Chances are you are like most people and have had that moment when things fall into perspective and you can’t help but ask yourself “what the hell am I doing with my life?” If you’ve ever had that experience, then this is for you.
Typically the common response to this experience is to entertain the question for a minute but soon after brush it off and rationalize the current state of things as OK simply because, “that’s just the way things are.”
Well, I had one of these experience some time back and instead of just brushing it off, I decided to dive into it headfirst. I began racking my brain looking for answers.
I ended up conducting what I can only now classify as a life audit.
I spent a sizable amount of time and energy carefully examining all aspects of my life and ended up launching myself into a new journey that has totally changed my life.
It happened when I asked a coworker casually, “hey what’s up?” and he responded “Just living the dream,” with a heavy dose of sarcasm behind it.
I get it, we all have to tread through some stinky water from time to time and making light of a situation can make it easier. But this particular time, it hit home for me. What was being said essentially was “I really wish I wasn’t here right now, but I am going to endure it and the dissatisfaction that comes along with it, because that is what I’ve accepted for my entire life.”
I had just moved to the city of Chicago where I knew zero people for my first ever ‘real’ job. For the first time in my life, I had reached a new level of social expectation. Go to school. Check. Get a good job. Check.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for my job but it didn’t give me a sense of personal fulfillment and when I started to look around at other people older than me working in the same place, living in the same routine, taking the same vacations, it terrified me that I would end up the same.
I mean, how unimaginative of a dream is that? Shouldn’t we all be striving for more?
This shook me to the core and so I began my life audit.
I can only speak from my own experience, but my decision to dive into the question “what the hell am I doing with my life” is a great place to start remaking the dream you actually want to live.
Tell the Truth Until it Hurts
When first diving into these sort of self-deprecating questions, you must be brutally honest with yourself without totally destroying your ego. Look at the good as well as the bad. The best way to get the best picture is to write like crazy.
I know we’ve all heard that it’s good to write, but seriously, it’s your best bet for not only making sense of your thoughts but also creating a way to measure your progress. This is important because it will help you stay focused when you inevitably face personal trials.
Start by analyzing your current situation. Where are you? What are you doing and why? How does it make you feel? What are the things you are proud of, what are the things you would like to change or improve upon? What motivates you? Dive deep to really get a clear picture of where you stand in your own terms.
At this point, you will start to think of things that you want and an way of life to live. Dive into this as well and write out your goals in multiple forms. Write the big ‘pies in the sky,’ write short term easily achievable ones and any others you think of. It can relate to your job, your lifestyle, your personality traits etc. Think of it literally as an audit, so be thorough.
For me at this point I discovered two fundamental things. First, I had no reason for being where I was other than ‘because that’s what I felt like I was supposed to do,’ and second I was not satisfied with what I was doing and that I needed to find a way to take control of my own life so that I don’t end up “living the dream” years from now.
You are going to want to keep everything you write especially your goals. They will keep you on track and keep you inspired.
Trim the Fat
Now comes the time for action. It’s time to cut the fat out of your routine and do something different. Nothing will ever change by doing the same thing over and over. Use your newfound insight to address the areas that you want to improve on and use your strengths to help you get there.
The best way I found to start is to choose one of the goals you wrote down and find something that you can integrate into your daily routine that will help you reach your goal. The benefits are twofold. First you will be marching towards achieving one of your goals and second you’ll be strengthening your will. When you commit to something and overcome the inevitable struggles of staying consistent with it, you will start to become more confident in yourself and you will start to go for bigger and bigger goals. You are essentially learning how to achieve and visualize what success means to you.
For me I decided to commit to meditating daily for a month. This was challenging, especially considering sitting still for 15-30 minutes a day didn’t seem like a priority in my busy life, but it helped me be more focused and deliberate. It also helped me clearly define another goal of mine, to be my own boss.
After doing the month of meditation, I began to feel a sense of empowerment and was ready for more. Long story short, I ended up creating Sol Vibes – a clothing line dedicated to adding a touch of zen to your day so you can be your best you.
It has become my outlet to explore a world of passion and expression while also inspiring others and sharing good vibes. I have a long road ahead to get where I want to be but I’ve gained a significant amount of momentum from first attempting to understand myself.
You may not be where you want to be at the moment and that’s totally cool.
We all need some improvement. What I’m saying is that you should never justify your place in the world if you are not happy with it and where it is taking you just because it is the expected norm. Dig into your thoughts and audit everything about you. Write down everything so that you can discover why you are where you are and map out the goals you have to help you get where you want to be. Find what motivates you and start working towards a goal that can help you achieve it. You will gain confidence and it will help you reach future goals and escape the life limbo you might be in.
If you’ve ever had that moment where you really just have to say “WTF am I doing“, don’t brush it off. Think about it and use it to take you somewhere new. After all, every great solution starts with understanding the problem first.