When Your Future is Hazy, Turn Inward
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. – Buddha
Some of us know what we are passionate about – we just need some direction and support to transform our dreams into reality
Others are simply at a loss of what will make them happy. They struggle with taking the first step towards a more passionate, joyful life because they are unsure of what would actually fulfill them.
I am not surprised. This generation is constantly being bombarded with external communications delivered from a myriad of electronic devices that never leave our side. The information overload is overwhelming, especially the messages TELLING us what will make us happy. We never get the opportunity to look inward – the noise is too loud. Indeed, while the Internet keeps us connected and entertained, it doesn’t give us any space to explore ourselves. And unhooking from this umbilical cord is difficult.
As a result, we don’t gift ourselves with unconnected “me time.” The victim is our authentic self. If we don’t have the time or the tools to look inward, it is difficult to move forward towards a more fulfilling life.
It is important to give ourselves permission to not know what we want to do, and to embrace the concept that any next steps we make don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be taken. The work here is to explore what makes you happy, and then harness the courage to pursue it. You will stumble. You will fall. And then you will get right back up, because pursuing your passion is your ticket to joy and you don’t want it to escape your grasp simply because you are afraid to take a wrong turn on your life’s journey.
I believe our 20s is the ultimate time to “discover our world.” I always told my students that your first job out of college is not a life sentence in that field. You may discover your career choice makes you miserable. And upon self-examination, you may find that your dream job is light years away from the subject you studied. And that is okay. No degree is ever wasted – even if it is never used.
When I graduated from college in 1980 with a degree in Journalism, I wanted to work in newspapers. Little did I know that two years later, after a stint on a copydesk, I felt miserable and freaked out. Instead of settling for a career that made me truly unhappy, I set out to explore my options, and really get to know myself. The rest is history – I found my calling in public relations and started my own business, but not before a lot of false starts and tough days.
If you are indecisive about your future, unhook from your electronic world and take some time to THINK and explore who YOU are and what makes YOU happy. Once you can identify your passion, use your imagination, do some research, reach out to peers and find a way to make this passion part of your life. With the resources available today, and the ability to develop websites, create a presence on social media and identify various funding sources, there is no excuse NOT to live a passion-filled life.
So look inward -- and start exploring.
Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com