- Don’t know what you want?
- Don’t know what fulfils you anymore?
- Know that there’s something missing?
- Really want to make a breakthrough… but don’t know what to aim for?
Finding the right direction in life is a problem that all of us face at some time.
When we are not clear about what we want we feel frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed and afraid. How that translates into our behaviour is usually through inaction. A place of indecisiveness means that we are reactive to our situation, surroundings, and people and we remain stuck with literally no movement in any direction. In fact, research has shown that when we are in this stuck state, it is extremely difficult to look at things from a proactive approach until we can clear the clutter and focus on what is really important to us.
What’s worse is when we don’t have the appropriate support around us, we start to listen to the negative chatter in our head, which only compounds the problem and heightens that state of fear. I know for myself, if I’m unclear about something or things aren’t happening the way I want them to – in other words, I have created expectations on how things “should” be – I feel disappointed, sad or frustrated. Sound familiar?
Whether you’re fresh out of university and figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, or you’ve realized that the life you’re living no longer serves you, these 7 steps will help you find direction.
7 Steps to Help You In Finding Your Direction:
- Be Still: – create the space you need to allow your mind to let go of all the “shoulds” and expectations so you can start to think about what’s possible. But, be sure to draw the line between thinking and over-thinking. With every obstacle that comes up, ask yourself: “Is this a genuine concern or am I using this as an excuse to not follow my passion because I feel scared.”
- Trust and Believe in Yourself: – “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” – Christian D. Larson. I love this quote as it really does summarize everything so beautifully. Know that you don’t have all the answers right now but in time, they will come.
- Take Action – Finding the right direction in life is not something that happens to you, it’s something you create. This means that, at some point, you’re going to have to stop thinking about taking action and act. One of the main reasons people don’t act is that they’re scared. They’re scared of messing up, scared of things not working out and scared of realizing that, actually, what they thought was the “right direction” isn’t right for them at all. You have permission to change your mind. Just because you take action doesn’t mean you’re committed to that path forever. If it doesn’t work out, that’s great! At least now you know that you need to go back and try something else. Taking action, living through the disaster scenarios, and coming out the other end with more know-how and wisdom is far better than not taking action at all.
- Notice What Makes You Happy – If you know that your current life direction isn’t meeting your needs, but you’re not sure what will, start to do some self-research. As you go through your daily life, notice when you feel most alive, most enthusiastic and most like you’re adding value. Ask yourself what activities present a positive challenge and which make time feel like it’s speeding up. Once you have that list, make a note of the common elements between those activities.
- Discover Your Strengths – We all have individual strengths, but sometimes it’s hard to identify them ourselves. Because our strengths come naturally to us, we’re not always aware that not everyone has a particular trait or skill that we take for granted. Taking a strengths test (such as the VIA Strengths Test) will give you more awareness of where your strengths lie, and perhaps a few more ideas of how you can use them to add value to the world.
- Focus on Your Values – Just as we all have individual strengths, we also have a set of core values that are deeply important to how we live our lives. The more we’re living in alignment with our core values, the happier we will be. If we’re not conscious of what these values are, we’re not necessarily going to make the best decisions regarding our life’s direction. To identify which values are must-haves in your life, find a list of values (Values list 2) and narrow down the top 10 and top three that resonate with you. Once you’re aware of them, you’ll be better equipped to make important decisions based on these values.
- Surround Yourself with Supportive People – Finding the right direction in life is a rewarding challenge that can involve a lot of trial and error. To give yourself the best chance of finding your right direction, you need to surround yourself with supportive people. Focus on what people do, rather than what they say. If someone says they have your best interests at heart but constantly tries to force their way of life or opinions on you or tells you why you can’t do what you want to do, that’s not support. Find a group of like-minded people who will respect your autonomy and still be there when you need them.