How to determine what to do next in life

Have you ever struggled to determine what to do next in life? Or questioned whether or not you should continue what you're currently doing?

How to determine what to do next in life

Have you ever struggled to determine what to do next in life? Or questioned whether or not you should continue what you’re currently doing?

I’ve felt this way at various points in my career. Especially when I was transitioning to non-profit after my consulting work at McKinsey & Company and also after helping build Skype prior to our acquisition by eBay. When I look back at what guided my choices at each decision point, a framework emerges.

I call it the “5×10 Life Guide”, and I’ve used it to help clients determine what they should do next, or simply pressure-test whether they should continue in their current role.

The exercise is simple and takes only 10 minutes. In fact you can do it right this moment. Just grab a sheet of paper and do the following:

First list out all your potential ideas. These could include your current job, a certain role in life, or something you aspire to do.                                    

Next score each of the ideas from 1-10 on the following 5 factors:

  • Love. How much do you, or would you, love doing whatever the idea may be? The more your heart is in something, the more you’re likely to stick with it.
  • Skill. How good or skilled would you be at doing this? We naturally like to do things that exercise or allow us to demonstrate our talents.
  • Impact. To what degree does the world really need this idea? Does the idea make life better for someone? Or help the world in some other way? When we know our work is creating positive change in the world we’re far more likely to weather the inevitable ups and downs.
  • Best-Self. To what degree would this idea challenge you, and as a result require you to show-up as the very best version of you? While we certainly want to demonstrate our talents and skills we also want to continuously improve, learning new talents and skills along the way.
  • Goals. To what degree would this idea satisfy your goals over the next 3-5 years? You might find the perfect volunteer work, for example, that you would love to do, that you’d be very skilled at doing, that would create positive impact in the world, and that would really challenge you, requiring you to show up at your very best – but it might not help you realize your travel, home, education, or family goals, for instance.

Last but not least, tally up your scores, and consider the ideas that score closest to 50 points. What you find towards the top end of the range may in fact be what you should be doing next in life.
For me coaching and mentoring easily took the crown. Helping CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders realize their full potential is something I absolutely love doing. Equally, it’s something I’ve become very good at given the time, effort, and passion I’ve put into it. It’s clearly something the world really needs, as evidenced by the results and satisfaction in my clients. I find the work challenging, as it requires me to show-up at my very best. And it’s helped me realize many of my goals in life.

So now it’s over to you. Give the above exercise a shot to pressure-test what you should be doing next in life.

You may be surprised, simply get the nudge you need, or find the confirmation you seek.

Eric Partaker
Eric Partaker

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