I love starting things. That’s no surprise. I’ve started several businesses and ministries and have advised companies on how to launch new ventures.
You might say I’m a bit of a “what’s next” junkie. I even co-host a podcast about what’s next in life.
But that isn’t to say that what’s next comes easy for me. In fact, I suffer from the same questions that plague others: What should I do with my life? Is this the best option I should be pursuing right now? How long to do I continue down this path?
These are important questions. In fact, in the first episode of my podcast, I suggested that we should never stop asking these questions because they prompt us toward more bold pursuits.
Yet, even though we are to “stay with the questions,” as Einstein suggests, I’ve found that there are three things that can really cloud what’s next in our life:
- Fear. Sure, I know what you’re thinking, this is a lay-up answer: Everyone says that. But that’s only because it’s true. Fear is inextricability tied to our future, and the less certain we are, the more it can grip us. And—here’s the important part—it will cloud our judgment. We end up doing stupid stuff. Like jumping at the first opportunity that comes our way—even if it’s not a fit. Fear drives us to one goal: to do whatever it takes to rid ourselves of it. And that’s a huge cloud over our best next.
- Envy. We all know remarkable people. People we’d like to be like. We can either emulate them or imitate them. I make a distinction between the two. Emulating the best practices of others—their excellent leadership approach, their learning habits and disciplines, and so on—can greatly improve how we work on our mission. But we’ll lose sight of our horizon once we try to imitate their passions, thinking that doing so will lead to the same success they enjoy. We are not them, no matter how much we might like to be. As Chuck Swindoll once said, “There is only one you. Don’t you dare change just because you’re outnumbered!”
- Pride. Yep. This is that thing you know you’ve got when you think you don’t. Pride keeps us from the questions. We either have it all mapped out, or think we should. Asking another for help (ahem, for advice) is weakness. So, in our pride, we’ll remain blind to what’s next, wrapping ourselves in our own self-sufficiency, and sticking to a mission much smaller than we are capable of pursuing.
As long as we’re breathing, you and I have exciting “what next” opportunities before us. Don’t let these three things cloud the questions you should never stop asking.
And, if you’re looking to really dive into these questions personally, I invite you to attend one of my upcoming BoldIdea workshops in Minneapolis, Denver, and the San Francisco East Bay.
What are some other things that you’ve found cloud your “what next opportunities?”