiet. And my wonderful dog, Bella, my therapy dog died.

As I worked through my grief, I saw that I could either shake the bushes and look for more speaking engagements, or I could use this time to think about what I really want to do. It seemed important not to be too busy. Having worked as a writer throughout my career, it gradually dawned on me that this was where I wanted to put my energy.

There were bumps in the road, but having written for children years ago, I joined an association of children’s book writers and illustrators, and I signed up for their retreat. Now I have traveling companions and support. And one of the picture books I’m working on is “Bella and the Scaredy Cat”–a fun reversal where the cat saves the dog.

I can’t tell you how you’ll find your compass, but I hope my example helps, and that you’ll be less afraid when there are no road signs.


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  1. April 17th, 2018 at 10:39 | #1

    So glad to know you, Jean! Thanks for the great advice.

    • Jean
      April 19th, 2018 at 08:40 | #2

      Appreciate your thoughts. Best, Jean

  2. Linda Mac
    April 17th, 2018 at 11:22 | #3

    HI Jean! Love the Blog.

    And it is true 100% for me too. Who knew that teaching High School French, English, Spanish, and many other classes could be so much fun, educational, and often downright hilarious.

    I am in the midst of final plans for a 70-guest Chamber event at our Maine Maritime Museum tomorrow morning, with guest speakers – 3 women CEOs who are friends and colleagues of mine from 5-20 years ago in Maine. And surprise, the event is coming together, despite our losing power from 5 pm last night to sometime around 2 am!

    We will not be deterred in our plans! Cheers. Linda

    • Jean
      April 19th, 2018 at 08:41 | #4

      Your experience is a perfect example of where we can go when we keep trying and are open to surprises. Hope your event was a smash! Jean

  3. April 17th, 2018 at 16:35 | #5

    Jean, you are always an inspiration. I am so sorry for your loss and yet am thrilled for you in finding a new direction and focus. Life is an amazing journey of reinventions. God bless.

    • Jean
      April 19th, 2018 at 08:38 | #6

      Thanks for your kind words. It is a trip, isn’t it?