Part II: Figuring Out What You Want

Sometimes we feel like we have to figure out everything all at once, but you don’t have to know right now where you want to be in ten years. What do you do in the meantime? Set interim goals and learn more about yourself. Take baby steps — small conscious actions — even if you aren’t sure where those steps will lead you.

For example, I enrolled in college as an undecided major. I knew going to college would open doors for me, even though I didn’t know where those doors would lead.

When faced with a decision about what direction to take, and without any clear feeling about which is better, take the path that leaves the most options open later. In Las Vegas, that’s called hedging your bets.

For jobs, what can you do that will teach you skills you can use anyplace?  Sales and marketing are always useful no matter where you go.  Ditto computer skills.  What job can you pursue that will give you the most useful skills you can use later?

What situations can you put yourself in so you can learn more about what you like and what you don’t like?  Maybe take adult ed classes in, for example, a foreign language, to see what you like.  Maybe join a group that does something you’ve never tried, like ballroom dancing. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and don’t try anything new.  If we aren’t trying anything new, though, how can we learn more about ourselves and discover what we like? Maybe set a goal to try one new thing every week for a month.

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Even though you most likely will never become a professional ballroom dancer, just expanding your comfort zone can help you expand your thinking and your awareness, and that can in turn lead to a breakthrough about what you want.

Finally, consider taking personality quizzes to learn more about yourself.  The classic is Myers Briggs; I found that I shifted from an INTJ to an INTP over about 10-15 years.

The Strengths Finder books are also worth consideration. My strengths are intellection, strategic, activator, achiever, and ideation.  Turns out that I like to come up with ideas and then take action on them.  It also gives you good advice about how to understand the people around you and how to talk their language.

The last one I’ll mention here (there are many many more personality quizzes) is What Color Is Your Personality: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green. This is a fun book, and I’m a yellow, with a green and red coming in second and third.What’s interesting is that all three personality tests support the notion that I love new ideas and concepts.

What type is your personality? Have you found these sorts of tests useful/insightful?

Be sure to check out Figuring Out What You Want and Figuring Out What You Want Part III Using a Personal Mission Statement, too.

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