When I was ten I wanted to be a nursery nurse. I was quite specific about this. But I’m 31 and I’ve still never changed a nappy. Then I think I wanted to be a lawyer? I’m sure there were some other things on the list, long gone from memory and deleted from the career drawing board.
Some days I feel like I’m getting closer to knowing what I might like to do with my life, but mostly I find myself asking the question, how are we supposed to know what to do with our precious lives? Do you know what I mean friend?
I guess some people wake up when they are seven and they decide they want to be a doctor and that’s it. Their life course is set. I think these people are pretty lucky. They’ve never sat and wondered what they should do or could do with their days because they’ve already got a plan. Other people know their life’s work is to just ‘be’, to enjoy the ride and take life as it comes. I think these people are pretty lucky too.
And then there is us, friend. The people who seem to be searching in all the wrong places.
The truth is, I don’t think anyone really knows what the plan is. But I think that’s the point. The struggle and the search is what makes the journey worthwhile. It’s what makes it an adventure.
So, how are you supposed to know what to do with your life?
The last few months, I’ve been looking into this question a lot (I guess that’s what happens when you quit your job). I’ve had great conversations with friends, read interesting books and listened to ALOT of podcasts. My research has taught me that it first comes down to one thing, a conscious decision. The decision to make a change with your life. There is no point pondering what you might do or might not do unless you are willing to make a change.
Are you willing to make a change?
I always thought I would change my life on a Monday. It seems like the most logical and sensible of days. A Monday is great day to start a new diet or a new habit. It’s fresh and clean, with no mistakes in it yet. But the problem with Monday is that she rolls around too quickly. One minute it’s Sunday and your pumped and ready for your “new routine to change your life”, and then before you know it, it’s Tuesday evening. Monday just sort of happened to you and it melted into Tuesday morning, which morphed into Tuesday afternoon. But then you think, “hell, Monday happens every week”, so you give yourself the luxury of starting again next week or the week after that. You fool yourself into thinking you’ve got all the time in the world.
So I decided to change my life on a Wednesday. I couldn’t risk a Monday, she was too dangerous. I decided one Wednesday that I would quite literally write myself a new life and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. This decision was the catalyst, the inciting incident that is leading me on the journey to discover what I’m supposed to do with my life.
But what about you?
There is so much for you in this world.
People will try and trick you and make you think there isn’t enough to go around. It’s called scarcity. The idea that the good things are in short supply. The idea that there are already enough people doing it better than you ever could. Scarcity makes you give up before you even begin. Scarcity makes you question what you should be doing with your life because you’ve already crossed out so many things. You’ve shot yourself down and talked yourself out of it before you’ve even begun. The good things, the things that you know deep down you really really want. Friend, I’m telling you, there is more than enough to go around. Don’t let scarcity stop you fro trying to figure out what you want to do with your life.
There is this horrible rumour that’s spending, the that you missed the boat. Just because someone else got there first or because someone else is in a different place in their journey to you, that you are too late. You’ve missed your chance.
That’s a lie.
Your dreams, your ideas, your story is different – it’s unique and it’s beautiful but you’ve got to fight for it. To figure out what you are supposed to do with your life takes time and energy and a hell of a lot of work. So I’ve listed some practical steps to help you make a good start.
Practical steps you can take, to start to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do with your life:
- Know what your perfect day looks like. If you can’t describe what your one single perfect day would look like, how to do you expect to craft a life that feels good? How do you expect to make plans and figure out what you want to do for the rest of your WHOLE life if you can’t describe your perfect day? Read more about this here.
- Know what you value. When we try and decide what to do with our lives we are often drawn to work. What sort of job we want? We spend a lot of time at work, it needs to be the right fit. Instead of thinking about what job will complete your life, think about what values you have and how you could try and make a job fit with those. Do you value honesty or compassion? What about creativity? What work would allow you to practice your values every day?
- Know who you are. If you know yourself and who you want to be, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Your contribution, you as you are, is more than enough.
- Keep asking questions. Like, where do you get your energy from? What brings you joy? What is your end goal? These questions lead you to the answer.
- Keep reinventing. We are allowed to change our minds. One year, we might think we have things figured out. But we change and grow and so does our need for ‘more’ or less. So keep reinventing yourself. Change your career, your hair your goals. Keep moving forward. The answer to what you should do with your life will be constantly changing too. Don’t get stuck.
- Keep Going. As long as your intent is good and pure. Keep going. Even when it’s hard.
- Listen. Listen to what your body is telling you. Do you feel stressed by certain things, stay away! Do you feel excited and energised by others – find a way to bring more of that into your life. Make space in your life to listen to what you need.
- Do stuff. Try things, don’t fade into mid-life without trying to search for the life you’ve always wanted. Do things, even if they make you feel uncomfortable or if they make you feel silly. What’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t try things, you’ll keep holding yourself in limbo. Struggling to make decisions and worry about what other people think. You’re asking the killer question for a reason, so standing still isn’t going help.
- And finally. Surround yourself with people who believe in your limitless potential. Who are your people? You become like the 5 people you spend most of your time with. Do they encourage you to seek a life worth writing about? A life that sets their heart on fire? If not, you might need a new crowd.
You can’t look to someone else to give you the answer.
Start by crafting your life, think of it as a project. Build a version of your week that feels good, a version that looks the way you’d hoped. Then a month. A holiday. A year. Start by saving memories and crafting your story into one you can’t wait to tell.
You already know how the story will end. You’ve just got to put in the work. It’s been building and growing through your years of trial and error. Your years of learning and failing. But that’s the whole point. You’ve got to put in the work to make the journey worthwhile. You’ve got to put in the time to answer the question. What are you going to do with your life?
I can help you work on chapters of your life. I can help you curate memories by working to reflect and savour some of the moments of your life that feel great. Start by downloading my FREE travel reflection guide and join my weekly newsletter where we talk all things story and work together, to live a life worth writing about.