What Do I Do With My Life? Practical Tips For Finding Your Path

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Table Of Contents

Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling, pondering, "What do I do with my life?" You're not alone. This question, as daunting as it feels, is a common crossroads for many.

I've been there too, not just once, but six times, each leading to a different career path. In this journey, I've learned that such moments of uncertainty aren't just about choosing a job; they're about discovering your purpose.

In this article, we'll explore practical steps and insights to help you navigate these crossroads. Whether you're contemplating a career shift or seeking a deeper sense of fulfillment, join me as we unravel the art of aligning your career with your true calling.

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How To Determine What You Should Do With Your Life

Connect With Others

When reflecting on my six career changes, one fundamental truth stood out: connecting with others is often the key to unlocking what to do in life. 

When we engage with diverse individuals, we expose ourselves to a variety of perspectives and experiences that can profoundly influence our career decisions. 

It's through these interactions that we discover new industries, roles, and paths we might never have considered. Networking isn't just about professional connections; it's about finding inspiration and guidance from those who have walked the path before us.

The importance of community in this process cannot be overstated. A supportive community offers more than just advice; it provides a sounding board for our ideas and fears. In a world where career paths are no longer linear, learning from the successes and failures of others can provide invaluable insights.

If you are looking for a like-minded community, check out The Break Community. This is a space where professionals can find support and guidance tailored to their journey. 

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Think About Things You Enjoyed When You Were Younger 

Thinking about what we enjoyed in our younger years can be a surprisingly effective way to figure out what to do with our lives.

Often, our childhood interests and passions are pure expressions of our true selves, unfiltered by societal expectations or practical considerations. These early inclinations can serve as a compass, pointing us toward careers that align with our innate talents and passions.

When we think back to the activities that brought us joy and satisfaction as children, we might discover underlying themes or skills that are relevant to our career choices today. 

For instance, a love for building with blocks might translate into a career in architecture or engineering. A passion for storytelling could lead to a career in writing, marketing, or film. These early interests often hint at our natural strengths and preferences.

Revisiting our childhood passions can also reignite a sense of wonder and creativity that we often lose in adulthood. This can be incredibly valuable in a career context, as it encourages us to think outside the box and pursue paths we might have dismissed as impractical or unrealistic. 

So, take a moment to reminisce about your younger self. What activities made you lose track of time? What subjects were you drawn to in school? The answers to these questions might just provide the clues you need to carve out a career that's not only successful but also deeply fulfilling.

Make An Anti-Vision List

I had spent too much time searching for the right environment to make me happy at work. I never found it so I just decided to break the whole damn thing.

I started from what I didn't want in my life anymore. 

To make an anti-vision list, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What don’t I want? 
  • What do I not want my days to look like? 
  • What is not my ideal environment? 

Creating an anti-vision list isn't just about avoiding what you don't like; it's about making room for what you do. It helps you avoid repeating past mistakes and clarifies your goals. With a clearer understanding of your dislikes, you can make more informed decisions about your career path.

Now, it's your turn. Begin by writing down the things you know you don't want in your career and life. Be honest and thorough. This list will guide you, steering you away from choices that don't serve your ultimate goals.

Build Your Trampoline

Personal finance gurus all talk about a safety net. I hate that. A safety net only helps you when you’re in trouble. 

A proper savings system can also be an offensive strategy to propel your growth while you figure out what you want to do. 

I would recommend aiming to have 6 months of cash in the bank. If you can’t do that, start figuring out how to generate side income and use that as your savings vehicle. 

Invest In Yourself 

Investing in yourself is a crucial step in carving out a fulfilling career path. It's about recognizing that your personal and professional growth is a continuous journey, one that requires dedication, time, and sometimes, a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. 

This investment can take many forms, from developing new skills to enhancing your mental and emotional well-being. It's about understanding that you are your most valuable asset, and the efforts you put into your own development can pay dividends in all aspects of your life. 

To truly harness the power of self-investment, consider enrolling in our Advantage Mapping course. This course is designed to help you identify your unique strengths and leverage them for maximum career impact. Don't miss this opportunity to invest in your future – enroll in the Advantage Mapping course today and take the first step towards a more rewarding career journey.

For more tips on investing in yourself, read my complete guide on how to invest in yourself to boost your career.

Know That Advantage > Skill

Hard skills, while essential, are often commodities in the job market. Anyone can acquire these skills with time and dedication. The real game-changer, however, lies in non-cognitive skills – the nuanced application layer that elevates your professional profile.

Non-cognitive skills, such as emotional intelligence, adaptability, and creative problem-solving, are where your true value lies. These skills enhance how you apply your hard skills, making you a unique asset. They are less about the technicalities of what you can do and more about how you do it, how you adapt, and how you solve problems.

Your unique advantage emerges at the intersection of your hard and non-cognitive skills. This combination is what makes you 'unbreakable' in your professional life. It's not just about being skilled; it's about how you uniquely apply these skills. Understanding this advantage is crucial in answering "What do I do with my life?" It directs you towards roles that not only require your skills but also resonate with your personal strengths and values.

Recognizing your unique advantage is one thing; applying it in the right context is another. It's about aligning your career with environments that not only need your skills but also value your unique approach. This is where your non-cognitive skills can truly shine, leading to not just job satisfaction but a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in your work.

By focusing on your unique advantage, which combines both hard and non-cognitive skills, you position yourself for a resilient and fulfilling career. This understanding is key to guiding you towards roles where you can not only succeed but also make a significant impact.

Create A Resilient Mind 

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is a resilient mindset. I've always believed that resilience is an attitude of “I can handle anything.” This mindset is crucial, especially when facing the uncertainties and complexities of career choices.

To develop this kind of resilience, we need to confront and undo a lot of societal programming. We're often taught to aim for a single outcome, to be efficient and productive at all times. 

But here’s the truth I’ve learned: optimized systems break easily when any uncertainty is introduced. In our careers, where change is the only constant, clinging to a single path or outcome limits our potential and adaptability.

Embracing a resilient mindset is essential when you're unsure about your career path. It transforms challenges into opportunities for growth and learning. With resilience, you can experiment, take risks, and explore various paths without being paralyzed by the fear of failure. It's about viewing each step, not as a definitive answer, but as a part of a continuous journey of discovery and adaptation.

Building a resilient mind involves a few key practices:

  • Accepting uncertainty as a natural part of life and career progression.
  • Recognizing that there isn't just one 'right' path, but many paths that can lead to personal and professional fulfillment.
  • Learning to be flexible and to pivot in response to new challenges or unexpected changes.

Creating a resilient mindset prepares you to handle whatever comes your way. It's understanding that the journey to finding what to do with your life isn't straightforward. It's a winding path, rich with opportunities for learning and growth. With resilience, you're not just making choices based on your skills and interests, but also on your ability to adapt and thrive amidst life's inevitable changes.

Additional Resources

Figuring out what to do with your life may involve finding a new job. Here are some resources if you find yourself job searching:

Bottom Line

Answering the question, "What do I do with my life?" revolves around a process of deep self-reflection. It's about delving into your unique skills and strengths, and understanding what truly matters to you. This journey is less about finding a quick answer and more about engaging in a continuous exploration of your desires and capabilities.

Recognizing what you don't want in life is just as important as identifying what you do want. This clarity helps in steering clear of paths that don't align with your values and aspirations. Building a resilient mindset is also crucial, as it enables you to navigate the uncertainties and changes that life inevitably brings.

Each step in this journey is a valuable part of your personal and professional growth. Keep reflecting, keep learning, and you'll gradually uncover the path that's right for you. The journey to self-discovery and career fulfillment is ongoing, and embracing this process is key to finding your way.

If you are searching for a new role as you answer this question, we recommend job searching on ZipRecruiter.