What To Do If You Don't Know What You're Doing

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It might come as a shock (or not) but I don’t always know what I’m doing. In fact, during this stretch of life span it seems that I rarely know what I’m doing.

Prior to that I thought I had my life pretty together. Most things came fairly easy to me and if something didn’t I researched and practiced the heck out of it until I mastered it. Or at least as much as I wanted to master it.

But then I started a business. With zero business background.


When I say zero, I also had next to zero interest in business. I’ve always studied the social sciences but never delved much into economics or business. It didn’t seem to come natural to me and I was fed a lot of negative beliefs about money and business that probably had something to do with that.

The main reason I wanted my own business was so I didn’t have to listen to other grownups tell me what to do anymore. Sure it’d also be nice to be Oprah rich but I was far more interested in helping others in a way that I was actually passionate about and taking vacation when I wanted to.

I can see how much attitudes influence us because I’m killing it in terms of integrating my life passions and work. I truly love what I do now and don’t have anyone dictating how I do it and when I do it.

But the business/money situation is a bit different.

Of course, I may be judging myself a little too hard (sometimes that happens) because I’m only a couple years in and I’m not in the red. I also still have a business and I hear many businesses fold within a couple years. So there's that. And I’m told it takes courage to strike out on your own, blah, blah blah, adventure.

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I know these things are legitimately true but I also know (and this is not being hard on myself) that I’m capable of a lot more. So at times I become frustrated when things aren’t progressing as I think they should. Also when I don’t understand how to translate business concepts into real life.

I’ve read so much. I’ve asked a million questions. I’ve joined forums. I even paid an “expert” quite a bit. It didn’t seem to make any sort of difference. Much of the information I’ve consumed seems contradictory or it's impossible to implement all of it. Yet it often it seems that people with far less knowledge and experience in my field are more successful than I am.

I know that I’m committing the cardinal mindfulness sin of judgment, comparing myself to others. I don’t actually know how successful they are. Having six figures of social media followers may not translate into dollar signs and happiness. Plus we may all define success differently.

Even knowing that I’ve still developed some anxiety. I mean, this is my livelihood here! I’ve bought into the notion that I need money to live the life I want to live and I am fully responsible for figuring out how to make that money.

This then feeds into my go-to anxiety reducing behavior loop of trying too hard, not getting anywhere, and increasing the frustration. I find this especially ironic given that I help other people get off their hamster wheels. At least I find some humor in this, which I think is a healthier start to handling stress.

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Also, I’ve improved over the years. At times I get off my hamster wheel. I recognize, oh there I go again, this never works out well for me. So I return to my OGs: consistent mindfulness/meditation practice, yoga, other fun movement, being outdoors, and working on creative projects that aren’t stressing me out.

The underlying stress may not completely disappear all at once (I’m a work in progress.) but I realize that it’s actually okay to not know what I’m doing.

I probably shouldn’t have mastered business in only a couple years. It’s such a dynamic and changing arena and I’m still finding my way within it. One thing I have learned from all the conflicting research is there’s no one way to do business. Just like self-help stuff, business advice is what’s worked for someone else. There may be some nuggets of truth for me but I still have to find my own way. When I’m more centered I know this and it’s easier to navigate the twists and turns.

Really this is just life advice. We shouldn’t always know what we’re doing. If we did we’d never learn anything new and we’d never grow. What would the point of life even be then?

So while I’m still not 100% okay with not knowing what I’m doing, I am in the process of accepting it. We can only do what we know how to do so that we can learn how to do what we don’t (How Dr. Seuss was that?!) and continue on this journey we like to refer to as life. And that is that.