Why Do We Not Know What We Want To Do In Our Lives And Careers And What Can We Do About It? Part 1

By Paul Waugh, Head Mentor, Lighthouse International


Why don’t we feel excited when we wake up to go to work on a Monday morning? Isn’t this how we ought to feel and how we thought we would feel when we thought about our future when we were children? This article is aimed at questioning how we see our current career and life situation and from this questioning, the support we need to build our lives by design. 

In part 1 of this 3-part career series, we will explore a very common issue many people suffer from, struggling to figure out what we want to do in life and going to work doing jobs we don’t love. In this first part, we will explore the root of the problem and in the second and third part we will explore the solutions.

How happy do you feel about your work? 

Why do people not know what it is that they want to do in their life and career, and what they should do about it? How many people do you know who wake up on a Monday morning excited by the prospect of getting up and going off to work? 

I mean really excited, you know, like you are about to go on holiday to some long-awaited destination … and now you have woken up, and it’s the big day. Getting up and getting ready is so not …  ‘just a chore’, am I right – or am I right? The excitement and anticipation is literally coursing through your veins. How sad and disappointing for many of us that these excitement-filled mornings do not happen very often, if at all, between Monday to Friday within an average week. Why? Why do we settle for it? Why are we involved in the humdrum of some existence just to get by?

How do you feel about your current career and life situation? 

Are you frustrated by your current life and career situation? Are you angry and/or disappointed? Do you ever wonder where your next break will come from? Do you feel alone in this problem? Do you sometimes feel that the gap between what you should or could be doing, and where you are, is getting wider and that you are not getting any younger?

Do you feel a sense of anxiety or even panic building up in you?

Are you concerned that the once exciting vision of your unmanifested future will eventually lead, insanely, to a life of quiet desperation? Or have you just given up the ghost because it doesn’t bear thinking about anymore? Do you happen to know the one opportunity – both life and career-wise that will change your life forever?           

Perhaps… you are on track, but you do not know how to maximise the opportunities that are in front of you.

What help do you need? 

Perhaps you just need help. Help from someone who has been there, knows what it’s like and can show you the well-worn T-shirt.

If you think that this article has been written with intensity, you would be right! It has been written with intensity by someone who for several years lived with this problem. Who has felt the pain, the frustration, and the loneliness and that gradual sinking feeling that I call ‘the life and career vortex’?  I’ve seen this and experienced it myself … and it’s not nice and it’s not pretty. If anything it’s tragic to watch.

How do you know your future won’t equal your past? 

Whatever your situation is, good, bad or indifferent how do you know for sure that in five to ten years time of hard work and struggle that you won’t be in a similar position to where you are now? Why is it that most people do not know the answers to this question?

The answers lie within ourselves. Often, we are so busy feeling the pain and frustration of an unfulfilled life and career that we look desperately outside of ourselves for the problem, as well as the solution to it. Really when it comes down to it both the problem and the solution lie within ourselves.  

What does it mean to not know ourselves and what are the consequences of this? 

How? How can this be? After all, don’t we live with ourselves 24 hours out of 24? Then how come we do not know this fact –  or the answers inherent in us? Is it because, as was stated earlier, that we are so focused on our external lives that our internal lives are often overlooked almost completely?

We have worked with literally thousands of people in our time and have witnessed in every case the shock and amazement when people realise just how little they actually consciously know about themselves. A typical exclamation would be ‘How embarrassing I can’t believe I’ve lived with myself all these years and I do not know the answers about myself to these basic questions’.

Some people even get embarrassed and even angry and defensive at times, not realising that all they are doing is running away from themselves.

So what to do about it?

How can we get to know what it is that will really set us forward in life compellingly … with a sense of powerful mission and vision?

What will get us up on a Monday morning excited by the week ahead, having spent the whole weekend – really looking forward to the week ahead?

I mean, how would that change how much you would get out of your weekend alone …every weekend? There is an old adage stated by someone who found what their dream life would be and it goes like this.

Once you have found what you want to do in life, what really compels you, what you really love doing, then you will never work another day in your life.” – Marc Anthony, an American singer-songwriter. 

So again, what possibly can be done about it?

What is the starting point for making change in our lives?

Well as mentioned earlier it all starts with you. It starts with your own self-examination. Why self-examination? Because if you do not know what is most important to you, then you do not truly know what questions to ask in order to know this.

So, then to the degree you do not know yourself, you will never ever find out what it is that you are meant to be doing out there. Why? 

Because you will be truncated from yourself. In other words, cut off.  Everything that you will choose to do from here will be a gamble made by the seat of your pants, a ‘lets see how it goes’ approach. Then, before we know it, we are in our late thirties or forties accepting a life and career far below our expectations. Living a life based on compromise and default rather than a life based on design and to the highest standard of happiness and fulfilment possible. Not to mention – the external rewards of recognition and financial abundance etc. 

However, examining our lives is not easy.

Where do we start?

What questions do we ask? 

What are we looking out for?

There is no quick fix. It is a process. But one thing is for certain; the sooner you engage the process and face it, the sooner you will find and design a life that is so compelling and exciting that you will … in time … wake up on that Monday morning in the near future, and you will feel like ‘flying’. Why not discover more?

Click here to read part 2 in this 3-part career series and if you’d value support or have any questions contact a life and career mentor below…

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