What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Every once in a while, you end up in territory you’ve never been before doing something you’ve never done before and you’re completely lost.


You literally have no idea what to do…

It can be paralyzing.

You’re not quite sure what to do, because you simply don’t know what to do…

What do you do in that situation?

To phrase it another way: What do you do when you don’t know to do?

What do you do?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure, but here are a few ideas that might help…


Don’t freak out.

Take your time – if you need it – but don’t freak out.

Slow down. Breathe.

It’s okay.

Even if your insides want to scream and you don’t know how you’re going to breathe, wake up or keep moving…slow down.

Relax and try to breathe…

Just breathe…



Be Grateful

Find something positive…

It can be anything…literally anything…

The fact that you’re able to read.


Talk To People Smarter Than You

If they’re around, talk to people smarter than you, people who’ve been there before…

Ask them questions. Listen to them. Learn from them.

Look At What You’ve Learned So Far

Random notes, a journal or a blog work well for this.

It doesn’t really matter, but remind yourself of what you’ve learned so far…

You’re in a new place, a new situation, but you’re not starting from scratch.

Look back at what you’ve learned and put it to use.

Most lessons aren’t single-use-only.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable


This again.

Better get used to it.

Over and over and over again.

Get Disciplined

Sheer persistance & resiliency often trump tactics, knowledge and strategy – especially when you’re thrown into a new situation and all 3 of those get thrown out the window.

Be persistent and disciplined. Create a plan of habits and stick to it.

Have Faith

Not some fru-fru wishy/washy “secret” faith that some how convinces you that if you think or focus on something long enough, it will magically happen for you. It won’t.

just visualize it dude

But faith that some action is better than no action, that being uncomfortable is better than never being tested at all and that most things work together for good.

Real faith requires action…which requires you to be…

Be Brave

You’re probably scared.

That’s okay.

Most people are.

Being in uncharted territory is scary.

Be brave anyways. Fear is a weak emotion. Don’t let it control you.

It really all comes down to this.

Be courageous and take action and…

Take A Step Forward

Don’t be paralyzed.

Do whatever you need to do in order to take a step forward.

Take action.

It doesn’t really matter what, but take action.

Do something. Do anything and…

Keep Going

Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep going.

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl.

But whatever you do, keep moving.

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Take a step and keeping going…

(Even if you’re not quite sure what to do).

Yesterday was a big day of celebration here in the states. If anyone knew something about doing the impossible and perseverance, it was MLK. Feel free to download the poster of his words below (right click and choose ‘save as’) and pass it along.

MLK Quote

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  1. says

    Saving and printing for the library. Thanks for this Joel, as always the kick I needed this afternoon. I think the “breathe” step is quite easily forgotten yet very important — giving the space and perspective we need to not get overwhelmed. And, as you and Dr. King basically said, taking ANY steps forward gives you some sort of momentum.
    Sempre Avanti.

  2. says

    Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    Just keep starting. Doing anything is better than doing nothing. Tomorrow comes whether or not you do something today.

    Might as well have a go at it.

  3. says

    Thanks for that, Joel. I am doing everything I can to turn my life around, including following BIT, of course! But I am definitely in uncharted territory and it’s scary to be pretty much at rock bottom, but there’s no way I am going to give up now. I have gone extreme with challenging myself, and completely changing the people I hang out with, the stuff I read, and I’m back to writing and getting fit again- all things I used to be so passionate about. Your articles have been truly inspirational, so I just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do.

  4. Brad says

    For me, the hardest thing to do is “Ask for help”. I’m a bright guy and I should be able to figure this out on my own. Well, maybe, but I’m also the same dork that advises everyone else to just ask for help.

  5. says

    I am wholeheartedly with Brad – I find it incredibly difficult to ask for help, to the extent that it wastes valuable time! Ridiculous when I know that noone gets all that far totally independantly. I’m learning that keeping in touch and asking for help are the most genuine and best ways to network and market… but I’m not renowned for either keeping in touch OR asking for help, so the learning curve is steep! Cold shower therapy is helping because feeling uncomfortable isn’t such a big deal… but I’d almost rather get in a freezing cold shower than ‘market’ myself!

  6. says

    Great post! This falls under my mantra of “Relentless Forward Progress”. I use that mantra so often, I had it tatooed on my left forearm. 😉

  7. says

    Great post. I have found in my life, that oddly enough, the amount of “forks in the road” that we encounter only increase with time. Although age gives us wisdom, we are constantly bombarded with new problems and conundrums to navigate through. I often deal with these topics in my own blog. It’s never easy to dig yourself out of a hole and start over. But I believe that starting fresh and rediscovering ourselves from the inside out is the best way to take back control of our lives. We often get so caught up in the daily grind, and the details of this fast-paced, technological world, that we really lose sight of who we are. I think the best piece of advice you gave was to simply “slow down and breathe”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  8. says

    “Have faith”


    “Not some fru-fru wishy/washy “secret” faith that some how convinces you that if you think or focus on something long enough, it will magically happen for you. It won’t.”


    I tell my clients (and myself!) this all the time. If you can’t realistically envision that what you want is possible, you will never get it. Because when you think something is impossible, you don’t bother working that hard towards it.. you ruls it out as a lost cause before you even get started. You’ve gotta genuinely believe that what you want IS going to be a reality for you if you ever want to get there.

    .. and the “how” comes later :)

  9. DC Hamilton says

    I am going thro some difficulties just now – the worst one being I have no reason/excuse for this. Your website is helping. Thank you.


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