Everyone is asking "What Next?"

Loretta Brown

“I feel like such brat. I have everything I need. And I am so much better off than so many people. Who am I to be discontented? But I am just so restless. I want to settle, but I can’t let go of the idea that there is something else.”

“I realised I was reacting so negatively. I would run everything down and be cynical about any new initiative that was presented. I was fed up, and I didn’t know how to change things. I became really suspicious and sceptical of everyone around me. I must have been such a pain to be around – the biggest pessimist.”

This is not a career book. Anyone who finds themselves in the grip of the “What next?” dilemma understands that it is never as simple as “What is my next job?”. There are no quick and ready answers. A genuine “What next?” process is a passage from one chapter in life to another and will involve reviewing of every facet of current reality; how we see ourselves, our past, present and future. It brings everything into the spotlight!

Without a clear answer to “What next?”, an uncomfortable void opens up. Nothing seems to fit any more. Most of us would rather snap shut the box of questions and get back to comfortable routine as fast as possible. But the questions won’t let go. It is the start of a period of feeling adrift. To some, it can feel like a crisis, sapping confidence and focus. At its most extreme, it can create a crushing sense of impotence and confusion.

When the “What next?” question arrives with a force, it is usually a signpost for the beginning of a significant junction in life. The portent of real change. It is a catalyst to grow and a call to become more active in creating lives that we can love. It can be the beginning of a profound period of expansion. I call it the “What next?” journey. 

A guide to finding more meaning in work and life

“I don’t know what I am going to do next.”

Of all the questions clients bring to me, one of the most painful and wonderful is “I don’t know what I am going to do next. The “What next?” question can be triggered by an event like a redundancy, but often the question just sneaks up with no prompting from the outside. It can begin in a fleeting moment whilst grabbing a cup of tea in the midst of a busy day.

What should I be doing next? Is this the right work for me?

Those moments can then become a constant nagging awareness that things are not as settled or satisfying as they might be.

I think I need a change. I am not really that happy, I feel so stagnant.

Before long, the “What next?” question snowballs into a burning preoccupation.

I don’t know what I really want to do, but I know I want more meaning in my life. What is my purpose? And who am I, anyway?

In her free e-book, leadership and Coaching specialist Loretta Brown examines the state of being ‘stuck’, then focuses on the pathway that leads to progress. 

Loretta Brown

Recent Articles