So you have no idea about what you’re doing with your life or what to do next?
We have gathered some valuable advice that might help you along the way.
Author | Psychotherapist | Hypnotherapist | Public Speaker
Learn how to think smarter and getting your mind to focus properly
You are not alone! Many people have no idea what they’re doing with their lives and for those who do, life will ensure they don’t get too comfortable as it has a way of moving their cheese every once in a while.
When people don’t have any idea what they’re doing with their life it’s usually because either their parents didn’t set them up as an independent thinking young person, or their parents did but the child somehow got off track. Either way, it’s never too late to recalibrate our inner GPS.
We can redeem ourselves by learning how to think smarter and then getting our minds to focus properly.
We learn to think smarter by gaining exposure to those who have proven themselves. Since most of the time, we don’t actually have access to those people, I highly recommend delving head first into self-improvement books, Youtube, podcasts, and biographies. Pick someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and then study what they did so you can replicate it.
Equally as important is learning about how your brain works. First, it’s important to understand you have one brain and two minds. You have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. To understand why your life is in the state that it currently is, you must take a look at what’s not working in your favor.
This gives an indication of your subconscious programming that typically occurs between birth and 7 years old. If you want to fix your specific problems, you must first know what your actual problems are. There’s a lot to be discovered under the surface of “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life”.
Change certain unconscious thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors
Once you understand how your two minds work, and how they might be working against you because of your childhood programming, you can begin to change certain unconscious thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. You can also begin to control your conscious mind better by becoming the driver of your life. Once you decide to actually drive your life, you can begin to focus on where you actually want to go. “Hello somebody”, as my Pastor sometimes says. Are we awake yet?
We must consciously awaken to that which has been unconsciously hidden from us for years. We’ve been living in oblivion and just didn’t know it. Now we can learn to “think” properly. We’re all born with a brain capable of thinking, but we must be taught “how” to think. It doesn’t just happen naturally. From here, we can begin asking ourselves the important questions:
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose on earth?
- What is my spirit calling me to do?
- What am I naturally inclined to do?
- What problem can I solve for society?
In this way, we begin to be the cause and not the effect of our thoughts. Even more significant is that when we realize our lives really aren’t for us, perse, but rather for us to live in service of humanity, we begin to find a purposeful and dignified direction to move into.
This is the difference between an ego driven life and a spirit-consciousness driven life. To recognize the difference, the former will say “I want”, and the latter will say “How can I serve”. This is the start of answering the fundamental question “What am I doing with my life”.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
Challenge yourself by trying new things and learning what you’re capable of
A lot of people go through the crisis of “I have no idea what I am doing with my life”. These people tend to not be on a path toward something they are passionate about, and this can leave them feeling lost, vulnerable and frustrated with themselves. It can be hard to be in such a position, and it can feel like a desperate need to find direction in life.
A great way to handle these kinds of feelings is to embrace it. If you do not know which way to go in life, try putting yourself in an uncomfortable position. When we are comfortable, we cannot grow. When we challenge ourselves by trying new things and learning about what we are capable of, the question of where to go in life narrows into a realistic goal. It is also important to remember that your passion can be outside of work.
Some people simply work to live, and that’s okay! Pursuing your passions outside of work is a good thing to do, especially if your interests are not lucrative.
Business Success & Professional Coach | Inspirational Speaker | Author, “PeacePower Profits: Why You Don’t Have It, How To Get It”
Explore the ACT Breakthrough Success Model
You are a unique person with a unique internal Guidance system which is present to direct you towards happiness and fulfillment in your life. Lack of awareness and disconnection from this source causes confusion, identity crisis and misdirected efforts to achieve fulfillment.
Unless you recognize that this connection exists and tune into it, life’s events will continue to appear to be ad-hoc and meaningless, leaving you feeling lost.
There are three important elements in finding what you need to do with your life. I’ve described it in a framework or model: The Peace Power Profits ACT Breakthrough Success Model. In this model, ACT is Awareness, Creation, and Transformation. The first place to start is with awareness.
Awareness requires that you first become aware of who you are, the actions you’re taking and how they impact you and others. This requires a reconnection to Source; what I call Superconsciousness.
This is a still small voice inside that usually generates a gut sensation when something is right or not right for you. Being attuned to this and understanding what the sensations mean, is the biggest factor in helping you to know what to do with your life.
The second piece to awareness requires tuning in to others. Not in the sense that you allow them to overwhelm your sense of self. But rather to notice how they impact you, your results and even the thoughts you have of yourself. Too often people allow others’ impression or opinion to impact their lives, tuning out their own internal guidance, which when followed, always leads to a place of satisfaction and peace in the end.
The third piece of awareness is awareness of your environment. Yes, your organized space is important. But it is much more than this. It’s paying attention to the elements in your environment which often are messengers to your healing and fulfillment. Without awareness, however, you’ll never get to a place of identifying what to do with your life.
Creation is the next process you follow once your awareness is engaged. This allows you to dream to plan to set in motion from a vibrational and practical standpoint, the things your awareness cues you into as being important.
Transformation is the process of executing on those things you have created as a result of your awareness. The three action interchangeably and not always linearly. Following this initial step will get you further along the journey of knowing what to do with your life.
Author | Consultant/Coach with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology
As an Academic Dean, I worked with traditional and adult students who wanted a college degree but had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives. Often students have been told they can do anything they want and have been told that they have all the time they need to figure it out.
This might work in our 20s but as people approach their 30s, a bit of panic sets in. Many students choose a default degree, such as business, thinking they can at least make money, but with no sense of direction. Here are my suggestions:
Go out in the world and see what the options are
There are more careers than college majors. Talk with people who have different careers. Shadow people at work. Explore and stay open to options. You can say no when something does not fit. But be willing to say maybe to new options. It is fine to listen to advice from your friends and family, but you do not need to take their advice. You need to find a direction that works for you.
Read Barbara Shers book “I could do anything if I knew what it was”
Read other books on topics that you find engaging. You might be interested in ideas and topics you did not know existed. Expand your world.
Life is more than just a job
What we need is a sense of meaning and purpose. There needs to be a balance between your emotional, spiritual, physical and financial worlds.
You might not have a career that guarantees a million dollar savings account, but you might enjoy it and be good at it. You might improve the lives of the people you work with by being a great team member. Or perhaps clients love working with you because you make them feel heard. You might be in a life stage that requires you to focus on children or older parents, but this is just a life stage.
We often live our lives in stages, some that are more fulfilling than others. We can find meaning and purpose in each stage, and be open to a different focus in another stage.
So perhaps right now you feel that you do not know what you are doing with your life. But perhaps you are being the best person you can be in this situation and need to ride it out. At the same time be open to new opportunities. And lastly, be willing to talk with experts on career, spiritual, physical or emotional coaching.
Author | Founder & Creative Consultant of Tephra Miriam Communications
Follow your passions and you’ll never go wrong
In my current work, I interact with a lot of people who are just starting out in the workforce. One question that I commonly ask is “What core values do you live by?”
Unfortunately, many people struggle to answer this question and this is a problem. Many of us have lost our grounding. We don’t know who we are or what we want because we’ve allowed society to answer these questions for us. When I mentor individuals I always start with the ‘because’. In essence, I always ask, ‘You want to do this because…’ and I encourage them to fill in the blanks.
The why of it all is what gets us through the obstacles that life throws our way. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned throughout my journey is to be resilient and this applies to whether you’re starting from scratch or recreating yourself.
I’ve learned that resilience is highly underrated, yet it is necessary to stand strong in the face of endless disappointment and limited opportunity. It’s not about falling down, it’s about growing the resilience in ourselves to get back up.
Finding your path in life also comes down to how you define success and even happiness. A great place to start is to cultivate your curiosity. What are you passionate about or curious about? Follow your passions and you’ll never go wrong. Successful people are often successful because they are doing the very thing that they would be doing, no matter if they made money at it or not.
Academic and Career Coach | Founder & Owner, Life Lived by Design
Discover tools that will help you explore the life you want to lead
There are several tools that will help someone imagine and explore what kind of life they want to lead and who they want to be.
The purpose of a guided vision is to walk the person through a series of questions that will allow that person’s imagination to paint a vivid picture of something. In the scenario of determining what to do with their life, a great guided vision would walk the participant through the perfect day 10 years from now.
The benefit of utilizing the guided vision format rather than simply writing out answers to predetermined questions is that it frees up the mind to go in any direction as fast or slow as it wants to go. The participant doesn’t answer the questions out loud but rather notices what comes to mind as the various questions are posed. It works best in a quiet setting with eyes closed followed by several minutes of free-writing. Participants in guided visions are often surprised by what comes to light.
Wheel of Life
This is a great tool to gain perspective on current circumstances. Simply draw a circle and divide it into an eight-piece pie. Each slice of the pie represents a different aspect of a person’s life (e.g. work, family, friends, health, school, finances, fun, spirituality, etc.).
Participants can add or remove slices to represent what they see as the various facets that make up their life circumstances. Within each category, the participant then rates their own current level of satisfaction (10 being the most satisfied and 1 being the least satisfied). This tool provides clarity on what’s going well and what’s not going well and helps the individual identify areas on which they’d like to focus.
For those who are looking for more personal guidance, they can check out a recent series on identifying what is truly at the core of the life they are striving for. It is a four-part short video series that walks participants through the idea of utilizing a compass as their tool to guide them through life, how to find their true north, how to leverage their true north, and determining their life non-negotiables.
Author | Speaker | Coach
Plan and write a vision for your life
First of all, breathe. Every one literally feels this way at some point in their lives. It’s normal and okay. Second, the fact you’re worried and asking is a sign you recognize you’re not living up to your full potential. So, you need to focus on finding out what your “why” for living is and how to get to a place that makes you proud.
You do not have to think you’re stuck. Instead, focus on what you really like.
What brings you joy? What would you do all day for free and love it? This is helping you find your passion. Passion does not always pay the bills. So, what are you doing today that will help you get there and not be broke? Make a plan, write a vision for your life. Now, you’re no longer confused or feeling left behind. You know exactly what you want. So, work towards it daily little by little.
Your big why is your purpose. As you dabble in your passion (which might not be your day job), You’ll get clues that lead you to purpose. But purpose requires you to grow up, to focus, to lead in some way.
Are you ready? Then, keep moving forward. It will find you. Good luck and keep moving forward. No staying stuck. Do it anyway!
Author | Coach | Speaker
Know your passion and talents
In order to know what you want to do with your life, you need to know who you are. It will take the energy to really look at yourself and the courage to stop looking at what everyone else is telling you would be the right path.
I guide all of my clients to begin by looking at passion. In order to live an exceptional life you have to have the determination to work hard and be curious and creative, and that only comes when you are doing something you love.
But passion alone is not enough! You will look at your talents and combine them with your passion to focus in on the place where you can really begin to add value in a unique way. For example, your passion may be children but talents can lead you to be a pediatrician or a preschool teacher!
You also want to know what success looks like to you. Is it money? Or freedom? Kindness? Creativity? You will certainly have a list of a few characteristics that you believe makes someone a success. A simple way to discover what you think success means is to look at people you admire and figure out why.
Lastly, look at happiness. What do you need? Big city? Country? Free coffee? Travel for work? Make a long list of what makes you happy.
By combining passion, talent, success, and happiness you get a clear picture of who you are. And you can use this knowledge to guide your decisions about what to do with your life. By aligning your choices with your authentic self, you will be living an exceptional, fulfilling life.
Therapist and Social Worker
Write down your objectives and goals and then go for it
If there was a magic wand to figure out what to do next, everyone would want it. Getting your life together really isn’t for the faint of heart. There are blood, sweat, and tears that go into the process.
It becomes harder the older you get because there are more barriers to having the time to figure it out. You have bills and responsibilities and the daily stresses of life. It’s normal to have a certain level of uncertainty but sometimes you have to act while scared. Do the vision board, write down objectives and goals and then go for it.
Failure isn’t the end of the world and growth happens when you go outside of your comfort zone and do something different that’s unfamiliar.
Life is lived in real time and we are all doing the best we can. Decide each day to do something that helps you become a better version of yourself and be consistent in doing it. You’ll be fine.
Certified Executive Career Coach | Certified Professional Resume Writer, First Impression Career Services, LLC
Use words and images to identify your goals
Recently, I led a vision board workshop in which attendees used words and images to identify their goals. The feedback I received was that many of the attendees were so busy taking care of family members that they neglected thinking about their own needs.
Recognizing what you want to do with your life takes time and introspection. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for connecting with what you want or need:
Create an action list
Some ideas include information gathering about something that interests you; sharing your goals with a friend, loved one, coach, or mentor; saving money; decluttering your home, workspace, or car. Even the act of planning is a positive step.
Track your progress
You may not reach your target in one fell swoop. However, recognizing you are making headway will keep you motivated. Memorialize your triumphs – even the small ones – in a journal.
The journey and associated awarenesses may prove more important than your intended outcome. Be willing to shift gears as new information and insights appear.
Positive Psychology Author | Happiness Coach, The Finding Your Path Project
Take time to look inwards
When I finished school I had no idea what I would do with my life. I was riddled with anxiety and felt completely overwhelmed by the endless amount of choices.
While I understand that choice is a privilege and this is definitely a first world problem, it is still a very real one at that. Many students just like me, leave the school gates each year confused by which direction they will head.
So how can we find our direction? With so many shoulds and coulds, it’s important that we take time to look inwards.
Whenever I feel stifled by indecision, I take time to reflect on what is important to me. What I’m interested in, without putting too much pressure on a single right answer about my future, by stopping and thinking about what feels right for now.
If I could go back in time and give my younger stressed out self one piece of advice, I would tell her to keep moving forward and trying new things without feeling the pressure to have it all figured. I would encourage her to trust that if she continues to stay mindful of her own interests and keeps growing as a person, then her path will unfold as it should.
Founder and Director, The Oculus Institute
Find your purpose
If you don’t what you’re doing with your life, then that’s actually a sign of intelligence and independence: it means that you’ve chosen to question the programming and conditioning you’ve absorbed your entire life. Very few people do this!
So what to do next? First, you want to get clear on your purpose. Purpose will, among other things, have all of the following characteristics:
- It will focus on activities that are a match for your natural preferences (for example, an introvert should not do sales and someone who doesn’t like detail should not be a tax accountant)
- It will align you with a mission that resonates with your general motivational tendencies
- It will allow you to fulfill your specific, personal core values (getting truly clear on these requires a lot of self-discovery; it can help to find a mentor/coach).
Next, operationalize that purpose into a career that meets your financial targets (which is far more possible than most people realize). Then, lay out the steps between wherever you are now and where you want to go. Finally, execute with passion, drive, conviction, and resilience.
Aside from finding purpose, the procedure is fairly simple, though it is by no means easy. Such is it with all things worthwhile in life!
Multimedia Storyteller, Kihek Creations
Write down ideas and goals
It is normal to come to a state in your life where you are uncertain about your next steps. As humans, we are on a journey of recreating ourselves and never becoming a finished product.
Have a notebook and a pen you can carry around and write down your ideas. Next, understand that everything is “figureoutable” by doing.
Experience allows you to learn about yourself. Figure out what you enjoyed, and what you disliked. Try new things with a belief that you can do anything. Utilize resources online to learn about industries and career of your interest, shadow or interview a professional in the field, and find out how you can test the waters via internship or volunteering.
Related: How to Get an Internship
Write goals. It is important to celebrate the small wins in life. Exercise that gratitude muscle, focus on your progress and deduce how to improve your habits, mindsets, and skills. Lastly, embrace uncertainty like an adventure. You will be amazed by your own self-discovery.
Civil Litigation Attorney | Author of “50 After 50–Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life”
Stretch your comfort zone and try out new things
At age 50, I had to start over. I got divorced and sober from alcoholism, became an empty-nester, and was living alone for the first time in my life.
To explore the contours of how I wanted to live the next chapter of my life, I tried 50 new things in my fiftieth year, including physical challenges, lifestyle changes, spiritual endeavors, learning & teaching, travel, and thrill-seeking adventures.
Stretching my comfort zone and trying new things and ways of living distilled for me what was most important to me and how I would design my life in accordance with my values.
Sometimes it takes chaos or coming to a valley in life to prompt someone to make real change. Every person and situation has the capacity to teach us something if we are open to the lesson. Because I was ready to change everything in my life and take a hard and honest look at my actions, I was able to grow. As a result, my whole outlook on life has changed.
I am grateful every day for the blessings I have and take time to appreciate them; I am now deeply intentional with how I use the precious and limited commodity of time, and I try each day to drink fully from the cup of life.
It’s your life, and it’s up to you what you do with it! And each day, you get a new opportunity to craft part of your story.
Mindset Expert | A host of personal development program “Dream Sprint”
Take a closer look into your envy and jealousy
One tip that always helps with defining what is it that you really want is to take a closer look into your envy and jealousy. You may think “oh no, I never experience these bad stuff”.
What happens, in reality, is that we tend to suppress those emotions because society perceives them as “negative“.
But actually, those emotions are upside down dreams and desires that we don’t allow in our lives. Once you find what you want with all your heart – the Universe will conspire to make it happen. Your life will fill up with purpose. It’s not easy. It requires a commitment to personal growth.
Former Career Ambassador at the George Washington University | Founder, Transizion
Visualize your goals and the direction you want your life to go
I’ve been in this position before. Here’s what I have to say:
Imagine what your future looks and feels like. Imagine all the things you want out of life – adventure, happiness, money, freedom – you name it. Imagine how you want to spend your future, what your work and passion look like.
Once you have this image, I want you to reverse engineer the steps from your goal to where you are now. In other words, work backward to create the steps it takes to get from your goal to your current position in life. This will help visualize your goals and the direction in which you want your life to go.
Next, you seriously need to be honest with yourself. It’s perfectly fine to be uncertain of your path, but it’s just as important to commit to it. You’ll doubt yourself, you’ll doubt your path, but you need to commit to pressing forward.
Finally, do your best and don’t think too much about the future. Take it step by step. You can figure it out along the way. As long as you visualize your future and work toward it, the plan will fall into place.
Quiet your mind to allow the ideas to come to the surface
We all already have the answers we seek! Unfortunately, the answers are buried deep within our minds!
Every day, our minds are preoccupied with work, taking care of our families, and ourselves. Thousands of thoughts flood our minds every moment. So, if we already have the solutions in our minds, how do we access them?
Find a way to quiet your mind. Fancy a walk in nature? What about meditation? Try a train ride! All the treasures are there waiting in your mind to be uncovered, but you have to quiet your mind to access the bounty. We just don’t realize how much “chatter” we have cluttering our minds every moment until we give our minds a rest.
Case in point, J.K. Rowling, in 1990, in a state of total despair, came up with the idea for Harry Potter while riding a train from Manchester to London. She described the idea as coming out-of-nowhere about a boy wizard that goes to wizard school not knowing he’s a wizard!
At that point in her life, everything had gone wrong and she was totally at a loss of what to do or where to turn. She wasn’t thinking of anything as she watched the landscape pass by. Her mind was quiet as she watched the landscape when the idea bubbled to the surface of her mind rising up through her sadness and despair!
It was a long 17-year journey from the time the idea entered her mind to the point where she became the most successful author of all time, but she never strayed from her original idea that came to her that day on the train! It was the catalyst idea for the rest of her life!
So, to find yourself, you have to enter the deep recesses of your mind, and the way to do that is to find a way you can quiet your mind to allow the ideas to come to the surface. Ideas can’t surface through a cluttered mind. You have to quiet the chatter first before the answers will be revealed!
Try it! You’ll thank me later!
Chief Growth Officer, Trupex, LLC
Start by taking the first step towards something
Are you 30 and still don’t have it figured out? You are not alone. Growing up, I believed that by the time a person became 30, they had life figured. That somehow magically all the pieces fell together.
As I approached 30 I realized that is not the truth at all. We are continually learning and growing. For many in their 20s, they were finishing school, or perhaps they never started school because they didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. Either way, life will throw curve balls in your direction. The best piece of advice I was ever given was from my grandpa.
“The next 4 years of your life will go by whether you do something with it or not.”
I can not tell you how many times I used that same phrase to help me get started. Sometimes people do not know what they want to do in their life, so they never begin. But the trick is, you just have to start. Take the first step towards something, and you may be surprised at how easily the pieces start falling together.