There are so many options: Starting a business seems attractive. How about blending travel and work together (running a business from your laptop and bouncing around state to state or country to country)? But what kind of business? Stay in the same field I’m in or do something completely different? There’s also the lure of taking on a high-performance (high-paying) position with a top company in your industry. Or maybe none of these are options for you.
Either way, you’re probably feeling like most quarter-lifers. Stuck in a place of indecision. Not sure what to do, what you want, and where to go next.
Today, I want to share 4 specific things you can start to do….right now…to move you out of indecision and toward action.
- Look for clues.
Throughout your life there have been clues about work that you’d enjoy doing. Maybe you hated your last cubicle job, but loved organizing the meetings or spreadsheets or training new staff or something else. Just because you didn’t like the environment, it doesn’t mean there weren’t aspects you found enjoyable. Hone in on them.
The clues won’t necessarily tell you what your ideal work will be. They are simply breadcrumbs; steps on a path that can lead to your best work. Next, think of clues outside of work. What can you do for hours non-stop? Those things that makes you lose all sense of time (or the need to go the bathroom or eat food). Excluding non-productive activities, like binging on Netflix, what do you love doing? Researching? Crafting? Planning your besties parties and events? Start a list. Don’t discriminate (for now). Just list all the clues from your work and time off.
- What are you willing to tolerate?
Somehow when we imagine our ideal work, we leave out the yucky bits. The aspects of the work that aren’t fun. Okay, that’s putting it mildly. They suck. And this is the reality of art and work and life. Nothing will be 100% butterflies and ice cream. But you’ll tolerate this misery if overall your work is engaging, enjoyable, and feels good (most of the time). So what are you willing to tolerate?
Out of the list of clues you came up with, think of all the possible negative aspects. It may take some research for this (and some things you’ll never predict before doing the actual work). Let’s say you have event planning as a possibility. Start hanging out online with event planners (forums, Facebook groups, blogs, etc.). What are they complaining about? What do they hate most about their work? Could you tolerate what they can’t stand? Just because someone else doesn’t like something, doesn’t make it a deal-breaker for you.
You’re trying to find out as much as the work as possible and figure out if you could tolerate the miserable aspects along with the rest of the work that you’d love.
- What head start do you have?
There are somethings you can do that you’ll already have a head start. Your head start may be a support group or a network of potential clients/contacts. If you have a head start with something, the chances are you’ll start off flying. This can help you narrow down your options if you have a list of things you’d love to do but can’t decide which to choose.
- Start doing something now.
Just by reading this blog post (or any other blog post), you won’t have a magical moment and finally know what you want. Figuring that out takes action. You have to start doing stuff. A lot of stuff. Through the action you’ll start learning more about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. On paper, something may seem exciting. But when you start doing it, it could feel torturous. Taking action also can lead you in directions you would’ve never anticipated when you were just standing still. Take action. Do something. Get going.
Earlier, I mentioned breadcrumbs. Taking action is following the breadcrumbs. You don’t know precisely where they’ll lead. It’s impossible to predict. And that’s a good thing (it’s headache inducing to sit and try to think up all the possibilities on your own). Instead, they’re like tiny lights on a dark path. They’re leading you through the darkness. But you have to follow them to get to the light.
Start your journey and be open to where the path takes you.