What shall I do next? : The dreaded feeling of being lost!
Ever feel like you're lost? Not sure what to do next? Or simply lost a bit of the motivation to go out and be the best version of you?
"It's ok to feel lost, and not know what to do next. The key is that you are aware of it, and once you are aware, it becomes an opportunity"
Whether you hate your job and are looking for a way out, or stuck behind a persona that isn’t you, don’t worry,I’ll tell you now, it is completely normal to feel like that! There are times that I feel like that.
The trick is to be OK with it. Seriously, beating yourself up does absolutely nothing for you. In fact I believe you feed more into it. Once you accept that something maybe out of your control, especially with something like not knowing what to do next, it really is a stepping stone to move into a phase i like to call opportunity.
When you become aware of a problem, you then have an opportunity to solve it. But what if you can’t solve it? What if its a major decision like changing jobs, or looking to go to University or go on your O.E?
Well the trick then is to validate the problem. What do I mean by that? Simply put, is what you're feeling a real issue, or just a accumulation of smaller issues that, built up have resulted in you feeling this way.
As I mentioned earlier, its natural to feel lost andto not know what to do next. But when you decide that this is a real problem to solve, then you must take that opportunity and you must commit yourself to solving it.
If you are not willing to commit to working it out, I’m afraid it’s not enough of a problem for you to take action.
It sounds harsh right?
But I’ve experienced first hand what a real problem something like this is verses something that isn’t, and in my experience, if its not a real problem I am willing to commit to solve, then I am simply complaining.
So how do you commit to solving a problem?
Here are 4 ways below that I use to help get me back in the right mindset.
ONE - Write the problem or situation down!
Remember I said we need to commit to the problem, by putting it on paper and transferring from your mind to a physical property, we have created the first step of commitment, think of it like a contract.
TWO - Write down the word "because" after your problem
For example, say the problem you wrote down is “wanting to leave my job”, then you follow up by writing down the word because directly after it, and so it may look something like this…
"I want to leave my job because…"
After that, write down as many factors that folllow that particular issue. It could look something like this...
I hate my boss.
I don’t get paid enough.
I don’t have any motivation to complete tasks
Write down as many factors as possible, think of this process as a cleansing of the mind.
THREE - Place another "because" at the end of each factor you made
It may look like this....
I hate my boss because he or she never acknowledges my efforts.
I don’t get paid enough because I never get a salary or wage review.
I don’t have any motivation to complete tasks because I don’t get recognised for completing tasks any way.
Here is where you can seperate whether the problem is a real problem or not. If you can write the word because for the second time and follow the reason why its a problem fairly quickly, then most likely that is a problem, however when you write the word because and it takes you forever to write the following statement then guess what.....its not a real problem to you, it's more of a surface issue than a deep rooted problem.
FOUR - Now part of the final process is to then ask yourself; "what is it about this statement that is so important to me?"
So it could look like this….
"I hate my boss because he or she never acknowledges my efforts, this is really important to me because I need to feel important, and not feel undervalued at work, and being recognized will help me gain confidence to move up to more responsible roles that would allow me to get a pay rise and create more financial freedom for me and my family"
You see once you have a full picture of your problem and a little bit of why it’s important to you, you can then really look at it with a more balanced perspective and allow you to challenge it properly.
For example, lets say you decide to agree with my “I hate my boss’ statement. Let’s say you get the courage to discuss that statement with your boss in some way so that you can leverage whether this problem is in your mind or if it is truly a wider problem.
Say your boss doesn’t agree with you being recognized, and doesn’t see your value for whatever reasons, then at least you know you can walk away having understood your own side and theirs, making the decision of the “I don’t know what to do next” a lot more convincing to yourself and allowing you to move forward with proper action.
As a result of this process you have committed to making sure any decision is one you have really thought about, really tried to understand, and again if it means you have to move on, then that is a great result. It saves you from wasting your energy in the what if discussions or building unnecessary anger, frustration, and potentially regrettable decisions.
So to recap, this process of understanding whether a problem is really a problem, is first and foremost your responsibilty to solve. I used a generic issue I have personally faced and often discuss with friends and families which is feeling lost in your work or job, but this process is easily adaptable across most areas of your life.
Good luck, as I stated earlier, it is completely normal to feel lost, as long as you are aware you have an opportunity to solve it.