Sometimes in life, everything is going great. We have purpose and direction, and we feel fulfilled.
But other times, we lose our way. Some of us feel lost for years on end.
As noted by Psychology Today, this lack of purpose can make us feel bored, anxious, and even depressed.
I am no stranger to feeling lost.
It isn’t pleasant.
I felt lost when I spent years in a career I didn’t care about.
I felt lost when the business, to which I had attached all my future hopes, failed.
I got through it, though, by asking the right questions. And you can too.
Today, I give you five tough questions to ask yourself if you feel lost.
Answering these questions won’t solve all of your problems at once. They won’t be easy to answer either.
But they will give you some perspective and help you start working toward a fulfilling life.
1) What am I grateful for?
When we are feeling lost, it can be easy to forget what we have.
It’s, therefore, often best to start by taking stock.
As we shared in a previous article, practicing gratitude can result in improved focus, more motivation, and a boost in self-esteem.
If you are feeling lost, you probably lack some or all of these.
While it might not feel like you have much, we all have something to be thankful for.
It could be the people who care for you.
It could be a simple pleasure like a cup of coffee.
It could be having somewhere safe to sleep.
It could be the sun rising in the morning.
I could go on, but you get the idea. We are all here with the ability to read this and we all have some things to be grateful for.
When I feel lost, I write down what I am grateful for. For me, ideas flow more easily on a page.
For you, it might be better to say aloud what you appreciate in your life.
Do what works for you.
The point is that we need to let the creative juices flow here.
This exercise gets us in the positive mindset needed to find direction. Problems that seemed impossible to solve magically morph into approachable challenges.
2) How do I want to be remembered?
With so many commitments and distractions in modern life, it can be easy to lose sight of what we want in life and who we really want to be.
Answering “How do I want to be remembered?” is tough, but it can help you to get to the core of who you are.
It is similar to our asking, “What is my purpose?” but it is a more approachable question.
Again, everyone’s answers will be different.
You might want to be remembered for your achievements in business or politics.
You may want to be remembered as a great parent.
Or perhaps, you simply want to be remembered as an honest person.
Take the time to really consider how you want people to remember you and what would make you content looking back on your life.
It may take some time and effort to come up with some things you are fully satisfied with.
However, when you find them, it can really help to give you some clarity on what you value.
3) What are the non-essentials in my life?
Feeling lost is often due to overstimulation and being too busy. Sometimes we don’t even realize it.
As much as we might like to do everything, we simply can’t. When we try, we drown out the truly important things.
It is, therefore, crucial to identify the things that are not priorities in your life.
This was one of my key takeaways from Greg McKeown’s bestseller, Essentialism. He writes, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no”.
What are the things that you are committing time and energy to that don’t serve your values or purpose?
It’s like cleaning out a wardrobe of old clothes you no longer wear. Some things will be easy to put in the throw-away pile. Others will be more difficult.
But once you know what doesn’t matter, you will feel lighter.
However, you need to take another step towards making a life or purpose a reality.
That’s where the next question comes in.
4) What would a good week look like?
Armed with the answers to the previous questions on this list, you should be able to develop a weekly list of activities that align with the things that matter to you.
It’s important not to limit yourself here. Plot out all the things you would do in your good week.
Really get down to it. Days and weeks are all we have, and we need to make them count.
For many, simply taking the time to really consider this can start to create direction and hope.
You may not be able to put all of your good week into practice immediately, but that’s not the point. Not yet, anyway.
Just try to identify what your ideal week would include, even if making it a reality is not possible right now.
5) What can I do today?
Feeling lost can often lead to inaction, and if not acted upon, all of the work you did answering the previous questions on this list will go to waste.
It’s essential to take action, no matter how small. As Picasso put it, “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
Look at all your answer to the previous question and ask yourself, “What can I do today?”
How can you start re-focusing your life on the important things you identified?
Get started, and it will inspire further action. It has a snowball effect.
The bottom line
None of us want to feel lost in life. I don’t envy you if you are in this position right now.
However, asking questions like the ones we covered today can get you back on track.
You need to take time to ask these questions, however. Many people will read this post and won’t take the time to actually answer the questions deeply.
So schedule an hour when you won’t be disturbed, take out a notebook and a pen, and let your thoughts flow.
I promise you will have a lot more direction by the end of that hour.
As always, I hope you found this post enjoyable and helpful for your own journey.
Until next time.