Have you figured out what you want to do in life? If so, please tell us how.
Some people had clarity and vision from a young age – they always knew they wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Many people I meet have been figuring this out throughout our lives.
I’ve found that society expects you to have it all figured out – to know what you are going to study, where you will go to university, how you will make money and to be happy with all your choices. If you aren’t happy, you are supposed to crack on and deal with it, wait until you have the mortgage and then maybe you can relax a little and explore your dreams. Earn the money now and spend it later. I can’t help but think,
what if we don’t get to later?
Making the move
Eighteen months ago, I quit my job and broke away from my career and financial security. For the first time in my life I gave myself the time, space and freedom to explore what I really want to do and how I’m going to make that happen. I’ve realised that it is OKnot to have all the answers, to try new things and to make a verbal admission that you don’t know. In fact, I’ve realised there is a huge amount of support and appreciation for taking the leap to the unknown and letting the world know that you don’t know what’s coming next, but you’re sure as hell going to work on it!
Ever felt frustrated or unfulfilled and not known what to do next?
Here is my story:
Aged 18 you leave school and have the whole world ahead of you. You could do anything. Most people I know went to university and paid thousands of pounds to further their education in a degree that can end up having little relevance to what we end up doing for the rest of our lives.
Why? This is just what we did. I don’t think I was ever asked the question “are you going to university?” It was just about which university and what I was planning to study there.
Three years later, I graduated and was once again at the position where I could have done anything. I wanted to be an expedition leader, work in the Alps, work in youth development and travel. I did none of these. I felt pressure to prioritise career, personal development and earning money.
What happens to those of us with skills and passions that don’t fall into a clear career or job title?
We fall into a clear career or job title. We become office managers, recruitment consultants and accountants. We join graduate training schemes or management consultancy firms. I became a sales executive.
I loved my job, but I always felt there had to be more.
I plugged this desire into adventures and challenges in the outdoors. I took on one challenge after the next and this has grown into a huge part of my life. Outside of work, I felt happy, fulfilled and found great satisfaction in doing what I love.
Searching for job satisfaction
Professionally, I’m still figuring it out. By January 2013, I was leading the growth team at the UK’s fastest growing technology company. To the outsider, you could have thought I was made. Great salary, huge growth potential in the company, vibrant culture, and shares in the business. However, I felt unfulfilled and unhappy. I needed a new challenge and I wanted to create a new story. I knew what life looked like to me if I stayed there; security, certainty, progression and the same words I’d been using for years. I was in my comfort zone.
Taking the leap
There was a fast evolving, exciting world outside the walls of my office and I wanted to be a part of it.
I handed in my notice and left without a firm plan.
I traded security and certainty for risk and unknowns.
I never looked back.
I knew from a young age what I am most passionate about, and this has never changed. It’s making a difference to other people’s lives, helping them explore and unleash their potential and achieve anything. I feel I am now in a position to turn this into an engaging and profitable career.
My experience is that we rush from one institution to the next – school, university, office. With often not enough time or focus to really understand who we are and how we can add most value in this life.
To me, the question: “What do you want to do in life?”
Is a question targeting our fundamental drivers, skills and experience. It makes me think how can I add most value – to myself, to others, to businesses, even the world.
I know we all want to make our mark on the world!
Passion and Business
There’s plenty of talk about following your passions. I’ve put a good deal of thought into how my passions differ from engaging and viable business opportunitites. If I simply pursued my passions it wouldn’t be enough. My passions are interesting and relevant to me because they challenge me and provide a vehicle to develop myself. By finding out who I am, I come to know my strengths and weaknesses and put myself in the best possible position to figure out who I am to me, to you, to the world.
It's OK not to have all the answers
It’s a learning curve and an exploration of the world which is at all of our fingertips. I don’t have the answers but I am trying to find them. I’ve walked away from money but my life feels richer now and I’m in the driving seat, I'm writing my story.
You are the engineer of your life, you write the rules for your game and decide how to play the hand you’ve been dealt.
I was 27 when I made the break and prioritised working on my own goals and vision rather than my employer’s.
I believe all of us can Live Our Dream and create our own path in life.
The challenge I’ve found is to figure out what Living The Dream means to each of us.
Sometimes you just need to take a break to understand how to live life your way.
I can’t recommend it enough.