Are you at a crossroads in your life? Trying to figure out which direction to go personally or professionally? Chances are, you’re not alone.   A wise woman once said (it was actually my mom) “If you don’t know where to go, then maybe you should stay right where you are currently, at least for the time being.”

I’m not exactly the type who can hold still for long, especially when it comes to pursuing my goals, but I can certainly find wisdom in her words.  If you are indeed at a point in your life where you just don’t know what’s next, then it is probably best that you do take a pause and come up with a plan.  Self-reflection is a great start to this process.  Think about your personal traits- your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, your motivations, what makes you happy or unhappy, your values.  Write your thoughts down on paper.  When you have everything written down in front of you take an honest look at the results.  Process what you have written and once you understand who you are, then you can better understand what you can achieve and how to go about it.

Your next step is to write down what you are passionate about.  Think of things that you love doing so much that you would do it for free or things that you are very knowledgeable about and talented at.  Treat this  like a brainstorming session in which nothing is off limits-even if you’ve thought about working with animals at your local veterinarian, write down whatever comes to mind and take an honest look at the results.  Next, make realistic pairings between your personal traits and your brainstorming ideas.  Narrow your list by thinking of what you can realistically do with your talents and where there is truly a need.  Once you’ve narrowed your list down then do your research.

If your goal is to improve yourself professionally, your research should include some industries that have a need for what you are passionate about.  If you plan to start your own business, find out what your niche is and perform further research on your competitors and target market demographics.  If you want to improve your career, find out what tools you will need in order to move to the next promotable level or to make a change alltogether.  Finally, if your list was made to make personal improvements, utilize your research to find self-help or professional resources for healing and growth.  In the meantime, take enjoyment out of your journey to self-discovery, because whatever you choose to do, your doing it because you love it!

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