The Problem Isn’t Not Knowing What You Want to Do …

I was researching in my archives when I came across this post. I thought I’d update it. But it was hours later and I’d almost rewritten it totally. So on that note. I offer you this new, old post — published once, in another form, January 30, 2010.

Do You Have It Backwards


Every day we wake up to the time of our lives.

When life is going well, it’s easy to take the day with a flying start. But that second that the ground starts to freeze over. The bed starts to seem warmer and our feet can get a little cold. That’s when we need to be invested. We need a meaningful reason to get up and make progress.

It takes a strategy to live a life that isn’t just passing time.

  • Don’t try to rule the climate, but use the opportunities it holds. Enjoy when the sun is warm. Fill your sails when the wind is going your way.
  • Study the terrain to choose the most efficient, least dangerous roads. Highways weren’t made for bikes. Cars don’t belong on train tracks.
  • Enlist help and advice from those who have gone before us. Ask the people who’ve been where you’re going.
  • Employ systems that keep things going without reinventing what works. Maintain what supports you.
  • Have a mission to reach a vision on the horizon. Decide where you’re going before you go.

The last one is critical to a life strategy.

We live as if at the end of our life, we’ll know …

      who we are.
      what we’ll do.
    where we will end up.

Somehow we have it backwards. We’re supposed to decide those things first. Then we can start down our path.

What’s Most Critical to Living Life?

Strategy is a realistic plan to advance by leveraging opportunity over time. In order to advance you have to know who you are where you’re advancing to.
Like any business, a life with a strategy has a better chance to succeed.

What Other People Don’t Know

If you ask opinions about what you should do, other people will have plenty of them. Don’t wait for other people to tell you. They don’t have to live your life. They won’t lose if you waste time chasing down a future that isn’t yours, and they won’t mind if you give up your life living it for them. Even the most well-meaning people run the risk of giving you advice better suited to them than to you.

Who knows more about you than you? Who ever will? You know what you think, dream, desire, and need. You know what you fear. You know what it would take to move you from here to there. Listen to that inner guidance system that tells you when you’re doing well, you’re learning, you’re doing something well. The one person who has a vested interest in how your life turns out is you.

Vision and mission are critical to living life. They are identity, intention, and direction. Without them, how will you wisely invest your time? It’s a shame to waste a whole life.

How do you know? How do you decide?

Rarely is the problem not knowing where we want to be. It’s admitting that we’ll have to make a commitment to get there.

Decide and Commit

Decide. It matters less what you decide than that YOU decide and that you make a commitment to that decision. Listen to the truth you know about yourself, decide what the purpose of your life will be, and know why that’s meaningful to you. Pick a vision the future that would be the best use of what’s been given you — your talents, your skills, your personality. What should you be doing more of to use them well? What life that would use your skills, the problems you can solve, and the value you have always brought to the world? Decide on a future – a vision — and make it your qiest — your mission — to get there. In other words, choose to be your best self and make a commitment to that.

You can always decide to adjust your decision.

Vision is who we’ll be and where we want to go. Vision is the context that gives each life decision intention, direction, and identity. Mission is the compelling reason that will get us there. Mission makes every minute and every decision worth getting up and investing in. Vision and mission turn living into a meaningful cause worth a life’s campaign.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere you never intended to be.
If you don’t know why you’re going, you’ll give up when the smallest obstacle appears.
Set your intention on a vision that describes your best identity — down to your DNA.
Put your head, heart, and feet into your mission. Make it a quest. Nothing will stop you.



Every day, every hour, every minute will keep passing whether you know where you’re going or not. Wouldn’t you rather own the hourglass than sit on the sand as ir drops through? You have to live your life. Shouldn’t you be the one who decides what it will be about?

Have you got a strategy to live a life a that isn’t just passing time?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!

Buy the ebook. Learn the art of online conversation.

Isn’t it time you registered for


Develop strategies and tactics with the best of the Social Web for an entire weekend.


  1. says

    Hi Liz,
    Well…that’s a great question. I believe deeply that I have a meaningful reason to get up everyday, and one that feeds my soul. What I’m questioning right now, though, is this idea of a clear vision. I’m not sure that it’s all that clear for me (thank you!). So, it’s time to focus on that…and you are helping me see this!

    • says

      Hi Lance,
      It’s so easy to lose sight of a our meaning. I think it might happen even more easily online … with all of the distraction and noise. I’m working hard at keeping focused on things that move me closer to mine. I feel better and more alive when I know what I’m doing raises my value and ability to help other people in their lives.

      Glad to hear that something I wrote was useful to you.
      You’re not a stranger here.

  2. says

    I’m glad you asked that question, Liz. I’m learning to let the experience of “now” guide my life. By being present, I can stop the fear from paralysing me. I just have to go back to the old habit of thinking about the past or worrying about the future to know my new vision works. Still, it’s amazing how easily the ego can do its stuff. Luckily for me, experts like you keep reminding me to stay on track. Which reenforces the notion that the Internet is one of the best things to happen. Sadly, not everyone accepts that.

    Thanks for all you do, Liz.

    • says

      Hi Joylene,
      I’m almost too good at staying “in the moment.” I so enjoy focusing on what’s happening now that I can find myself still on Tuesday when it’s Friday. … I have to learn the balance of knowing when to untie the moment and see the focus that moves me forward too.

      Life requires us to be so … alive!

  3. says

    Interesting question…and I don’t know if I have one…which is one reason I have decided to rehire my coach again! I have a vision board (I call it a dream board) but it has been neglected, rarely do I look at it and take it in – refreshing it may be the key to get that back on track.

    My vision used to be success (and still is) but because I had one of several businesses crash and burn, I let that failure affect me…to an alarming degree. Before this failure, every morning I’d spring out of bed and take the world on with bravery. That was before stuff hit the fan. I want that person back. I’ll get there, just takes time. (Wow, what is it about you Liz? I was more honest with this post than with anyone except my journal…)

    Thank you for asking the question and opening that window : )

    • says

      Hi Christian,
      I sure know how it feels to have a business crash and burn. It does more than visible damage. Some of it, as you explain, doesn’t show up until much later, when we realized that we’ve changed. Good for you to find your fight back. I didn’t do that you did!

  4. says

    I love your strategy suggestions Liz!

    I am personally burned out on visions, goals and missions. Their meaning gets lost on me like a mailbag full of brochures.

    Presently I am experimenting with a terminology makeover. If it takes semantics to crack open my awareness, then that’s what I need to do.

    The model that I am using is built around the concept of design. If one truly employs the design process, one cannot escape the beck and call of the verbs that are necessary to make it happen.

    • says

      Hi Dave!
      I’m like you. I think the words we use to describe ourselves are so important. If we can name it, we can claim it. I hope soon you and I can talk more about this. Meanwhile, if you thinking that you’d like to write a guest post on the subject and your process. I’d love to hear more.

      You’re not a stranger … :)

  5. says

    Didn’t George Carlin do a skit about living life backwards? You start off in an old folk’s home, and move on from there…

    I know it’s not exactly what you’re getting at, but it’s a great clip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *