I remember being so clueless during my younger days.
I was always wondering…what was my potential? What were my strengths?
I had no idea what I wanted or what made me feel alive. Worse still, I didn’t know how to find out the answers.
As a result, I found myself drifting aimlessly through life, wasting precious time. Instead of leading life, I allowed others to lead me. I followed the rules that people had set for me and listened to what they deemed best for me.
Organisational red tape, office politics, bureaucracy—these weren’t things that made me feel alive; they were just expectations that society put on me and I followed blindly because that’s what everyone else was doing.
It took years of personal development and maturity before I finally realised why I felt so disconnected, unmotivated, and empty: I was like a monkey trying to live like a fish in a fish tank!
If only younger the me had known how to unlock my true potential…
If only I could turn back the clock…
If you’re feeling a little clueless right now—like me in my younger days—and you are asking,
“How can I take control of my life?”
“How can I unlock my potential?”
Here are the first 8 steps you can take:
1. Find out who you really are.
The only way to get out of this rut is to take the time to discover who you are truly and activate the power within yourself. This means identifying and recognizing your unique talents and qualities, passion and interest—and really taking the time to think about how these can be used in your own life or career development. You can take self-assessment tests such as MBTI, DISC, Tetra Map, Clifton Strengths, Enneagram, High 5 Tests, etc.
There are many self-assessment tools out there and it can be overwhelming to know which one to take. Usually these assessment tools are used by life coaches or career coaches as they guide their clients in their personal discovery.
When I did my career assessment, I found that the jobs I did were not aligned with my personal values. I couldn’t express my best self doing what I did, I hated all those bureaucratic rules, policies, office politics and fake people.
As a comparison, now that I’m running my own coaching practice, I can be my authentic self. I feel so much aligned and purposeful. It also feels like I’m meant to be doing this work and I’m really good at it. And I can make this happen, because I discovered who I truly am and what I am meant to be.
2. Expand your knowledge and mindset.
We live in an information era. There are countless of free resources that you can learn from. Grab personal development or self-help books from the library, watch TedTalks, listen to podcasts, read blog posts, etc.
When you expand your mind, you become more receptive to new ideas and possibilities. This will prepare you for the next step in exploring your options, setting goals and taking massive actions to unlock your potential and live your true self. No matter how cliche it sounds.
3. Identify your key qualities and interests, and then exploring the options.
Have you heard of the wise saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”? Imagine that every Monday to Friday, you get to do the things you love and get paid for it? How amazing life would be for you?
Its possible and many people have done that. It’s a matter for finding the right strategies that work for you, right?
4. Identify your key strength and leverage on it.
You don’t have to be an expert on everything. Identify the areas where you can do things easily and quickly, the ones that you are naturally good and excel at. When you leverage on your strength, you will have more confidence in your abilities and open up new opportunities for growth.
You should also explore activities that interest you and make you feel alive—even if they’re completely unrelated to your career or studies! Not only will these activities bring joy into your life, they may expose hidden talents or passions that could change everything for the better.
5. Take risk.
Be brave to take risks and make mistakes— you want to fail faster and fail better so that you can succeed sooner. Mistakes are opportunities for growth when you learn from them.
6. Invest in your personal growth.
Personal development coursers are not cheap. In fact, many of them are expensive. I remembered my very first personal development course that I took more than 10 years ago costed $1000 for a 3 days course. I thought it was crazy! Oh well….I didn’t know what I didn’t know. At the end of the course, I thought, “Why didn’t I know these then? This is life changing! If I had known all these I wouldn’t have suffered so much and make much mistakes!”.
One disclaimer I’d like to make is, not every courses available out there carry the same value as their price tag. You need to do your homework and find those that are good. You can attend the course previews or webinar, get to know the trainer, check out the past students testimonials, etc to help you weigh your decision.
7. Get help if needed.
You can speak to a life coach or a career coach to help you find your direction. You can also find a mentor or role models who have ‘been there done that’ to guide you in your self-discovery journey. Ever get lost in your own over-thinking? That’s because you are trapped in your own mind-maze. Find people who can give you professional feedback, let you brainstorm ideas objectively, keep you accountable and to stay on track.
Even though we have access to unlimited free information today via the internet, it is still important to find someone who can offer personalised guidance as we all have different qualities and goals in life. I am grateful to have found mentors and coaches who have helped me in my self-discovery, allowing me to learn from their experiences and wisdom.
They provided me with valuable insights into different aspects of my life as well as offering practical strategies to achieving success in both personal and professional endeavours. With their help, I’ve gained insight into my passions, interests, and ultimately my purpose in life. My only regret was it took me too long to know I needed them and to find them.
On a side note, I often hear people asking, “Why not speak to your friends or family members?”. Well, does your friends and family members have what you want in life? Do you aspire to be like them? Are they living the life you want to live? Do they have the expertise and the experience to help you get to where you want to be?
If the answer is no, then you may want to find those who have what you want and get guidance from them.
8. Learn to be comfortable with yourself and who you are as an individual.
This means leaving behind societal expectations and societal pressures to conform. It means challenging the norms of conventional thinking and freeing up the space in your mind for creative thought processes instead of becoming imprisoned by them.
Young people often find themselves feeling lost and confused while trying to figure out their place in this world. In my younger days, this was definitely true for me too—I felt like a monkey trying to live like a fish in a fish tank!
What’s interesting is, even professionals in their 40s and people in the senior management levels often feel lost and confused too. They are unsure of who they are, what they want and where they want to go. Life is a journey and it is our responsibility to discover our path and what we are meant to be and living our true self.
But with dedication towards personal development coupled with career coaching and mentorship from professionals, anyone can learn how to truly discover themselves and activate the power within them. Through this process of self-discovery, anyone can realize their full potential and take control of their lives once again!
Don’t let yourself drift along with life without knowing who you truly are or what makes you feel alive! Stop wasting time.
By finding out who you are, exploring your strengths and interests, seeking help when needed, and activating the power within yourself—you will be able to unlock your true potential, setting realistic goals becomes easier, allowing you to live a more fulfilling life where you are able to pursue passions that bring meaning into your life! To live an empowered life that is full of purpose!
Invest in yourself, because your life only gets better when you do. Work on yourself and the rest will follow. It’s never too late to start discovering who you are truly meant to be and live it.