How to Use Mini Experiments to Figure Out What You Want to Do
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This week, we’re talking about mini-experiments. So many people come to me because they have no idea what they want to do. They either stay stuck forever or decide to go all-in on the next thing that they pick. Both can be a disaster. I’m going to teach you how to start test driving a new job, hobby, or industry, before you jump in.

Show Transcript
So it's not as though like you want to experiment and talk to people and have all these experiences. And as soon as someone says something negative, you decide okay, I can't do this. Because again, like every job, every career, every business is going to have good and bad so you're going to hear bad things. And that doesn't mean that you have to not do it.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter. I am so excited to have you here. Before we jump in, I just wanted to let you know that this is the last week to sign up for Pave Your Path. That's my six-month program where we take the concepts that I talk about on this podcast and we actually implement them in your life. Listen, inspiration is needed. I love podcasts myself but we all know what that most of us just keep consuming, consuming, consuming and don't actually do anything. And so if you want 2022 to be different, if you don't want it to just be another year that you look back at and be like I can't believe it went by. Nothing has changed. I'm still in the same exact job. And I'm still just as unhappy. And I still have no clear idea of what I want to do. I want you to join me. So go to and join us. It's going to be life-changing. And I say that because the number one comment I get from my past students in every testimonial I get is that this was life-changing. So don't take it from me, take it from them and come change your life. I hope you join me. This week I want to talk to you about how I want you to approach your job and career change. Okay? Because here's what typically happens. A lot of people, I'm assuming if you're listening to this you are unhappy in your current career. Okay. You know that this is not where you want to be. There has to be something more than this. This does not light you up. And then we start thinking about what we want to do. And for some of you, you have a clear idea. Like there's something that has seemed interesting or you thought that you'd be good at or you've always had some kind of curiosity or passion around. And then I'll get people that come and they're like okay, I think I like I don't know software development or I think I want to be an interior designer. What should I do to set up my business? Or should I, I'm going to quit my job. And I'm going to start this interior design business or whatever. I'm just going to quit and jump into this thing. And I want you to know that that is exactly how most of us got into the mess that we're in in the first place. My experience with the law was that I had no experience with the law. I just chose wanting to be a lawyer because I saw it on TV. People talked about it. It sounded interesting, right? How many people grew up in you watch like Law And Order and you thought that is what being a lawyer is like or you watch, you know, um, Grey's Anatomy. And like that's what being a doctor is like. And obviously it sounds absurd when you think about it like based on a TV show but that is what we base it on if you don't have experience with it. And what I mean by that is like either personal experience or maybe you have people in your family who are doctors or lawyers or, you know, people that you know that you can kind of glean what their day to day life look like looks like or you could talk to them about it. I didn't have that growing up. I didn't have anybody in my family or friends that was a lawyer that I ever stopped to talk to and get an idea of what their life was actually like. And as I just kept going, and you hear this when you talk to like college students or somebody that picks a career, and when they tell you why they want to do the thing for anybody that's in that career, you know, we now make fun of it. Like for lawyers like oh, I'm great at arguing. And it's like eye roll because like that's not what you do as a lawyer all the time. Right? And so it's like that's great for you but that's not why you should be going into this career. And the thing is, if you ever stopped to talk to people that are actually doing it, you might learn that. But we don't. We just like have this idea. There's aspects of it that we like. There's parts of it that we think is going to scratch some itch that we have. And then we just like cross our fingers and hope for the best. We jump. And then when we get there, because like everything else in life, everything is 50/50 and there's going to be parts of it that are going to be terrible. We think like I've made a terrible decision and I clearly don't know how to make good decisions. And so I clearly can't trust myself and we jump to all these conclusions. And the reality is is like you just didn't have enough experience with the thing that you wanted to do. And that's why I want you to stop. Okay. This is not the way to do it. So just like decide I want to try something because it sounds cool. So I'm going to give up everything else and I'm going to jump straight away into this thing. Cause it's a recipe for potential disaster. Now, best case scenario, it works out and you live off your fairy tale dreams, not likely what's going to happen. Okay. Because there are going to be parts of it that you didn't understand or realize. Cause how could you, unless you are actually involved in that industry or field, right? Most of us go into things with our eyes closed just hoping for the best. We have some like idealized version. And this is a part of, you know, if you listened to the episode on destination addiction, this is what it is, right. Once I get that, oh my God, it sounds so glamorous to have an interior design business. I work for myself. I do, you know, beautiful uh interiors that make me feel calm and wonderful. I get to be creative. It all sounds good. I don't think about the mess of clients that I have to constantly answer to. And the fact that I have to learn mostly marketing and selling and very little of my job is going to be the actual interior design. Most of it's going to be business. Right. And those that's not to say that those are things you should consider to talk yourself out of it. It's just so that you understand what you're getting yourself into so you can make a decision from an empowered place instead of just guessing. And this applies even if you don't know what you want to do, I would say it applies even more, right? A lot of us, when we are in this place of like I'm in this job that I hate and I have no idea what else I want to do. We just go into research mode, right? Research, research, research. I'm just going to read more about what it is. I'm going to read all the books. I'm going to take all the assessments. I'm going to scroll Instagram and see how other people did this thing. And from that, I'm going to try to glean somehow what I deeply desire, even though I don't know what it is at this point, right? Clearly it's buried deep enough that I don't have an inkling of what I want to do. But maybe if I just read about it enough, if I just read enough blog posts, go through Google rabbit holes, keep researching. Somehow I'm going to discover this gem of a thing that's very deep within me. And I'm going to figure out exactly what I should be doing and how happy I'm gonna be. And obviously I say that kind of tongue in cheek because we don't consciously think that but that's what we're doing. Right? And you can read all you want about how to ride a bike, right. About how great bike riding is, ride in a race. I dunno, whatever. You can look at all the blog posts, you can follow influencers that are riders. You can all do that, but how can you know if you’re going to like it or not without trying it? And when I say trying it, I don't mean spending $20,000 on buying the bike and the gear and signing up for, I don't know, some race and joining a group and doing all the things. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Right. Because we do all this. And then we realize like yeah, riding a bike sounds incredible. Sounds so much fun. And then I get on a bike and I'm like I don't actually like this. And what happens there is like again, the worst part of that cycle is not even that you find out that you don't like it because let's say you invested the money or the time. Fine, you learned. Right. You move on. It's the fact that you start taking that as evidence that you don't know what's right for you.

It's the fact that you start using that as like I can't trust myself because clearly, I was led astray again. Right. Which is where a lot of us are at this current job as well. Like I clearly can't trust my intuition because I got myself here and I hate it here. But again, the reason you're there is because you just did what other people told you and you went full force in without knowing if that's a thing for you. So I want you to listen to me. Clarity comes from action. You will never think your way to the end. You can't think your way to the solution. The only way to start getting clear about what it is you want, what it is that lights you up. What it is that you want to pursue is to try things, evaluate them, pivot, keep trying, evaluating, pivoting, and keep and keep going. Right? That's the process. And it doesn't sound as glamorous and wonderful as picking something and running away with it. And it being your dream life. But we don't live in like a fantasy land. That's just not the way things work. So in order to truly figure out what it is you want to do, you have to be willing to get in and be messy and get your hands dirty and try things. So whether you do know what you want or you don't, the process to figuring it out is the same. There is like a step-by-step process of how you go about trying things, evaluating, like what is the process to evaluate it? How do you pivot? How do you keep going? And you have to allow yourself the time and the space to be able to explore all of it, right. To be able to not go after just one thing in order to see like okay, I thought I liked this. And when I tried it a little bit and I explored it, I realized it doesn't actually light me up the way that I thought it would. It's amazing when you start doing things, like when I say the clarity comes and how wrong we can be about the things that we like and don't like. I'll give you myself as an example. When I started this podcast, I assumed that I would love podcasting. Okay. Obviously, cause I like talking and I thought that was the end goal. Like I want to be a podcaster. I want to get paid from the podcast. And I want to spend all my days just interviewing people, talking to people and putting out podcasts. Okay. I truly thought that. And I truly thought I'd found the thing. On the other hand, I also thought that I would hate coaching. I just figured that I don't really have a lot of bandwidth to listen to people complain and not take action. I don't know why. Honestly, I can't even really, I was just like that's not for me. I don't want to do that. I don’t want to tell people what to do. I had a lot of doubts about whether I could. Turns out the opposite is true. Not to say that I don't like podcasting. I do, but it's not, I'm not as passionate about it as I thought I would be. I think that it's still the best medium for me. Like over video and writing, I still love talking and it serves a wonderful purpose of me being able to get out my ideas and to help people in a free way and to impact lives and to do all these things. But the actual act of podcasting, I'm kind of over it at this point. I'm going to give you to continue doing it. But I just mean like it's not something that I'm like this lights up my soul, right? Like I just want to podcast everyday and I want to start another podcast. And some people are like that. Like I want to start multiple podcasts. All I want to do is interview people. I kind of got over that after awhile. I was like yeah, alright, I'll do it because I think it's a great medium. And I like this for my marketing of my coaching business. What I didn't expect was that I love coaching. Like literally nothing lights me up more than that. And I never saw that coming. And when it first started happening, I was like what is happening? Why do I like this so much? Like I would get off coaching calls and I would feel like I could run a marathon. I had so much energy and it just blew my mind cause I never saw that coming. And I was doing coaching as like a means to an end. I was thinking well, I can help. I like helping people. And maybe this is just for me to do until I figure out what it is, what the next thing is. And it wasn't until I started trying it, that I was like nope, this is it. This is it. And I had to face a lot of the, you know, limiting beliefs and doubts and fears that I had about it but it was only through trying it that I started figuring it out. Okay. And so what I want you to start thinking about whether you know what you want to do or you don't is how can you conduct mini experiments? I want you to figure out how you can dip your toes into the water of where you're wanting to go before fully jumping in. How do I start figuring out whether this is a good fit for me before I burn everything else down and go head first. Right? Because we want to be able to understand that this process is going to maybe not be as one and done, right. As clear-cut, there might be multiple things. And I want to give myself space to explore those multiple things. And the only way to do that is to sort of test it out, like test out the waters. Is this something I like? Is it not? Now, I'm going to tell you why, if you're having resistance to this already, and you're like hmm, I don't want to do this because I get that sometimes. And I want to tell you why you don't want to do it. Mostly, for most people, there's two reasons. One, you're worried it'll take too long. Right? Like I don't have the time to just keep experimenting with different things. I just want to know. I get this all the time. Like I just need to figure it out and then I can hit the ground running. And I just want you to let you know that I think there's like a saying that if you want to speed up, you have to slow down. The thing is is that like you're going to take double the amount of time or triple or quadruple if you just keep jumping from thing to thing because you invest all in. And like I said, you end up then thinking like there's something wrong with you and you have to now undo all of that baggage. And so you think you're being fast but in the long run you just spend so much more time creating more problems for yourself instead of spending that time figuring out who you actually are and what you want. I like to give the analogy of like someone who wants to get married because like they're obsessed with the idea of getting married, right? Like we all know those people. We may be those people. Where society has sold us this like lie that like we need to be married by a certain age. And we become obsessive over the idea that like I just need to get married. Right. And to find my person. And part of that is obviously like you want love or, you know, you want that companionship but you become so singularly focused on that that I think like people, you know, approach dating in a very unhelpful way because it's more of like I don't I'm not here to actually just meet people and see where this can go and, you know, figure out who I'm compatible with and have fun. It's like I need to know. I don't have time to mess around. This next person has to be the person that I get married to. And so I'm only gonna go on like those first dates and if it's not that I'm going to end it. Right. And the thing is is that oftentimes we just create more problems that way because either we're not giving people enough of a chance. And so we're ending things that we're just jumping from, you know, first date to first date or there's people that we all know again, who just ignore all the red flags and ended up getting married to get married. And then it doesn't normally work out. And so they get divorced a year or two or a couple of years later. Right. And it's like you're way worse off than if you just slowed down and you started to get to know like who you are. You started to get to a place where you could be happy being single and you want to have somebody because that's the right match. Right. And you really try to enjoy dating. And you started figuring out like what is it that you want in a person? Sure it might take longer to get to the place of finding your, you know, spouse or soulmate or whatever you want to call it. It might take more years but in the end, you're so much closer to having the thing that you want and you do it in such a way that doesn't cause as much pain and suffering but oftentimes w- we just want to stop our suffering right now. And so we want a short-term fix instead of a long-term solution. I think a lot of times like we're worried about it taking too long. And because of that, we just draw out the process so much longer. The other reason that I hear people that don't want to do it is because it makes you feel uncomfortable. And we’re going to talk about like what these mini experiments some of them could look like but you don't want to reach out to people and talk to them. And you don't want to like ask to volunteer or find ways where it would require you to put yourself out there. If that's the case, I just want you to know that you're choosing your short-term comfort, which is going to lead to much more long-term suffering, right? If that's the reason you don't want to do it, that's the exact reason why you should do it because you need to learn to sit with discomfort and be okay with it because you need to learn to put yourself out there and be okay with it. And last, I have heard some people say like well, I don't want to ask people or I don't want to like know more about it because I don't want to feel discouraged. Like if there's a thing that you are super jazzed about. And again, I think that obviously like it's better to know. It's better to have an idea, an understanding and have a realistic look cause you're going to be discouraged when you get there and it doesn't look the way you want. And I will say, before I say this like that when you're doing these experiments like part of the process and really the understanding is what do you want to take from other people? And what do you want to leave? Right. So cause there could be people that don't like where they're doing for a lot of other reasons that wouldn't be your experience. So it's not as though like you want to experiment and talk to people and have all these experiences. And as soon as someone says something negative, you decide okay, that I can't do this. Because again, like every job, every career, every business is going to have good and bad. So you're going to hear bad things. And that doesn't mean that you have to not do it. It just means like know exactly what you're getting yourself into so you're not surprised. So it doesn't become a whole big drama thing down the line. Go in like eyes wide open, right? Understand what you're getting yourself into so that you can set yourself up for success. So what I want you to try to do, whether it's just you're in the exploration phase and you don't know what you want to do or you do know what you want to do. I want you to start trying to create mini experiments around what you're interested in. And this is what we work on together in Pave Your Path, in the six-month program, right? Because for each person in each industry, it's going to be a little different. There's going to be things you can do. And there's things that you can't do. And so we work together through this process of how do you come up with different experiments to try? How do you evaluate it? How do you reach out to people? All of those things. So if you're interested in getting help with that like that's exactly what we do over the six months. But I want you to think about just with the things that you like what are ways that you can try something to learn more about it without fully committing, right? You just want to see how this thing works, how it feels, how it's going to interact with your life. So that might mean just reaching out to people and talking to them about their experience. Like that's like the lowest hanging fruit, right. Is informational interviews, talking to people that are doing the things that you want to do or things that you are interested in doing. You may not even like it. You don't know if you like it. You're just like that sounds like a cool job. Talk to those people. This could mean volunteering, working for free for a day let's say. I had somebody once, like on one of my calls tell me that they wanted to be a florist. And I was like okay, great. We don't just quit and go try to get a job at a floral design company. We ask a local florist if we can work for them for free on Saturdays for about three hours or something, four hours every Saturday for a month. So we can see what it's like to work as a florist. So we can ask them questions while we're there. Right. So yes, you might be giving up four of your Saturdays or you might be working for free or whatnot. And I'm telling you, most people will take free labor, free help, but at least you gained so much knowledge of like is this something I like? What did I like about this? What did I not? And that's the really important part is like how you evaluate it, of really figuring out like what works and what doesn't. And not just moving on from like oh, I didn't like that. Why didn't I like that? What parts of that did I like? What parts did I not like? Because it could be different working in one floral shop is not going to be the same experience as working in another. And so really understanding like what is it about this that I liked? And what is it that I didn't? So volunteering, working for free, working part-time, getting kind of like an internship, talking to the people in that those industries, shadowing people, getting tours of their, you know, working facilities, doing work like experiments for people. So like providing value. Let's say like you do an informational interview with somebody who tells you that they work on whatever. Like they have a certain problem where they try to get the trending forecasts for fashion for that year. Let's just say maybe and you’re interested in being the type of person that compiles those reports. Maybe you just go out and do it and give it to them and get their feedback on it and see in that process, did I like compiling that report? Was this research fun for me? Is this something I want to be doing? You get the point. I want you to try to figure out how do I just try things. Maybe it's just taking a class, right? If you're interested in something more creative, start taking classes, doing things that are more creative and it could be anything. Pottery, woodworking, painting, calligraphy, whatever comes to your mind. If you've been interested in it, try something. I think a lot of times we don't want to like quote unquote waste our time. And so we're like well, I don't know if that's a thing. I don't want to take a class and spend all this time. But the point of having a career that you love is to have fun, right? It's to enjoy it, is to show up and be happy. And if these are things that you want in your life, even if it doesn't lead to the career, taking these classes, putting yourself in these experiments will just add to your life. Like that's the worst-case scenario is like oh, I tried new things. I learned things about myself. I did things that made me grow and taught me more about myself. I'm paying attention to what I like and what I don't like. So I gathered a lot of information. That's the worst-case scenario. And the best-case scenario is like oh my goodness, this lit me up so much. I love this. This is absolutely what I want to be doing. And now I know and I can try to figure out how do I make that into a career? And I know I talked about this a lot, you know, on the podcast. And we talk because a lot of people that come to me don't know what they want to do. And I've talked to you how like the reason that most of us don't know what we want to do is because we are not in touch with who we are. Right. We've suppressed our own needs and desires for so long in order to do what we're supposed to do. What is responsible, what everybody else wants us to do that we literally don't know what kind of food we like it. You know, we can't pick a restaurant to save our life or we can't figure out what we want to do for fun. Or we don't have hobbies. And part of even this kind of experimenting is again, just learning who you are. What energizes me? What excites me? What doesn't? Why? When I start paying attention, because for so long, I haven't been paying attention to myself or my life. When I start doing things to clue in and become aware of my own thoughts and become aware of like huh, what did I like about this? Did I like the art aspect? Or did I like the community aspect? Right? Did I like working with my hands? Or did I like being amidst other people who are super creative? Did I like the conversation? Whatever it is, right? You start figuring it out like oh, this is, I always feel energized when I'm doing things like this. This is super exciting to me. I want to do more of this stuff. And like I said, I mean the worst-case scenario is like you find hobbies, you finally start finding things that are going to fulfill you beyond your career. But more than that, as you go through this, it becomes easier to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. It's easier to start seeing like where is that north star path for me? Right. It's easier to see what am I not admitting to myself that I actually want more of because I'm scared. Like yes, every time I do something like this it makes me super excited. And it helps you learn more about the industries that you're going into. I think so many of us feel so much doubt and uncertainty about like is this the right thing for me? I want something else but I don't know. And it's like you're not going to know just sitting on your couch deciding. You can decide and jump. And that's fine if you're okay with the consequence of like maybe that's not the next, that won't be the final thing. And maybe you're going to have to jump again. But in order to not take that big of a risk, in order to give yourself some time to figure out is this the thing, the way you start by doing that is just dipping your toes in that water, is seeing like trying something on. Even if it's going to be a quote unquote waste of time on your Saturday. Slowing it down and doing that now will save you so much time and energy in the long run. And so I want you to start thinking like after this episode, I want you to think about one area that you're interested in and what is one mini experiment you can do in that area? One thing that you've wanted to discover, maybe it's influencers or maybe it's an art project or maybe it's interior design or software development, tech industry, whatever investment. What is a small step that you can take to learn more? And I don't mean learn about reading. This does not mean going on Google. I mean like actually get in there and learn. Can you talk to somebody? Can you take a certain amount of money and invest it in something? So you can figure out the ins and outs. You can take a course but that's sort of still consuming and learning but if it's geared towards a specific thing, then fine, I'll allow it. Otherwise, I want you to just get out there. I want you to talk to other people in those industries. I want you to try things that would give you a feel of what's going on. And I promise you, you will start figuring it out so much faster and getting a better understanding of what it is that you actually want and not what it is that you think you want so that you can feel more confident in going forward towards that career. And like I said, if you want help with these mini experiments, if you want to figure out how to create mini experiments in the industries that you're interested in, I want you to join me in Pave Your Path, because that is what we will work on together. And you will have the guidance and the support that you need to figure out your strategy and how to start exploring industries that you're interested in. So you can go to And I would love to help you. And if not, no worries. Get out there, experiment, evaluate, pivot, and just get going. Okay my friends, I hope this was helpful. And I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.