"I don't have a damn clue what kind of life I want."
What if knowing that isn't necessary?
What if being stuck on this question creates a sense of unhappiness?
Feeling like this question has to be answered creates a ton of pressure no matter the stage in life you're in, but if you're attempting to answer it in a way that determines what or who you are for several decades, well that's impossible for anyone to answer.
You can't know what will make you happy, feel fulfilled, and enjoy even five years from now. I look back five years ago, I was a whole different person, and I suspect the same five years in the future.
In the realm of career, job or business, there's this misconception that you must love it, now and forever. I am here to tell you that's not possible. Also, there's a belief that you take something you love and turn it into a profit-making business, but that's also unrealistic.
To balance your life, you want to keep your hobbies and things you enjoy separate(protect them with your life). Indeed, you can make some side hustle money, but it should be something other than your primary income. Too much pressure comes with it and often destroys the joy in it.
I ask my coaching clients a question before starting our sessions to shift their minds to a coaching mindset, and one of my top questions is:
What will matter most to you when you are eighty years old?
No one has ever said their Facebook follower or Instagram count. No one has said what movies they have watched and can recite. No one has said what cars they own. No one has mentioned how much money they have. No one has mentioned what job they held. Instead, the answers usually have to do with the people they enjoy time with, the memories they have, and the experiences they have to reflect on and value over anything in the world of form.
Instead of the question about what kind of life you want, it isn't more important to think about:
What will matter most to you when you are eighty years old?
Here's a video I created covering top tips I have accumulated over the years of focusing on this question and what those in their 80's, 90's, and beyond have said. CLICK HERE
And live your life from that perspective. I took a class years ago, it was a six-month personal development course, and it required me to write up my own eulogy. This was a powerful exercise. Not only did I have to spend six months building and creating it, but I also had to read it aloud to the whole class. This wasn't easy, but I learned what type of life I want and how to be each day leading up to the end. So, in a roundabout way, it creates an outline of how you want to live from the inside out.
We all know we have this one life to live but often get stuck in ruts and get swept away by the minutia of life. We allow ourselves to get trapped or bogged down by bills, expectations, and the pressures of others. I have worked with clients that created tremendous amounts of debt and financial pressures because they were trying to keep up with their friends. Living life well beyond their means. We are an accumulation of all the choices we make every moment of our life. Being in a financial pinch isn't happiness; happiness isn't in expensive cars, big houses, and credit card debt.
Accumulation of material things is a sign of not feeling enough at the root.
I witness new clients being hung up on what others are doing, using examples of what they see people doing on social media and believing that fake news. Seeing people the same age they know or don't know in real life is like portraying flourishing lives. I am here to tell you it's all fake! I have clients that post great content, but they disclose their actual reality when speaking to them. They, too, suffer in their own ways. No one's posting their insecurities, failures, mistakes or wrongdoings. If you're catching FOMO (fear of missing out), the first step is to turn off your notifications. More importantly, create healthy boundaries on how much social media you subject your mind to or, better yet, do a social media detox.
What are things that interest you?
What did you deeply enjoy doing between ages seven and fourteen?
This age is a great time in our lives, typically when we are deeply curious about life and all it has to offer, no pressures, no demands for the most part, and where we are our most creative and curious. Some clients tell me they were avid readers and loved to write. During this age, they dreamed of writing their own books or novels. I have had clients tell me they were really good at taking toys, motors, and other gadgets apart that didn't work and putting them back together fully functioning. They always dreamed of inventing something or being an engineer. I have had clients tell me in this age range they dreamed of being a vet and never pursued it, and maybe a vet isn't the route they could go, but some form of connection or work around animals would be fulfilling. So there could be some clues in this part of your life too.
Several times in my life, I have done an internship to see if different jobs were a good fit, with little to no commitment. A great way to test the waters before investing in expensive schools, certifications, education etc. I worked in a busy hair salon for a week because what teenage girl doesn't want to be a cosmetologist, right? I also worked in a busy dental office for four days because, at that time, that was very well-paid high in easy to get hired in that industry due to the demand. I have also done internships as a personal trainer to build up my resume in different workout and fitness forms. The beauty of an internship is it's an opportunity to learn and grow with little time and commitment. Most of these were pro bono, but what I learned far exceeded what any amount of pay would have provided. In all situations, I worked my tail off, came with bright eyes and open ears each day, and submerged myself in the culture and environment. Remember, these can be very minimal hours and could easily fit into anyone's schedule. Most businesses or companies would love to have free labor. With all these experiences, I gained new connections, education, and great value.
Volunteering is incredibly rewarding but also a great way to network with people. All my success in my life is 100% because of who I knew, not what I learned. So networking, meeting people and getting to know people in different fields, industries, and your community is of utmost importance. It also feels great to contribute to your community, share a vision with others, make an impact, and be a part of something that is also great for our mental and social health.
We are social beings.
What's your identity?
Finish this sentence: "I am ____" This is often really telling. If you believe in yourself as "I am not smart" "I am a loser" "I am lazy," these are extremes, but this is the mental mindset that will keep you on the couch. What identity we believe and take ownership in, you will be sure to become. It's like hypnosis. Whatever you say after, I am, you are. That's a choice. I know this is highly debilitating because if you believe in yourself as one of these extremes, opportunities will not fall into your lap. Positive, ambitious people will not associate with you and will be repelled by you. What we say about ourselves, believe in, and take ownership of creates our reality. So it starts with your thinking. If you negatively think of yourself, you will feel a low feeling, and the action that follows is likely no action. This is where coaching would benefit you greatly. Creating a new reality, a healthy mindset, a new hypnotic saying, beliefs, and stories about yourself is the root of everything.
Finally, I would like to add learn more about yourself and know what you want in small things in your life. For instance, regarding food, are you wishy-washy about what to eat? Do you eat "healthy"? Do you know what healthy eating is for your unique body? When I start working with new clients, some foundational things must first be addressed. Hygiene and health are big ones. Take away your health, and what's left? If you're the type of person that when a friend invites you out to eat, and you never ever have suggestions, this is a sign you need up your assertiveness, and strengthen that part of your brain, to choose! When you're capable of asking for what you want in life, you'll stop being stuck in a state of not knowing.