“What Am I Doing With My Life???”

“I’m not happy with my career. I don’t feel satisfied at my job. Sure it’s a great job, I should feel lucky. But instead I’m just itching to get on with it. I’m good at my job, I’m proud of it, but is it really what I want to be doing? No!”

Have you ever felt this before?

“I told myself I’d be further in life right now. I set goals. I had a dream. I still have a dream when I can get enough time off to start reflecting on life again like I did before I was this busy. And this is not that dream.”

“It’s depressing hearing about all those entrepreneurs that just up and start living their dream. They say, ‘Be who you want to be! Don’t spend your life working for someone else’s dream!’ But it’s not that easy. I can’t just quit my job. I have bills to pay.”

“Why did I even take this job? Why did I think I’d be happy here? … Oh yeah, it was supposed to be a stepping stone. But that was two years ago. And now I’m just sitting here. Waiting. Wishing so bad to start living my real dream.”

 

I am a huge supporter of chasing your dreams and never settling.

BUT.

We live in reality. And reality is: Good things take time. “Get rich quick” is usually a bunch of crap. And for some of us, a big fat wallet isn’t our dream anyway. Creating your dream takes time. It takes steps. Steps you know you need to take. Steps that, when viewed as steps, aren’t so bad. But steps that, when viewed as “where I am in life right now,” can weigh you down more than you can express.

 

If you’re frustrated with yourself for not having made it to your dream life yet, chances are you sat down a long time ago, like most ambitious people do, and wrote down your vision. Your end-goal. Your “5-year-plan.” “Where you see yourself in 10 years.”

You listed the steps you’d have to take to get where you want to go.

A) Graduate school. B) Find a temporary job that is generally related to the work I want to do. C) Get certified. D) Join a business doing the specific type of work I want to do. E) Build a network among my clients and colleagues. F) Take on a few private clients. G) Leave my company and launch my own business.

You looked at your long-term to-do list and you were pumped. You could see the finish line. You could taste your dream. “I can do this!!!”

 

Now it’s been three years. You’ve learned to adjust your to-do list as you go, and you’re doing a busy and stressful combination of steps B, C, and E. You can’t do D till you finish C, and that’s a lot harder than you expected.

You’re busy. Working 40, 50 hours a week, studying hard on your time off. You’re in a relationship now, so finding time and saving money is even harder. You could probably pass the certification test now, honestly, but it’ll probably take another year to save up for it. And who knows what will happen in between.

What are you doing with your life??? This sucks!

 

But is there really a difference between what you envisioned during the planning stage and what you’re experiencing now?

Sure, the vision may have been less stressful and slow. But talk to anyone else that has built their dream, and those years–the long years of the steps leading up to your goal–those years sucked for them to. They felt just like you feel at times. They wondered to themselves, “Is this really what I want to be doing???”

 

So when you feel like that–which I’m sure you do, if you’re ambitious and have a vision–when you feel like life is taking too long, remind yourself of these three things:

1. You’re in the place you are because you know it’s one of your steps.

2. Nobody ever said it would be easy.

3. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Right now, that light may seem a lifetime away. But when you sat down and planned it all out, you didn’t expect you’d get there tomorrow.

 

It is very important to remind yourself of your dream and your plan to get there. Remind yourself why you’re taking the step you’re taking.

You are where you are for a reason. (If you’re not, go back to square one: Figure out what you want to do, what steps you have to take to do it, and start taking those steps!)

Remember that reason and be encouraged.

Sure, your current job isn’t “Who you want to be,” or “What makes you feel satisfied.” But it’s a step you know you have to take to get there. Embrace it and keep stepping. Where you are right now is exactly where you DO want to be! It’s where you planned to be. Sure, maybe it doesn’t look and feel as easy as you dreamed, but it’s an important part of how you’re creating your dream.

Maybe your current job doesn’t make you feel alive. And sure, if you can speed up the process and reach the next step sooner, do it! But you started doing what you’re doing now for a reason. Don’t give up on your dream just because it’s not easy.

 

Take a deep breath. Appreciate the journey. Remember where you’re going.

That will give you the energy to get back to work with purpose and drive, like the unstoppable person you planned to be. :)

just keep swimming

Author: Peter Elbridge

I am a lifelong learner and avid reader, which translates into doing smart work for myself, my team, and my clients. I have a passion for effective leadership and an even bigger passion for helping others do and feel better. I have a lot of experience in communication, public speaking, and writing. Above all, I have a deep and genuine care for every life I touch. That's why I write. (My opinions and endorsements are my own and do not represent my employer.)

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