You Don’t Get a Map, You Get a Compass Part 1

By Cindy Hartner, Director of Global Sales, DMC Network

I have completed one of my life goals – I have written a book! It’s called ‘You Don’t Get a Map, You Get a Compass’ and I am so proud to be able to share some of my messages with you here.

I will be covering each of the below topics over the next three months, so do keep an eye for our newsletters in your inbox’s – some good tips to share!

Let’s start with number 1 – breathe and try one small thing.

Three Steps to Nurturing Your Compass:

Stop.  Listen.  Wait.

  1. Breathe and try one small thing
  2. Relax and forgive yourself and others – we’re all doing the best we can
  3. Journal and celebrate your gratitude

I wrote the book, You Don’t Get a Map, You Get a Compass, as a result of walking through a dark period of my life.  We’re talking about circumstances here where you feel you have no preparation or history.  Things you’ve done in the past to cope aren’t working.  I learned that at that point it’s time to step back.  Stop, Listen and Wait.  I call that Listening to your Compass.

When I was 34 years old, my husband died of a sudden heart attack.  There was nothing that could have prepared me for this, no matter how young or old I was.  Because I was knocked back down to the basics, I learned some things about finding a way to move back into a joyful life.  The point to the book title is that what we want more than anything is a “Map” to show us what to do next and tell us when we will feel better.  For a big loss like a death, a health crisis, divorce, loss of a job or other devastating circumstance, the truth is that nobody has gone before us to create the right “Map” for us.  Lots of well-meaning people will offer all kinds of advice, but in reality, all we have is our own compass that gives us a little bit of direction as long as we keep moving.


Here is a breathing exercise you can try to calm yourself when you feel panicked or overwhelmed.

Close your eyes.  Take 3 deep breaths.  Let your thoughts go and focus on lengthening each breath.  Feel joy.  Remember a moment when you felt happy, confident, joyful, warm and whole. Breathe.  Now think of your struggle.  Breathe.  Wait and Listen.  Do answers come? What do you need to do?  What do you need to relinquish? Who do you need help from?  Who do you need to help? Breathe. Let that go.  Stop thinking.  Relax. Listen.

At this point you are preparing yourself to be open to any answers which may serve you in this struggle.  Our tendency is to try to do anything and everything to move out of the pain and unknown as quickly as possible.  The problem is that we haven’t calmed ourselves down enough to be comforted, and our minds are moving too fast to think straight.

Try One Small Thing

You’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, right?  In order to break the cycle of feeling stuck, we have to try a few new things on for size to see if they will serve us better than the old habits.  This feels really awkward and maybe even a little silly, but through doing a small new thing, we prove to ourselves that we are in control, we have choices, and exploring “the new” doesn’t have to be so scary.  My mother used to tell me that you can’t eat the elephant in one bite.  Don’t get excited. It’s a metaphor, PETA.  But it’s true that we overwhelm ourselves by expecting to get through something so daunting without breaking it down into “bite-sized” manageable parts.  When you’re feeling overwhelmed by something, start breaking it down into one thing you could do right now to make it better.  That might even be just making a list and getting it out of your head.

Stay tuned for more ideas on Nurturing and Listening to Your Compass!