HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE

Life can really be funny. It’s full of ups, downs and don’t let me forget… pressure.

From the time you can speak, you are taught that you go to college, you get your degree and you start working in the adult world by the age of approximately 22. That’s the route. That’s what you gotta do. That’s how you will be successful.

Not to be a buzz kill, but I think that’s a load of crap.

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How are we supposed to know exactly what we want to study at 18 years old? We haven’t even entered the real world yet! Like, what is that and who came up with it?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind it, and I am a huge believer in education. We are beyond lucky to have the ability to even receive this education. I am constantly educating myself, whether that be through reading everyday, listening to podcasts or signing up for online courses.

However, I think what I am really referencing to is the pressure of trying to figure out exactly what it is you want to do in life at such a young age. It’s a bit absurd.

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I went to University of Arizona at 18 years old wanting to do forensic psychiatry. Still am interested in it, but not enough to pursue it. Then, I wanted to do business, but the first TWO years of my education were going to have to be taking classes on plants and BS “general education courses” that had absolutely nothing to do with business. Goodbye $100,000 ( room and board included. )

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Listen, I’m not trying to bash the education system, there is a purpose for everything! If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, someone in finance, you simply need a degree. I also applaud anyone who received a degree. That takes a lot of hard work, dedication and you should be very proud of yourself.

The point of this is to share my mindset as to how I figured out what I wanted at such a young age. How I figured it out had a lot to do with my experience away at school.

However, there are so many people out there who did graduate, yet still don’t know what they want. You will take away a valuable lesson from this post as well.

So, here I am sitting in my “general education” courses, and bored ( probably like many other college students. ) I had the routine down. I woke up, got dressed, went to class, studied, went out with my friends, went to sleep, repeat ( had a gall bladder attack and surgery in between all of that, but that’s a story for another time. )

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Every day that I went to class I couldn’t help but think, “what am I doing here?” I felt stuck because I was sitting in these classes and felt clueless as to what I was doing. I felt lost. I felt like I was wasting my time and I didn’t have a chance to breathe and figure out where I was going in life.

Fast forward to my sophomore year in college. Oy vey as us Jews like to say. Not a good time, but a life changing and eye opening time in my life. I was miserable. To make a long story short, I had a 19 year old life crisis/meltdown and needed to make some major changes. I needed to do what was right for me.

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Before I get into what I did, I just want to say that college is very black and white in my opinion. School is very black in white in my opinion. There aren’t many options, meaning, you sit in class, you learn from your professor, you go home, you study, you take a test, repeat.

What if you don’t learn well that way? Do you all of a sudden have a learning disability?


That’s a huge issue in my opinion - Are we are all expected to learn in the same or similar way? Of course, there ARE options, but if you look at the education system as a whole, there really isn’t any middle ground.

So, with that being said, I struggled. I just learn differently, and that made me feel like a failure and even more lost than I had already felt. Without getting into the little details, let’s just get to the point.

HERE IS WHAT I DID

…In a nutshell

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I DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL

Ok, let me get one thing straight before going any further, I am not encouraging anyone to drop out, but for me, this was the right thing to do.

I didn’t just drop out and leave Arizona to go live at home with my parents. I still went to school. I just did it differently. Remember, I am a huge believer in education. I love to learn.

I DID WHAT MADE SENSE FOR ME AT THE TIME

I signed up for classes that I was interested in.

Was this going to get me a degree? No. But, it was going to teach me a lot. I have to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing, but I went for it. I took business leadership courses, public speaking, improv and to top it off, I got a job at a local boutique where I could learn how to improve my speaking skills and teach myself how to sell.

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I QUESTIONED MYSELF + MY FUTURE

This is the part where I think a lot of you will be able to learn from and try yourself. I grabbed a journal ( you know I’m all about writing ) and I did the following:

  • I wrote down a day in the life of Sydney 5 years from now ( as if I was already living it )

  • I asked myself “If I could live anywhere right now, where would it be?”

  • I wrote down all of the things that I am passionate about

  • I wrote down all of the things that I’m not so passionate about

I wish that I could share all of those journal entries, but unfortunately, I wrote them on a computer ( not my handy dandy journal ) and that computer crashed #typical

This was actually the moment my life changed.

HERE IS WHAT I REALIZED

  • I’m totally out-of-the-box

  • I wanted to live in Miami

  • I didn’t love the party scene and I just wanted a calm & simple life

  • I wanted to own my own business

  • I wanted a relationship

  • I wanted to do something creative

  • I wanted to write

  • I wanted to help others

…and to be honest I cannot remember the rest.

THEN I TOOK ACTION

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I said to myself “life is short and if I don’t make a move now, then I’ll never do it.”

The thing is that these risks get harder to take the older we get.

So, I started saving up my money, I moved to Miami and I began my career in Real Estate. Why real estate? Not sure. But, that lead me to becoming the marketing director of a luxury real estate agency in Miami Beach ( another long story ), which then lead me to owning my very own marketing agency.

I just went for it. How I figured out what I wanted was through asking myself those questions above, by doing what felt right for ME, and taking action. The first step wasn’t necessarily my calling ( real estate ), but taking that leap lead me to where I am now. I followed my gut, and I had a little direction.

When I think about that journal entry that I wrote about my life 5 years ahead, I get the chills. It is exactly 5 years and I am living that life.

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This isn’t necessarily a magic solution. There are still days where I am unsure of what I want, and that is ok. Life is all about learning and taking action. BUT, I am on the right path and happy. I have figured out what I want, and some days I learn that I want something different. So, I find a way to get there and I go for it.

I encourage you to give that a try. Grab a journal, start writing, and take action today!

XO,

Sydney

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Sydney Nanberg