What if I don’t know what I want to do?

indulge your curiosity woman with guitar practicing

You’re in school, but you don’t know what you want to study.

You’re looking for a profession, but you don’t know what you want to be.

You don’t feel talented or particularly skilled at anything.

If you’re being honest, your horizon looks pretty empty.

We talk a lot about getting out there and achieving your dreams. But for some of us, the hardest part about taking that first step is deciding the direction we want to go. We feel stuck in a rut, trapped by a lack of inspiration. Over time, our immobility leaves us feeling without options, which in turn strikes a crushing blow to our confidence.

This can be particularly difficult in periods of transition: after high school or college, between jobs, or even between relationships. We become used to identifying ourselves by our status: student, by our job, or by a relationship. When these go away/change, we’re no longer  sure who we are. We also can’t say who we want to be because we never dreamed of our life apart from (fill in the blank). Sadly, when I choose to define myself based on my connection with someone or something outside of myself – my identity is in peril.

One thing we know for sure, is that if we do nothing, apathy wins.

And we don’t want to live that life.

The first step toward breaking out of the doldrums you’re stuck in is to let yourself off the hook. Moving forward doesn’t require a 5-year plan, it just takes a little play.

Not sure what degree to study toward? Try a few different courses, or take a year off to travel or gain work experience

Looking for a profession? Start with the things that make you feel happy or fulfilled. What peaks your curiosity? What engages your passions?

Feel like you aren’t really good at anything? Take some classes or learn a new hobby. What have you ‘wished’ you could do? Developing a new skill is a great way to boost your confidence.

Some day you will have to make a choice, but that day doesn’t have to be today. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is to place yourself on the path of exploration, and choose to enjoy the journey.  Choose to accept revelation about things that aren’t your passion as insights helping you hone in on what is.

Take the pressure off and have fun. Indulge your curiosity.

It’s a big world out there—explore it.

Iris Proctor
Iris is the director of ArborWoman.