Back in March 2016, I was going through my own quarter-life crisis and decided to start a podcast so as to be able to interview various experts about the things I wanted to know, while also helping others in the same situation.
Now 60+ episodes in, I’ve found my own calling by combining the lessons I’ve learned from my guests.
To save you the time of listening to a few days’ worth of interviews, I’ve collected these lessons into 10 steps you can use to discover your true north in your twenties.
(Note: I recorded this as a solo episode of my podcast “The Quarter Life Comeback”)
1. START WITH A VISION
The first step to creating an extraordinary life is to create a big-picture vision of what you want to achieve. This doesn’t mean you have to have the rest of your life perfectly laid out, but what’s important is that you have something you can start working towards. Ask yourself what it is that YOU want to create. And then take the first small step towards it.
2. SET GOALS
Once you have your vision, you need to turn it into a series of goals. People often think that if they miss their goals, they’ve failed. But goals are merely milestones to assess progress towards your vision. It’s also not as much about the goal itself as it is about WHO that goal forces you to become. So who do you need to become to achieve your vision?
3. FOCUS ON THE PROCESS
Once you’ve set goals, your job is to focus on the process. If you’re always thinking about the destination, you’ll miss out on the new opportunities that show up right in front of you. This is how a vision changes; we work towards something, but remain open to new possibilities when they emerge. What’s the next small step you can take towards your vision? If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or intimidated, think smaller.
4. ADOPT HABITS & RITUALS
When we create habits, the most important actions for achieving our goals become automatic. The two most important rituals to adopt are a morning ritual and an evening ritual. During the day, things are going to get messy. But if you can book-end your days with things that help you grow, you’ll set yourself up for success. (P.S. email and social media don’t count).
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
After I quit my job and went backpacking through South-East Asia, I became a certified personal trainer. But you don’t need to go that far to learn how to look after yourself. The three most important areas are eat, move and sleep. Sleep is easily the most underestimated and neglected of the three. Rather than something you do when aren’t doing anything else, sleep is a crucial time where your body heals itself and makes new connections in your brain.
6. CONNECT TO A PURPOSE
If you can connect your vision to a bigger purpose, you will go further. The most common question we hear nowadays is “How do I find my passion?” But as Tom Asacker shared in our interview together, you don’t find your passion; you discover it by doing and experimenting with things that interest you. And when you can find that intersection between what you’re interested in, what you’re good at and what others need, you’ve found your sweet spot.
7. FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
In case you’re unfamiliar with the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 principle), it says that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of the results. So what’s your 20%? What 20% of the things you do make everything else easier or unnecessary? Find those things, and then go all in. In order to help in this process, I created an ebook containing 5 exercises for self-awareness which you can access here.
8. RISKS + GRIT
When I quit my job back in 2014, I had no backup plan. I’d love to be able to say it was easy, but the truth is there were weeks I didn’t know how I would buy food and months I couldn’t pay bills. However, one my favorite sayings say that “A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for”. What matters most is taking a chance on your dreams and then having the grit to stick with it.
9. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
There are three parts to this step. The first is a mentor or coach. This is someone who is able to guide you and bring out your genius (which I am honored to do via my work as a coach). Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not good enough as you are. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It shows that you’re serious about making your vision a reality.
The next component is your social circle. If you spend time with people who just want to party every weekend, you’re going to be dragged down to that level. If you really want to achieve your goals, you need to spend time with inspiring people.
10. BELIEVE IN YOU!
The final component of a support structure is a step of its own, and that is YOU. If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to KNOW that it’s all going to work out. This won’t always be how you might have imagined, but trust that there’s something even better waiting for you.