IN THIS ARTICLE
- Is It Normal To Not Know What To Do With My Life?
- What Should I Do With My Life: 8 Considerations To Build a Life...
- Factors To Help Determine What To Do With Your Life
- Tips To Help You Determine What To Do With Your Life
- FAQs About Figuring Out What To Do With My Life
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“What should I do with my life?” Few questions are grander in scope and more daunting to answer. Usually, it’s the kind of question one asks oneself at key junctures in one’s life. Maybe you’re wondering what you should do with your life because you’ve just finished college and are seeking a meaningful career path. Or, maybe you’re a career transitioner and have a long, successful career under your belt but want to move on to something different.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the most important things you should consider when answering this question, whether it’s your first time asking or if it’s your tenth. And, we’ll help you find ways to pursue your dream career path and create a satisfying personal life.
Is It Normal To Not Know What To Do With My Life?
It’s normal not to know what you want for breakfast, so of course, it can be tough to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. Just make sure that you aren’t stagnating and that you’re taking small, proactive steps toward building a satisfying life.
What Should I Do With My Life: 8 Considerations To Build a Life You Love
Building your ideal life is a bit like putting a puzzle together. No one piece shows you what the entire picture looks like. But put the pieces together the right way, and a meaningful image begins to appear. Let’s take a look at what pieces you need to combine so that you can begin to see what you need to do with your life.
Education and Learning
American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” The message is clear: education is key, regardless of whether you attain it through an institution or decide to go the self-learning route.
Keep in mind that learning is a continuous process that doesn’t end when you graduate from college or land a job. Your ability to constantly learn new skills will determine your salary—it’ll also contribute to your sense of accomplishment.
How can you go about learning new things? You can, of course, learn new things by enrolling in conventional degrees at colleges. But also know that the Internet is a great source to learn new things at very little cost, whether that’s basic coding or something more advanced like data analysis.
Career and Work
When you’re wondering what to do with your life, a big part of the answer comes from knowing what you want to do in your professional life. If you’re at this juncture, ask yourself these questions:
How Do I Know What Career To Pursue?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question often asked of children, but it’s a question that’s just as prescient for adults too. It’s a big question, and oftentimes, it’s less daunting to break these down into their parts. Consider the following:
Get To Know Yourself
Have you met yourself? It may seem like all of the information you need to pick a career is out there. But really, most of it is inside you. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to hone in on your career aspirations.
- What do I enjoy doing even though there is no outside pressure for me to spend time on those things?
- Which of my interests can I use to make money and see a clear job market for?
- What are some of the most meaningful ways for me to spend my time?
- Which of my skills am I most proud of and am usually recognized for by others?
Those are just a few of the questions you should ask on your road to self-discovery. The goal is to get to the bottom of your interests and find out how you can turn them into a marketable skill.
Learn About Different Industries
Most career aspirants make the mistake of assuming they know what kinds of jobs are out there or what a job is about without taking the time to research it. This is a pitfall you should avoid if you want to arrive at a career goal that is right for you.
For example, if you want to enter into the tech space, you should be asking yourself questions like: What does it mean to be a data analyst? How do machine learning engineers actually contribute to software projects? Knowing what these jobs actually entail will help you determine whether or not they’re right for you.
A career isn’t something you’re going to do over the weekend. So make sure that you choose a career that will help you achieve the long-term goals you have for your life.
What Your Work Can Look Like
A work-life balance is important to consider when deciding what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, and so much of this is informed by your work schedule. Here are a couple of different ways that can look:
The most common way to work is by doing the standard 9-5 workday. You should choose this option if you like having predictable, structured workdays.
Owning Your Own Business
You can, of course, run a business yourself. This entails taking on multiple roles at the same time and making decisions that determine the survival of the company. It can be quite exhilarating to be an entrepreneur, and you should choose this form of work if you like complete control over your professional life.
Consultanting, Freelancing, or Self-Employment
Working as a consultant or freelancer is something of a middle ground between conventional employment and running a business. Consultants and freelancers find their own clients and engage with them over the course of short- or long-term projects. You may not necessarily grow it into a full-fledged business with a large team, but you also get to decide who you work with and when.
Side Hustles or Multiple Income Streams
The Internet has made it possible to work multiple different jobs at the same time. That means that you can be a digital marketer by day and focus on your artisanal cheese business by night. People who have a strong interest in multiple areas and can juggle them on a daily basis usually pick this form of work.
Making a Career Change
You should put a lot of time and effort into picking a career. But remember—you aren’t tethered to it, and you can pick a different career if you want.
First things first, you should give your current career a fair chance. Try it out for a period of time before you decide that it’s not working out. If you’re sure that’s the case, then you should explore your options and begin to build your resume in the new discipline. Read more about how you can switch careers the right way here.
Hobbies, Interests, and Passions
Your hobbies and passions can help you identify the things that are most important to you. You don’t necessarily have to dedicate yourself directly to something that you’re interested in. For example, being passionate about tennis doesn’t mean that Wimbledon should be your career goal. But you can use that passion to unearth related interests, which may lead you to things like sports journalism, athlete management, equipment sales, and so on.
What’s important is that you take a reflective stance toward your hobbies. They aren’t there by chance. You can use them to find out what you have fun doing and what kind of skills you will have an easy time picking up.
Balancing Friends and Family
Finding ways to have a nourishing personal life is part of your quest to find what you should spend your life doing. Make sure that your career path offers you enough time to spend with family and friends. But don’t forget all those cool people you haven’t met yet. It’s important that you make new friends, find mentors, and meet like-minded people who aren’t in your network. This takes an investment of energy that you need to account for when deciding what your ideal life looks like.
If you’re at a stage where you’re wondering what to do with your life, then you’re probably having to consider the degree of financial success that you want to attain. Financial success is often the factor that makes a lot of other things possible in your life. Being financially secure will enable you to pursue your goals with focus and give you a fallback during the rough patches that you might encounter.
Traveling is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons and give you perspective. But, travel is also expensive. So when you’re charting out what you want your life to look like, make sure that you strike a balance between having enough time to travel and making enough to travel.
Pushing yourself to continue growing and learning is one of the few surefire ways to achieve personal development. So make sure that you’re choosing a career that provides room for growth. Here are a few things that you should try to do along the way:
- Always have one new skill that you’re working on
- Maintain a journal and track how you spend your time
- Work on your communication and problem-solving skills because they apply to most disciplines
- Learn active listening so that you’re always learning from the people around you
- Create a circle of people who will give you honest feedback in the areas that you need it
Charity and Giving Back
For two reasons, giving back is an integral part of building a meaningful life. First, there are others out there who don’t have the same resources that you do, and you can have a huge impact by sharing with them. The second reason is that it can feel fulfilling to you to take the focus off yourself and be of use to your community and people in need.
You can go about giving back in many different ways. It could be as simple as contributing monetarily to a charity or a more involved method like volunteering. What’s important is that you find something that aligns with your values and contributes to them on a regular basis.
Factors To Help Determine What To Do With Your Life
Here are a few things that you should consider as you zero in on what you should do with your life.
Your values are the guiding principles of your life. They show you what you care about and what you’re not willing to compromise on. These values are a great starting point if you’re not sure what to do with your life.
Self-reflection and talking to people close to you can help you figure out what your values are. List out 3-5 core values after you do that, so you know which ones are most important to you. Here are some examples of core values:
Where You Are in Life
Where you are in life will largely determine your options for what to do with the rest of it. For example, if you’re just out of college, and are asking what you should do with your life, then your options probably include a gap year, a range of jobs, or working on your own side hustle.
But, if you have ten years of professional experience under your belt, then your options are probably going to be shaped by your professional network, your financial situation, and potentially, your familial responsibilities.
Skills pay the bills, they say. We’d like to qualify that a bit: marketable skills pay the bills. But you can always mold your skills into marketable skills. Let’s say you were a fixture of the debate team in school. Debating isn’t necessarily a career path, but you can present your debating experience as having given you public speaking and communication skills, which are definitely marketable.
Passions and What Makes You Happy
The most basic rule of deciding what you do with your life is choosing things that make you happy. There’s no point in choosing a career path that’s the current fad or dedicating time to a cause you don’t actually believe in.
When in doubt, fall back on the things that you feel passionately about. These can show you what your values are and how you enjoy spending your time.
Broad, Long-Term Life Vision
When you’re working towards the life you want, always have one eye on your long-term vision. Your future self will be grateful that you thought about them and invested in things that pay off in the long run.
It’s not always easy to figure out what your long-term vision is. Visualization can come in handy during this process. It can help you foresee what you want your life to look like.
There are two areas for which you’ll want to come up with a long-term vision:
Creating a long-term vision for your professional work entails deciding what kind of roles you want to take in the future and the skills that you need to work on to get there.
It’s slightly tougher to come up with long-term goals for your personal life. But here are a few examples of what it can look like:
- Learn how to process emotions better
- Develop a positive mindset
- Be open to trying new things and having experiences outside my comfort zone
- Meet new people and expand my network of friends
- Spend more time with family
Tips To Help You Determine What To Do With Your Life
Deciding what to do with your life can be an overwhelming process. Here are a few pointers to help you along the way.
Devote Enough Time to Making a Decision: There’s No Rush
This is your life we’re talking about. You aren’t going to figure it out in a week or a month, or maybe even a year. And you don’t need to. You should take your time figuring things out and allow yourself to fail, and start over whenever you need to.
Don’t Be Swayed by Friends, Family, or FOMO
Family and friends are good sources of feedback. But make sure that your idea of the good life is your own, and not theirs. Always gather information from those you trust and finally make choices based on what seems like the best course of action for you.
Consider the Factors We Detailed Earlier
We’ve gone over multiple steps that you can take to figure out what to do with your life. Use these as a rubric to chart out your path. You may start off with many career options and life goals. You can tick things off that list as you gain more clarity about yourself by following the tips laid out in this post.
Remember: It’s Never Too Late To Change
Maybe you choose a job that you now realize isn’t the best for you. Or perhaps you aren’t interested in what you majored in anymore. Don’t judge yourself by your mistakes. Allow yourself room to course-correct when you need to and modify your plans along the way.
FAQs About Figuring Out What To Do With My Life
We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions:
How Can I Find My Life Path?
The key to finding your path in life is to have a growth mindset and create goals that align with who you are. It’s not easy to chart out your path in life so you should be open to making mistakes and have a long-term perspective.
How Do I Find My True Passion?
Your passion is something of a mixture of your values, interests, and marketable skills. Anything that ticks those boxes can be considered a passion and is something you can pursue as a life goal.
Am I Too Old To Make a Career Change?
You’re never too old for a career change. If you’re passionate about something new, you can switch careers by picking up relevant skills and building a portfolio in that area. Doing that greatly maximizes your chances of landing a job and building a whole new career.
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