I’m Just Trying to Figure It Out


“I’m just trying to figure it out.”

People often tell me that they are trying to figure it out. After all the books, blogs, free and paid webinars and seminars on how to get to the next place – yet the majority of people don’t have a roadmap on where to go next.

Just the other day, I heard a young person say they were trying to figure it out. They were rooms away from where I sat, but their lament traveled through the air to me. They were looking for a magic way, but life isn’t as organized as Disneyland. Young people are the slash generation that many elders don’t see; also the untrained generation. Institutions don’t invest as much in our youth as they have done in the past. The obligation of mentoring and nurturing youth may have been lost or abandoned.

There was a story on NPR recently, which reported the number one psychological issue in campus health clinics today is anxiety. Young people are anxious that if that they graduate today in the New Normal, they aren’t guaranteed a job, even with a college degree – maybe even with an MBA. They have no clue on how to provide the basics for themselves once they graduate with huge student loans. That’s a big worry that can become a heavy yoke.

I can see that. Many “Millenials” have by now spent a quarter of their lives living in the great recession. Their parents may have been downsized; their homes may have been in foreclosure. They may have lost trust in the safety net of their parents helping them out financially. Some, in fact, may be helping their parents.

I often have a Starbucks and listen to business owners that want to take it to the next level. They tell me they are trying to figure it out. I have some clarity for them on days that can even be blind for me. Such a paradox – or could it be an irony? A metaphor? Do we teach what we need to know?

I have met too many people over the years that have been launched into the world of transition they didn’t anticipate before. Some come to me with the weight of living in the New Normal, saying they are just trying to figure it out. They weren’t trained on what to do when one is jettisoned into transition. When they worked for somebody, they often did all the figuring it out, but nothing further.

Here are some ways to try to figure it out:

1. Stop worrying, because worry won’t make the road clearer. Instead, it creates a fog. The best worry buster is an intense workout, or whatever else may work for you. Anything that disengages you from your brain for just the right time can bring you back to it focused and ready to take on the task at hand.

2. Figuring it out can be simplified if you surround yourself with other perspectives; you’ll never figure it out if you surround yourself with yourself. The best way to train for a marathon is to talk to someone who has run one before. They will tell you that running tight to the curves will save you a lot of steps over the 26.2 miles or 42Km. The best way to figure it out is by talking to people who have walked the same struggle.

What do I know? I have lived in the New Normal all my life. I’m just trying to figure it out.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Watch:  Networking Tips for Young People.

Read these articles:

Are Solopreneurs the Future in the New Normal?

Networking in My Hood.

She’s Not a Great Networker.


7 thoughts on “I’m Just Trying to Figure It Out

  1. tammi

    When I graduated many moons ago I thought I’d have it figured out by now, but as it turns out, things are a lot different now. The only constant is change. So maybe there’s never going to be one clear road but a series of little paths that we have to figure out along the way. Guess that’s part of the fun!

  2. Hank-
    I’m coming up on 60 years young and I certainly don’t have “it” figured out. I don’t have that expectation. But I do know a few things. The most important being what dominates your frame of mind will most certainly create your reality. If you are 20 or 80, your thinking is all that really matters.

    Life will always present challenges. Through challenges we grow and add to life itself. It has always been that way, for every generation, in every epoch– including now which you call “the new normal”. The only power any one of us has to create our reality is in the present moment. If your mind is out in the future worrying, or in the past regretting, you will be powerless to create the life experience you desire. I realize this may sound trite and cliche to some, but the fact remains your only power to create the life experience you desire is to pay attention to your thoughts right now.

    I have also learned this: you must do what matters to you and what matters to you must serve the good of others. The marketplace only rewards those who earn and deserve, never because they desire or need. Find a way to serve the good of others.

  3. Great comment Thomson. I posted this because I had lunch with a young person today who told me he was just trying to figure it out. I have heard that from many many people over the years. Figuring it out is part of life’s discovery. Thanks for reading. Hank

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