At some point in your life, you have likely asked yourself this very weighted and existential question: what should I do with my life? I used to ponder the answer to this myself as I became a young adult. I was constantly on the look out for the answers and oftentimes, found myself waiting for this big thing to be revealed to me.
While I was waiting for the answer to be revealed to me about what to do with my life, I embarked along the path of adulthood. I went to university, got a degree, met an incredible man, bought a house, landed an incredible job, got a few dogs, got married and still I sat there waiting for the answer: what should I do with my life? My life remained firmly on the pause button as I waited for the next thing that was going to be the big thing.
I am blessed with a brain that is always on. While not always optimal when you are saying laying in savasana in your yoga class or trying to fall asleep, this brain of mine is a seeker and a powerful tool. I look for answers wherever I can and this was no different when I was trying to figure out what I should do with my life. I searched high and low in all the places I thought I would find the answer: education, marriage, external accomplishment, career?
I didn’t find the answer in any of those things. The smartest thing I did on my path to becoming a responsible adult was marry my husband. He is extraordinary and I am ridiculously happy I married him and have built a life that is better than I ever could have imagined. The rest of it though, was all just external validation for me. I did all of those others things because I wanted to be truly happy. I thought if I nailed all of the items on that checklist that the meaning I was searching for would be magically revealed to me and that I would be able to confidently say: “this is what I am doing with my life.”
The Waiting Game
This is a very dangerous game. When we look for the answers outside of ourselves and think that happiness and meaning are just around the next bend, we run the risk that we miss out on our life. It is dangerous because we are only truly guaranteed the moment that we are in and when we wait for something to happen to make us happy, content, confident or free, we run the risk that we miss the beauty of the life that we are living right now.
What Should You Do With Your Life?
Whatever the F^&K you want! That sums it up nicely I think. The steps I am going to suggest are intended simply to return you back to your own answers to this question. This is where freedom lies. If you think that happiness is something outside of you, you will always be looking for it. It is not around the next bend, because it never really left you. Your only job is to look for it in the right place.
- Tune In – There is voice that is always guiding us. It knows the answer to the question: what should I do with my life? When you are looking for your own answer, you must tune into this voice above all others. The world will tell you what your life should look like. That is great if you are exactly like the other 7.5 billion people on the planet, but I am going to make the leap here and suggest that you are unique. You have been born with an incredible amount of natural intelligence and it is all that you need to tap into, to find the answer to what you should do with your life.
- Eyes On Your Own Page – Comparing your life to the highlight reels of others is a dangerous trap. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Mr. Roosevelt was a smart fella! When you compare your life to other’s, it immediately takes your attention from where it needs to be. In order to answer the question: what should I do with my life, you will have to look at all areas of your own life so keep your eyes on your page.
- Make it Meaningful For You – when you are trying to answer the question: “what should I do with my life?” you are looking for meaning. You are looking for happiness. We are all looking for meaning and happiness. You must make it meaningful for you. Your definition of happiness must resonate strongly with you. I didn’t know what happiness really meant until I found myself unhappy with the things that I thought would make me happy. I took the time to ask myself, what my definition of happiness was and then took clear steps to create it.
- The Inner Work – There is no escaping the most important work of all. Figuring out what I should do with my life, meant getting very honest and real about how I had been participating in every facet of the life I had created. The reason that the external accomplishments didn’t make me happy was because I was trying to pin happiness onto a thing that was outside of myself. True, profound happiness is a state of mind deeply rooted in self awareness and abundant gratitude. There is simply no escaping the inner work and while that may seem terrifying to some, I can confidently say it was the best thing I ever did on the path to figuring out what I should do with my life.
- Contribute – I remember the moment where I heard a voice tell me to teach yoga. Up until that point I felt that I had been stumbling around a dark room looking for the light switch and finally found the one that lit up the space. I still teach, six classes a week in fact. I love every moment of teaching yoga. It wasn’t the end of my journey, but it brought me closer to what I am here to do with my life. I am a teacher. I love to teach, through yoga, coaching, writing and speaking. I have always loved to teach and it is what I am meant to do with my life. I absolutely know it in my bones. I tell you this because there is something for you to share with the world. If you use your skills, talents and abilities to help others, you will understand the true purpose of your life. This is what you should be doing. Finding a way to lift another human up, share kindness and patience, teach someone, raise beautiful humans, inspire, support, create, write, paint, the list is endless. Start small, but find a way to leave this place a little better and a little brighter.
Why It is So Important For You to Find Your Own Answer
What should you do with your life? Your answer will be as unique as you are. There is no right path. There is no perfect answer to this question. You need to decide for yourself what it looks like and takes steps towards it. When you know you are living your life in alignment with what feels right for you, you create a healing not only in yourself but also in the world around you. I want everyone to experience abundant joy and happiness, the same joy I feel everyday, but that doesn’t mean it is going to look like my version. It must be meaningful for you. When you are living your life according to your unique design and it isn’t hurting anyone else, you create space for others to do the same.
So tell me: what are you doing with your life?