The Missing Piece in your Self-Development Journey
You don’t really know what you want.
It’s hardly a secret. Yet, there’s a kind of shame attached to it.
You don’t really know what you want.
You have a ‘stable’ life: perhaps a steady job, somewhere to live. Maybe even your life looks perfect from the outside. But you don’t feel good. You set the same goals without feeling you are improving yourself.
You feel lost. Overwhelmed. Maybe you’re doubting your own decisions, or feel torn between the ‘shoulds’ of real-life. Perhaps you’ve made some progress towards the life you think you want, but life got in the way.
And here you are: going through the motions again. It’s easily done, especially these days.
But no matter how frustrated you feel, how much you might tell yourself “this is the last time I try,” you can’t give up on trying to reinvent your life. It’s an inner drive you just can’t stop thinking about.
And now you’re here, reading this. You have an idea, but not the concrete steps. When you go to plan out a change, you hit obstacles. You struggle to focus, feel you need more information, or your mental health starts to dip.
No fear. Let’s take a look at the first steps to reinventing your future, without burning yourself out, throwing your whole life away, or ruining your mental health in the process.
Ready? Let’s do this.
1: You know more than you realise.
I know that doesn’t sound particularly helpful, at first glance. However, it’s the foundation for everything moving toward self-improvement, changing habits and reinventing yourself.
We spend a lot of time, energy and money on seeking out answers from others: advice, courses, knowledge, studying… But without knowing what we already know, this is often not the missing piece you think it is.
Now, it’s not your fault that you don’t know, because from the youngest age we are taught that the world exists a certain way. We learn about things that are meant to give us joy. We learn the ‘shoulds’ of our lives.
‘Knowing’ what you want isn’t a 100% logical, practical process.
And we are not taught how to find out our truth. Or to even question it.
Which brings me to the next point…
2: Get Curious about your Life Context
You may have heard of this one, with different phrasing. Notice the things that often get missed: the way you feel, the way your body responds to events, and the things which fire you up or make you feel mentally drained. This is a mixture of paying attention to ‘clues’ and then following them to see where they lead.
- When you have a shower versus a bath, what do you notice? Does one relax and one rejuvenate?
- When you think of two options for lunch, do you find yourself leaning toward one before you consider cost and time? [Hint: sometimes, it’s the healthier option!]
- If you’re asked out on a Friday night, pause and consider what you’ll be saying ‘no’ to if you agree to go out [For example: reading, long bath, cleaning before the weekend, dinner with your cat.]
- Keep an eye out for “unusual” responses: feeling drawn to nap when you normally only sleep at night, or being pulled into a shop you normally wouldn’t frequent.
Why is this important? Because ‘knowing’ what you want isn’t a 100% logical, practical process. Part of it comes from feedback in your body and emotional responses too.
When I began finally paying attention to those little ‘cues’ I realise the threads that had woven together to become my current life. Or, at least, the bits I liked.
3: Consider your Theme
Another experiment is to consider what themes you’ve already been living. Go back to your childhood: what did you enjoy? What got you passionate; either angry or excited? When you’ve made decisions, and picked directions at crossroads; what was it that swayed you?
In my experience, I remember “teaching” in the playground - I was a natural mentor. Even from the age of 7 or 8, I had a steadfast sense of honour, which I think I must have gained from reading so much fiction. No one else in my friends or family seems to view the importance of honour and integrity quite like I seem to. If I look at my favourite films and types of fiction books; they all have honourable, strong female characters. Often, in a leadership or coaching role.
And if I stretch my reflections to my physical resume, my dayjobs have all been in mentorship, support, running group programmes, teaching life skills, or learning situations.
So looking at your life choices, your resume, your dreams as a kid or your hobbies… what themes come out? This is a compass worth following.
I could go on, but really, these three steps give us a starting point.
A surgeon plans out a surgery. An architect and builder makes plans. A physician tailors common knowledge to an individual person.
And yet… We rarely plan out our day-to-day life. We don’t tailor our experiences. Some of us pick goals, we pick landmarks but the journey itself is mostly a reaction to the drama around us.
You don’t really know what you want, because you didn’t know you could ask.
I’m here to say that we can all design our lives, and it doesn’t need to feel so damn hard.
If you’d like a free workbook on these steps, pick up the 4 Steps to Reinvent Your Path here.