The other day I asked my father what I wanted to be when I was little. He told me that I went through stages of wanting to be different things: a teacher, a vet, a marine biologist, an artist, a dancer… the list went on. I asked him in the hope that I might find a clue as to what direction I should be heading in life, as for as long as I can remember, I have not had a clue. I panic when I get asked ‘so what do you do?’, or even worse: when someone asks ‘so what do you WANT to do?’ My CV reads like a multiple personality disorder. However, the more that I discuss, the more I have come to realise that most people in their twenties do not know what they are doing with their life. I had a fair few teachers at school who had been teachers since day one. My Dad’s had the same job all of his life. My current boss has been running his own business for 17 years. I think the longest job that I have on my CV to date is around 10 months…
Any of this sounding familiar?
If so, here are a few challenging, inspiring, and/or helpful links that I have come by recently.
First up: Enjoy Your Life
A great starting point: with your heart’s desires. What would you do if money were no object? What do you desire?
Secondly, the eternally popular and extremely emotive: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (more formally known as the Last Lecture) Note: at 1hr 15mins this is a long one but worth every minute of your time.
Randy had specific childhood dreams that he wanted to fulfil. But what if, like me, you cannot identify a list as clearly as this? Perhaps Donald Miller’s blog article What if You Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life? might be what you are after. Donald had to ‘discover’ his passions and offers four very practical suggestions to do so.
Some other things that I have found helpful:
- Mentoring – Finding people further along in the journey of life than you who have been there, done that, and know what you are going through; professionally, personally, whatever it is that you are struggling with. They are hard to come by and you will have to put some effort in to finding one, but the right mentors are worth their weight in gold. Mine have changed my life.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – No, seriously. Sometimes when I think about the future, I feel as if I am a compass with the needle spinning round and round frantically trying to find north. If you recall in the Pirates of the Carribean films, Captain Jack Sparrow has a compass that does not direct north, navigates to the explorer’s heart’s desire – “True enough, this compass does not point north.” “…Where does it point?” “It points to the thing you want most in this world.” Knowing what you want to do is really a matter of the heart. We can think about it, take as many aptitude and character tests as we like, but ultimately they will not tell you want you want to do – only your heart will.
- A glass of red wine – Worrying about what to do takes up so much energy and can distract you from just getting on with things. Breathe… and trust that things will figure themselves out at some point. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
You will be alright, poppet.
P.S. If you are wondering more widely about the meaning of life, try an Alpha Course: http://www.alpha.org