Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? You worked hard and did all of the ‘right’ things believing you would end up with an amazing life. Yet, here you are: miserable, mediocre, lost and confused. If there’s one woman who understands exactly how you feel, it’s The Ambition Plan’s founder Lauretta Ihonor. It took five failed careers (that’s careers, not jobs – there were about 25 of those) by the age of 33 to trigger the life audit that helped her figure things out. She believes that a happy ending is possible for everyone, but you’ll need to do three things to achieve truly life-changing results.
Hands up if you’ve read all the self-help books, done a ton of personality tests, travelled halfway across the world to find yourself, journalled your heart out and practised positive affirmations, but you still have no idea what you’re meant to be doing with your life.
I did ALL of those things a couple of years ago while I was desperately trying to figure out my calling in life. And after exhausting all of these options, I reached the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. Believe it or not, I concluded that I had some sort of genetic abnormality that made me incapable of ever feeling happy or fulfilled.
A little dramatic? Yes.
But after investing literally all of my life in being ‘the best’ and sacrificing so much to achieve ‘the best’, I felt a little short-changed and very pissed off that I had bought into the lie that if you work hard things will work out for you.
So how did I move from lost and confused to clear about what I wanted in life and how to achieve it?
Step One: Admit Defeat
Real transformational change only happens when you give up control. This is often the hardest step of the process. For results-focused women, the knee jerk response to any problem is to think of a solution. And if you can’t find a solution, that just means you need to think harder.
However, when it comes to matters of the heart (and figuring out your life purpose is the biggest one out there) thinking is unlikely to give you the epiphany you’re looking for.
Let’s face it, if thinking worked, you would already know exactly what you need to do… because that’s all you think about.
So, do you accept that you’re out of ideas and your past approaches aren’t working?
Congratulations. You’re ready for step two.
Step Two: Stand Still
When you feel like you’re falling behind in life and everyone around you seems happy and sorted, it’s easy to panic and make reactive decisions.
Panic is the worst state of mind for making decisions… and we all know this, so why do we fall into this trap?
As the queen of making panic-driven decisions, my theory is that indecision is hell for a high-achiever. The illusion of control that drives us disappears when we can’t make a decision, so our instinct is to make a decision, start implementing it and get back in control. ASAP.
The problem with anxiety-driven decisions is that while they bring short-term relief, they tend to be new iterations of a previous decision that didn’t work out all that well for you. Why? Because you make them using the same unhelpful thought-processes and perspectives you used in the past.
So what’s the solution?
If you’re feeling kind of desperate at the moment, the best thing you can do right now is… nothing.
And destroy the idea that standing still for a short while means you’re on the fast-track to being a total failure, it doesn’t. In fact, if you know your decision-making ability stinks at the moment, then you’re actually avoiding the road to failure by making no more career or life decisions until you’re 100% in tune with what you really want from life and what will make you (not others) truly happy.
Step three: Do Something Radical
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone.’ And if you’re a fan of the motivational speaker Tony Robbins, you’ll also be familiar with his concept of taking massive action to achieve your heart’s desire.
Indeed, if your heart desires clarity, you can bet you won’t find that while you’re doing the things you’ve done and holding the beliefs you’ve held up until now.
Of course, radical action doesn’t mean you should choose the craziest thing you can think of and do it, you still need to make sure that the radical action you choose will bring you clarity, rather than a short-lived adrenaline rush.
It will come as little surprise that during my decade long search for my calling in life, I’ve taken big dramatic action many times. Some did little to help, while others totally changed my life, gave me the direction I needed and put me on the path to real fulfilment.
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