What do I really want to do with my life?
If you're like many of my clients, this is a question you've asked yourself at least once.
Maybe it's something you're thinking about right now.
It's a big, scary, and sometimes overwhelming question. It's a question that often seems to defy logic - especially if your current job looks pretty darn good on paper and isn't really that bad.
But here's the thing.
We get one chance at life.
We get one chance to make the type of impact we want to make in the world.
It's an important question.
While our typical starting point involves looking at what we want to do, I suggest a bit of a different approach.
1. How do I want to feel?
Usually, we have no clue what we want to do.
But it's typically pretty natural for us to identify how we want to feel.
Don't overthink it. Be with whatever arises.
Then write it all down. Sit with it, reflect on it, come back to it, and add to it as you're inspired to do so.
Here's my list.
Inspired, creative, radiant, expansive, alive, flow, connected, love.
2. What do I want my life to look like?
Second, think about how you want your life to look and be. This means reflecting on the following:
- What do I want my days to look like?
- How do I want to spend my time?
- Who am I surrounded by?
Spend some time reflecting on your vision for the next chapter. Remember, you're not focusing on what you're doing but rather how things are.
Get creative and get specific.
If you're a visual person, draw it out. Make a vision board. Let it simmer and add to it as more details come to you.
Here are some of the key pieces of my list.
I start my day with reflection and journaling. Mornings are reserved for independent, creative work. My days feel impactful and meaningful and free and expansive and spacious. I travel and work in beautiful, interesting, inspiring places and connect with interesting, inspired, and inspiring people. I connect with others in a deep, meaningful, and lasting way. I have choice. I focus on the things that feel most important, fulfilling, meaningful, and impactful. The work I do brings me joy. I spend quality, joyful time with the people I love. My days are bright and colorful and involve time in nature.
3. What makes me come alive?
Finally, think about the things that make you come alive.
These might be actions, they might be places, they might be talents you sometimes forget you have.
If you're not sure where to start, start here:
- How do I most love to spend my free time?
- What brings me joy?
- What did I love to do when I was younger?
- What are the gifts I love giving way to other people?
My list looks like this:
Being in nature, travel and adventure, beautiful, colorful and delicious food, inspiring and inspired people, places, and perspective, deep human connection, possibility and transformation, teaching, learning, growing.
Then, step back and take a look at what you've written down.
What do you notice about how you want to feel, how you want to be, and the things that make you come alive?
You might find this list to be a little squishy. You'll notice that it doesn't start with resume review or LinkedIn updates.
Einstein said "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Jumping straight to the job search without first looking at how we want our life to look would be just that.
If we skip straight to the "doing" and start applying for jobs without first looking at the "being," we'll end up back where we started.
Even if we're doing work we love, if we're doing it in a way that doesn't feel good, we're not going to feel fulfilled.
I share my lists with you because they've been a constant compass for me.
They've also caused me a few "oh $%&! moments when I've realized that while I was doing work I loved, I was going down a path of creating something very different than the vision I feel so strongly about.
They've forced me to be accountable and forced me to stop, step back, and make some changes in service of what's most important.
So, while considering the question of what you want to do, I invite you to pause and instead ask, how do I want my life to be?
Then, after you've spent some quality time with this question, we can tackle that resume review.