(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)

Notice how a child experiences a new toy. They have a sense of wonder and delight. They don’t know what it is or how it works, but they’re not afraid they will make a mistake or get it wrong. And they feel no judgement from others. The child is simply present with the toy, experiencing it fully.

An adult in a new environment frequently acts quite differently. When presented with a new “toy” (job, relationship, neighborhood, culture), you may have found yourself feeling that there is something you need to learn, to know, to get right. Even if you don’t completely freeze up, you may at least feel uncomfortable and uncertain. That doubt can lead to a sense of feeling lost.

Lost is about “something I need is not here” and that means you are being other than present. Noticing that you feel lost is a trigger you can use to shift back into the present, where you can deal with things with inquisitiveness, wonder, and delight.

Coaching Point: How would your life be different if you spent more of your time in the present — amused, interested, learning, delighted?

Copyright 2006 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.