3 Essentials for Forging Your Authentic Path

Friday 09 November 2018 - Posted by Julia McCutchen

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

This inspiring quote speaks to me because I’ve been on a journey without a path for almost 20 years; along the way I’ve forged a trail of writing, working and living that’s increasingly authentic to the core of my being.

It’s an on-going process as my commitment to excavating the essence of who I am is leading me to translate my discoveries into everyday life more and more accurately as my experience matures.

Re-Write the Script

Nevertheless it’s often challenging to do so and I know only too well how tough it is to release the beliefs relating to the well-trodden path that I was certainly encouraged to follow.

In fact, despite my naturally rebellious spirit, it took many years for me to realize fully that I could re-write the script regarding what success in work and life should look like and include.

Now I know that forging your authentic path means you’re free to come up with your own definitions of what’s genuinely important and what success truly means for you.

Exhilarating Freedom

However hard it may be to go where there is no path, the exhilarating freedom, unlimited potential, depth of purpose and expansive rewards make every second spent stretching beyond your comfort zone worthwhile.

My time spent on the path of “no path” has taught me more than I’ll ever be able to express in words.

Yet there are 3 essentials I’ve discovered that support you to find your way when the steps ahead aren’t set in stone and the call to adventure on your individual Hero’s Journey can’t be ignored:

  1. Courage

The initial leap into the unknown – whatever way that manifests for you – always includes feeling simultaneously excited and scared.

When I walked away from my career in publishing after 12 successful years, I felt completely liberated with a strong undercurrent of “what if” anxiety.

It took courage to cross the threshold into an uncertain future and it has required courage to stay the course, especially during the inevitable challenges when the comfort of guaranteed work and regular income beckoned.

In those moments, what’s kept me on the path I’m continuing to forge is a commitment to my purpose and the ability to trust the Divine Plan when I don’t know what to do next (which occurs more frequently than you might imagine!)

  1. Purpose

If you’d asked me 20 years ago what my purpose was I wouldn’t have been able to articulate a clear response.

In the early days of crafting my own way forwards, I was still aligned with the mission of my publishing role, namely “to communicate perennial wisdom for a contemporary international audience”.

However, I wasn’t conscious of my individual purpose despite feeling an intuitive sense that there was a new level of intention for me to discover as part of my new way of being in the world.

I’ve been consciously nurturing this seed of clarity within me ever since.

As a result, the layers that have obscured my complete realization of the most authentic ways to embody my purpose continue to dissolve.

  1. Trust

Going where there is no path and leaving a trail is a way of life that’s filled with uncertainty.

This is usually deeply unsettling, especially as the illusion of certainty is so appealing to the part of you that loves to have everything pinned down.

Yet, sooner or later, the recognition surfaces that nothing is certain apart from change.

What I’ve found is that beneath the fear of uncertainty is an innate sense of trust – in the big picture, the universe, the Divine Plan, Source… whatever words work for you.

When you’re able to remain in trust in the face of uncertainty, you can live on the edge of what spiritual teacher Adyashanti describes as a “dynamic state of constant discovery”.

Your Version

Your version of going where there is no path and leaving a trail is likely to take a very different form to mine.

It may simply include seeing your current situation with new eyes, then making conscious choices and taking awakened actions that are appropriate to your circumstances and authentic to you.

However you interpret Emerson’s words, I encourage you to draw strength from your natural sense of courage, purpose and trust to see what’s possible when you follow the call to step into the unknown.

What are your feelings about your current path and the trail you’re leaving? Please take a moment to share your comments below. Thank you!



Photo by Genevieve Dallaire on Unsplash



  • I love this Julia. Thank you for sharing. I saved the quote before I read your blog, as it resonated with me. But what you’ve written, as I read it, is absolutely what I feel at the moment. I feel as though I want to leap or throw my cards in the air and I’m in a position where I could, but what if??? I’ve felt it for a while, as the book I’ve been writing is almost done. I wrote a poem a few years ago called ‘The Beaten Track’ which in hindsight is this. I can feel it. So thank you again for your wisdom. I really appreciate it from someone who’s been there.
    Lots of love
    Julie xx

    • Thank you Julie! It’s great to hear from you and to connect with you here on the blog 🙂 I’m delighted this quote resonated with you and that the post has reflected back to you what you’re feeling and experiencing right now.

      Obviously I don’t know the details of your situation so all I can say is that whenever I’ve taken great leaps into uncertain territory from being as conscious, present and aligned as I could possibly be at the time – and without allowing the fear of “what if?” to stop me – I’ve never looked back and wished I hadn’t done so!

      I hope you’ll share your poem sometime (and I’d be more than happy for you to post it as another comment here if that felt in alignment for you?), and wish you “bon courage” with the threshold you’re facing. You know how to reach me if you want any more guidance and support than that. xx

  • Although my current path seems uncertain, that alone is not been an uncommon circumstance. The time in each and every day is never enough for me to learn all that seems necessary to progress this path.
    But progress I will, plan I must, and succeed I will. Perseverance and
    determination to drill forward regardless the uncertainty has proven in
    most instances of my life quite effective. The method I remain in practice until more lessons anew prove to compliment same, and add more provable results.

    • Hi Catherine, thank you for sharing your experience of uncertainty which I’m also very familiar with!

      I understand the feeling of needing to learn what’s required in order to make progress, and in my experience, bringing unconscious patterns into conscious awareness is an important key to setting yourself free from their grip. Yet I’ve also found that sometimes we need to un-learn more than we need to learn, and create space for clarity about our next steps to arise.

      I wish you well in your process and hope that these posts guide and support you along the way. Julia

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