During the last few months Netflix has often transported me to a place of comfort and companionship. Characters of mini-series become the new friends I look forward to seeing at the end of a long day of isolation.  

The Queen’s Gambit was one mini-series that left a contrail following me into my real life.

Set in the 1950s, it is a story about an orphaned chess prodigy. The main character, Beth Harmon, has an innate gift for understanding the game of chess. She fed this gift with a level of astounding interest. Spending endless hours playing the game, by herself or with others, and reading about brilliant chess moves from every book written on the history of the game. From this level of knowledge and understanding, she was able to see in her mind’s eye all of the different chess moves available to her and almost instantly choose the one that would help her win the game. She moved quickly through the world of professional chess.

Ms. Harmon’s talent was not an instant trajectory to happiness. She struggled with addiction and loneliness. Until she realized that, in fact, she was not alone. It was old friends and new that picked her up, dusted her off, supported her in ways she was unable to support herself, and helped her define and make her next move. And the one after that, and the one after that …

The Queen’s Gambit clearly highlights two different ways that can help us when our own next move in life is unclear.

1. Feed an interest.

Interest motivates exploration and learning. It is one of the most common emotions in everyday life. Humans must learn virtually everything they know and interest is the engine behind learning across our lifespan. Interest is a wonderful resource when we face the new and unfamiliar.  Interest is the move that helps us recognize when things aren’t always understandable, they can be explored.

Is there something new or different that has sparked your attention, filling you with a sense of possibility or mystery? These circumstances call for effort and increased attention on your part. Immerse yourself in what you’re discovering. In this immersion you will uncover a new set of challenges that allow you to build new skills. When you’re interested, you feel open and alive. You can literally feel your horizons expanding in real time, and with them your own possibilities. The intense pull of interest beckons you to explore, to take in new ideas, and to learn more. Your next move may become clear in the process.

2. Connect with support.

Humans need connection to help them navigate and grow. One way to think of support is in terms of ground crew and co-pilots. 

Ground crew are those people that know us in a certain light. Our partner, spouse, family members, friends. They love us and are there for us. By the very nature of our relationship, our ground crew keep us grounded to a specific version of our self. These humans will help us through but sometimes it is hard for these relationships to support us when we seek change.

Co-pilots often do not come with history and therefore they are better able to help us fly to the new version of us we are reaching for. We can find co-pilots by joining networks of like-minded people, participating in communities encompassing the values, qualities, and interests we are looking to incorporate in our own life.

Are you looking to make a move?

This post is reprinted from Kathy’s blog at KathyWashburn.net. Kathy is a featured expert in the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology course, beginning February 1. Find out more and register.

Kathy Washburn

Kathy Washburn

Kathy Washburn is a life coach who works with people navigating life’s most challenging transitions. Her background in studies of positive psychology, post-traumatic growth, and neuroscience play an integral part in her approach to personal and professional coaching. During her battle with cancer, Kathy identified a severe gap in out-patient needs and has since founded Carved by Cancer – a support network for cancer survivors. You can find out more about Kathy or begin your healing journey, at  kathywashburn.net