self improvement tips

What To Do When You Have No Idea What To Do With Your Life (9 action steps to start)

Once upon a time, I had no idea what to do with my life.

Actually, there were many times while I was in college and after when I was lost. Even when I had jobs, good jobs, I wasn’t so sure that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

If you just graduated college, and find yourself stuck in a job you can’t stand or in a temporary job, this post is for you.

You don’t have to go out there and save the world. Or start the next Amazon.com. Or figure out how to get your own TV cooking show. Or become Oprah tomorrow.

No. All you have to do is start.

I wrote this post for people who just graduated college, for those who are not feeling alive at work, and others of you who are still seeking your “thing” in life.

Here are 9 tips for you to get started on figuring out your direction in life when you have no idea what to do.

1)    Offer your services to someone who needs help.

You have some skill set or ability that can help people. Figure out a way to help someone do something, anything. Can you believe that you can help people, including adults, learn to read? Or that teaching English is a sought after skill – that many people are looking for around the world?

Sending out emails takes some knowledge. And there’s a big need out there for people to learn basic programs like Word and Excel. People out there also need help with the most basic tasks like typing letters, sending emails, posting updates on social media or many other basic tasks.

You have skills that can help other people. By giving that one thing that you have, time, you’ll be able to get a better idea of what you enjoy doing and get inspired in the process.

2)    Blog about it.

Are you interested in a topic, career or a new business? I’ve found that one effective way to get yourself familiar with new topics and areas of interests is to blog about it.

Blogging is a great tool to share, teach, learn, and to explore your passion. Starting a blog is not very difficult and provides you a simple online outlet to share, connect, and pursue your passion.

If you’re interested in cooking, try out your recipes and share them  through a blog with your friends and family. A blog is a lot less expensive than opening a restaurant in Manhattan!

If you’re interested in becoming a writer, share your writing via a blog to see how your writing resonates. If you’re interested in moving up in your career at work, write about those things that are important in your industry.

3. Read the books on your book-shelf.

Books are quite underrated but they are awesome coaches, teachers, guides, and consultants.

People have left priceless advice, wisdom, and guidance for us through books. The most inspiring and accomplished individuals have written books chock-full of relevant and practical advice.

You’re not going to be able to sit down for lunch with Echart Tolle, Donald Trump, Seth Godin or the women of Shark Tank to get life advice but you are going to be able to purchase their books or borrow them at the library, to get their insights, advice, and strategies.

These people are freely and willingly giving you a couple hours of their time for less than fifteen bucks!

Not ready to go out and buy another book? Pick up those books already sitting on your bookshelf and read them. Take some notes while you’re at it and apply them to your life.

4. Be more aware of what brings you alive.

Even at work or at home, there are things you’re doing just because you like to. It brings you joy, excitement, and fun. What do you enjoy about that activity?

No, you can’t snorkel at work, but can you infuse the activities you love into your day job?

Or can you be mindful of what actually brings you joy at work? You might hate sales meetings but may enjoy leading a workshop. You might despise submitting reports but could love writing up white papers.

Think about your likes and dislikes at work. Be aware of the tasks you enjoy, and gravitate more towards those tasks.

5. Get out of your house. And your hometown.

Go out and do things. It doesn’t have to be related to your career or your life goals. Go out and see something new. Visit a museum, attend a lecture, swing by a bookstore. Do activities that are convenient to you, and ideally free, so you can get inspired.

If you’ve never left your hometown, book a ticket out of there. No, you don’t have to go Chris Guillebeau on us (and visit 193 countries) but you might consider going to visit your grandparents’ back in Scranton.

Or visit a city you’ve never been to or take a trip to a country you’ve always wanted to go to.

You might just find your life partner, dream job or life purpose in a new environment.

At the very least, you’ll see something different and have a change in perspective.

6. Talk to someone other than the cat.

I know. I know. Your pet may be a great conversationalist and perfect companion to watch the Bachelor, but they may not be contributing to your personal growth.

If you’re interested in a new field or industry, reach out to someone to talk to them about it. Get their insights, perspective, and advice. If you ask the right way, people will love to share with you how they achieved their purpose or traveled their life journey.

Instead of jumping into a new career or launching a new blog called Unpick the Brain, speak to someone about the viability of your new idea.

7. Go meet your tribe.

If you have an area of interest or want to change to a new path or need another job, get out there and start meeting people who are doing what you want to do.

The easiest way to meet people in an industry you’re interested in is to go an association meeting. People in every industry and field have groups that they have created to network in and keep up to date on industry issues.

Writers meet. Bloggers meet. Freelancers meet (even if they do it online). Restaurant owners meet. Heck, even morgue owners and actuaries meet! Take a friend and go to one of these meetings to meet new people and learn about the industry.

8. Work for peanuts.

Yes, sometimes the way to learn more about an industry or break into a new job is to get some experience under your belt.

No better way to do this than to work for free. Volunteer opportunities and internships, at any age, can help you test the waters in a new field.

And, you’re not really working for peanuts. In exchange for your service, you’re getting experience to boost your resume, contacts in the industry, and a good recommendation if you play your cards right.

9. Take courses and workshops

Instead of plopping down a six-figure tuition for a Master’s degree you might never need or becoming a dentist, consider your interests first.

If you’re interested in a new field or subject, start with weekend courses or workshops. They cost less money, take less time, and are smaller commitments. Use them to test your interest in something new.

There are online workshops for everything from social media and creating your own products to learning new skills like confidence and creating sticky habits (non-affiliate links).

If you’re lost and confused, start with one of the above ways to test your interest in something new.

Start small and take a few steps each day, trying out different things, to see how interested you are in them.

Small steps and experimentation will create some momentum and help you on your way to living your purpose.

Vishnu coaches professionals to discover their life purpose and do more meaningful work. For the ebook, “11 ways to discover your highest purpose and transition out of your profession”, visit www.vishnusvirtues.com