Written by Paul Angone There are so many well-hidden suckholes that can stop all momentum, growth, and success in your twenties.
And you can fall into one of these pitfalls without even realizing it, and then stay stuck well into your 30s, 40s, 50s...you get where I'm going...
Now that I've successfully freaked us all out, lets talk about these pitfalls and how we avoid them.
Pitfall #1: My Circumstances are "Who I Am"
If you start believing "well this is my lot in life and I can't do anything about it," then you are more than stuck.
Really this pitfall makes all other pitfalls non-existent because you never walk far enough forward to even have a chance at failing at anything else.
Don't be cemented in your circumstances. They change all the time. Too many people are settling in Sucksville because they don't believe they can leave town.
We all have crappy subplots we need to work through. Don't let them become your whole book. Failure doesn't ruin your story, failure helps you write it.
It's really hard to step into your future if you don't believe you have one.
Your twenties set the course for the rest of your life. If you start settling for a life that's a "3 out of 10" now, it might not magically become better later.
Pitfall #2: Becoming Bitter, Instead of Better
You might be feeling good about life. Maybe you're even at the grocery store, with an actual list, buying things like kale and argula.
You're crushing this whole adulthood thing.
And then you jump into the line at the checkout and start checking out Facebook or Instagram, with the glaring AMAZINGNESS of all your friends buying a new BMW, having a new baby, traveling to Istanbul to take pictures for American Express, and suddenly you want to replace your kale with a box of wine and three jumbo bags of M&M's.
The new OCD I have coined -- Obsessive Comparison Disorder has a way of heightening any discontent to "I only want to drink wine from a box" levels.
Don't become bitter. Become better. Don't smack yourself with some yardstick you're not measuring up to. You do you.
Keep creating instead of complaining.
Strive to find solutions, instead of marinating in all the problems.
Pitfall #3: Never Committing to Anything
Find something you enjoy, that gives you life, and commit to it. It doesn't have to be what you want to do for the rest of your life to give a little of your life to it.
Your twenties are about what you plant in the ground, not about what you harvest.
We can’t keep pulling our seeds out of the dirt before it has time to grow.
As you commit to something and begin to walk forward, paths and opportunities will open up that you couldn't see from where you started.
Pitfall #4: Doing Life Alone
We are made for community. We thrive in relationships. Your friends are struggling right next to you to find their purpose and place.
Call a friend. Be honest about what you're going through. Seek out mentors. Ask them to coffee. Call your mom. Find a counselor if you feel you need one.
Don't do twentysomething life alone.
To blow up this lie that you're all alone in this twentysomething struggle is one of the main reasons I wrote my new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! It's why I'm so honest about my own hilariously embarrassing, yet slightly brutal, failures that lined my twenties.
This "groan up" life is anything but easy and straight-forward, and we need to talk about it.
If you try to do life in isolation, it will be very difficult to feel alive.
Pitfall #5: Failing to Clarify Your Signature Sauce
I believe you have a Signature Sauce – a unique mix of ingredients that gives the world a flavor that no one else can.
No, I'm not talking about some sort of magical marinara.
I believe that defining, refining, owning, and honing who you are, your unique tailor-made-ness, your personal Signature Sauce, is the absolute most important thing you can accomplish in your twenties. It's the key to not only finding your passion, but living it for the rest of your life.
Don’t expect anyone to hire you for your passion if you can’t explain what it is.
The people who are the most successful know who they are, what they believe, and why they are pursuing what they're pursuing.
Don’t get me wrong, this discovery process is not always simple and straightforward. This is why I’m working on an intentional program and community to help you own, hone, refine and define what your Signature Sauce is.
You have a unique Signature Sauce that the world needs.
It just might take some time, strategy and intentionality to figure out what it is.
We'd love to hear from you in the comments below on this article:
Are you stuck in one of these pitfalls and is there one thing you can do this week to begin your climb out?
Paul Angone is the author of All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!, 101 Secrets for your Twenties and the creator of AllGroanUp.com, a place for those asking "what now?" Snag free chapters from both his books and follow him at @PaulAngone.