Are you still struggling with what you want to do with your life?
Do you feel trapped at your current job, since it provides the security of a paycheck, all the while wondering “Is this all there is?”
Or perhaps you’re going through a major life transition and feel confused about what path to take next in life?
If you’re currently experiencing any of those situations (or anything similar), then my hope is that this post adds value to your life and helps you start moving forward and making important changes to your life.
And believe me, I know exactly how you’re feeling!
I know firsthand the frustration, the anxiety, the stress, that comes from living out of alignment.
Because that’s how I lived for many years.
I spent years working at jobs that I hated because partially because I was too scared to make a change and partially because I wasn’t sure what I really, really wanted to do with my life.
Instead I made safe choices, choices that didn’t get me close to living an authentic life or finding a meaningful career.
And so I wasted many years of my life.
Years that I can never, ever get back.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
I want you moving forward towards the meaningful life and career that you deserve.
And so I’m going to share something with you, a question that I think can help you.
You may have read my recent guest post on Elephant Journal in which I outlined 6 ways in which you can figure out what to do with your life.
I want to take one of those methods and expand on it because I think it has a LOT of value in helping you figure out what to do with your life.
But first I want to present two popular methods that – in my opinion – have limited value.
Two Popular Methods With Limited Value
1. One Year Left
Lots of career coaches and similar professionals will ask you to answer the question “What would you do if you only had one year left to live?”.
They see it as a way for you to figure out what to do with your life.
But it’s not.
Almost everyone answers that question the same – they would travel and spend time with family and friends.
Here’s the problem with that question.
You likely expect to live for a LOT more than one year.
Chances are you expect to live for another 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years.
And so what you would do with only ONE year is quite different from what you would do with more time.
Traveling and spending time with family and friends certainly have value.
No doubt about it.
But hardly anyone would do those things as their primary activities for 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years.
And they don’t exactly pay the bills.
So the one year question isn’t particularly helpful in figuring out what to do with your life.
2. Plan Your Funeral
A second alternative, one that I did present in my Elephant Journal article, is to plan your funeral or to write your epiphany.
I think this approach has more value than just thinking about what you’d do with one year of life.
But it still has limited value.
Answering the question may very well help you to figure out what you’d like to do and accomplish before you die.
There’s still a major problem with the question however.
Again, chances are you expect to live another 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years.
So answering that question doesn’t exactly light a fire under you to start taking action TODAY!
Also, there are probably a LOT of things that you want to do between now and when you die.
Planning your funeral or writing your epiphany doesn’t give you any sense as to how to prioritize the many things that you want to do with the rest of your life.
What Would You Do If You Only Had 5 to 10 Years Left to Live?
THIS is the question that I think has a LOT of value in helping you figure out what you want to do with your life.
Five to 10 years is enough time that you can do something of value with your life but not so much time that you can afford to waste it.
Think about what you could do with 5 to 10 years.
- You could write that novel that you’ve been putting off for the past decade.
- You could finally go back to school and get that degree that you always wanted.
- You could start that non-profit and create a positive legacy with your life.
These are just examples, of course.
What you would chose to do if you only had 5 to 10 years left is uniquely yours.
The value of this question is that it forces you to focus on what truly matters most to you.
It gives you enough time to do one, maybe two important things with your life.
But no more.
And in order to complete those one or two important things, you don’t have time to waste on things that don’t matter to you.
Not with only 5 to 10 years left to live.
How to Use This Question
This is NOT an easy question to answer.
It’s NOT a question to take lightly.
This is a question that you want to spend time with, journaling about your answer, or meditating on it, or simply contemplating it.
Whatever works best for you.
Embrace the idea that you have somewhere between 5 to 10 years left to live.
And then spend as much time as you need to with the question, even if it takes you a month or longer to answer it.
At the same time, remember that you’re not going for a perfect answer.
You’re going for an answer that will get you moving forward towards a future that’s better than your present.
Once you have an answer that works for YOU, start taking action on it TODAY.
Because no matter how much time you think you have left, none of us really knows.
Maybe you really do only have 5 to 10 years left to live…