We all hit a point in our life where we wonder where we’re headed, and how to find our own path. For some, this point happens earlier on and for others, it hits when they’re middle-aged.
In my case, this happened when I was just 18, and again at 25. I was able to make certain decisions and experience certain things because of the direction I was headed to. It’s never an easy process but it is possible to learn how to discover your purpose and path.
Today I’d like to share with you how to find direction in life when you don’t know where to go.
What does it mean to find direction in life?
If you’ve ever read my story, you’ll know that I moved to the UK when I’d just turned 19, leaving my friends and family behind on my beautiful Italian island.
The decision to move abroad wasn’t an easy one, but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go next and I was determined to find out (I don’t think anyone is sure at that age, but I’ve always felt like a grandma inside so I’m quite old mentally).
I didn’t have a full plan, but I knew I wanted to move to London and that to ease the process I would have become an au pair.
I planned to stay there for a year and clear my head to decide which direction I should go.
I’m happy to say that 7 years later, I couldn’t be more clear of my purpose and direction in life; it takes some reassessing occasionally, but I now know where I’m going and (sort of) how I’m going to get there.
So what does it mean to find direction in life?
In my opinion, it means to have a clear idea of what your purpose is and what you should pursue to live a fulfilled life. This encompasses all areas of your life, including your career, your personal relationships, where you live, things you do outside your job, etc.
They will at some point be tied all together and you’ll be moving every step of the way with purpose and confidence.
Of course, there will be seasons where life might be overwhelming and you won’t know where to go, but it’s important to remember that these are only seasons and that they will pass.
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Why is direction important in life?
I believe we were all born with a purpose attached to our life. I don’t believe that anyone is here by accident or that someone’s here just to live an okay life, work for most of it, and then die.
I’m not saying everyone needs to be a celebrity or a politician or a life-saving surgeon, but I do believe that every single person on earth has a purpose.
We may not know straight away what this is, and things might change along the way which is fine, but it’s important that we find direction in life.
Why is it important?
It’s because otherwise, we’ll end up living a miserable life, often questioning all of our actions, questioning why we’re even here, and feeling like we’re going around in circles without making progress.
Also, when you live your life knowing the direction it should go, you move with purpose, with clarity, you’re working towards something and you live a more fulfilled life. Even if you’re not ‘there’ yet, you still live every day with the knowledge of where you’re headed to.
As human beings, we need to have direction in life so that we can feel optimistic, and passionate about what we do and like what we do can change our lives and those of the people around us (and in the world too!).
If you don’t know where to go, don’t worry, I’m about to share with you 10 ways to find direction and purpose in life.
10 steps to find direction in life when you’re lost
Examine your situation
In this first step, I want you to think very clearly about where you currently are. Does your job/business bring you fulfilment? Are you surrounding yourself with the right people? Are you finding joy in the small daily moments? Do you think your life is making an impact on someone else’s life?
These are some of the questions I’d ask myself if I was looking for direction in life. Understanding where you are is the starting point for finding the right path.
Feel free to jot it down in a journal, go through old notebooks, and even ask trusted people around you.
When I decided to move to London, I examined my current situation then and I knew that I was very comfortable, I could have had things easy-ish, but I wouldn’t have felt fulfilled.
I knew there was more outside of my little world, and I was determined to go after it.
Take a pause, if needed
Don’t be afraid to take a break if you need to. Sometimes moving for the sake of moving is more damaging than actually stopping to reflect and make a plan on how to move forward.
Something I shared some time ago on my Instagram account, was that I had taken a long break from social media because I felt like I’d lost my path.
I was creating so much content just for the sake of showing up every day, but that wasn’t what was best for me (or my audience).
So I took a break to find my direction again for my blog and personal brand, and it’s only now that things are starting to get clearer.
The bottom line is: that a break will be beneficial for you to give you a fresh perspective on things and help you find your path again.
Know your values and don’t compromise them
This is a tough one because in the world we live in today, everyone will try to influence us and change who we are, often at the expense of our own values.
I was never one to bend easily, and I’m proud of that. I stand for my beliefs even if it means I stand on my own, but I’ll never compromise my identity and my values.
This is what differentiates people who have found direction in life from those who haven’t. When you know where you’re headed, you don’t have time to entertain thoughts that are contrary to your beliefs.
Your values are the core of who you are, so you need to protect them if you want to live a life of purpose.
Be open to trying something new
As much as I don’t like change, I think sometimes it’s useful to keep our options open to find direction in life.
At the end of the day, if you never give yourself the chance to try new things, you’ll never know if they’re right for you and you might miss out on a good opportunity.
When I started my side hustles, some of the things I tried were health coaching for a nutrition company, and tutoring for Spanish and Italian lessons.
I then realised neither of them was the path I wanted to take in my life, so I just moved forward.
When I started my blog, it was exactly the same thing; I hadn’t considered it as an option for me before, but I still decided to try it.
And that’s when a whole world of opportunities opened up to me and I realised that was exactly what I was supposed to do with my life. I’m not a full-time blogger yet, but watch this space!
Ignore other people’s negative opinions
I could write a whole blog post just about this.
People’s negative opinions can rob you of your purpose and your joy, so don’t let that happen!
Chances are that when you’re trying to find direction in your life, you’ll meet several obstacles. Some of these obstacles may look like people’s thoughts and opinions on what you should or shouldn’t do.
A lot of the time these opinions also come from people very close to us; maybe they just care about us and want us to be careful, or they’re worried or fearful about what could happen if we make certain decisions, or they might be envious about what we’re doing because they never dared to do it in their life.
My best advice is: to surround yourself with the right people who will support you in your journey and block out the outside noise that’s trying to distract you.
Make a plan – with options
After you take the steps above, it’s important that you put a plan of action together so you can start moving in the right direction.
If you don’t know where to start, some helpful questions to ask yourself might be:
- What is my plan A (the thing I desire the most to do)?
- If that doesn’t work, do I have a plan B that will still help me find direction in life?
- How long will it take me to achieve my plan A and what do I need to put in place for that?
- Is what I’m trying to do realistic? (I don’t want to destroy your dreams and I’ll always encourage you to dream big and do things outside your comfort zone; however, these things still need to be realistic)
- Do I need to research a specific topic?
- Is there anyone who could support me in this journey?
These are just some of the questions you can consider, and they should help you make some clarity to go from point A to point B.
For example, when I decided to move to the UK, my plan was to be an au pair for a year and use that time to figure out what to do next.
If by the end of the year I still didn’t know, I’d have gone back to Italy and applied to study at one of the top Universities in the country.
I then opened my options to consider studying in the UK instead; I applied to a University in London and only applied to two courses there (even though you can have up to 5 choices).
I planned that if I got accepted into Uni, I would have officially stayed in London; if not, I’d have gone back to Italy to study there, and if even that failed, I would have moved to Spain.
So I had three plans technically, and I had an action plan for each one.
Procrastination is the killer of purpose; I could shout this from the rooftops!
Procrastination can be triggered by fear, imposter syndrome, and lack of clarity, but it’s important that we don’t allow it to stop us from finding our direction and path in life.
I talk extensively about how to fight procrastination in this post, so check it out!
Take small steps every day
There’s a lie that makes us believe that to find direction in life, we must be taking giant steps or we’re not doing enough.
That’s not how it works. What actually does work is taking small steps every day, that will improve our consistency and discipline, and will ultimately take us closer to our goals.
I always like to think of ants (yes, ants) when I think about small steps. They labour so much, gathering food in the summer and going back and forth, literally taking a crumb at a time.
But when winter comes, they’re ready.
So next time you feel that because you’re making small steps you’re not working towards your purpose, remember the ants and be like them.
Patience is a virtue because not many people have this gift.
Good things take time, sometimes excessively long times, but you’ll always be rewarded for your work.
When trying to find direction in life, you won’t have all the answers right away, and you won’t immediately get to your destination.
That’s why it’s important that you practice patience so that you won’t get discouraged and give up halfway.
Before I started this blog, I had a massive weight on my chest. I was desperately trying to find direction in my own life and find my purpose.
It took a lot of digging, self-reflection, talking to people and praying until I realised that starting a blog was the direction I needed to go in.
And even after starting the blog, things have changed and I now have more clarity than two years ago.
This is why I encourage you to be patient and trust the process of your life.
Trust that you have a purpose
Finally, remember this very important truth: YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.
Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. If you’re alive and breathing, you have a purpose. You came into this world with that attached to your life, and it is your mission to work towards it and fulfil this purpose whilst you walk this earth.
It may take a while to find the right direction in your life, you may need to adjust your position at times, and you’ll need to be very resilient, but you will make it.
3 Bible verses to find direction in life
Before ending this blog, I wanted to leave you with a few verses from the Bible that speak about finding direction and purpose in life.
They really encourage me, so I hope they’ll do the same for you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
Final thoughts on finding direction in life
I’m so confident that by taking some time to apply these steps, you’ll be in a better position than when you started.
The journey of self-discovery isn’t always a straight line, so be gentle with yourself whilst you embark on this process.
Ultimately, I know that if I managed to find direction in my own life, you can too!