[ABSTRACT: This is my first post on the forums, but I've been a lurker and a reader of Steve's stuff for many years. I wrote this in a moment of inspiration. I don't know if this will resonate with anyone, but I hope it will help some people. I'm going to have to post this in three parts, as it's super-long. :-) ]
I have been where you are.
I have wondered, ďHow do I get from where I am now to where I want to go. And, for that matter, how did I even get here?í
Not knowing what you want is painful, knowing what you want and not knowing how to get it, is more painful still.
There was a time in my life, not long ago - when I didnít have any of the answers. But I was committed to finding them. Itís strange, we learn so much as we become adults: Geometry, English, Foreign language, Accounting, General Education, etc... but no one seems to be teaching life. No one is telling us how get where we want to go. How to achieve our dreams.
So, weíre sold the dreams of society. The dreams of other people. And without a laser-like focus on our own ambitions, we accept those dreams (the dreams of others.)
Maybe youíre living the life your parents wanted you to live. Maybe youíre living the life you fell into. Maybe youíre living the life you thought you wanted, or the one that was easiest.
Iíve lived all of those lives. All of them sucked. I didnít enjoy any of them. And they were all painful.
Youíre reading this because youíve reached a breaking point. A point at which youíve decided youíve had enough.
Enough of the Status Quo.
Enough passive acceptance of what you have.
Enough wishing, longing, and wondering.
You want to live for something. You want to contribute to the world, to offer something of value, to help people, to enjoy that contribution and to sustain yourself with it.
This post is for the young, the hurting, the wanderers. The people who feel like they just canít get ahead or like they just canít find what they want. Itís for the people who have too many passions and for those of you who canít seem to find out what youíre passionate about.
It is not a complete guide on how to transform your desires into the perfect career. But rather, how to set yourself on the path that leads you to the life that you came here to live. The brilliant existance that has been sitting dormant inside of you. The life that, in spite of your best efforts at stifling it, is trying to crawl out - to release itself into the world.
I am going to show you how to live your dream. The big dream. The one that matters most. My Story
Four years ago now, I was sitting alone in my apartment - wondering how I had ended up with a life that I neither wanted or understood.
A breakup with a long-time girlfriend left me searching. Searching for something else to do with my time. Searching for a new escape. Searching for a different future.
Thatís when I realized that ultimately, I had no sense of myself. I didnít know what I was passionate about, I didnít know what I wanted to offer the world (or what I could offer), and I didnít know what to do with myself.
I was empty.
I was unhappy.
Looking back, I realize now that those feelings were created by two corresponding functions. First, I wasnít able to see what was already beautiful and wonderful within the life that I had. And, secondly, I had no idea what sort of life I wanted to have. Nor did I realize I had the power to change and create it.
I am not going to fill your head with a bunch of B.S. and useless, surface level tactics for achieving your dreams and goals. The paragraphs that follow hold within them the pearls of wisdom gleaned from 3 years of trial and error, pain and frustration, work and reworking.
Those were frustrating times. And, the years of searching that followed lead me down plenty aimless paths and dead ends.
But ultimately, Itís about what comes after all the hard stuff. Itís about getting your life figured out, and what happens once you do.
Figuring out where the crossroads between your passions, values and gifts lie is not a simple or easy process. You are not going to have this sorted out by the end of the evening. And I would not, for any reason, try to convince you that it works that way.
This stuff is hard work. And you will have many breaking points. Points where you feel like giving up, points where you feel like youíre getting nowhere. Thatís ok. Push through them.
This is, however, a straightforward and somewhat linear process that will guide you from where you are now to where you want to go.
Itís about figuring out what you want, and empowering you to move in the direction you want to go. My Current Reality
So what did I finally discover about myself, after all that searching? I wanted to inspire other people with my life. I wanted to take away the pain other people are enduring as a result of not being on their path, as a result of not being able to get where they wanted to go. And, I wanted to do it by telling my story - by showing them.
I am now riding my motorcycle across the world. It has been an incredible experience, and, if I can do it (with the limited resources I have at my disposal) you can follow your dream too.
You will discover that your limitations are rarely physical in nature, but rather, psychological, sociological, or emotional. And, let me tell you right now: You do not lack potential. You lack certainty, confidence, courage, and the willingness to fail. On the plus side, all of those things can be acquired relatively easy (and theyíre free to obtain). The gateway to your dreams, your goals and your best life is not physical, but it is daunting. Step 1: Find Your Passion
I have already written about this extensively. So, it would seem silly to reiterate my beliefs and experiences here.
READ THIS: How to Find Your Passion
[ This is not a plug. That article is the compilation and union of knowledge I gained from no shortage of sweat and tears. I hope you find it valuable. When youíre done reading, come back here.]
I say find your Ďpassioní instead of your Ďpurposeí, because I believe that these are two different things. In my experience, passion trumps purpose because it already embodies it. Knowing what your purpose in life is doesnít point you in a direction or give you actionable stepping stones towards a more fulfilling existence. You can know what your purpose is, and still be highly dissatisfied.
Knowing what your passion is, however, will direct you towards fulfilling your purpose. ďFollowing your bliss...Ē as Joseph Campbell once said.
Through that process, you live your purpose (and it doesnít much matter if you know it conceptually).
Actionable Item: Go do something you enjoy. It doesnít matter what it is or how long you engage with it. Just experience it fully and have some fun. Step 2: Learn to Breath
Rome wasnít built in a day. Most people will not be able to nail down their deepest passion(s) in a short amount of time. So, since this is a process, you are going to have to chill out and learn to appreciate it.
Learn to breath. Go for a walk. Forget about this stuff for a while. And make a point of doing that repeatedly. Maybe every day.
Itís ok not to know whatís next or where youíre going. Itís ok not to know how to get from A to B. Itís ok to be uncertain. Thereís beauty in uncertainty. And, if youíre quiet and still, you will see that beauty. In fact, that empty space is where dreams are born. Enjoy it, go into it. Do not resist the empty space. It is your cocoon. Your Fortress of Solitude. The empty space, the uncertainty, is your most precious gift. It is the place from which you will create a new world. And thatís a brilliant and awesome place to be.
Donít you think? :-)
Actionable item: Go find a quiet place where you can be totally alone. Sit or lay down, uncross your arms and legs and breath deeply in and out 20 times. Now, go for a walk while you continue to be conscious of your breathing. Step 3: Forget The Past
The past binds you to a similar present. Let it go.
On this journey, the journey towards a more congruent and powerful life, there is no space for the past within you. The past contains many lessons; keep them. It holds many regrets and mistakes; release them.
You no longer have any need for it. The past binds you and traps you. Come into the space that is today. Come into the discomfort, the uncertainty, the fear. Learn to love a hot cup of coffee, a conversation with a friend, or the sun on your face. These are the essential components of life. It is these moments that you are here to experience. You are where you belong. No passionate career, job, or experience, will complete you. And the past will never satisfy you.
Actionable Item: Go appreciate something thatís happening right now. Experience it fully. Enjoy it. Smile.
Youíll figure out where youíre trying to go.