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Next vs. Now

“After your graduation, baby arrives, diagnosis, promotion, etc. (fill in the blank), what is next?”

The “what’s next” questions can elicit varied responses - stress, delight, confusion, fear, excitement - depending on the mind-set, situation and preparation of the individual being asked. Recently, working with a group of seniors graduating from high school it became apparent that the “next” was either highly anticipated or discouraging. In conversations, asking the question “what can you do now” transformed both perspectives.

For those highly anticipating the “next”, what can you do now to be fully prepared to step into your desired “next”? Are there people ahead of you on the journey? Do you need to tie up any loose ends? Have you taken time to pray and prepare your heart? Are you physically ready? Are your key relationships prepared for the transition? Be intentional in the now to joyfully step into the “next”.

To those people who despise or avoid the “what’s next” question from others, it’s okay to respond with, “I don’t know.”, “That’s classified.” or any other pithy response of choice. Have your response ready. State it with a smile. Walk away. As you meander away, ask yourself a new question, “what can I do now?”.

You have the choice to be frustrated or you can find a more productive use of “now”. You can focus on the people in your life. You can care for your loved ones. You can make a list of things for which you are grateful. You can do a task. You can seek out different opportunities. You can talk with a career coach or life coach. You can be authentic. You can take one step forward. You can do research on areas of interest. You can serve others around you. You can focus on what is now versus what is next. Focusing on the right thing in each now will bring you to what is next and by then, it will be the new now.

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