One of the most discouraging situations we can find ourselves in is that awful feeling of being trapped in a situation that you just don’t know how to get out of; that directionless feeling where you don’t know where to go or what to do next. You feel like you need to be doing something, but you just don’t know what. You start polling people to get everyone else’s advice, but you never act on it. You’re terrified of doing the wrong thing or making the wrong decision. And all you want is for someone to just make it easy for you and tell you what to do, to tell you how to find your direction in life.
Alice came to a fork in the road.
‘Which road do I take?’ she asked
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Stop asking others how to find YOUR direction in life!
The problem with handing your power over to other people like this is that it never works. Because you know exactly what happens when you start with the never-ending asking of other people’s opinions and advice: they’re oh-so-willing to give it to you, but you end up responding with an “oh, I don’t know…” and then never acting on their advice anyway. And you know why you do that, right? You do it because, deep inside, you already know what you want. You know what you want to do. You know which direction you want to go in. And you know what it is that you are meant to do. The reason that you don’t take the well-meaning advice of everyone you’ve asked is because on that deep, instinctive level, you know that it’s not the right thing for you.
So right about now you’re shaking your head and thinking that it’s all well and good for me to tell you that you already know what you want (which you do), but what if you aren’t consciously aware of it? How are you supposed to uncover this highly important, though annoyingly hidden information? If you can’t poll your Facebook friends for advice on how to run your life anymore, then what can you do to figure it out?
Look within, find clarity
If you want to know how to find your direction in life, you need to gain some clarity. And you can’t find clarity if you are constantly confusing yourself with outside opinions. All you really need to do to find your direction is look within. The answers you seek are always there; you just need to give yourself permission and time to listen to your own inner wisdom. Let the cacophony of outside voices subside. You are the only one who knows what’s best for you, so stop asking other people to tell you what you should do. Find your stillness and listen for your inner voice. Trust yourself, and then act accordingly.
Focus on the what, not the how
When trying to figure out how to find your direction in life, your job is to focus on what you want and where you want to be. Don’t mess with the how. If you spend too much time focusing on the how, you’re going to freak yourself out because your mind is going to come up with every conceivable reason as to why what you want is completely impossible or impractical. When negative thoughts crop up, let them go and refocus yourself on the what and the where, because if you’re constantly worrying about what could go catastrophically wrong if you make your move, then you’re just never going to do it. So shift your thought patterns. Focus on what you want by visualizing your success until the thought of achieving your goal feels so real and inevitable to you that you find yourself catapulted into inspired action to make it happen.
Start small, start now
If you can’t see the big picture yet, that’s OK. It’s very possible that you know you want to change, but you’re not yet sure about what that whole complete image or final destination looks like yet. So just start small, with one or two smaller things that you know you want to change and work with those. For example, maybe you know you want a completely new career, but you don’t know what field, exactly, that you do want to get into; maybe you work in finance and you know that what you really want is something with more creativity and a flexible schedule, but you have no idea what that would be. Don’t jump ship just yet, but maybe you can take up photography and spend some time on the weekends or after hours exploring possible career paths in that field. Or you start writing that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Whatever it is, start small… but start. Today.
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Trying to figure out how to find your direction in life can seem overwhelming at times, but giving up your power by asking other people to decide for you never works. You are the only one who knows where you need to go next, and it’s your responsibility to figure it out. You do already know what it is that you want and where you want to go; that feeling of dissatisfaction that you get when other people tell you what they think you should do is your indication of this. So stop asking. Find your clarity by looking within, focus on what and where you want to be, and start small by taking action on some aspect of whatever you are clear about. You may not have all the answers right now, but you don’t need all the answers to start making progress; you just have to have faith in yourself and start moving.
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