“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela
This weekend I had an interesting conversation regarding what is needed to work on your goals. The person I was talking to asked me one question – what do you do when you don’t know what you want to do?
My first impulse was to provide the cliche answer – do your passion. But I took a moment to think about the question before I made this answer.
There isn’t a wrong or right answer to this question. The answer is based on a personal examination of who you are and where you are at this moment in your life.
I believe that one of the reasons why we can’t figure out what to do is because we lack knowledge regarding the opportunities which are available for and to us.
The lack of exposure to resources, mentors, and action plans reinforces fears. The fear paralyzes and prevents action.
But there are ways to fix this issue. Here are 5 steps to take for when you don’t know what you want to do:
1. Recognize that you are stuck.
In order to move forward you have to recognize that you don’t know what to do. This opens your mind and heart to receiving messages of hope and choice.
2. Make a list of what you don’t like.
These are the job tasks, life tasks, salary, home, pet – anything that you don’t like in your life at this moment. Include weight, hair, car, hone – write or type everything which comes to mind. Try not to think hard go with what pops into your mind.
3. Write down a minimum of two reasons why you don’t like it.
If you can’t come up with at least 2 solid reasons, it may be a temporary circumstance. Here is an example:
I don’t like completing leave requests for work because it forces me to choose which events in my kids life are the most important. This makes medical appointment a priority over school plays, lunch with kids,and field day events. The other reason I don’t life leave requests is that I have to rely on someone else’s approval to plan my life.
Specificity regarding the corroborating reasons for your dislike will make the next step easier.
4. Rate the list from a scale of your own choosing.
Don’t make it complicated. This rating will allow you to prioritize and then make a decision about what you need to research.
Using the example of the leave requests, A few things I had to research were what kind of were would allow me to maintain. control of my time and what skills were needed to access those jobs.
5. Identify why you are currently unhappy where you are.
Now this may seem similar to step 4 but it is also very different. Unhappiness is a state of mind and it can stem from anxiety, stress, loneliness, illness, loss, etc. It can boost you up or tear you down.
Examining the cause and factors helps make you understand what you want to change. Knowing what to change and what you dislike gives you a foundation to build your new life from.
These are the 5 things I suggested when discussing how to know what to do when you don’t know what to do. Boy was that a mouthful. Let’s keep it simple. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you Google it. But this is your life and the only search engine you need to start is your own brain.
As you start this journey, allow yourself some grace. This state of uncertainty did not occur overnight and there are no magic pills which will improve your life.
You may not know what to do now, but it will come to you.
Til next time,
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?