I have four young kids so I often find myself watching Disney Pixar animated movies. At first it felt like torture but I have to admit I have learned to love the stories and admire the artistry that goes into these movies.

Anyway, in the Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo there is a character named Dori that has short term memory loss and can’t seem to remember what happened just one minute ago. There is a scene in which her partner, Marlin, gives up all hope because they’ve just lost the one piece of evidence that could lead them to Marlin’s son, Nemo. Dori, however, has already forgotten the mistake and simply says, “When life gets you down do you know what you got to do? You just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Marlin could not get past the mistake and was ready to accept defeat. On the other hand, Dori, because of her short term memory loss, forgot about the mistake and simply moved on. In her dimwitted yet ingratiating naiveté Dori actually saved the mission by pointing out that they shouldn’t give up or cower in fear but instead must push on and continue swimming even though they have no clear direction.

She had no idea where they were going or what to look for but she knew that their best chance at success was to keep going. Although they had very little chance of finding Nemo, Dori knew that if they were to give up and quit they had zero chance. By continuing to swim they were at least keeping themselves in the game, giving themselves a chance.

I believe that we can all take a lesson from Dori. How many times have we let a mistake cripple us and prevent us from moving forward? How many times have we been lost in life or had no idea what to do next?

“We need to keep moving because movement, no matter how slow or directionless, gets us closer to our dreams than standing still can ever do.”

In these situations the worst thing we can do is to stop swimming. Even if we have no direction or idea of what to do next we must keep swimming. We need to keep moving because movement, no matter how slow or directionless, gets us closer to our dreams than standing still can ever do.

If we simply hide in the corner and put off today’s problems for tomorrow we will end up in the same spot we are today. We will end up staying in that relationship that is eating us alive or end up continuing in that job that we hate. But, if we keep moving forward we at least have a chance.

Now, you may be saying, “But I have no idea what I want to do and so I have no idea where to move next.” I get it. That is one of the biggest challenges in life. Many times I have felt like I have all of the energy in the world and want to sprint to the finish line but I have no idea where the finish line is. That’s OK. If you don’t know where the finish line is your best chance at finding it is to simply start running, no matter which direction. By running, you will slowly but surely start to figure out the course and learn where the finish line is.

OK, let’s get specific. Let’s assume that you are in a job that you hate and know you want to do something different but have no idea what that is. Should you just sit back and wait for an epiphany? Of course not! You need to start moving. But where? You need to start small. Break down your situation and work with the facts you have. What are those? Well, we know that you hate the job you are in and want another. That’s all we know but that is actually a lot of information. So let’s start there and “keep swimming”.

The first thing you should do is explore the job you are in and why you hate it. The purpose of this is to clearly outline what you don’t want in your next job, otherwise you risk making the same mistake all over again. Take inventory and list out the reasons you dislike your job. Is it your company? Your boss? The role itself? Whatever your reasons, be honest with yourself and write down your dislikes so that you can know what you want to avoid in your next job. It may not seem like much but believe me you are swimming and thus making strides forward.

Next, start to explore your interests, passions, and desires. You need to look inward to determine what you truly want out of a career. Do you want to serve people? Do you want to work for a certain kind of company? Do you want to work in a field that sparks your interest like music, sports, or technology? This subject alone can take an entire book so we won’t dive into all of the details but the key is to get to know yourself better and explore your true interests. Again, it may seem like a small step but hey, it is a step forward which draws you closer to the finish line.

Let’s look at what you have done so far. You hate your job and want something different but instead of sitting back and just complaining you started to explore what you dislike about your current job and what your true interests are. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that your “dream job” will fall out of the sky and land in your lap after this brief exploration. But, I will promise you that you will be much closer to finding your dream job than if you were to just sit on your butt.

You don’t need to solve all of your problems in one day or discover your dream job overnight. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other and take a small step, even if you don’t know which direction you are going. All you need to do is…keep swimming!