What to do when you don't know what to do with your life

Some people know what they want to do from the age of five (lucky them!). Some people get to 30 and they are still clueless. And some people get to 50 and they are still clueless!


Everyone looks like they have it all figured out but, the truth is, there are so many people that are stuck in a life that doesn't actually feel fulfilling at all. Yes, even when it looks great on social media!

Today we are so lucky because we can live almost anywhere we want in the world, learn anything at the touch of a button online, and we can (and often do) change careers multiple times in our lifetime. It really is amazing when you think about it... but... it can also be scary and very confusing.

How can you possibly decide on what to do with the vast world of possibilities in front of you?

So many of my clients come into coaching feeling paralysed by the decision of what to do with their lives. They have often fallen into careers they didn't choose or that they did choose but it wasn't quite what they were expecting.

Adding to the problem are the social norms and expectations (buy a house, get married, have 2.4 children...), parental pressures ("meet a nice partner, give me grandchildren", "be anything as long as it's a doctor!"), plus the millions of marketing messages telling us what will make us happy and what to do with our time

It can be so tough to cut through the noise and get in touch with what we really want and, importantly, what will actually make us feel happy and fulfilled! No wonder there is more demand for life coaching right now than ever before.

How can coaching help?

The reason life coaching works so well is that it gives you a space to reflect and understand yourself, and understanding yourself enables you to create a life that works for you.

We are all unique. Yes, completely unique. Most people think they know that but when you really know that, it makes your own decisions so much easier. 

We have different ideas of what will be fulfilling. What makes one person happy would be someone else's worst nightmare. So, why is it that we think we all need to follow the socially expected path to happiness? The real key to figuring out what to do with your life is to first figure out what makes you unique.

My coaching model is underpinned by three key components which can help you understand what makes you unique: values, strengths and passions. These key components are a great place to start if you are feeling lost. Let's take a closer look.

1. Values

Values are your guiding compass. When you are living aligned with your values it just feels right. When you start to compromise on values, you can feel uneasy.

Values can also help you make important decisions by simply asking yourself: Does that fit with my values?

Aim for five to seven values - you can search for lists of values online and start there. It can be helpful to discuss them with a friend or coach. 

2. Strengths

Strengths are the unique positive qualities that make you who you are. Your top five strengths are your signature strengths which are energising, engaging and effortless to use. 

Knowing and applying your strengths has been linked to many benefits including boosting your confidence and well-being and an increase in life and work satisfaction.

Importantly though, using your strengths makes you feel authentic and can make you better at selecting goals that are meaningful and will ultimately lead to a happier life. The real benefit of strengths is in exploring and applying them, so make sure to make use of them!

If you're not sure what you're strengths are, you can find out your strengths for free at viacharacter.org.

3. Passions

Your passions refer to what lights you up. Passion is linked with purpose so this can be a great area to explore to find something that will make you happy long term.

Try to think about: 

  • What do you really enjoy doing?
  • What do you feel emotional about?

This can be emotional because you love it but also because it gets you riled up, upset or angry. Often, we are passionate about resolving a problem and this can provide an excellent purpose. 

After figuring out these three components, you will have a much clearer idea of what is important to you, what your natural strengths are and what you are truly passionate about. This will give you the clarity and confidence to choose the right path to happiness and fulfilment by creating a life that works for you.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6
Written by Phoebe Simmons, MBPsS, Bsc (Hons) | Psychological coach | Doctoral student
Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6

Phoebe Simmons MBPsS BSc (Hons) offers evidence based 1:1 psychological coaching to help you create a meaningful life where you can truly flourish. She is a doctoral student with a research interest in strengths-based coaching, meaning and purpose.

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