Have you ever found yourself feeling stuck at an impasse, lacking clarity on which direction to go next in life? Have you ever wished someone would show up alongside you, to guide you along from where you currently are to where you want to be?
Most people reach a point (if not many points) in life of utter overwhelm, discouraged by too many (or not enough) choices. This can feel particularly discouraging when we’re all grown up yet we’re still not really sure what we’re here for – wondering, just what is it am I supposed to do with my life?
Some people are fortunate to figure out their life path rather early in life, while others may look long and hard at many options, turning possibilities over and over in their mind for years. Though the ultimate outcome will look different for each of us, there are a few places helpful to start for most all of us when seeking purpose in life. Read on for four steps to take first when you’re not sure which direction to go next.
Give yourself permission
Recognize there is no need to justify or explain away the calling God has placed on your life. Remember it is good to be passionate about the things in life that make your heart beat a little faster – those same things you love so much you’d do for free if money was no object. There is no better time than now to throw off the chains of guilt or any other burden bogging you down. Give yourself permission to own your awesome and claim your calling for your full direction in life!
Dare to ask yourself the challenging questions. Imagine that you have achieved your goal and begin to define what that entails – envision yourself in the future and write down details of what that looks like. If money or time were not limits, what would you do now to move forward?
Businessman Tom Chappell proposed an exercise in his book Managing Upside Down called writing a ten year letter – it can be a very productive exercise that can help clarify where you want to go in the future. The concept is to write a letter to a close friend dated ten years from today assuming that everything has gone according to your dreams and wishes. You give a specific summary of the prior ten years going back to today in your letter. Include promotions, accomplishments, areas of growth, and spiritual changes. Keep in mind your gifts, values, passions, and vision as you write. For more on how and why to write a ten year letter, check out Managing Upside Down.
Find a mentor or coach
A great coach will come alongside you to help you clarify your dreams and goals, speak the truth in love, and provide accountability as needed. People talk with trusted mentors and coaches every day for help getting unstuck, discovering and developing passions, defining dreams, setting goals, building a vision for the future, finding purpose, and to get the courage to take “risks.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help in deciding what to do with your life – you can learn more about life coaching right here.
Read a good book
The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing – This book is a call for all of us to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives. In this spiritual memoir, Jeff Goins reveals the unexpected good that came from his times of waiting. And he encourages us to embrace the extraordinary nature of the ordinary and enjoy the daily mundane, what lies in between the “major” moments.
The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do – Jeff Goins provides a clear framework for discerning our calling, developing our mastery, and maximizing our impact. This is the plan we’ve been waiting for–from a guide we can trust.
Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters – There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.
Have you ever considered working with someone for help clarifying your calling and discerning next steps to reach your goals and direction? What do you do when you’re feeling stuck and lacking purpose?
This seems to be a message that is needed. So much of what we hear is “live your dream,” but we don’t hear a lot about how to do that. Your post gives the “how to” that many lack. 🙂
Thanks so much for that encouraging feedback Susan!
What an awesome post!!! You are young and wise girl! So refreshing to read a post like this from another young woman! The find a mentor part is so key! That has truly changed my life!! Great post!
Awe thank you so much!
I’m so thankful for the way God has led me through the years. There are not too many desires in my heart that He has not eventually brought to pass. How wonderful to “meet” you via Jennifer’s link up this week.
How encouraging! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I’m pretty good with most of this, but I really feel I need a coach to clarify my goals and help move forward! Always the hardest part for me. Very good advice here!
Thanks Gina. I think we’ve all been there at some point! I’m always here if you need someone to talk with!
Love this, Sybil. And thank you for coming along side me the other day to help me figure out what I want to be when I grow up… I would highly recommend your life coaching to others.
You are so welcome! Thanks so much for that recommendation – I am so glad we were able to work together! It was a pleasure talking with you!
This was great!! I am actually about to start shopping for a coach… it’s o n next week’s to do list. I have heard so many people speak about the difference that it makes.
Absolutely agreed! Best wishes!
I love this post! Even though I have yet to graduate from college, you really make me want to shoot for the stars and do exactly what I want to do instead of what others want me to do. Great advice 🙂
Glad you were encouraged, Emily!
Love this, Sybil! I’m 32 and aSAHM, but I still wonder what I Willis d when I “grow up!” I love your tip to dream big! I wish that had been encouraged when I was a child and will definitely be encouraging that to my littles!
Awesome, thanks for sharing Ashley!
seek God for His wisdom first – that usually helps! 😀
Absolutely, Andi! 🙂