Let’s rewind for a moment and go back to high school.
Did you spend a lot of time making sure you got those A’s & B’s and participated in five different extracurricular activities just to get into that prestigious college?
Then you went to your dream college and the same thing happened over again. You had to stay competitive with getting the best grades in class, nab internships with the most well known companies, and still fill your free time with joining a gazillion student clubs.
Anything you could do to put yourself ahead of the pack and stand out. Or so you hoped.
Everything always went according to plan. Nothing would get in the way of “your plan.”
Until you started to wonder “Is this really it?”
The day realized that you might not want these things that you had been working towards in your life.
Of course, it’s all so easy under the guise of getting more institutional capital through getting degrees at the most prestigious colleges which can lead to lucrative and high salary jobs.
This was the convenient excuse to always stay on the safe side of a path that you thought would make you look good. The stuff that society tells you this is what constitutes success in our world. Conform to these expectations and rules.
But you start thinking that there is more to life. What could this be?
Could it be more meaning in your work? Could it be that you don’t actually care what you do except to get the paycheck? Could it be that you just don’t know what else is out there and you want to explore that? Could it be that you never tried to look into the career you actually wanted?
This feeling of discomfort gnaws at you. Sometimes it’s pacified by a promotion or a pay raise. Other times, it is exacerbated when you see a friend actually pursuing something bold with their life.
Look, it doesn’t matter what stage of life you are at, whether you are a new grad or a confused millennial or a mid career changer, you can always pause and take some time to figure things out.
I picked up the concept of “pausing” from Katherine Schwarznegger’s book where she mentions how millennials have the desire to live on fast forward but what we should really do is embrace the reflection process and explore the things we are interested in.
Yes, it can be scary to dive deeper into your inner thoughts and desires. Plus, self-exploration can be overwhelming!
As a starting point, I’ve put together a list of 5 questions to help you figure out your passion through understanding your strengths:
1. What do I love enough to do for free?
2. What do I do that causes time to feel differently? What causes me to lose track of time?
3. I had to teach something, what would I teach?
4. What do people typically ask me for help in?
5. What makes me feel great about myself?
My hope is that you’ll go through these 5 questions and have a better understanding of areas where you are strong in and like doing!
This doesn’t completely solve that gnawing discomfort of wondering what else is out there, but it does help you one or two steps in the right direction.