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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

What Am I Doing with My Life? Find Your Answer Here

What Am I Doing with My Life? Find Your Answer Here

“What am I doing with my life?”

As a life coach and business consultant, I hear this question – or some version of it – all the time. Those asking the question are likely facing one of a couple scenarios.

One, you wake up one morning and find yourself in a job you hate, a relationship you don’t want to be in, or a life that has little resemblance to the one you had imagined. You might be feeling low, filled with frustration, shame or regret. This is not where you wanted to be at this time in your life… it’s not the life you wanted to live.

Or maybe you don’t feel unhappy or lost, but you wake up and realize you want something more, new or different. You may have accomplished many of the things you’d imagined for your life and now you’re trying to figure out what to do next.

My job as a coach and consultant is to support my clients to be happier, more successful and fulfilled. To help them get from where they are to where they want to be, uncovering obstacles along the way. This usually involves working through a process and asking powerful questions so they can discover the answers to their biggest questions – including this one.

What’s Wrong with Your Life?

One of the very first things I share with my clients is this: you don’t have to figure out what you want to do with the entire rest of your life!

You don’t have to work out what you want to be when you “grow up” or discover your entire life’s purpose. You don’t have to commit to a career for the next 20 years. I see so many people paralyzed by thinking they must work everything out for the entire rest of their lives. Of course they feel stressed and overwhelmed!

    My advice? Focus on identifying what’s next. At this age, in this stage, facing your current circumstances. I’m not saying this won’t be attached to a bigger vision, but that doesn’t mean you have to have the whole plan right now. I love MLK’s quote,

    “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just have to take the first step.”

    Such is true for figuring out what you’re doing with your life.

    How to Answer the Question – What Am I Doing with My Life?

    Back to the question. Let’s look at a couple of my recent clients.

    Sabine* was a smart, successful, vibrant woman. She already had several successful jobs during her career, traveled the world, had a family, and was settling back in a new city. While she originally called wanting to take her business to the next level, we soon realized that wasn’t what she really needed or wanted.

    She was trying to figure out what she was doing with her life. For her, this meant realizing she had lost her sense of self. While no one would know from the outside, she was feeling overwhelmed, lost and unsure of herself. She was doing all the “right” things for everyone around her, but she wasn’t doing all the right things for her.

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    Together, we were able to help Sabine:

    • Get a clear picture of what she wanted for this next stage in her life.
    • Align her life and actions with her value and priorities.
    • Remember who she was and feel more like herself than she had in years.
    • Regain confidence and take action on things she had been avoiding.
    • Gain motivation, self-trust, and security in her decisions.

    Then, there’s Max*. Incredibly smart, fun and motivated, Max had successfully climbed up through his career ladder and was happily married with his first child. Life was good. He came to me because he was in the second scenario; Max was trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. Even though he had a great job, he was looking for more – something new, different, challenging and interesting.

    In our time together, Max was able to:

    • Identify his priorities and what was important in this next stage of life (and what wasn’t)
    • Pinpoint several new career options/ideas
    • Uncover and work through old, limiting beliefs and thought patterns
    • Start exploring potential new careers.

    Here’s the process and the questions I walked through with Sabine and Max. Following these will help you make progress towards identifying what you’re doing with your life too:

    Step 1: What do you want?

      Whenever you’re looking at what you’re doing with your life, it’s important to take a step back, look at the big picture and identify what you want. Frankly, if you don’t know what you want, how do you expect to get it?

      This seems simple, yet it’s often quite hard to address. When I ask this question, people often tell me what they don’t want or what’s not working. They’ve gotten into the habit of making decisions based on what’s best for their career, family or others… and forget to think about what they want for themselves.

      Sabine originally thought she wanted to “take her business to the next level”, but when she dug deeper, she realized there was so much more. She ultimately found that she wanted to feel like herself again; to feel secure, trust and assert herself, and regain her sense of self.

      Max wanted to love what he was doing. He wanted to be in a career (or role) that he was energized and “jazzed” about.

      Your turn:

      What do you want? Get specific.

      Is it a new career in which you feel excited and energized? A relationship where you feel honored and loved? To be confident and happy with yourself? To live in a particular place or to explore the world?

      Maybe, like Sabine, when you think you have your answer, ask yourself, “what else?” and see what comes up.

      Once you are clear on what you want, you can move to the next question.

      Step 2: Who are you?

      I have a strong belief and a lot of experience that self-awareness and a little soul searching is critical for success – especially when you’re trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life.

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      Understanding yourself at a deeper level and making decisions based upon those insights will make sure whatever you choose to do next is something that will make you happier, more successful and more fulfilled. It will make sure that your next step is a step in the right direction, not just another step.

      While I take my clients through a series of many questions, here are a few of my favorites:

      • What is most important to you right now?
      • What are your core values? What are the beliefs, guiding principles or ideas that are deeply important to you? Which ones are you off track with?
      • What are your passions? What do you love? What interests you? What gets you engaged, motivated, excited?
      • What are your skills and talents? Which would you like to use going forward?
      • What is your wish list? What do you want and need in your life/career/relationship? This might include the type of environment you thrive in, people you want to be surrounded by, or something you want in a role.
      • What is the impact or difference you want to make? How do you want to serve, contribute or add value?
      • What do you NOT want? While you don’t want to spend too much time in this space, it’s as important to be aware of what you don’t want as much as what you do!

      In addition, I always have my clients take the Instinctive Drives™ questionnaire. It’ s a profiling tool that helps you understand what you need to be at your best. While it happens to be my personal favorite, I highly recommend any tool or resource that will help you gain personal insight.

      In her soul searching, Sabine identified that she needed to find and surround herself with her “people”; uncovered what she needed to feel safe and secure; learned she needed to delegate more; and discovered that her direct approach was getting in her way.

      Max realized what was most important to him at this stage of his life, identified the limiting beliefs that were getting in his way, learned to stop comparing himself to others and realized how important it was to infuse humor and joy into his everyday life.

      Your turn:

      Grab a journal. Ask yourself these questions and allow the time and space to discover the answers.

      Write everything down. Then, review what you wrote and highlight or circle what stands out or resonates the most. These are what you want to pay attention to as you move forward and think about what you’re doing next with your life.

      Then, with a little soul-searching under your belt, it’s time to move on to step 3.

      Step 3: What are your options?

      You’re not happy where you are. You know you want something else. But what is that “something”? This question allows you to explore what your potential options.

      At this point, it’s not about deciding the one thing or making the right choice, it’s about allowing your creative mind to expand and see all the possibilities.

      If you hate your career, what new potential careers are on your mind? If you’re unhappy in your relationship, what can you do? If you’re feeling like you need change or an adventure, what could those possibly be?

      Brainstorm ALL your options without worrying about whether they are possible or not (just yet). Make a list and keep asking yourself…. what else? This allows you to dig deeper and see opportunities you might have otherwise not explored.

      Your turn

      What are all of your possible options at this point in time? Don’t limit them if you can’t see how it’s possible, just get all your ideas out on paper.

      Once you have your list of options, then you can move to the next step.

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      Step 4: Which options are the best fit right now?

      Okay, so you have your list of options and possibilities. Now it’s time to narrow it down and explore those options in a little more depth.

      Once Max had a complete list of potential career options (including advancing in his current role), he narrowed the list down to the top most interesting and compelling opportunities. We then worked through each of those in greater depth.

      A fantastic way to do this is to envision your life “as if” you were in that new role/situation/relationship/option.

      Max imagined himself living the life in his new career options. First, he imagined himself as an REI employee. Yes, he had grown a beard and was drinking from a metal mug.

      But the next question was even more important. I asked him how he felt. He said while he was excited to be outdoors more, he realized he wouldn’t be fulfilled in that role. He definitely didn’t feel “jazzed”.

      We went through all his options, envisioning what life would be like in each role until he found the one in which he felt the most connected. We could both feel a shift in his energy immediately…he was on to something.

      Your turn

      Go back to your options list and circle the 1-3 that you feel most connected to, energized by or engaged with. You’ll want to make sure those options fit what you want (question 1) and who you are (question 2).

      Once you have a short list, imagine your life as if you took that as your next step. What would you think, feel, hear and see? Can you picture yourself there? Does it feel good? You can also do some research at this point to learn more about each of your options.

      Then, armed with information and idea of the best next option for you, it’s time to move on to the next question.

      Step 5: What’s stopping you?

      This is a big one. As you explore your options, it’s likely you may come up against some barriers.

      Perhaps you have fears or limiting beliefs of what you can or can’t do or what someone said you were capable of. Maybe it’s lack of self-esteem or confidence. When these come up, it doesn’t mean the option is wrong, it just means you need to dig a bit further to find out what’s going on It’s important to explore what’s getting in your way.

      With Max, he was being held back by a deep, long time belief that he wasn’t good enough – that he wasn’t capable of taking on a higher level, higher risk role. This was holding him back. We worked together until he could move past this perception and on to his next step.

      Your turn

      Think about what’s getting in your way or stopping you from moving forward. Once again, don’t stop at your first answer. Ask yourself, “what else?” until you identify what’s getting in your way.

      Then, it’s time to move to the last question..

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      Step 6: What can you do to move forward?

      You’ve narrowed down and explored your options and now it’s time to take action. I know this part is hard.

      What if it isn’t right? What if there is something else out there? What if it’s the worst decision I ever make? Arrgghh!

      These are all real and good questions, but not if they stop you from moving forward towards a more fulfilling life. If you’re feeling hesitant about taking the next step, let me give you a different way to look at it.

      If you’re unhappy where you are now, what is the bigger risk? Staying where you are out of fear of doing the wrong thing OR moving forward and seeing where it leads you? It’s better to rock the boat than to die sinking in it, right?

        Once you’ve decided, it’s time to act. What’s your first step? Take it.

        Give yourself a deadline, a timeline or a goal to make it happen so you can move from ideas to reality.

        Your turn

        Make a decision about which option is best for you to move forward into the life you want. Then, take the first step towards that option. Then the next and the next one after that.

        Final Thoughts

        So, what are YOU doing with your life?

        Just the sheer fact that you’re asking yourself what you’re doing with your life is a step in the right direction. A mentor of mine always said, 90% of solving a problem is awareness that it exists. You know you need to do something.

        Now, if you’re serious about moving forward, it’s time to take the time and put in the effort and answer the questions above. Then, like Sabine and Max, be willing to take action – to step forward into a more fulfilling future – even if you’re not exactly sure how it’s going to play out.

        Be brave. You’ve got this. It’s not too late. It’s your life, and, yes, it can be everything you’ve imagined.

        More About Meaning of Life

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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        Tracy Kennedy

        Lifehack's Personal Development Expert, a results-driven coach dedicated to helping people achieve greater levels of happiness and success.

        How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment What Am I Doing with My Life? Find Your Answer Here How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit How to Be More Confident: 10 Powerful Ways to Boost Confidence

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

        How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

        Let’s start with the problem:

        You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’s things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.

        But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.

        By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.

        So where do you go from there?

        What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.

        This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.

        These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.

        1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation

        Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.

        All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.

        Guess what? This isn’t going to work.

        Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.

        Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.

        If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:

        Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.

        For example:

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        • If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
        • If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
        • If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.

        The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.

        Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.

        The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!

        OK. Next step.

        2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)

        Open up any social media platform you’re active on that contains some positive connections you have.

        Send this message to one person you already know and trust ton help you make changes to your life:

        “Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.

        And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.

        My ask is simple.

        Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.

        What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”

        Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.

        Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.

        People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.

        It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

        You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.

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        Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.

        So when the next dip in willpower comes?

        You have a friend sitting right next to you, watching your every move, making sure you get things done anyway.

        3. Build Good Habits Effortlessly

        Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.

        Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.

        Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.

        Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.

        Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:

        A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.

        Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.

        When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.

        Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.

        So what did I do to build this really important habit?

        Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.

        I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.

        Then, it hit me.

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        I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.

        I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.

        What was it?

        Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.

        Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.

        My new habit became:

        When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.

        Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.

        When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.

        Why does this work?

        What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).

        I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.

        Making it more likely to happen.

        Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.

        When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.

        There was no motivation or willpower required.

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        This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.

        If you want to learn more about quitting bad habits, Lifehack’s CEO also has a guide on it: How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

        4. Create More Time by Quitting Social Media

        You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?

        I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.

        Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.

        Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.

        We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.

        One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.

        Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?

        Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.

        The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.

        Final Thoughts

        Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.

        Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.

        Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.

        So what to do next to make changes in your life?

        1. Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
        2. Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
        3. Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
        4. Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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