What Do You REALLY Want to Do?

Do you remember the days after college graduation?  The world was suddenly at your feet.  You could be anything, go anywhere, do anything!  And then, about a month later: reality hit.  Not only did college loans not cover your living expenses, you actually had to start paying them off.  You realize that, in fact, your dream job had not been just sitting there waiting for you to graduate for all these years. 

Yeah, so it was kinda heartbreaking.  So often we end up taking whatever job comes our way first, because let’s face it: life has immediate demands, often in the form of dollars and cents signs.  And then, we stick with the job because we want our resume to look good and a six months experience just doesn’t look like we’re stable.  And then we stick with it because we’ve been there a year, and there’s a good raise if we stay for two.  And well, at two years, kids come, mortgages hit.  Definitely can’t leave right now.  And then we just get comfortable.  The job market is unknown. Dark.  Scary.  Till, finally: it’s been years and years and we’re stuck in a job we really aren’t all that fond of – okay, so maybe you detest it.  If this is the case, then I’d venture to say you’re really starting to feel the “itch.”

You want to do something you want to do, right?  You dream of waking up and not fiercely dreading the next 8 hours of your day and the day after and the day after.  Let’s face it, when life is miserable and uninspiring for all but a few hours at night and two days a week, life can get rough.  So, that said, you’ve made up your mind to look for something new.  But, what is “that”?  This is generally the step that overwhelms and plunges us right back into accepting our current lot in life.  It’s no joke: it can be tough knowing and determining what you really want to do. 

But, not to fear: this blog and the tips coming are guaranteed to save the day and answer this question for you.  Alright, maybe not guaranteed.  But, I do think if you’re willing to put a little time and effort into this, that you can determine what it is that will make you jump out of bed in the morning, that will help you combine dollars and something you actually care about.  It can’t hurt right?  So, take a leap with me, here goes:

Step 1: Make a list of what makes you happy.

Don’t think in terms of work here.  Maybe it’s watching movies, going hiking, solving puzzles.  Perhaps it’s young kids.  Writing.  Baking.  Investing.  Who knows, maybe all you can come up with today is that drinking wine makes you happy.  Whatever ideas you come up with: write them down.  Ask your friends for their thoughts if you get stuck.  Maybe they’ll be the ones who notice that you get happy whenever you read the sports section or that a couple puppies and an hour in the park is all it takes.  After you answer this for “happy,” answer it for satisfied, fulfilled, and energized.  See if you find one or two things that have a spot in each category.  Then, start brainstorming how those could possibly connect with money-making.  Search “jobs” and “____.”  Ask people who have the same interests how they earn their living.  Read blogs that are all about your “happy” ideas for awhile to get inspired.

Step 2:  Do a little reflection.

Is there anything you’ve done in life that you wish you could do again, over and over?  Were you part of a charity event that really got you fired up?  Did you used to talk stock with old friends and get excited?  Did you spend hours and hours outdoors when you were younger?  Is there a person in your life you’ve always said “I wish I was him/her”?  Was there a period of time in your life that you now look back on fondly?  What was going on then?  What were you doing?  Why was it different?

Step 3: Open up the possibilities.

If you were in a place where you knew no one, had unlimited means to support yourself, and no obligations, what would you be doing at this very moment?  Would you be surfing in Hawaii?  Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Creating a portfolio of artwork?  Spending time with your family?  Some of your responses will most likely be hard to fit into a new plan, because, let’s face it: you probably do not have unlimited funding or zero obligations.  But, the places you would be, the interests you pick out and the kinds of activities you would be doing can give you good direction.  Maybe you can’t drop everything and pick up a surfing career in a tropical location.  But, are you in marketing?  Could you work for an online surfing company?  So you can’t move to a vineyard and drink wine for a living.  Are you an editor?  Could you write content for wine magazines?

Step 4: Get involved, slowly.

Don’t do anything rashly.  If you think you’d like something, see if you can get involved in it for a few hours a week.  Maybe take a class.  Dip your toes in the water and see if it really does excite you as much as you thought it would.  You might find your life-long passion, and you might as equally discover that selling real estate is just plain boring after a few days.

When you finally discover what it is that brings new life and meaning to your life, do your research.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Make a solid, concrete plan (with a future built-in) so that you can eliminate as much of the unknown and the uncertainty as possible, and then go for it.  Take a leap of faith and embrace the opportunity. 

Author Bio: Tara Alley is a freelance writer from southwest Montana, now living in sunny Orange County, CA, where she spends the majority of her time writing about her love/addiction for espresso for Coffee Home Direct.

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