Figuring out what to do with your life can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve put a ridiculous amount of pressure on yourself to have it figured out RIGHT NOW.
I know exactly how hard it is – I struggled with it for years! I shared the story of how I finally figured out what to do with my life in this blog post (fear and self-doubt included). And while I know that hearing other people’s stories can be inspiring, it can still a little hard to know what to do!
Today I want to give you something practical – 3 journaling prompts that will hopefully help you approach this intimidating question with a little more clarity. All you’ll need is a pen and paper (I definitely recommend handwriting your thoughts, the insights are much more magical) and 15-30 minutes to really allow yourself to dream.
Before I get into the journaling prompts, I want to share a few things with you.
Don’t hide in indecision
The first is that, regardless of whether you figure out what to do with your life, the reality is that you’ll still be putting your energy into something. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that indecision will stop you from failing (if you don’t decide what to do with your life, you can never fail at it).
But indecision is worse than failure. It will eat away at you like nothing else and you will look back with regret. So this is a gentle reminder that indecision is more risky than action. Any action. If you don’t know what to do, I suggest you just start doing something. Which leads me to the second thing I want to share.
Answers come from doing
The best way to figure out what to do, is to do. I know it seems much more appealing to figure out the perfect answer from the comfort of your bedroom and then go out and kill it, but life happens in the doing of it.
Also, I recommend that you don’t try to figure out what your dream job title is. Instead, think a little more broadly.
For me, the broad thing I want to do is psychology and the question of why we do what we do. There are SO many avenues that could take me and SO many ways I could follow my curiosity. For now, I’m blogging about personal development and growing a business, but who knows where my curiosity will take me in the future! So start broad and then go narrow.
Ok, now that’s out of the way, here are the questions to get you thinking about your future:
What captivated you as a child?
The things that captivated us as children are often the things that still captivate us as adults. But often, we’ve put those things aside because someone (often a teacher or parent) laughed at us for doing them.
One of the reasons we struggle to figure out what to do with our lives is because the question isn’t just ‘what should I do with my life?’. The question is ‘what should I do with my life that no one will laugh at?’. No wonder we feel stuck!
Cast your mind back and list out ALL the things you loved doing as a child, regardless of whether you’re ‘good’ at them or not. Once you’ve written your list, review it to see if there’s something you might like to explore. It doesn’t need to sound viable from the get go, just see if there’s anything on that list that tickles your fancy so your brain can play around with it in the background.
What are 50 things you could do to make money if you lost your job today?
This is actually the journaling question that lead me to find an amazing business opportunity I’d never considered before. The beauty of this question is in the quantity. Asking your brain to come up with 50 things you could to do make money pushes it to its limits as it forces you to think outside the limits you subconsciously impose.
The way to do this is as a brain dump, meaning that you write down anything and everything that comes to mind as quickly as possible. And with no judgement. The question isn’t “what are 50 things you would want to do to make money”, it’s what could you do. Even if you would never put a room on Airbnb or sell your Macbook but you could make money that way, write it down. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you force your brain to come up with 50 ideas – I promise you.
What would you do if you couldn’t fail?
I know this is one we’ve all heard before, but don’t skip this! The reason I’m putting it here is because most of us do actually know what we want to do – we’re just scared to admit it to ourselves because if we do, then we have to actually do something about it. And we might fail (which is embarrassing)!
It’s easier to tell ourselves that we don’t know what to do than admit that we have a big dream. Or that we might not achieve it and it could all go horribly wrong and what will people think and we have no idea how to start. But allow yourself to go there and start before you feel ready (because you’ll never feel ready). It’ll be hard but you can do hard things.
I hope this blog post has been helpful! And make sure you get out a pen and paper and do these journaling exercises – just thinking about them won’t help.
Have you figured out what to do with your life? Let me know in the comments below!
You can read more advice like this on my blog Smart Twenties.