Don’t know what’s next? Let that be okay.

SamsaraIn order to experience rebirth, one first has to walk through the valley of death.  What fears are in your way? What lies are you telling yourself?  What life circumstances do you need to exit before you have the space to create anew?  In short, what must die before you can experience rebirth?

Recently, I was stuck in the question of “what’s next?” in my career.  I had been with a great company for three years.  The company grew rapidly in that time, and the work of my job was slowly appropriated by other departments in the company.  At some point, it became clear that I was no longer needed.  Providing value and feeling valued are nonnegotiables for me, and neither were present any longer.  It was an awkward and uncomfortable place to be in, but certainly one that I didn’t want to prolong.  I worked at finding a new role inside the company, but nothing that was available to me resonated with me.  Clearly, it was time to move on.  But, on to what?  That part wasn’t so clear.

People would ask me, “What do you want to do Kelly?”  They were willing to help me, if I could describe a specific vision that I was ready to manifest.  Waaaah-waaaa.  I gave a handful of vague answers that, really, were non-answers. They were an attempt to have an acceptable answer for the questioner, and did nothing to move me forward.

The darkness of not knowing what I wanted to do next weighed heavily on me. It felt like a certain kind of emotional torture – the uncertainty, the limbo.  I beat myself up.  Why didn’t I have a vision?  For crying out loud, it’s not like I’m a newbie in life.  I’ve made major life transitions umpteen times.  Still, no matter how many times I’ve experienced it, the feeling of being in limbo sucks!!!!

Then, one of my personal coaches brilliantly positioned the truth of my situation – what’s next for me was in the process of gestating, and it was on its own timeline.  No amount of me pushing it along was going to make it show up any faster.  “Hey! Yea, that feels better.  My “what’s next?” is gestating, like a mama growing a baby.”  His words hit home, and I finally allowed myself to let it be okay that I simply didn’t know.  I relaxed and was able to trust that my vision was already in process and that it would come to me in due time.  Which is good, because apparently I was powerless to make the vision for what’s next appear sooner than it wanted to appear!

I had to let the limiting belief that I should know right now what was next for me die die die.  Well, actually, my coach helped me kill it with his wise words.

Here is the big HOWEVER, though.  While I did find emotional ease around the question of “what’s next?” by letting a limiting belief die, I did not lay on the couch and play solitaire on my phone.  Well, maybe I played a few games…  Really though, I kept my eyes, ears, and heart open. Plus, I stayed in action – researching, meeting new people, trying on new career hat ideas.  Too, I found myself tap dancing to avoid fully committing to anything that didn’t resonate for me (temporary commitment for the sake of generating necessary resources works in my world – as long as I keep the exit door within easy reach).

For me, these are the keys to moving through the darkness that comes with the uncertainty of “what’s next?”.  Stay in action – even if it is minimal – research counts as action. Get emotional support from people you trust.  Avoid over committing to something that doesn’t resonate.  Hold the question of “What is next for me?” and trust that the answer will come.  Listen in all the ways that you can.  If you are awake, aware, and listening, the clues reveal themselves.  They are the shining beacons that guide you to a meaningful life.  Find the courage to follow the clues by acting upon them.

Kelly Dwyer is the Chief Growth Officer at Bright Livelihoods.  She has 20 years of experience in business and an MBA from Cornell.  Kelly is intimately familiar with the change process involved in making major career transitions, and she loves to see how a person’s face lights up when they talk about their passions. To request a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with Kelly, email 

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