So, we find ourselves at a proverbial (or not so proverbial) crossroads in life, ready to create our dream life. What do I want to do with my life? And what if…. I don’t know what I want exactly? When faced with this daunting question, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I mean, who has this life-thing figured out completely? Reminds me of my high school graduation, when my parents and teachers sat me down asking this very same question. Thirty years and several life-times later, I honestly can’t say that I have a real answer.
I thought I had to have it all figured out, swilling in the fear that I should have it all figured out. Of course, our family wants this for us, just as we want this for our family. But the reality of the situation is that most people don’t know what they truly want. Because of this, crossroads can be scary and even dreadful. But … they can also be exciting, filled with opportunity, to learn, to grow, to become.
How do I choose when the choice is not clear?
Step 1: Choose to choose
Standing in front of multiple options, weighing the potential consequences against each other… right, wrong, up, down …. choice can be overwhelming. We make a million choices every day. Some choices are intentional, some choices are by default. But when we choose not to choose, we are allowing circumstances to make the choice for us. No choice is still a choice, and is called “living by default”. Pull yourself out of the emotional dungeon of regret, and stand in the lightness of opportunity. Own your ability to choose! And then decide to decide!
Step 2: Trust
Each choice brings a different path. Each path has a different outcome and surprises that could have never been predicted. Are the surprises opportunity or misfortune? Your perspective determines the answer. Trust yourself. Trust that you will see the opportunity in every situation, regardless of the outcome. Trust that every event in your life, because of your choice, is fortune.
Step 3: Listen
What makes me happy? What brings me joy? What feels good to me? The answers can be simple: Watching children learn. Helping people. Being creative. Making people laugh. Step into the concept that this journey offers no assurances, that our perspective decides our outcome. This allows us stillness in which we can listen to our true selves. Within this stillness we create the building blocks to your journey.
Step 4: Know the “what”. Let go of the “how”.
When I decided I wanted to be an author, I didn’t exactly know what my book was going to be about. In fact, the book is still a work in progress. What I knew is that I wanted to write, to both express myself and to share my experiences in a way that may make a positive difference in someone’s life. So many times I set out to achieve a goal, finding the journey offered me opportunities beyond my wildest imagination. Each step took me toward my goal, although it wasn’t the exact path I had intended. Flexibility on “how” you will there is vital. A vision is an image of where you want to go, who you want to be, or what you want to have. Know your destination, and let go of how that journey will unfold.
Step 5: Be OK with baby steps
“What do I want to do with my life” is such a big question. Take baby steps. Dip your toe into this new journey. Test the waters of each opportunity. Uncertainty can be a difficult place for people to live, yet life is ironically full of uncertainty. The beauty about just taking a stab at it and moving forward, is that you are moving forward. All too often people get stuck asking themselves the same question over and over, paralyzed by the need to have an answer. There is no perfect answer ! Just pick something and GO.
What if I still don’t know what I want?
If you find yourself in a place where you cannot find a direction, a “what”, do a few of the below exercises.
- Write down 10 things you want to change in your life
- Grab a journal. Get yourself in a meditative state, quiet place, free from distractions. Using a free-flow method of writing, describe your perfect day. What time do you get up? What do you wear? Where are you? What is your work? How do you feel when you work? Who is with you?
Write down the details by describing the sights, smells, sounds, and even your thoughts.