MAKING TIME TO FIND WHAT YOUR CONTRIBUTION CAN BE
Start by keeping a list of the big ideas that fascinate you. Then, find about 30 minutes a day to investigate these ideas. Find magazines and websites that cover those ideas and read up on them. Email some people in those communities to find out what they are doing, start following them on Twitter. Find networking groups if you can to meet other people who are engaged in the kinds of activities you want to be a part of.
DO A REALITY CHECK
The one caution I have on this search is that you need to find a contribution that excites you but is also possible to achieve with sustained effort. It is easy to get paralyzed by committing yourself to something you would love to do that simply can’t be done right now. That allows you to dream about a future without actually taking concrete steps toward making that dream a reality.
When you make your list of potential contributions, keep track of the concrete steps you are taking to actually accomplish that goal. Label the activities you are performing as you work toward your contribution as “thinking” or “doing.”
FOCUS ON THE SMALL THINGS YOU CAN DO, NOT THE BIG THINGS YOU CAN’T
Small changes can make a big difference in the end. When you are not sure, when you feel frustrated, just taking one small step in any direction can end up being the biggest step in your life.
What can you do today that will help move you toward what you want tomorrow?
GET COMFORTABLE IN THE TRANSITION PHASE
Many times in life, you will be going through some kind of transition. In those moments you can choose to fight it, or accept it and comply with it. Complying with transitions allows us to keep calm in tough times. But remember, there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.
What do I need to do to become friends with my transitional phases? How can I learn from pain?
I love the idea of dedicating some time to investigate ideas of interest. That’s what this blog has become for me. I skim Facebook and read news sites with my antennae up for pieces about how to live life well, which keeps me mindful of the changes I can make to keep tuning my life and my decisions.
I have blogged about following your bliss and ways to better align your career with your passions many times over the years. Here are a few previous posts if you want to read more:
- Should you really do what you love?
- What should I be when I grow up? How do you know?
- How to figure out what’s next, a reblog from Lauree Ostrofsky
- Following your bliss, taking a hero’s journey — inspired by Finding Joe
- Decide what you want and declare it in no uncertain terms
- Still looking for your dream job? Keith Ferrazzi helps you find it
- Guidance to help you get lucky
- Reinventing your career without leaving your job
- How to like your current job more
- Four questions from Steven Pressfield to help you find your calling