"Don’t listen to anyone. Trust what gives you pleasure. Trust the emotions. If you love something but can’t explain why, that’s enough." ~ Calice Becker
Ever so often I get a frantic, near-manic, in a state of panic email from someone who says she doesn't know what to do with her life. She may just be done with high school, on the brink of college, she may have just graduated from college and detested the past four years of whatever she has been made to do, or someone in her mid-twenties, experiencing a quarter-life crisis [that happens, trust me].
I'm going to tell you the truth - even the most sensible, the most put-together, the most gung-ho, take-over-the-world, screw-everybody-who-gets-in-the-way person hasn't got it all figured out. The truth is, most of us don't know what we're going to do the rest of our lives.
Here's the thing - it's okay to quit your soul-sucking job, it's okay to not want to do what your parents want you to [just don't tell them I told you to be a rebel!], it's OKAY. While not many of us know what we want, we know what we don't want - so perhaps, all we need to do is do everything, and maybe one day, through a long, eventual process of elimination, you'll have a festival of tales in your back pocket and the satisfaction of realising that you've finally come to what you've always wanted. While I don't know the formula to seeking out what makes you happy, here are some tips I have handy from my journey thus far:
# Make lists of things you're wicked awesome at, and thing you think you would enjoy doing. Show them to people whose opinions you take seriously, and show them to people you love. Listen to what they have to say - maybe you have missed out something obvious that you could do, or maybe they can help improve upon an idea. If they have negative things to say, don't listen! Walk away!
# Start NOW! Dreams are not going to come true by making wishes on stars. You did that when you were eight - now it's time to take a reality check. You have to work hard to achieve your dreams - start researching on grants available to start your business, check out other people doing something like what you want to do, find out how much people in the business charge - and figure out how you're going to be better than them!
# Remind yourself that it's not going to be easy... because if it is, everybody would've done it already! I've had friends who have started incredible businesses from scratch, and their start-up nest money is so little, it's unbelievable. But it's about how much you work at it, and how much you believe in it. If you've gone from a fixed pay cheque month-to-month and now surviving on savings and freelance moolah that comes in once in a blue moon, don't despair, you have to know what you're in for for the long run. The best things in life are never easy.
# Seek out like-minded people who are venturing into the same thing, who do the same sort of work you want to do, and find out more about what you can expect in time to come. Whether they're newbies like you, or whether they've been in the business longer than you've been alive, it's always good to listen to people who've been there and done that.
# Know the difference between a slump, and actually hating your job. There are days when, as hard as I try, no words come out of my brain, I don't want to meet anyone, all I want to do is curl up with J and watch movies or episodes of Sanford & Son. And then there are days when I'm bouncing off the walls, excited about my meetings tomorrow, churning out articles like I'm on a cotton candy high. I don't hate my job - I just get moody and mopey sometimes.
Now, good luck, go out there and seek out what makes you happy! :o)