Are you unsure what you want to do with your life?
“What are you going to do when you leave school?” may be a stressful question for you.
But if you have a definite answer – I’d actually be worried.
Jumping into a whole career plan with no exposure to what that lifestyle actually involves is DANGEROUS.
I did a whole Commerce degree with the plan to be an investment banker before I even considered the reality of work only being available in big cities, corporate offices, and valuing shares all day.
The number one thing all teenagers need to do when you leave school is – GET LOST!!!
Spend some time not knowing – regardless of how uncomfortable that makes you feel.
And I’m definitely not saying to do nothing. Explore, experiment, ask questions. If you want to be an investment banker – chat to someone actually in that role and discover what it’s like. Go on work experience in fields you may be interested in. Volunteer. Travel. Do stuff.
I’m not saying to get lost forever. But to test out all the options and after a decent amount of exploration you do need to commit to something.
There’s a dangerous school of thought that says there’s only one right answer. That you have to make the ONE RIGHT CHOICE, and if you don’t make the ONE RIGHT CHOICE, your life will be doomed to failure.
I’ve ascribed to this dangerous belief in the past too. But now I realise that your purpose is to be completely yourself, regardless of what arbitrary “role” you play. And your purpose is to be passionate and kind and loving and in service – which you can do as a cleaner, bus driver, teacher, doctor, artist or anything else.
Truth is, there are so many things you are fabulous at. So many ways you could make your mark on the world - so so so so so many options. And this is where you may freeze. Too many options are not helpful at all.
This process of creatively exploring all of the possibilities, testing them out by talking to people or having trial experiences, and then deciding on which to follow is so helpful. And then the key is to look back and agonise forever about whether that final decision was the right one. Ha!!! That’s a joke by the way. A joke I stole from a fantastic book called “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett.
Actually I stole lots of these ideas I’m sharing from this book. Buy it, read it, share it with your friends, do the activities together – it may change your life.
I’m 34 and I know for sure that being a social worker is what I want to be doing (and at the risk of contradicting myself, even what I’m here to do) but I still ended 9 years of study this year with a gnawing lost feeling. A feeling of “what am I going to do with my life?”
Luckily, someone I work with recommended me this book. I went through the exercises of creatively dreaming up possible divergent life paths for the next five to ten years. I then decided which one I liked best, organised to speak with others in the field doing what I want to be doing, and continued on my merry way.
But there’s another part to this picture. It’s that in starting something new you necessarily leave something behind. I’ve left behind 9 years of university study and 6 months of productive work with an organisation I love (The Rites of Passage Institute). I’ve gone from being overwhelmingly busy to having lots of time to reflect and consider my next move.
I like being busy. If you read last week’s blog you know I even determine my worth by how productive I am (although I’m learning not too).
And although I have a clear direction and long term goals, I need to give myself the time and space to let go of and grieve what has been before. I need to wait until I get a definite intuitive YES about the next action step rather than rushing head first into anything and everything just to feel good about being busy and “doing” and achieving. (This, by the way, has led me to commit to one month on country in Kununurra, WA to fully give myself time to connect and dream.)
I’m learning to honour the seasons of my life and give myself this space. I’m learning to connect with the seasons my own Irish tradition to recognise the beginning of winter (“Samhain” festivals being celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere this weekend).
And in this time of letting go, and grief, and welcoming winter – still know that the next phase always comes. There will be spring. You don’t have to rush and force and push for spring to come. You simply need to be with and celebrate the process.
Radiant Woman: A Mother Daughter Rite of Passage Retreat is designed to honour and recognise that you are not a child anymore.
This needs to be grieved and celebrated.
You need time out, a marker of this transitional stage, and space to reflect on what kind of person you wants to be, and what you dream of for your life (we’ll even be doing some of the exercises from “Designing Your Life”).
Your Mum is part of this process and has the opportunity to grieve the child you were and welcome the adult you are becoming. She gets to reflect on how she needs to change in her relationship with you now you are growing more fully into yourself.
I’m so excited to be sharing this experience again this year. I look forward to meeting you there.
Click HERE to book a 20 minute intro call with me and find out more.