I was listening to an audio book written by a business coach on the way to work this morning. She told the story of a client who accomplished her so-called dream job and the much coveted corner office. After a few months, her client began to feel empty inside, and was left asking, now what?
She thought she had everything she wanted, but what she accomplished didn’t hold the personal satisfaction she thought she was looking for.
I know, first world problems, but I’ve witnessed the other side of the spectrum. I help people who have been homeless or formerly incarcerated get back on their feet, and many times they also end up in the same place – now what? They think they wanted the clothes, the car, a new apartment, a certain type of man/woman, but many end up in the same place.
Now what? can become a serious problem if you don’t know how to deal with it. Many get to the now what? space and turn to drugs, sex, gambling, binge TV watching, food, shopping, etc. If you don’t understand that empty feeling inside, then a quick fix solution is to fill it up with something as fast as possible.
Stuffing your face full of food, smoking a little weed, flipping through channels or Youtube, and spending hard earned money on clothes you may only wear a few times are ways to fill the void inside. The only problem with these tactics is that they only mask the problem, but the truth is still waiting for you.
I experience now what? after every project is completed. I sometimes experience it after an epic blog post. I remember that now what? feeling when I came back from Europe and South America. The feeling comes and if there’s no answer after the question has been asked, then I can get a little depressed.
Now what? is there to remind you that humans were meant to grow and evolve. It doesn’t mean that you need to be working on something ALL the damn time. When I was in Europe I discovered my love for writing, worked on creative projects, and was free to travel when and where I pleased.
Nothing’s changed since then because I still have those options, but my now what? feeling taught me to break from the norm, chuck the routine and live spontaneously – even if for a couple of weeks. I learned a lot about myself, discovered new worlds, and coming back to ordinary life taught me to want more.
How do you deal with that now what? feeling?
Here are a few things to remember:
- Now what? is a sign that you’re ready to tackle a new project or problem. Ask yourself, what problem bugs me that I want to solve? Let ideas flow to you.
- Now what? could be a signal that you’ve lost sight of your personal vision, mission, or purpose in life. Call it what you want, but I believe everybody ought to be working on ideas, using their talents and gifts in unique ways to solve people problems. What are 3 big things you would like to accomplish this year? Next year? In the next 10 years? Use whatever timeline you want, just make it longer than this week.
- Now what? could be reminding you that what you’re doing is not YOU. You’re doing it because you think it will give you recognition from your boss, peers and colleagues, some dude or chic, or your parents. If you’re not living life for YOU, then you may get that corner office, and in a few months be asking WTF?! Be yourself is the most cliche’d and BS advice given in the world, but powerful if carried out to its fullest expression. So, be your mutha f’n self! (I hate cliches)
- Now what? could be a time to sit with NO stimulation. Stop avoiding the void, and deal with it. The truth is sitting in the dark, waiting for you to face it. Whether you meet it sooner or later, it’s there – the loneliness, the despair, the anger, and the I don’t know what the f*** I’m doing feeling. The truth is undefeated, so taking drugs or some other escape is only prolonging the inevitable. Deal with your sh*t, head up.
- And finally, now what? could be telling you to relax and chill for a moment. Stop trying to make everything happen. If you’re running solely off your head and not listening to your heart, you’re going to have a tough life. Give in sometimes, and surrender to the almighty NOTHINGNESS. There’s something powerfully peaceful in the VOID. It’s just hell getting there.