The Struggle to Find Your Place

The following is a guest post from fellow ‘lifestyle’ blogger Sean Ogle. Sean is a writer in his mid-twenties who is determined to take control of his life and become Location Independent. You can read more (and I strongly recommend you do) via his blog, Location 180.

Growing up, or rather being grown up, in our generation is a bit of a scary proposition.  Everything is so different than it was in the past.  Between globalization, the internet, and the sheer desire so many have to go against the grain, it can be difficult to figure out how you actually fit in.

I mean let’s face it, there is no more traditional.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who wants to graduate college and work at the same company for 30 years until you can get your pension; just like your dad did before you.  Good luck buddy.  Ain’t gonna happen.

And what about the opposite?  These days there are thousands of people in their early to mid-twenties who are blowing up with businesses (or empires) of their own.  Take a look at everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Matt Cheuvront, who are killing it in their respective businesses.  There is so much talk and commotion about starting a business, designing your life, and/or following the path less traveled that it can be extremely overwhelming to figure out where you fit in.

I was there.  Hell, I’m still there.  I started my “30 year career” straight out of school.  Know how far I got?  27 months.  Just barely over two years before I realized it wasn’t going to work for me.  So what did I do? I quit and moved to Thailand.  Quarter life crisis much?

Things are even more difficult for those who aren’t of an entrepreneurial mindset. There is so much talk in social media about the virtues of being an entrepreneur.  What many people fail to realize is that an extremely small percentage of the population has the desire to be an entrepreneur, and an even smaller percentage are successful in doing so.  Due to this, it can be difficult to live a life as an employee when so many people are telling you to do otherwise.

What this has done is create a difficult situation for those who don’t want the risk of running their own business, but also don’t want to be stuck in an unfulfilling corporate job for 30 years.  Where do you fit in?

I believe the majority of this stems from the breadth of options that are available to us.  20 years ago it would have been impossible to work remotely at the level we can today.  Quitting your job to start a business online wasn’t an option either (unless you were a programming genius).  Now we are constantly hearing so many enticing stories of success doing things like this, that even if you have the job you thought you wanted, you may be questioning it.

So what should you do if you are struggling to find your place in life, when on the surface it appears that so many other people have found theirs?

Do Nothing.

Ok, well don’t do nothing, but don’t try to consciously find the answer to that question.  As soon as you do, you’ll become overwhelmed and do something crazy like move to Thailand.  Unless that is what you are looking for, then by all means go ahead!

The fact of the matter is, we still have a lot of life to live.  You don’t have to know everything NOW.  As long as you are continuing to make progress with any goals you have set for yourself, you will find “your place.” It’s a matter of when, not if.

I find myself periodically getting caught up in the idea that if you aren’t living you dream life now, something is wrong.  Matt even called me out on it in “Breaking Free from Generation NOW.” Bottom line is, you don’t have to know your “place” in life right this minute.  Nor do you have to be living the life of your dreams.  You just have to be aware that opportunities are going to present themselves, and you should be willing to act.  It’s those moments that will help you define where you fit in.

In the meantime don’t be distracted by what everyone else is doing, there are too many other incredible ways to live your life, and that is all that really matters anyway.


21 Responses
  • Tony Ruiz Reply

    Very refreshing post Sean while Matt is away. Life is a process, I get caught up on being frustrated that I'm not where I want to be yet…but then I stop and think as long as I'm taking the steps where I want to be I'm doing my job. Its all about the journey.

  • Jonny | thelifething.com Reply

    Good to see you on Matts blog Sean and an interesting argument you put forward. I too have pretty much done what you did. I lasted 18 months as a project manager after my first business failed and then moved to Thailand and changed my world.

    Though my thoughts on living life in the moment is that though you don't need to find you place right now I believe strongly in living the life you want to in the future right now. If you want to be running a successful empire in the future you need to be putting in long days now, if you want to be in shape and fit in the future, you need to be exercising every day now, if you want to have a good social life in the future you have to be making time for it now, in the present. You might not have as much fame, money or success as you like but you do have control over the way you structure you life.

    Great post mate.

  • bcromlish Reply

    Great post Sean – I think these lines of the post are simply perfect:

    You just have to be aware that opportunities are going to present themselves, and you should be willing to act. It’s those moments that will help you define where you fit in.

    It also illustrates the point that it is important to get 'out there'. For so many people, they literally sit on their couches and wait. Nothing will present itself if that happens.

    I don't know if I can quite pickup and move to Thailand but I like the idea of it!

  • Sam Diener Reply

    AMAZING! Well done. Well Written. Concise. Inspiring. And I am linking to it from my blog – which I rarely do.

    Cheers Matt AND Sean.

  • niferann Reply

    Sean, you are my SAVIOR! Ok, well, not really, but thanks for this post; it spoke to me. I have been trying to “find my place,” “figure out my dream life,” “achieve my dream life,” and “discover who I want to be” for YEARS. It's not happening right now. It just isn't. I am who I am right now, and I need to live in that.

    I like what you wrote about knowing that opportunities will present themselves and just being ready to act. That was so liberating for me. I am ready to act on the opportunities, but I haven't been able to attract any upon which to act. Not yet.

    I'm not an entrepreneur, and I don't think I ever will be, although I admire those who are. I'm happy working for someone else, I just need to find the ideal someone else to work for, who will give me tasks that excite me.

    Thanks Matt and Sean. You've given me a greater sense of peace and, oddly enough, purpose.

  • andi norris Reply

    Great reminder on giving ourselves a break. It's easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and forget that in your life you have to build your own way to your goals.

    Be an instigating opportunist. Never stop moving, never stop working toward your goals, but never stop taking a gander at the opportunities that come your way. Something unexpected will jump out at you and scream for you to take hold.

    I think it's fairly safe to assume, though, that many of us could use the reminder to give ourselves a break if that opportunity hasn't come yet and the reminder to keep working toward our goals in the best way we know how.

  • JoelRunyon Reply

    “there are too many other incredible ways to live your life”

    Right on. There are so many possibilities, so why do we limit ourselves? Great post Sean

  • Danny Brown Reply

    Great points, Sean, and heckuva way to kick off Matt's guest post week. :)

    You hit the nail on the head with the amount of choices open. When I left University, I had a lot less to chose from than students do now. This made it easier to “find my place” until I found my niche. And these are two completely different beasts.

    Like you say, enjoy life, and life will tell you what you want to do.

    Cheers!

  • jenniferbarry Reply

    Hi Sean, I think you make a great point that few people can realistically be entrepreneurs. I ended up owning my own business after realizing that being an employee doesn't work for me, but I know my dad could never have handled the uncertainty. I know a guy who moved from the US to Italy 5 years ago, but kept his long-term job and he's never been happier working remotely. You have to figure out what works for you.

    I think the most important thing is to keep flexible. I started off as a therapist, but that was 3 careers ago now! You need some kind of goal, but you also should enjoy the journey. As Wandering Earl says, sometimes you have to give up on your dreams and move on to something new. (http://www.wanderingearl.com/dont-be-afraid-to-…) I designed a business that I can be moved anywhere if I decide to do the expat thing, or I can keep it right here in Dallas because I never know what's going to happen in life.

  • davinabrewer Reply

    Sean, I've been where you are: that fine line between being an employee and entrepreneur. I'm a solo PR, but the plan didn't start out that way. You gotta pay attention to what's going on around you; “life's what happens while you make other plans” isn't just a pithy platitude, it's very true. Thanks for the post.

  • Sean Reply

    Hey everyone, thanks for such positive comments!

    While I was writing this I just kind of realized that while there will be people that preach the virtues of one way of living or another, the bottom line is people need to find their own way. I will never criticize other people or their writing for approaching things one way, and I hope no one would me. I think that while listening to others can be helpful in many aspects, sometimes it just isn't necessary.

    YOU know what is best for yourself, and thats pretty much what it comes down to.

  • Jonathan Wondrusch Reply

    Hey Sean, I appreciate this post a lot. I just started a personal development blog this year, 6 months after I started my dream job of animating. My goal is to get to the point where I can have creative control over projects I work on, and the first step for me is going to be financial independence. I don't want to have to have a job …

    I'm tackling this through minimalism, self awareness and some entrepreneurial spark. Hopefully in the next two to three years, it will be a reality and not just a dream.

    Keep up the great writing!

  • sheberight Reply

    WoW! Great god damn post! I've just hit 27 months in the 'real world' just hit 25 in age and my quarter life crisis is in full affect. I think I WILL take your advice and do nothing – at least nothing too drastic – just yet.
    Im going to check out Location180 just now.
    Cheers.

  • jsfinallygettingtoeven Reply

    Great post Sean and coming at a perfect time. Yes, time's are a-changing, and the oppprtunities that are out there, well the skies the limit for those that aren't afraid to reach for them.

    I have always been what my family likes to refer to as a 'gypsy'….i get easily bored and when i see something not working i just change directions and go a different route. I can't imagine getting 'locked-in' anywhere that i am not completely happy and still in charge of my own life and destiny. I have gone from optical employee to mortgage loan officer, to bookstore owner, to grocery clerk (my year of 'downtime') to my current occupation of landlord and real estate investor…and now i see the potential in the internet and have handed my 'empire' of rental properties over to my husband to manage (after i convinced him to leave the corporate world and start working for 'us') so that i could 'capture' some of this captive audience locked inside this computer screen of mine. And what is all this for..? So that one day we too can 'cash-out' of this life we are leading and travel the world. And who knows, maybe opportunities will present themselves to us in other countries and we can just keep on 'evolving'.

  • laura Reply

    I love this post! It is thoroughly confusing to live in these times, there are so many choices, too many options- and if you don't yet have the particular skills you need for entrepreneurship, or are content with your 9-5 for now but later want to do your own thing, you're pretty much sol when it comes to guidance those questions.

  • Kyle Clark Reply

    This is stupid advice. It works for a while to just drift along, but next thing you know you’re 40 years old and you have nothing to show for your life. Getting somewhere takes hard work and a goal. Sitting around waiting for opportunities to come to you will get most people a fat load of nothing. If you want something you have to go out and do the hard work to take it.

  • Kat Reply

    I appreciate your sentiments. I am 26 year old “non-traditional” student, who recently graduated. I entered college and maintained a passion for the 5 years I was in school. Working hard at school, interning, sacrificing an income. I have entered the job market with few prospects. The social pressures you describe above makes you feel like a “loser” for not having everything all figured out, especially when you are going in a little later than your peers.

  • me Reply

    Thank you.

  • Gio. Reply

    That was very much needed. Thank you.

Leave a Reply