We’re told from an early age to “follow our dreams, passions, and interests” but interests change, and dreams can die out. What advice is left for those of us who are unsure of where we fit and what our next step should be? Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you are unsure of your next phase of life, are a bit lost, or questioning where you belong.
- Rule out what you know you don’t want. Yes I’ve heard of the idea of not focusing on what we don’t like or want, but being clear on what you don’t want in a job, partner, roommate can help you figure out what you do want. Through the process of elimination, you could figure out what type of job you’d never take again or things you can’t compromise within a relationship. By finding out what you don’t want, it can slowly open up doors and ideas to what you do want.
- Make a list of what you are interested in and what you value. If you’re looking at career possibilities, think of skills that you have or want to develop that are necessary for that job. Do you like more hands on work? Physical jobs? That would probably rule out the typical 9-5 office positions. If you’re trying to reorganize your life, write a list of the top 3 things you want to make sure you do each and every day. Mine are writing, homework, and biking (or some form of exercise).
- You don’t have to turn your passions or hobbies into your career. Have you felt the pressure to turn your love of music, dance, writing, yoga into a full blown career? The answer is, you don’t have to. Although I’m sure many would disagree here, but realistically it may not be the best option financially. Establishing a hobby and turning it into a career can take time. Lots and lots of time. It doesn’t mean that it should amount to an unstable life financially. Work while cultivating your passions for what they are—passions. Things that we love to do just because we love it, not because we have to for money.
- Focus on other areas. If you are lost in your career, don’t obsess over what you should do next. Maybe what you should do is absolutely nothing. Focus on other areas of your life. Your health and fitness, relationships, or hobbies. There is more to life than just one thing and one area. Although a career, or lack thereof, can cause a huge rift, sometimes taking the focus off of what you should do relieves the stress and pressure you put on yourself. It’s okay to just not know. It’s okay to say “you know what, I’m still figuring things out.”
- Keep an open mind. Try new things! It’s okay to learn that some things are just not for you. Trying something new and keeping an open mind can help expand your ideas and thoughts about a certain position, company, relationship, lifestyle etc. Sometimes we have a preconceived notion of what something is going to be like, and it ends up surprising us in a good way. Sometimes we’re completely right about something and it just goes into our “what you know we don’t want” category. Keeping an open mind can lead us to exciting opportunities we never previously considered.
Questioning our next step in life is natural and essential to getting closer to what we want or need. Whether it is figuring out the next phase of a career, schooling, or relationship, it can take time to a get to a place where we feel is right. A step in any direction can help us find what we like or what we know we don’t want. Sometimes standing still and turning our focus on other parts of our lives can help us relax in order to make our next move. Have you ever felt stuck in your career or relationship? What steps do you take to figure out your next move? Let me know in the comments section!