One of the first things that a lot of people said to me when I shared my plans with them was ‘It’s ok for you, you know what you want to do, I’m lost. I have no idea what I want to do…’ Well actually, no, it took a while to get to this point. I’d had enough. I was tired of ignoring what I really wanted to do. It didn’t come easy. I worked at it.
I spoke to one woman who had this issue. I just didn’t understand how you couldn’t know at all what you wanted. I can understand that perhaps there are many things you want and you flit between all of them so end up with nothing because your focus is all over the place. But not knowing what you want AT ALL in my mind shows a real disconnection in yourself. You can’t possibly know yourself or be paying any attention to what it is that you’re interested in. What you’re passionate about. My first point of advice in that instance would be to take time out and listen to yourself. The people I have come across with this issue are so caught up in what they think they should be doing or what other people expect them to be doing. They’ve been doing that for so long, that they have lost contact with themselves. After a mere 15 minutes of digging between ‘I really like this but I don’t know…’ and ‘Well what I’ve always wanted to do is this but I don’t know’, I repeated back what she had told me. She told me exactly what she wanted to do. She just couldn’t hear it herself. Whether she does it is another thing. But saying ‘I don’t know what I want’, no longer cuts it.
There are so many reasons why your ‘calling’ is lost in a grey area. We don’t listen to ourselves anymore. We’re so busy, living our lives, living other peoples lives, keeping up with the latest trends and appearances. We are so worried with how other people perceive us. What are people going to think? Is this cool enough? Am I an idiot/geek for wanting to explore this? What if I fail? Are people going to laugh at me? Can I make money doing that? All of these excuses, why would your inner self want to rise up and be met with all of that? It’s up to you to make it feel welcome.
I have had the same notebook for 9 years. I have a few on the go. This one is full of all of my ideas. All of them. Beekeeping. Writing a children’s book. Artwork. Keeping chickens. Feng shui maps. Roundwood timber framing. A few pages in, I have written a list. It’s called ‘Interests/ideas’. I forgot all about it. I must have wrote it after I graduated 4 years ago. I had no idea what to do… My whole world had changed during my time at university. I decided to write down all the things I was particularly interested in at that time.
Photography. Singing. Social worker with refugees. Orphanage. Tefl. Children. Circus. Buying some land. Building huts.
Without actually even realising I explored all of these things. Social worker is scribbled out. I looked into that and shook my head a lot. I did some volunteering with a refugee group. The work they were doing was great, but not what I was after. I looked into doing a TEFL course. That appealed to me because I want to travel. On closer inspection though, I struggle to speak the english language. I have zero interest in it. Have you seen my grammar? Another one crossed off. Children. I had some. Photography. I got a camera, played with it. Read about it. Realised that whilst I like to take pictures sometimes, my brain turned off at the mention of technical words. We looked into buying some land and building an eco camp site. Couldn’t be bothered with all of the red tape and planning and bureaucracy that goes along with it. Didn’t want it enough yet. I threw myself into circus classes. I took the 7am train every Saturday down to London to learn trapeze. God, I loved it. Hanging upside down is one of my favourite things to do. I want to get back into that, but it’s a hobby not a calling. Orphanage. I found a charity, SOS Children, that are pretty much doing everything I wanted to create in a charity already. I support them now by sponsoring a child and doing fundraisers here and there. I want to be an ambassador for them and help to continue their incredible work around the world.
The whole time I was singing.
I firmly believe that deep down you know exactly what it is that you want to do. Perhaps there are a few things that you could imagine doing and the problem is whittling it down to one to focus on. Write them all down. Even if they sound or feel ridiculous. You need to explore all of your ideas so you’re not always wondering ‘What if’. You’ll know. Pick your favourite, the one that feels right for now. Play with it. Focus on it. Strive for it. Put everything into that one thing. You should feel excited and passionate. If you don’t, then maybe it’s not right. Maybe it’s not the right time. Maybe you should just be honest with yourself. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out. It’s one thing off your list and one step closer to discovering what you really want. I read that a really good way to see if you’re lying to yourself is to ask yourself questions whilst looking yourself in the eye in the mirror. Questions like ‘Am I really happy doing this?’ Apparently it’s impossible to look yourself in the eye and lie without realising it. I’ve been having chats with myself in the mirror since I was a kid. Don’t think I’ve ever lied.
With hindsight, the reason why I was so lost, the reason why I didn’t know what to do, was because I knew exactly what it was that I wanted to do but I was ignoring it. I was scared of it. Singing isn’t a real job. Whether you are good or not is subjective. Can I support myself on singing? You tell people you want to be a singer and they say ‘Nice, but what do you really want to do?’ Who knows where this singing will go. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m exploring it. I’ll never regret not exploring it. I’ll never regret not pushing for it. That feels amazing in itself. My chest feels better. I feel like I’m alive. Like I’m being honest with myself and absolutely on the right path. But it wasn’t just handed to me on a plate. See above. I explored. And I’m pushing for it. Every. Single. Day.
I’ve always held the belief that whatever you want to do, you can do. Test that theory. It might not be easy but if you’re willing to put the effort in, it’s yours. X