“What should I do with my life?” It’s a question we’ve all heard and it’s a very popular question that people google.
We can always get advice from other people and feedback on what they think we like or can be good at, but the bottom line as you may have guessed is that the answer comes from within. But what does that mean? What does “comes from within” mean?
It means the answer is personal and individual, yes, and we are the only ones who deep down know the answer. But how to get to that deep down answer? And how to not get confused or caught up in the goals of our peers and what other people care about?
The best method is to objectively study yourself like a scientist studies a subject. Look for real evidence — real experiences– of when you were at your best, when you felt fully alive. It may take time to unearth these experiences from your memory, and journaling is a really effective way to do so.
Try these journal prompts:
When did I feel most alive?
When was I the best version of myself?
What things are most meaningful to me?
Hopefully some solid evidence will start to come up, helping form a picture of your intrinsic interests — the things you seem to naturally do for its own sake.
I’ve studied myself and have realized that at my core I need to work with people on their goals. It is just the essence of who I am and my personality. I can’t negotiate with this. I may wish I had different inner impulses but I have no control over it. To resist is an exercise of pure frustration, as I’ve experienced. So, instead, I sublimate it and direct these natural instincts into my career. Sublimating is the idea of channeling inner impulses in order to be as productive as possible.
I’ve made career goals for myself that align with my deepest values and interests. I didn’t always know about these deepest values and interests, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but eventually, when I paid attention, they became clear.
What is going on inside you that you can sublimate? That might be the best question to ask when trying to figure out what you should do with your life.
Art James Heller is a positive psychology life coach and career coach. He meets with local clients in Hillsboro, OR and clients from around the world by phone and video. If you’d like to learn more please explore the site, or get in touch to sign up for a free consultation.