How to Figure out what Matters to You
- May 6, 2018
In my last post, I referred to three women who changed their lives to start the business that mattered to them – Tumelo Mashteng, Umutoni Monalisa and Udoka Uju. There are many, many people who seem to know what they want to do with their lives. How did they figure it out?
How do you figure out what matters to you and what life could be like for you if you followed that Big Bold (Business) dream that stays on your mind? That’s the challenge you face right now.
How do You Figure out what Matters to You?
Some people spend their whole life searching, and still don’t find what they’re looking for!
Some people don’t ever start their search. They aren’t even curious to explore what matters to them.
Some people just make it look effortless, but you don’t know the years of failures that lead them to the ‘success’ of being able to do what matters to them.
People will tell you that you have to have a University degree and great business plan, but Monalisa started out with a small amount of make-up and she taught herself how to do make-up by watching the international makeup artists on YouTube and social media. (Source: She.Leads.Africa) It was possible for her because she had figured out what she cared about – makeup and fashion.
People also say that you will ‘just know’ what is right for you: that there’s a ‘gut feeling’ or a ‘knowing’ within you. That’s easy to say but not easy to do. However, it is true to a degree. The more you know yourself, the smarter and clearer your decisions will be. Knowing yourself well takes time and thought.
To help you along, answer these questions in your journal or on the downloadable ‘What Matters to Me’ worksheet here. Try it out – it’s a pretty awesome starting point to figuring out what your Big Bold dream might be!
Think about your Past
- What were your past joys and successes? What specific experiences (good or bad) left their mark on you? Perhaps some of them became a belief you still hold on to? “I can’t do math”, “I hate music” or “I’m clumsy”.
- When you daydreamed, what did you imagine yourself doing or becoming? When people asked you what you wanted to do with your life, and you answered, what did you answer? How did people respond to your answer to that question?
- Can you remember any specific childhood desires or unfulfilled hopes?
- What things were you good at doing when you were a kid? What do you remember that you loved about that thing you were doing ‘back in the day’?
Think about your Present
- What is your situation like right now? What frustrates you about where you are right now? What do you like about how things are right now? What are the realities of your current situation and how long do you think it will it be this way?
- What is your personality type? How would your friends describe you?
- How much change can you handle right now? What is your physical and mental health like right now?
- What do people ask you to help them with? What do you love to spend an afternoon, evening or weekend doing? What exactly what is it that you enjoy about this activity/thing? Could you imagine doing that thing every day?
Think about your Future
- When someone asks you what you hope to be doing in 5 years time, what do you say? Do you really believe that or are you just saying something you think is ‘acceptable’?
- When you think of making a change or finishing this phase of life, what do you want to do next? Why?
- If you could help someone with anything – what would it be?
- What would you tell your future self, and why?
- What have you always dreamed of doing, but have never tried because you think it’s impossible?
Now that you have answers to these questions, you have lots of material to explore.
You will want to spend some days or even weeks to reflect and make sense of everything you’ve written. This is a process and you will need to take time for your thoughts to become clear and mature.
1. Take time to think and reflect. Sit with it – yes for days, weeks or even months! Sit with the difficult things. It’s okay. Nobody knows but you.
2. Look for patterns. Remember the things that you’re never been able to shake off. Notice the things that keep tugging on you. Don’t ignore these messages from your soul.
3. Pick the strongest idea(s) within you. Ask yourself, “What will I feel if I follow this path and accomplish this thing?’ and ask again, ‘What will I feel if I don’t follow this path and don’t accomplish this thing?’
4. Keep reflecting about everything your answers reveal to you. Start to trust your instinct and gained knowledge.
5. Make a choice. You will know when your time is right to decide. Write down your reasons for your choices so that you always have a reference point to return to. A time will come when you know you need to pick a direction and get started.
You have Options
The research tells us that we have more career options and entrepreneurial opportunities than ever before!
Many people change jobs and careers quite frequently and that trend is true for African youth too. It is highly unlikely that we will spend 30 years in one job with one company. These days people rarely stay longer than 4.5 years in the same job. More and more people are starting businesses. In fact many people start their entrepreneurial journey as employees.
This fact gives us lots of freedom to discover what we love and to explore what really matters to us!
You can start with one idea and end up doing something very different.
You can try a career and change your mind when you outgrow it.
You can close one business and start a new one.
You can change your mind.
Udoka Uju told She.Leads.Africa, “What motivated me to go pursue this business idea was the desire to find my own path in life, and to use it to inspire the lives around me.”
Your current situation might be difficult. Your future dreams might seem very distant and out of reach, but there’s a very good reason why your ideas, aspirations and dreams have never entirely faded away.
You are the only one who can bring your Big, Bold Business dream alive and share it with the world in your own way. The world is waiting for you to be all that you were created to be.
You have special talents.
You have unique gifts.
Your challenge is to find your path to the place where you were always meant to be! To figure out what truly matters to you.
I love to hear from you! Ask me a question or tell us one thing you learned in answering the questions that has shone a light on your bright future.
- Five Ways Entrepreneurs Build Soft Skills
- Top Five Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs
- The best New Year’s Resolution
- Business Ideas are not Random
- Ten Lessons from 30 African entrepreneurs
- Six (more) Reasons to keep a Journal
- Start your Entrepreneurial Journey as an Employee
- Tips to Conduct your Personal Inventory
- How to make Smart Decisions about Important Things
- How to Figure out what Matters to You