Frontline Thinking

Linda Nepal

Life Lessons Learned from Living on the Edge as a Frontline Humanitarian

3 continents, 21 countries, 15 years and 1 suitcase

Real People Real Problems Real Change


What is the path you should be walking?

Quit My Job, Sold My House & Changed My Life

Fifteen years of living in extraordinary and extreme conditions has taught me many things. But what I have come to realise is that the key to living a life you truly want to live comes by asking questions, not ordinary questions but great questions.

The ones that make you really think, dig a bit deeper, challenge your status quo, set you off on a journey of exploration and possibilities that you may have never considered.

But be warned. Asking these great questions can change the direction of your life, sometimes a little bit but often drastically.

So it’s no wonder that we avoid them preferring to stay safe within our comfort zone of predictability.

If you are looking for better answers then start asking better questions! And if you ask great questions…you’ll more likely get great answers!

For many of us it takes a serious crisis; a marriage break up, the death of a child, a close friends fatal accident, bankruptcy, to ask the deep questions. It is at these times that the questions pour out easily…

‘Why him?’ Why now?’ ‘Why me?’

I know this too well because it happened to me – in my 30’s I took a job for one reason for money. It was a job I knew that I wouldn’t find fulfilling or stimulating but as money was my goal, I took it.

The build up of stress in my body crept up on me insidiously until it was like a pressure cooker, the misery tightly contained, until it blew with great force one dark winters night. I was driving on the motorway, desperate to get home, after a soul destroying hyped up sales conference when I had severe stabbing pains behind my eyes and then suddenly the curtains came down and I went blind.

Sitting on the side of the road my emotions went from fear to anger to despair. But as I prayed to a God I hadn’t thought of for a long time I made a firm promise that if my sight returned that I would seek out what I was born to do and live my purpose and my passion. I was lucky my sight returned. Stress blindness the diagnosis.

How I changed my life

I desperately wanted to be me again!

I devised a series of questions that would start to reveal my passion, my uniqueness, my gifts, re-discover my dreams and recover my talents that I had buried, lost or simply had forgotten about.

The answers came tumbling out!

  1. I realised that my purpose was to care for others
  2. My passion and curiosity was for foreign shores
  3. I was hungry to immerse myself in different cultures, traditions and religions.
  4. My natural gifts; empathy and listening!

It was time to make a difference!

The end result …’ Quit Job Sold House Changed Life’ … and I leapt into the frontline as a humanitarian worker.

What is the path you should be walking?

So if you are feeling a little lost or you look at where you are now in your life or career and you think to yourself, ‘How on earth did I get here?’….

Get busy and start to ask great questions and don’t wait for a crisis to occur to start the process!

It’s your life, every second counts!

As you start to let your passion and purpose bubble to the surface your whole life will change. If you don’t believe it, just try and see what happens.

What do you have to you to lose? Things change, we change.

Lets get started:

Frontline Thinking – My 6 Step Process to Finding out what path you should be walking?

Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question

Exercise 1. Things You Love To Do.

Writing at speed, note down 10 things that you really love to do, activities that when you are immersed in them time just flies. This could be something you did last week such as watching a beautiful sunset or when you were a teenager enjoying the thrill of racing around on your mountain bike.

When you have finished your list go back to the top and next to each activity write the date you last did it.

Salsa dancing July 2000

Exercise 2. Your Wish Is Your Command!

If you could have three wishes granted what would they be?

I wish …
I wish …
I wish …

Your answers will give you clues, pointers to explore and investigate.

Exercise 3. Smile And The World Will Smile Back

What makes you smile?
Seeing a newborn baby, watching a magic trick, taking a boat trip … activities, people, events, hobbies?

Exercise 4. You Are Talented!

What are you naturally good at? Social media, numbers, painting …skills, abilities, gifts etc.

Exercise 5. Teach What You Need To Learn!

Now look over your answers…any surprises?

As if you are putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together see what picture forms as you place all of your answers together.

Are there activities that you love but have forgotten, that you are going to commit to scheduling into next weeks diary?

  1. Keep these answers close by you.
  2. Cut out pictures that represent your findings and create a collage.
  3. Ponder over the answers in a quiet moment, first thing in the morning before you get out of bed, whilst on a long distance drive or doing the washing up.
  4. Let them percolate and be open to surprises and possibilities.

There is never an ending…only the beginning of something new…

There is never an ending…only the beginning of something new…

Thank you so much!

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