The following blog is by Kali Hawlk originally published in her blog.
Take a moment to ask yourself a question today: what do you want?
What is it that your mind circles back to in quite moments throughout the day? When you realize you’re lost in thought, what were you daydreaming about?
There are no wrong answers, and what you want doesn’t need to align with anyone else’s idea of what your path should look like. What you want is your vision, and this is your opportunity to start designing and planning a course based on what’s important to you.
This is all wonderful and exciting and empowering. But realizing you can create what you want shifts to overwhelming, stressful, and frustrating if you find yourself struggling to identify what that is. What happens if you don’t know what you want?
Let’s figure that out today.
First, you need to stop seeking information from outside sources. Don’t ask anyone else about what you could — or should — do. You’re not going to interview anyone, set up any meetings over coffee to pick someone’s brain, or ask for advice from other people.
Put down any self-help books you may have and don’t pull out your wallet for any kind of coaching. Resist the temptation to try and Google your way to posts on Medium about self-improvement or life advice.
Step back from all of this — right now, it’s all just noise. It’s all just interference between you and hearing your small little inner voice. (Maybe the voice is a spiritual thing and it comes from your soul. Or if you’re like me, it might seem more instinctual; that voice is more of a feeling that comes from your gut.)
You can only tune in to this important part of who you are if you tune out everything else for a moment.
Yes, that includes what you consider good advice from wise people. Right now, the goal is to hear good advice from the only source that, at the end of the day, really matters: you.
You can only know what you want by tuning out external advice and ideas of what you could do.
Set aside some time to be by yourself. Find a place to go that fills you with a sense of belonging. Maybe that’s your favorite coffee shop around the corner. It could be a trail in the woods. Or if might be right at home.
This place should be where you feel completely natural and at ease. It’s your place. Go there and just be.
The point of this is to give yourself not only the time for your inner self to come to the surface of your thoughts, but also the space it needs.
Stop tuning in to external noise, even if it sounds good and smart and clever. Hit pause and clear it all out for now. Find your space that feels natural to you, that makes you feel peaceful and content. This is where you’ll start letting your ownvoice come out.
You can sit and think. You can bring an empty notebook and write. You can talk out loud and record yourself. The medium doesn’t matter. However you best let ideas flow is the right option for you.
(And if you don’t know how ideas best flow yet, just pick a method that sounds appealing and try it.)
You start discovering what you want by asking yourself questions. You may not know the answers right away. And that’s fine to not know. Your answers may surprise, confuse, or frustrate you.
But discovering your own path and knowing what you want for yourself starts with asking questions and digging deep.
Of course, this assumes you know what answers to ask in the first place. Facing a blank page or diving into an exercise with no guide isnt easy, and you may need a poke in the right direction to get your wheels turning. If that sounds like you, start your thinking or writing or speaking by asking yourself questions like:
- What do I want to do right now?
- Why do I like the idea of doing that?
- Why am I not doing this yet?
- When did I feel really happy? Where was I and what was I doing?
What do I hope to achieve, and why?
- Who do I want to help, and why?
- Are my current actions in line with what I value?
- Do my actions reflect my priorities?
- Do I need to change something to stay in line with what I want?
- Are my goals my own, or are they based off what I think I “should” do?
- Am I working toward what I want, or am I acting to please others?
This exercise can lead you to some really interesting and insightful places. Explore every rabbit hole you find — and with each answer you discover, always ask the critical follow-up question: why.
Keep prodding, poking, and digging until you unearth what you truly want.
Finding your inner voice and learning to listen to it is key to creating a life in which you take meaningful action. Hit pause on the noise coming in, find your space, and take the time to tune in to your true self.
About the author: Kali Hawlk is a financial writer who is passionate about helping Millennials learn more about money. She also works as a content marketing manager for financial professionals to help advisors and planners build better businesses and brands online. Kali is a contributor to Clark Howard, The Huffington Post, ReadyForZero, Magnify Money, and FeeX. She’s also been featured on and quoted in Forbes, US News and World Report, and AOL’s Daily Finance. To learn more and get in touch, please visit http://kalihawlk.com