If you own a computer with an Internet connection, you have more production power than a 200-person company had in 1970. And since you’re reading this post, I assume that you do have an Internet connection. So…Can you believe how crazy it is?
The land of opportunity has never been this big, yet we often find ourselves paralysed either by having too many options or having a hard time believing we can truly do what we want.
We want to follow our passions… but we also want to pay the bills.
We want to be happy and live a fulfilling life… but we haven’t realized what that means for us yet.
Well, if this is your situation, then you might enjoy reading this post.
WHY YOU NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT
Behind everything we do there’s a why. So if we want to get truly deep into this topic, we also need to clarify beforehand why it is so crucial that you do get through this process.
Indeed, without a compelling reason to do this work on yourself, you’re never going to make it past the resistance you’ll feel when you try to work through this and you will likely procrastinate on it.
Why? Because it is hard. It’s hard to make yourself uncomfortable now for the purpose or living a more fulfilling life in the future – so I might as well warn you immediately that it might get tough and even ugly.
In other words, don’t be surprised if your brain is a little reluctant to start coming up with answers at first. If you’ve been letting your brain off the hook, it’s not going to like it when you ask it to go to work. And that’s ok – I just don’t want you to think that this being challenging means there’s something wrong. It’s just part of the process!
Going back to why you need to figure out what you want… Most of us know what we don’t want – which is good, sometimes, to make us realize what it is that we really shouldn’t get into. It saves us time. But it’s equally important to know what we do want. And it’s often harder.
The simple fact is that when you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to figure out what to do next.
You can’t go on to do all the funny, exciting planning and goal-setting stuff (which I’m a big fan of, btw!) if you don’t know what it is that you’re trying to achieve. So knowing what you want is the first step of the process, and consider it might also be the hardest. But this post will help (I hope!).
WHY YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU WANT (YET)
There are definitely some people out there who really have it all figured out, they focus on one thing and one thing only and they choose to master it (maybe since they’re children) – but since you’re reading this, I assume it is probably not your case.
The truth is that there are so many reasons why we block ourselves from figuring out what we want, things we often do without even noticing. And of course we can’t analyze all these reasons in this short block of text – also because they might be extremely personal – but we can definitely explore one of the most popular ones: not being true to ourselves. Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily something you do consciously.
Let me explain it better. A couple of years ago, I had my future planned in vivid details. In my head, it all seemed exciting and “mature enough” and every time I’d tell people about it, they would all answer: “Oh, this sounds great! I’m so happy for you!” But every single time I received that answer, I could hear this quiet voice in my head saying: “This is great, but I’m not happy!”. It was a weird feeling to explain, but I knew what was going on, I just didn’t want to say it out loud.
If this is close to what you’re feeling or what you think you’re feeling (emotions can be so confusing sometimes!) please let me tell you a few words from the bottom of my heart:
I know that fighting your blocking mindsets, self-doubt and self-sabotage is hard and scary (I’m still going through this everyday!) but ask yourself: “Is it really worth it?”
Is it worth it torturing yourself into doing something you might enjoy but not totally LOVE for the rest of your life?
Is it worth it living an ‘almost fulfilling’ and ‘almost happy’ life just because you’re afraid of what other people will think of you? Is it worth it not putting your true potential out there? Is it worth it ignoring the passion that truly sets your heart on fire because you’re afraid it might not work out? Remember: the answer to 100% of the questions you don’t ask is no.
This might not help everyone, I get it, but I know it helped me so I think it’s worth sharing if it makes even the slightest difference into someone’s life.
A last thing to take into consideration:
Maybe the reason why you haven’t figured out what you want yet is that you just haven’t experienced enough to take anything into real consideration. This is a simple, quick thought, but maybe underrated.
In this connection I would highly suggest you watch the following TED Talk: it could blow your mind.
WHAT IT (TRULY) FEELS LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
I think it’s also important to talk about what it truly feels like to know what you want.
That’s because a lot of us put this whole ‘figuring out what we want’ thing up on a pedestal. We convince ourselves that knowing what we want will make us feel constantly amazing and excited about life. It’s gonna be the “end of the darkness”, it’s gonna be the answer to everything. We convince ourselves that people who know what they want must feel GREAT about their lives.
But the truth is this is not a magic pill. Nobody has it all figured out, but having a start, a direction, that’s what truly matters. Because if you have it all calculated to the second, something unexpected or a little mistake could totally put you off track. Instead, it should be a constant growth.
So, yeeaahh… you probably will never have it all figured out, but that’s something to be happy and grateful for! It’s means you’re going somewhere and there’s room for growth.
Think of it a spectrum. At one end there’s total uncertainty and at the other there’s total certainty. Our goal here is moving a little closer towards the ‘knowing what you want’ end of the spectrum.
ASK YOURSELF THIS SIMPLE QUESTION
Mel Robbins changed my life.
Around a year ago I ran into a Youtube video where this blonde middle-aged woman with glasses was talking about passion, and finding it in life.
At that point of my life, I was desperately looking for a way, a path to follow. I just finished my high school years and didn’t feel like college was really the right answer for me. So I felt lost – and was desperately looking for answers everywhere.
Basically, what Mel suggested in that video was that instead of looking for our passion and purpose in life we should ask ourselves one simple question: “What does energize me everyday?”
She believes passion is really another word for energy.
In her own words: “Every one of us has an internal fuel tank that is either empty or full. And if you’re empty, you feel depleted, if you’re full you feel energised.”
And the answer to that question could be everything that feels true to your heart. There’s no need to lie to yourself. She even suggests that if the answer is “making money”, then it’s okay, you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
You might feel a natural drive for money especially when you’re a 20-something, because you’re finally in a stage of life where you can buy yourself pretty things. And you want them, and there’s nothing wrong about it!
This is also what she added:
“It could be in any single shape or form but if it energises you, that’s what you need to follow. And what happens is that passion also because it’s energy, it dissipates over time because when you first start making money it’s fuc— thrilling but what happens is once you learn how to do something once you can do it over and over again and so it starts to become routine – which means it’s no longer energising you […] now you got to be energised by the next thing”
Seen from this perspective, the ‘figuring out what you want’ thing seems a lot more doable, right? And it takes a lot of the pressure off, because you now know that passion is temporary, so you don’t have to choose one thing only for the rest of your life!!
Once you identified what energizes you for most of the time, then you just have to figure out a way to make money from it so that you can actually do it everyday – which is easier said than done, I know, but it’s a start.
#Tip: Dream without judgement.
For this exercise to be really effective, you need to dream without judgement, you need to stop giving your brain limits. Let me ask you a question.
If you had 100 million dollars in your bank account and wouldn’t have to work another day of your life, what would you do all day?
Would you travel, or paint or write the next greatest novel? Would you go to that yoga retreat in Nicaragua you’ve always dreamed of? Would you rescue animals? What would you do??
Nothing is off the table.
WHEN ANSWERS ARE LYING UNDERNEATH
Sometimes it happens that we can’t give ourselves a sure answer because what we are looking for is buried underneath, deep in our subconscious.
The exercise I found to be the most effective in digging deep into our minds is definitely journaling. Ok, maybe you don’t like writing. It doesn’t matter! It’s not an essay, you’ll be the only person reading it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you simply have to write whatever comes to your mind. The silliest thoughts, I don’t care.
But try to write as fast as you can, to stop you from censoring or judging yourself. You’ll see that after a while your true voice will start coming up and getting louder (the one buried under all the doubts and fears!). Now you just have to listen to that voice.
ACCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT JUST BE A MULTI-PASSIONATE
I used to be an hyperactive kid (I still am shh). I would literally run around all day, invent the weirdest stories and create the craziest things that were only based on my imagination (perfumes, mixtures, forts…you know, all those things kids do!). I could barely get and put in practice an idea that I was following another one, or mixing the two together. And I was happy to do so!
But growing up, teachers and “experts” would tell me to focus on one path only. To specialize, to narrow my focus as much as possible to get the best out of a single subject for the rest of my life (maybe).
But that’s just not who I am. I mean, it’s definitely true that focusing on one thing can allow you to master it and take it to the next level, but I would have been unhappy with having to make such a choice.
Because I loved writing, but also designing and a bit of coding, and personal growth. I didn’t want to give up any of them! And that’s basically how this blog was born – which is probably the thing I’m the most proud of.
So do you have lots of passions but aren’t sure which one to choose? I give you permission to follow them all!
The amazing Marie Forleo coined the term ‘multi-passionate’: when she was starting out she was a fitness instructor and a life-coach and a hip-hop dancer.
Even Steve Jobs talked in his speech at Stanford of how taking a single class of calligraphy at the Reed College gave him the idea for the new fonts for the first Macintosh computer 10 years later (as he said “It was the first computer with beautiful typography”).
The point is: experience is everything – you never know what skill you might need in the future, or how something you did 10 years ago could give you a life-changing idea now.
So if you like focusing on one thing only and mastering it…I’m really happy for you! Go ahead! But if you don’t feel comfortable feeling pressured to make a choice… then you don’t have to!
I suggest you give a look at the following video, it’s a TED TALK about multi-passionate people. A couple years ago (I think) I saw myself in her words and stopped feeling so guilty for having more than one passion at a time:
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
Now that you hopefully have some ideas on what you want to spend your life doing (or even only the next few years), you have to realize how you want to monetize your passions.
The first thing I suggest you do is: research, research and research. With the Internet and globalization, it seems like nowadays you can literally make money doing whatever you want (I literally saw the craziest niches online courses make 6-figures!).
Maybe you won’t be able to become a millionaire in every case, but you’ll definitely be able to live a more fulfilling life doing something that not only you love doing, but that pays your bills as well.
Honestly, you’re probably a few clicks of Google searches away from a step-by-step plan to make 6 figures in the next year right now.
So grab your favourite beverage and get cozy, ‘cause it’s time to craft the life of your dreams.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Did you find this post interesting? Did you try any of the techniques mentioned? Are you a multi-passionate like me?