Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.– Maria Robinson
Miserable. Confused. Lost.
Just a few of the words I’d use to describe how I felt in my career a few years ago.
Waking up on a Monday morning knowing I had 5 whole days ahead of me in a job that drained my energy and sucked the life out of my soul was, quite frankly, horrendous.
I used to drag myself out of bed, fighting against the little voice in my head that was telling me to climb back into the warm safety of the bed covers before calling in sick.
But I just carried on. Getting dressed. Walking out of the door. Turning up to the vast open plan office where rows and rows of desks and telephones sat waiting for their workers to arrive.
I knew I had to get out of that job. I knew that the environment, the procedures, the office politics…it was all weighing me down. But I just didn’t know what to do.
Unsure of what I wanted, what I was good at, or what I could do instead, I felt like I was standing at a crossroads with a hundred possible options, and no map. I was completely and utterly lost.
Fast-forward a few years however, and the scene is a little different.
How I Found My Direction In Life
I found my map. And it allowed me to figure out what I wanted, how I wanted to live my life and which direction I wanted to head in.
These days I now run two businesses, get to work where I want, when I want and am very much living life on my own terms.
With more freedom than I ever thought possible waking up on a Monday morning is now a joy (a sentence I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be able to say).
So, how did I find my direction in life?
Well it all started with one simple action that you too can do right here, right now.
I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and I wrote down what my dream life looked like.
Sounds easy, right? Well that’s because it is.
But don’t go thinking that because something’s easy it isn’t immensely powerful.
Regularly thinking about what you would do if money were no object can be a hugely helpful activity.
It allows you to put all the practicalities to one side and work out what’s really and truly important to you so you can begin to take action and turn that dream into a reality.
This one simple activity changed the way that I moved forwards with my life. It allowed me to get to the heart and soul of what I really wanted and was the first step to finding my direction and creating positive change.
So now it’s your turn.
How to Find Direction in Your Life
If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know which way to turn, this exercise is the perfect starting place for gaining some clarity and figuring out which direction to head in.
Just do the following:
1) Grab a pen and some paper
2) Imagine you’ve won the lottery and money is no object. What does your dream life look like? Write it down in as much detail as possible.
- Where you live
- How you spend your days
- How you feel
- What your perfect day looks like
- Who you spend time with
TIP: If you’re more of a visual person you could instead try drawing pictures or creating a mood board by tearing inspiring images out of magazines. Just do whatever works for you.
3) Close your eyes and imagine how this life would feel if you were living it. Allow the energy of these positive thoughts to engulf and inspire you.
4) Now look again at your dream life. When it comes down to it, what do you really want in your life? What type of activities do you really want to be doing? And what could you start working towards today? Pick out what’s most important to you and set yourself a goal…something to work towards and action.
Hey presto! You’ve just made the first step to finding some direction!
Working out what you want to do with your life and how you want to earn a living is an ongoing process that develops and changes over time.
However I truly believe that everyone has the power to create change in their lives – it’s just a case of getting started.
Are you feeling lost in your career? I’d love to know what you think of this post. Try out the dream life activity and then come back here to let me know how you feel!
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72 thoughts on “How to Find Direction in Life When You’re Feeling Lost”
Kathryn, thanks for a great post. If we want to live our life by design and not by default we need a plan. Creating a plan for our life will help us reach our dreams, and creating some margin in our busy life will give us the time that we need to take the next step toward our dream. Thanks for sharing.
Yes sometimes it’s just about making the decision to start isn’t it? It’s amazing what change we can create when we really put our minds to it. Thanks for your comments Steve
Hi Thanks for sharing. It is a good start to find the right direction for ones life. Life is what we make it, never stop dreaming, life is good, stay happy and continue moving forward.
Cheers to that! Thanks Lynne.
Sorry I have to disagree, but money does find happiness. I have been at both ends of the spectrum and having money just confused me more. To insure happiness we have to engage our souls. A lost soul,
Hi Darlene, I totally agree that money on it’s own does not bring you happiness. My aim with this exercise is to remove the barriers that money can sometimes put in place for people so that we can get to the heart of what we really want – in a soulful way, rather than a materialistic way. It takes time and this exercise on it’s own won’t give the perfect answer, but by using this as a starting point can we often have something to work from. I’m a massive believer in taking action in small steps so that we can get a feel of whether something feels right. For me, it’s been about allowing a business to grow, develop and change direction in a very natural way by trying things out and seeing what I enjoy.
I hope that helps :-)
Wonderfully concise! Thank you!
Glad you enjoyed!
I completely agree with what you have said in the article, but when you have your picture of what you want life to be like how do you get it when you struggle for money and hate the job you are in? I have the Monday morning feeling you described everyday but to get qualifications to be what I want I need money in the first place and I can’t even get on the ladder to change. I’m so stuck. I want to change but keep hitting brick walls.
I know exactly how you feel Kathryn – 2 years ago I worked in a job I hated too but now I have transformed my life and do what I love. I found that as well as brainstorming my dream life, I did huge amounts of research online in order to get the info I needed to make my dream career come true. All the info we need is out there – we just need to be willing to make change happen! Thanks for great article, Jess
I know, it’s amazing what resources are out there when we start looking! Couldn’t have done it without the internet – there’s so much fab help out there. Thanks for your comments!
Thank you for a great article! I am doing exactly that now!! I couldn’t take the 9 to 5 life and after a battle with a health issue, I am running my own business and looking at starting another. Living life on my own terms. It feel great! :)
That’s wonderful – congratulations! :-)
After reading this I still can’t see the right direction.
The reason is – do I even know what I want? You see, money has never been the problem. I can’t even think of anything when I imagine no limits when it comes to money.
There are only some distant ‘maybes’ coming up in my mind. FAE, travelling the world, especially around Asia; have adventures like Jackie Chan has (in his films), and other movies; sail; be on the go, move, see land pass by; save the world from corruption; …? Learn languages.
Hi Lauris, you certainly aren’t alone in feeling like that so don’t panic if you don’t have clarity just yet. This exercise is designed to be very much a starting point and you are very unlikely to find your perfect answer through it. That takes time, exploration and a bit of experimentation (I’ve written a bit about this on my blog – planning only gets you so far! http://thebusinessofintroverts.co.uk/i-want-to-tell-you-a-secret/) What I would say however is that although you say you don’t know what you want to do, there is very much a running theme in the things you have written ‘travelling’ ‘having adventures’ ‘learning languages’ ‘sailing’. It sounds to me like your dream life involves seeing and exploring the world in some way. So perhaps use that as a starting point – how can you bring more of that into your life? Perhaps you could book a trip somewhere you’ve never been. Or sign up to a class to learn a new language. You aren’t committing yourself to anything long term – you are simply dipping your toe in the water to see how it feels.
Wishing you lots of luck with whatever pathway you choose! – Kathryn
PS: There are some amazing people out there who are travelling the world and running online businesses from a back pack who you may want to check out – Free Range Humans, Chris Guillebeau, Suitcase Entrepreneur to name a few…check them out if you want some amazing inspiration.
Thanks a lot for your answer!
I suppose it’s easier to look at things from another angle. Words from others help.
At first, I had left my paper blank, but now there is a page long description about what I want. I would write it down for you (because it is amazing how other people can put my thinking back on the track), but I suppose that would be redundant and pretty much egocentric.
But in the end, it doesn’t mix together with the way you see the ‘proper life’, I believe.
This article was really helpful to me. As were these specific comments. Ive run the rat race for decades and made and lost a lot of money. I was kind of miserable. I also suffer from not knowing what my dream career or life would be but I bunk I will try to start visualizing and defining it instead of panicking and staying stuck. Thank you :)
Great post! This really resonated. I had a similar experience when I started freelancing, and I still think it was taking the time to actually write down goals and a business plan that helped steer me to a successful career rather than floundering around going nowhere.
Thanks so much Leslie, glad you enjoyed!
Wow, I really needed to see this article today!! I woke up this morning and no joke “called out sick” for a few hours just to avoid the madness that awaited me at work. We sometimes forget we have the power to make the changes happen and sometimes they’re not as difficult or huge as they first appeared, thanks for the reminder and for sharing your journey. It got me thinking a lot about mine and some of the steps I need to take that I’ve been avoiding for a while!
Thanks Kate – it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of feeling we have no control when actually we have far more choice in our life than we often realise. So glad to hear that this post has triggered some action! :-)
Hi Kathryn. I;m from India. I was just looking for an advice like this. Thanks. I’m a graduate looking for my first job. I’m a regular visitor to thechangeblog. I wanted to share something with you. I know u’ll find it as al ong story, but if u have time please read it.
In October, when I was just freshly passed out of my college and got my degree. I didnt know what job should I look for then. I followed my friends. I got coaching from an institute for a national level exam (if you clear it, then you would get a chance to work with india’s best world-renowned govt companies). I wasnt able to qualify the exam and wasted 50k rupees of my parents money. That’s a lot of money that got wasted. Now I’m sitting at home looking for jobs. But, didnt find any luck. Sitting at home peacefully helped me with one thing. I dreamed what should be my future like. A job which provides good money. This is because I want to help those those who cannot/couldnot help themselves. I wanted to work with NGOs during holidays(when i would join work). But, I also want my parents to be happy about this. My parents are dissapointed that I couldnt find any job till now. That’s why I’m trying to get in a job as a probationary officer in a bank, writing all the bank exams. Should I pursue this dream of mine ?
Hi! Prajith, I can say that you have a very noble dream to help the needy. But the question is how can you give something you do not have? If finding a job is difficult for you, try business. As I see it, all you know to get your dream is by having a job. But in reality, getting your dreams by becoming an employee has a very low probability. You need to be an executive of a particular company before you get it (your dreams). I know what you’re thinking, starting a business needs a big capital. You’re wrong. If you want to how, you can reach me through this email address: email@example.com
“If you want to predict your future, Create it!”
Have a nice day!
It can be really hard when you’ve just graduated to work out what you want to do and I know also that it can be difficult to work out what you want when you are surrounded by people who are following traditional paths. I can’t tell you what path you should take, only you can answer that. But what I would advise is to think about whose life you are living. I really believe that to be the best person we can be (both to ourselves and to those we love) we must follow our hearts. Being unhappy in a career (however much money you are earning) will likely leave you feeling restless and wanting more. And although I’m sure that your parents want to see you do well, I suspect that what’s most important to them is that you are happy and secure. My suggestion to you is to take some time on your own. Go for a really long walk somewhere quiet away from your parents and friends. Let your mind wander and listen to your intuition – what is your heart telling you? Wishing you lots of luck and best wishes for the future, I have no doubt that if you are determined and give yourself the space you need, things will begin to become clear.
Thanks Kathryn. I’ll try that, that is, taking time off and asking my intuition of how to proceed further. I dont know why every other friend of mine can/could find/found his/her interest but, why couldnt I ? And, its been about 6 months since I graduated out of college, and I had only 1 interview. So, I think i’ll got to a city called Pune, gonna live with a cousin who works there. If in the near future, I didnt get a full-time job, i’ll always look for part-time/temp jobs during the time, so that in that way too i think i may get my dream-job. But, that will be a wastage of a lot of time, i think. Anyways, i’ll ponder on it and, I assure that i’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks a ton for the advise. :)
Thanks for the insight Vic. I dont want to start a bussiness or any think. Sice, I dont know what type of job should I join, thats why, I said that I want any job which earns big bucks. Im lost, not knowing which career-path to take, just sitting on the cross-roads. Seeing every other college friend of mine getting a job in a bank, or in a company makes me feel humiliated, that after so much wastage of time and money, I’m still there where I was during the start of my college days, that is, my future’s still blurred.
The world is your playground at the moment. You are not already stuck somewhere, so plan and choose carefully what you want, not what you think you should do to conform, to make a living and such other reasons. And do not wait for tomorrow to do things, if you want to join a NGO and help people, do it now. Monetary help is not the only kind of help required.
Good Luck to you!!
Kathryn, I love this activity. The first time I did it was a few years ago to help me get clarity and move forward. It did, but then things changed so I did it again. Now every six months or so, I go back and look at it. When I look at it after a few months I can see where I was, where I am and fine tune it if need be. Life if such an ongoing process with situations constantly changing that it is important to keep checking your navigation system. “Today I am not the same person I was yesterday.”
Thanks Carolynne. Yes, I return to this activity every few months too. By combining it with action and reflection it’s amazing what you can learn about yourself. Thanks for your comments!
Wonderful post! I am at the beginning of this journey and have recently starting writing about it on my blog. Love your thought of writing down the dream, something that can be hard if you’ve spent a long time figuring out how to please everyone around you.
Thank you! So pleased you enjoyed :-)
I am 49 and have been asked to quit by my employer. Trying for a job but things are not working out. Under tremendous pressure – social and financial (not too much financial though). Do not have the courage to start something on my own. What happens if I loose my hard earned money in this business?
Hi, one thing you should know about me is that I’m not a risk-taker at all. Although it may seem to many that I’ve taken huge risks to start this life, I’ve actually been very careful. I don’t believe anyone should just walk away from a full time job in the hope that a little seedling idea will take off. Instead you can begin something and try ideas out while you are still employed which is what I did (many businesses need very little investment to get started these days thanks to the internet). Later down the line I then took my hours down to part time, until finally I felt confident to let go of employed hours completely. I talk much more about how I did this in my free audio series which you can sign up to on my website if you’re interested. http://thebusinessofintroverts.co.uk/free-stuff/
This is so WEIRD, Kathryn. My husband and I have a financial radio show that airs once a week and we interviewed an author that said this EXACT same thing. He called it “write a future letter to yourself.” I’m going to try this. Thank you for such great wisdom.
You’re welcome Marcy, thanks so much for your comments!
“1) Grab a pen and some paper
2) Imagine you’ve won the lottery and money is no object. What does your dream life look like? Write it down in as much detail as possible.”
It may be easy or it may be difficult but you are correct, Kathryn. This is what we have to do to make our life work the way that we want it to work. You clearly care a lot about your readers. Thank you for writing this post.
About 3 years ago I put some magazine pictures together on a big sheet of paper to show what I wanted the future to hold. Some of it represented small things (getting my old bicycle roadworthy and doing more cycling) and some of it was bigger items (less job time more creative time). Gradually, things are moving and I’ve now made the big decision to leave the office and spend more time creatively.
Thanks Peter, that’s great to hear. Using images can be really powerful!
Cheers to life ;)
I love your spirit the way you fulfilled your dreams.Really this is something what I was looking for from past few days.
Will surely gonna follow your way of fulfilling my dreams.
As said by Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Thank You so much
Love that quote – thanks Aashima :-)
It is so hard some time to end something and start something new, even though we know we are not happy of where we are standing. But how to end this if we do not know hat will happend if we and this so called safety. We so love living in our little bubble.
Just recently I found my map of focus, well at least I hope so. I have only put my focus on one thing and start working on this thing and my life already started changing.
Thanks for the inspiring post. :)
Thanks so much Emma, glad to hear that things are beginning to become clearer for you. It’s an ongoing process as we learn more about ourselves – enjoy the ride!
I have a short story, at this interesting subject :
My daughter lives now in USA, she is coming from Est Europe. She lived in another culture, different way of thinking, habits and traditions. She has a normal, beautiful life with her husband and her daughter. She told me yesterday “”the story of the jobs she had””, and all the difficulties she had to beat. And at the end she said to me : “” I can have all the things smb has too, there is nothing that I can not have ; but i fixed my priorities and I chose according to them.
This is a great exercise Kathryn and it does work, most of the time money is a barrier to getting started, so taking it out of the equation is a good idea because it takes away the pressure many feel at the core of their problems. Writing down your dream life is a powerful exercise and the first action to obtaining it, and it opens up the mind to see opportunities that we may previously missed.
What a wonderfully simple approach.
The hardest part of making a plan is the very beginning where I am tempted to talk myself out of every idea. “That’ll never happen because….” So taking the limitations out of the way is a great way to begin. Thanks so much.
Its funny I was clearing out my emails and unsubscribing to all the rubbish I have joined over the years and then I stumbled across this post :) I always felt like a number (hated it) in past jobs and then one day I did exactly what you said, I made a list of what I wanted my life to be. Its truly amazing how seemingly such a small thing can make such a massive difference in your life!
2 years in and I have moved country, moved my baking business with me and am currently setting up all sorts of wonderful little bits to the business :)
I’m still getting used to the fact that I don’t have to be somewhere but rather can work from the comfort of my home (or in bed where I am now :) ) It also took me a bit to correct my answer from ‘no I’m not working’ to ‘yes, I work for myself’
Its a strange thing finally reaching goals you have had all your life!
I think so many of us fear being stuck in our current situation with no way out (or so we think). We must be brave and make a change for the better, even if it’s scary. Thanks for the great post.
Thanks so much Jules!
This post is simply amazing! I’m absolutely stuck in a dead career and I know that I’m standing on a mountain of untapped potential. I’m screaming on the inside for freedom! I am incredibly determined to live my dream life. Thank you for this encouragement.
So pleased you like Kelli! And it’s amazing where determination can take you :-)
It has been long time and I am continuosly trying to get inputs to bring clarity in my thoughts and action. Today I felt I should visit to change blog and read your blog.
Thanks a ton for sharing this! simple and to the point! As I was reading I took pen and paper and wrote my dream life and action points. They seem to be huge but as thousand mailes of journey begins with one step I know I have to start.
I have taken action and planning to implement in coming days, weeks and months.
I will share with you my journey! Thanks very much for making difference in my thoughts…and life.
Thanks so much for your comments Ankush – I’m so pleased that this post has helped you :-)
Hi Kathryn. Hope you are doing well.
Thanks a lot. This article gave me a lot of perspective. A month ago, I was lost. I just graduated college, and was applying for job after job posting, but couldn’t help get somewhere. I felt depressed, lonely.
Now, I’ve changed. I’m still looking for a job as a fresher out of college, but, in a positive way. I have started to embrace life and all the people & things that come in contact with me. I have started to exercise daily, well almost. It feels great after I come home and feel enthusiastic after a jog or a run. It feels good, not good, better.
Whenever anybody used ping me asking “hw r u ?”. i would say “just fine” or “moving endlessly with time”. But, now I would say “I feel better”. Believe me, it feel “better” when I say that too. I’ve started improving my brain through http://www.lumosity.com, and many other things.
Thanks a lot Kathryn. :)
Hope you have a great day tomorrow.
Hi Prajith, I’m so pleased to hear that things are improving for you. It can be baby steps sometimes, but baby steps can get you a long way when you take enough of them. Thank you for letting me know how you’re getting on.
I’ve been struggling with this for several months. I was fed up with a job where I wasn’t using my full potential. There was a reorganization at work & I was moved into a new role where I thought was finally my opportunity to shine. I was promised a raise and fed lies of being a valuable asset. The raise hasn’t come, and in the process I’ve been overworked, felt undervalued and been thrown under the bus for trying to please everyone and do everything, only to fall short of the expectations I set for myself. While I’ve learned alot about myself through this, I feel like I am still stuck with the short end of the stick and exist in a constant state of paranoia of what I will miss tomorrow, who will try to throw me under the bus tomorrow, or whether I’ll be put of a job etc. I have been beyond burnt mentally and emotionally, but continue to trudge on b/c I don’t have the luxury or energy, much less the faith to quit work & start over, nor do I feel comfortable w/ admitting that I have failed. Its a stubborn poison, and I keep injesting it against my own good judgement. I do self talks, have spoken to friends and everyone says I need to get off my ass and change, but I honestly don’t know where to start. Everything feels like a wry and I cant see past the smog. I believe in possibilities, but at the end of the day, it just all feels like its outside my reach. I used to have a curious zest for life and actively seek things to engage in and indulge in and felt more connected to the possibilities, but now, I just don’t know where to look. I just feel like i’m existing out of desperation & everything in my life is at a standstill & every notion of peace and joy is just passing me by. I don’ know what to believe in b/c I’ve never been enough, done enough, or done things well enough to get any sort of recognition or sense of pure pride or comfort in my self. I will try this exercise, but I always get stuck and I keep beating up on myself and its been a hard cycle to break. I just wish there was something I could rely on…
hi kathryn and all the others who have been posting :-)
it’s great to have such a place where we as humans often experiencing such similar feelings and struggles can express our feelings, thoughts, and issues with one another :-)
i actually know what i want and feel elated when i am doing it…there are only a few things that have been blocking me: the place i live in is not my ideal location…the culture is often one, which is quite closed-minded, old-fashioned, and can be brutally dripping with jealousy and a strange sort of hatred/vice toward anyone who smiles and loves innovation. on the other hand, i have met my dream man, who is super positive and incredibly supportive. we have a loving, harmonious relationship -the best i have ever had…he has been living in this place his entire life and has countless opportunities. he does what he loves and could not be happier…i have tried to suggest we move, but without some miraculous super opportunity, he will not leave. i understand him…i just wish my life would open up for me as well…and in a country where 30 is too old to start anything new in life (many programs and jobs don’t even allow one over 26 to apply!), i feel doomed…i have been here for over 8 years and it has been a place i struggle with almost on a daily basis…i still somehow have hope that some opportunity must open itself for me and i know that i need to innitiate tings myself in order for anything to happen (anywhere), but it would be so nice to live in a place i feel happy in…and where the people are wiser, more intelligent, and heart-centered. i want to live in a place where joy exists. i think in the culture they speak, there is no word for “joy”…just a word for “enjoy”…for someone growing up in beautiful, warm, joyous places…this place could not be more opposite….but for some reason, god has put me here. there must be some reason…otherwise, i would have never in my wildest dreams moved to such a place. hmmmm…don’t know what i should do…if i stay here, i don’t know for how much longer…unless something changes… thanks.
you know, I think you are right – there is a reason you are at that place. Have you seen movie “Chocolate”? If yes, you would understand what I mean, if not – watch it and you will understand.
One more thing – that place never makes a person, but the person makes the place. :)
Hi. Just want to share something about my life, about my problems. Yes problems,, actually created by me only and there is nothing to blame others. I am a software engineer. I work in a very reputated MNC. But I am not happy at all. Each day I wake up, the thought of spending my whole day in that office terrifies me. I feel a lot of stress and pressure. Feels like some one is beating me on my head. Don’t know for what I am meant to be. IfI am not liking my job, then what should I do. Along with these problems my personal life is also very disturbed. Don’t know what to do , where to focus . please help me out.
a month ago I was in the same situation as you were: having a job I hated, working in toxic environment and having a boss that enjoys to put you down. After many years, I just got up and told my boss that I quit. I did that. With no idea what I am going to do next. This happened a month ago. I have tried all these “techniques” to find my passion, my calling and my path. I’ve maid countless lists of what I liked to do when I was little, when I was bigger, when I was 50 and now I am 57, have no income (do not yet know whether I will get unemployment). My husband is in sales of windows and doors – seasonal thing that is nearing a winter break. We have a mortgage and we need to maintain our little house too.
I do not know what to do with myself. I like to make jewelry, but cannot compete with $0.99 and free shipping on e-bay; I like photography, but am still not very good with my camera (although I have purchased an on-line course). The euphoria of freedom after resigning is kinda gone now and I am facing the reality. I really do not know what does that mean “look inside of your soul to find your calling”. I do not really have money to pay for some kind of coaching. What do I do? I do not expect you to have an answer for me. I guess this comment is just me talking to a friend not expecting anything, just to listen to me. So thanks for listening.
That’s a great article and I think I tried similar technique in past but it did not really work out. I’m as stuck right now as I have ever been. I have a prestigious education and lived in different countries , however, I don’t have a clear career direction at all. I was doing different jobs in different places. Somehow money is always a problem. Now I live in Northern Europe (not by choice but followed husband for his job). Not the worst place to be but language obstacle, uncertainty of tomorrow, no job at the moment..I want to be independent and I want to enjoy my work but right now I really need to work to support myself so it’s difficult to focus on what a dream life would be like. Even when I do think about my interests I cannot focus on one thing and keep drifting from one end to another ending up not trying anything at all. Because some of my interests are completely different. Ideas come and go. My husband does not take me seriously anymore because I always come up with something but never follow through. It’s been always that confusing for me since I graduated (and that’s been over 5 years ago). Of course the fact that I changed 3 countries in the past 5 years don’t help to see things clearly. Just desperate and have no idea how tho get out of it. People ask what kind of job you are looking for? I reply something that will relate to my education but obviously my insecurities and “not knowing what I want” make a bad impression even though I’m extremely dedicated. “Looking” for myself is about the hardest thing, it’s so much easier to have perspectives on other people.
I can relate to so many of these posts. My whole life was consumed with trying to figure out who I was & who I wanted to be. Finally after years of struggling, I got where I wanted to be. Financially secure but still not satisfied with my job. I started hating my job in the print business so decided to quit last year. I’m 55 & thought I had it all sorted out. I love photography & did a lot of shooting at first – almost every day for the 1st 3-4 months. Did some travelling (couldn’t do too much as I has a sick dog). Everything started to go south in Nov. Christmas was very depressing, my sister was ill, mother not well, just about everything was bad. Continuing into Jan, Feb & Mar, I’m sinking even more. I sold my house because I feared the way the stock markets were going (my BFs stocks dropped almost $100k in a month) & everyday there was bad news about the economy. I acted out of fear and also I wanted to jump start my life. When I quit working, I wanted to travel, do photography, & a whole bunch of other things. I knew that I would have to sell my house to finance my future, but didn’t have to do so immediately. I’m so obsessed with finding a house out of town now but with no luck. There’s lots there but I think I’m at a cross road in my relationship , I’m 15 years younger than my BF & we don’t have much in common. He’s 70 years. We don’t communicate, never did. I have so many conflicting issues (family, BF, another aging & unwell dog). The whole idea of leaving my hometown after 26 years has me feeling so lost. I have a completely blank canvass at my fingertips & have no idea how to proceed. Don’t know what I want. I second guess myself all the time (I have a tendency to live in a fantasy world but don’t know how to get back to reality). Not even sure when my fantasy might actually be a dream unfolding or completely based on nonsense. Can someone help me find my path?
A few books I read that gave me a brighter outlook were:
The Joy of Not Working by Ernie Zelinski
How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free by Ernie Zelinski
The Purpose of your life, but Carol Adrienne
The Celestine Prophesies
Tragic to Magic: Anger, Anxiety, Depression or Happiness. It’s a matter of choice.
Hope this helps someone else. It helped me a bit just by writing I down. I’ll continue writing… Maybe someday I’ll have enough to write a book!
Best of luck to everyone. You will find your true path one day.
I am at this exact spot in my life. I followed your instructions and managed to write oiut three entire pages of my dream life. I was so excited until I went back through it and realized all the goals and dreams were unattainable. Dreaming about all the money in the world doesn’t make it appear and I see that the dreams I have, traveling, exploring, learning about other cultures – this all takes money. I have two young boys and a husband that is still recovering from a near fatal car accident. While I think this is a great exercise for the imagination, I am lost on the practicality of it. I cannot see the path to the life I wrote about.
Glad to get read experiences people go through and who are fortunate to come out & ride with optimism . Have been in ‘feeling loss/unwanted/low self value ‘ situation for mammoth 5 (like self annihilating ) years.
Thoughts that still prevent me from change are: Still hopeful to regain management faith, image of hardworking person, self ego-WHY me jargon, branding self as failure & now self doubt and uncertainty. General financial losses have increased due to lack of concentration & quality of family life is reasonably degraded.
Again appreciate n thanks all the folks & specially Kathryn.
I googled how miserable I am with my job and where I live and came across your page! I have always wondered if what I daydreamed about and so desperately want will one day come to fruition. I remember a few years ago when a vision board was the thing to do and with a promise is a way to help your dreams come true. I never did the vision board but I will do anything now to get out of this funk. You see it’s tough if you don’t have a passion of sorts especially when everyone asks “what’s your passion” or “follow your bliss” Well, if you don’t know what those are and at 55 years old and tons of soul searching still have no clue then what is one to do?
So, I tried the exercise and honestly the results terrified me. If I had enough money in the world to do whatever I pleased, I don’t know what I’d do. There are just so many possibilities and I can’t just pick one or even a few. I’d go adventuring and travel the world and then I’m not sure what I’d do. I’m currently a student, studying a course that could create many possibilities for me, but I still feel so lost.
Thank you so much for this. Honestly, I was lost enough to be googling stuff looking for inspiration and direction, and I happened to click on your article.
Sometimes the answers are simpler that we realize, and this post really helped me realize that. Thanks so much for helping me and all of these other lovely people on the journey.
Thanks, Kath. Your story really helped me!😊
When craving a change most people just talk about what they hate about their current life or what they don’t want. That’s not enough. One has to bring into view what they want to move towards, not just what they want to flee. Thanks for the thoughtful post.
Great advice! I worked with an awesome career/life coach (starting last year, just as COVID was starting to kick all of our butts) and I went through the exercise of writing down and then visualizing my dream. I literally painted what I wanted for myself. On another large piece of paper, I drew a colorful diagram of sorts, and in a journal I wrote “Dream Big” and listed everything I would do if there was nothing in my way. Honestly, it’s been a year-long (and maybe life-long) process but what I’ve learned, what I know right now, is that it is never to late to find your direction or follow your dream but you really do have to give it the respect of “saying it out loud” or painting it…or whatever it is to give it some life. Thank you for your post!
This is a great read about finding direction in your life. If you are unhappy in your day-to-day life, including your job, find direction. It is miserable to not love what you are doing. I love the first step of grabbing a pen and paper. This process may look very different for everyone, some may write words and some may draw their dreams. -Ryan
But how about you don’t have the ability to change it? Maybe you are not that clever to start a business, you still have mortgage and you stuck in the endless loop of waking up like zombie. Until you have wasted lots of time in your life.
These are some really inspiring suggestions. I remember when I used feel so much depressed with the negative things going on with my life. Some how I recovered with those things and finally found my right direction in life for peace when I started writing my blog.