There are many of us that simply do not have life figured out, or at least that is what we tell ourselves. “Figuring it out” is a very scary notion, especially around the holidays when extended family and friends put all the emphasis on what you do, as if it defines who you are. But, there is an answer out there to be found....
Aside from the onslaught of judgement handed down by others judging your personal journey, you are your own worst enemy. You are constantly comparing yourself to your peers...where are they in their careers and in their relationships? You feel you should be on a similar path, or, at the very least, on par with them. This can lead you down a very slippery slope.
The first step in figuring it all out is to stop doing this - to stop comparing yourself to others. Your journey and your career is just that – it’s yours. Think of it this way...Imagine you are running a race against your peers and each runner has certain advantages, some more than others. These advantages often manifest as opportunities - be it a superior family financial situation, school or a university attended, or something as simple as race or ethnicity. For each advantage a runner has, their starting line moves up a certain distance, thus making their race shorter and easier. However, each person is unique in what they want to accomplish. Even your goals versus those of your best friend could be drastically different. So, stick to your journey and do not focus on starting lines or the race others are running. Run your own race.
Next, find your passion. This is obviously difficult. We all have this notion that once we reach a certain age, or a certain point in our career, that we are on a certain, unalterable path. But we must be bold in our decisions! Take risks! Take a deeper dive to unveil what you actually enjoy doing! I'm sure many of you have heard this before...but what makes you tick? Are you focused on helping people, working with your hands, or do you simply love writing? Begin uncovering these areas of excitement and start exploring different avenues that lead to the most fulfillment. From there, the rest should flow naturally and you can begin to map out your journey.
Lastly, you have to fall in love with the process. While you may know what you want to do, the road to get there may be bumpier and/or longer than anticipated. Although you know yourself better than anyone, seek advice from others to see if this journey is one that you will enjoy. If it’s not, then you'll likely end up despising your end goal completely, turning what was once a fiery passion into mere embers. With that said, don’t shake in your boots and constantly question if you made the right decision to pursue what you believe to be your passion. Act! There is no better way to start than by jumping headfirst, getting messy, and making mistakes. The best way to learn and to figure things out is by betting on yourself. Slowly but surely, you will know whether or not this journey is right for you. And if you find yourself not enjoying it, then stop. Life is too short to be lived in pursuit of something that doesn't awaken your inner spirit.
Sure, there may be judgement from others because you “quit”, but if anything, you should take pride in finding this out about yourself and in putting a stop to it before investing fruitless time. Once you inevitably find and fall in love with your true journey, your path to fulfillment, the way you talk about it to others will be contagious. There will be a liveliness in your voice and a sparkle in your eyes. Then those pesky relatives will hear from the horse’s mouth who you really are and how YOU define yourself. You are unique and have your own unique set of skills and advantages. Use them, discover your passion, and stay true to your journey.
That's life figured out.