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What is Your Answer to the Question: “What’s Next?”

Posted February 18, 2014 by Terri Sjodin in Archive, Uncategorized

Terri's writing tree houseSeems like right after you complete a big project, or accomplish a huge goal, one of the first things people say to you is, “So, what’s next?” I have been hearing that a lot lately.  I trust that it’s a well-meaning question.  Of course people who know and love you are genuinely interested in your life, and what you might like to do in the future…I mean, that’s fair…right?  But what if you just don’t know?

The fact is I do feel a little pressure to know, “What’s next?” Have you ever felt this way? Maybe it is because I have successful Mentors who have always instilled in my mind that I need to set a big audacious goal, plan ahead, set things up for my future, keep things moving and so on.

Having spent the better part of the last 5 years focused on all things, Small Message, Big Impact (Penguin/Portfolio), writing the book, getting the deal done, launching the book… twice (LOL), promoting the book, the audiobook, the online training course, the international book launch, etc., plus helping to put on a huge charity event for Olive Crest, I must confess, I need a little break from heavy duty “output!”

Hmmm, taking a break — a little time to pause, and reflect.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor? This seems like a reasonable thing to do, but do you ever struggle with actually doing it?

I think I do. Sometimes.

A break gives you the time and space so that something new can come in, while you recharge your batteries, right?

Of course, as you read this, you may hear a little voice inside your head saying, “Well, how long is that going to take?” A day, a week, a month, a year? What are you going to do?  How are you going to do it? (Trust me: The “let’s get things done girl” inside of me really has a field day with these questions at about 3AM when I can’t sleep.)

Apparently, F. Scott Fitzgerald had the same feelings, about “What’s next?” When he said:

“I am not sure what I’ll do, but – well, I want to go places and see people.  I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale”.

 For now, I am still traveling, speaking and moving forward with all things “Sjodin Communications” and at the same time, taking a little break from heavy duty “output!”

How? My thought is there is no need to go crazy. You don’t have to quit your job, take a yearlong vacation, or move to another state. Try taking little time outs (think: baby steps).

Here’s a simple list of 3 things I have been doing to explore possible “what’s next” pathways (So far they are working for me. I hope they can help you figure out what works for you…):

 1. Watch “outside the box” Speakers, and attend conferences where thought leaders share new ideas. 

There are some great Ted talks online! I loved Dave Grohl’s, SXSW 2013 Music Festival keynote speech. (Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efv0Y5Fs7m4)

(Warning: He does use language that may be offensive to some people, but try and overlook that. Don’t judge, just listen. It is raw, authentic, and you will get great nuggets from his story.)

 2.  Commit to creating conversations with people that explore the idea of doing “something different.” –The crazy no limits kind of conversations. (If money were no object, and you had the time, and the freedom to do whatever you wanted, what would you want to do with the next year or 2?

My friend Jana Stanfield put it simply in a song: What would I do today, if I were brave?

Ask yourself this question, and then ask your friends and Mentors as well, maybe over a nice relaxing dinner. You will be dazzled by the answers you hear, and it may just help you learn more about the people you love while you discover things about yourself!

3. Get back to nature, reconnect with Mother Earth and let your mind wander…

My favorites: chilling out and reading a great book in my tree-house, walks on the beach, any path through nature: hills, forest, farmland, it doesn’t matter, I love them all! If you want to go off the grid, take a friend, and share the experience.

I am grateful for the crazy amazing experiences I have had, the wonderful people I have met, lessons I’ve learned, and the wild ride that comes with launching big projects. I am excited about the future, and like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, I want to go places, see people, and live where big things happen…

I am not sure yet, “what is next,” and maybe you aren’t either. I will figure it out. I am pretty sure it’s okay to not know. The point of this missive today is, we all just need to give ourselves permission to take an “output – time out” every once in a while, to see where the road (and our imaginations) may take us!

I am learning (albeit slowly) that pretty cool things will “show up” when we give them the time and space to do so.   TS

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