Why It’s Okay to Have Nothing Figured Out (and How to Deal)

Nobody has anything figured out – so why should you? Here’s why it’s okay not to, and how to deal with the anxiety that comes with it.

Why It's Okay to Have Nothing Figured Out

Whoever first declared the ever so popular phrase, ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, was not only a poet, but a mastermind. More accurate words have not been spoken to perfectly describe the life of someone who is seeking success, yet has no idea what the hell they’re doing.

It’s so easy to get caught up with the lives of those around you. Simply sifting through your Facebook newsfeed will teach you that Jenny just got a job with Google, Rob just got a promotion, and Ashley’s blog was just featured in Food & Wine. Although to others you may seem to be doing well, after being informed of everyone else’s whereabouts in life, you now feel like you’ve got no direction, and your world is caving in.

“Why does everyone else seem to have it all figured out?” you ask yourself.

News flash: they don’t.

No matter what they tell you, or Facebook, or their boss, the truth is, us twenty-somethings (and, well, basically any age) don’t have anything figured out. Of course we might have goals, we know where we’d like to be, we have our own definition of success, but the road to get there is full of giant question marks.

But that’s how we learn.

It’s all part of the journey. Immersing yourself in the trials and tribulations is how we are formed into the individuals who end up succeeding. Putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable.  Saying ‘yes’ to something despite the voice in your head screaming and flailing, “WHAT? I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!”

And while listening to that voice can prevent you from making mistakes, think about the lessons you would have learned from that mistake. By the same token, ignoring that voice could potentially lead you in a direction you would have otherwise turned away from. As the days, weeks, months, and years pass, you’ll come to realize that just like you, everyone else is making life up as they go. Life doesn’t come with a manual. You are in charge of your direction.

Why It's Okay to Have Nothing Figured Out (and How to Deal)

*TIP: this book has changed my life – You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Your life is up to you. And if it’s hard for you to hush the voice that questions your direction, I encourage you to…

Put your blinders on.

Everybody has their own journey. Fast, slow, full of obstacles, smooth as ice. And with a generation enveloped by innovative technology and the never-ending stream of consciousness that is social media, it can be extremely difficult to ignore that comparison bug. Do you know what the quickest way to feel horrible about yourself is? Looking at the lives of those around you who you believe are doing better than you. Do yourself a favor and put your blinders on. Focus on yourself, your journey, your growth.

Celebrate every step.

Did you just get great feedback from your boss at work? Celebrate. Did you just quit your dreadful job and start a new one that you already love? Celebrate. Did you just exercise four days in a row when you normally survive only two? Celebrate. I believe that recognizing when you’ve made an improvement, no matter how big or small, is key to getting that annoying voice to shut up. This will allow you to truly realize that maybe you’re doin’ alright, despite not having anything figured out.

Understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Take a minute to think about how much of your life is ahead of you. Understanding that you’re in development mode is crucial. You don’t have to have everything figured out today. It’s okay to be lost. And it’s never too late to switch paths according to what life has thrown at you. Walt Disney was a newspaper editor before he became, well, Walt Disney. Imagine if he’d listened to that voice in his head.

So, while at times it may feel like you are wallowing in solitude on an island as the only human to feel like there is no correct path in sight, you are certainly not alone. When it comes to pushing past your hurdles of insecurity and comparison, asking for forgiveness rather than permission is the way to go.

And unless you’ve been presented the mysterious, magical playbook of life, you have no reason to have everything figured out.

*This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase an item from this link, I receive a small commission. Thank you for your continued support.

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  1. says

    This was so awesome, Christina. And EXACTLY what I needed to read today. I potentially have some super-exciting things happening behind-the-scenes, but “putting my blinders on” and letting things just happen…awesome advice. Thanks for this!
    Alexa [fooduzzi.com] recently posted…Hummus Kale ToastMy Profile

  2. says

    This is awesome, thank you!! I feel like sometimes I’m quick to judge my own successes/failures based on my friend’s successes in their lives, which is not helpful. “Celebrating every step” is such a great way to look at it! I’m gonna learn to celebrate more of the little things in life :) You are so wise, thank you so much for being so real and honest with your readers <3
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Working With DifficultiesMy Profile

  3. says

    My mom has told me to “fake it ’til I make it” since I was little. She said it’s what she does daily. I used to bash the idea thinking I was a phony (lol) but seriously EVERYONE is doing it. No one has it figured out and we are all taking it day by day.
    Emily @ My Healthyish Life recently posted…What Emily ForgotMy Profile

  4. says

    Wonderfully written Christina! I agree with Georgie about the blinders and celebrating others’ success. Being a competitive, driven person it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. But giving myself those constant, positive pep talks and celebrating the little steps help a TON. Also I’m just dealing with a ton of anxiety currently so closing the shades may be what I need right now to re-focus and re-group. That and a shit ton of yoga…
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Ginger Berry Energy BallsMy Profile

  5. says

    I love this topic and you’re so right that it’s a marathon not a sprint. Since I hate anything but distance running, you’d think that I would of really known that by now, but I feel like I came out of the blog gait sprinting, which made me almost have to drop out of the race all together! I don’t have everything figured out and some days I don’t even have the direction I want to go with my blog figured out, but I think having blinders on and looking straight ahead really helps and also not giving myself a finish line. It’s a lot easier to go out for a long run if you have your head wrapped around the fact that you’ll be out there for a really long time than if you say you’re going out for a 3 miler and have to extend it. Lastly, this made me think of the Mandy Moore movie “How to Deal” that I was literally obsessed with in high school, anyone?

  6. says

    No truer words have been spoken! :) I have a REALLY hard time sometimes thinking everyone is doing better than me and “why don’t my pictures look like that” or “how do they post a blog post everyday?!” I step back and remember not to be so hard on myself, as everyone has different lives and that’s what makes the world go round! I’m ordering that book! Thank you for sharing!
    Alexandria @ Al2getherfit recently posted…When being a “Fit-Mom” Doesn’t Feel Like An OptionMy Profile

  7. says

    This was so timely for a lot of things I’m dealing with right now, trying to figure out if what I am doing now is really what I want to be doing, or whether it’s just a convenient waystation to wait out time until I reach where I ultimately want to be. Because it’s totally okay if it is!

  8. says

    YAAAASSS. I still like the saying ‘fake it til ya make it’ — sometimes those few words make the difference in taking the next step — or even saying no to not overdo yourself. But all the yessss…we’re always learning, always moving forward.

  9. says

    This is such a great post. I love the phrase “fake it til you make it” and it really has helped me seem confident even when I have literally no idea what I’m doing. It’s always nice to see that no one’s alone and we’re all kind of in the same boat :)

  10. says

    This reminds me of that quote or phrase or just thing people say: there’s a reason successful people don’t give a crap about what others think of them. Or in this case what others are doing compared to them! Such a great reminder to be confident in yourself and move at your own pace,
    Cayanne Marcus recently posted…WIAW 3/2/16My Profile

  11. says

    These are awesome tips, and this is such a great reminder! I like the “fake it til you make it” philosophy, and my friend took it a step further and said, “fake it til you become it,” which has really stuck with me! :] I definitely put my blinders on when things get a little insane so that I can focus on putting things back together again!

  12. says

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate the honesty. I’ve been blogging for 5 months and just earlier today I was feeling down and mopey because I was comparing my stats to those of another blogger. This article was a welcome reminder to stay focused on my own goals.
    Elaine @ FoodParsed recently posted…One Pot Italian PastaMy Profile

  13. says

    This is so RIGHT, because it seems like the times that I was most confused about life were the times that God showed me that He is truly directing my steps, and keeping me in the love of Christ, even if I’m broken and sad and confused. <3 It's okay not to have it together all the time, because His strength is still so sufficient. Thank you Christina for this encouragement!
    Emily recently posted…Friday Faves: Count Your BlessingsMy Profile

  14. says

    I love this because, even after working 8+ years and having a child, I STILL don’t have everything figured out. Nobody’s life is perfectly written BEFORE the fact.
    A few years ago I was so unhappy because I didn’t “have my blinders on” and was so stuck in the comparison trap. It took a lot of reflecting – and practicing gratitude – to get me to the point I am at today.
    Thanks for sharing! <3

  15. says

    Oh, I think EVERY 20-something…okay EVERYONE should read this. So well spoken, girl!! YES to putting blinders on. A big thing for me in the past six months was to not take ANYTHING personally: an unfollow, a drift in friendship, etc etc. I could go on and on and on. Knowing our worth and that we’re enough is such a powerful notion, even if it’s easier said than done.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Slowcooker Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)My Profile


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