So, to say I was lost a year ago is a grand understatement. I was beyond that: I was frustrated, fearful, unsure about my future (forget my day-to-day), wracked with anxiety, utterly unfulfilled and suffocating with a vice-grip sense of being trapped with no way out. To look at me I was frail, busted and in serious need of some divine intervention. Yes, I was definitely lost and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
With a health scare as my big fat wake-up call, I discovered I really did care enough about myself to change my life, but I didn’t have the slightest clue where to start. I spent my days coaching and guiding my clients to seeing their fullest potential and realizing their dreams, but when it came to me, I found I was wishing that things would change—that I could actualize my own personal freedom and empowerment, once and for all escape the soul-sucking feeling that everything was just to get to the next day, no genuine purpose.
The thing is, society deems the “right thing to do” is to find a steady job, a safe, secure income, work your way up, blah, blah, all the while also telling us that to be inventive, authentic and successful one must be the consummate entrepreneur, have all the latest tools and gadgets and be wired into the social media scene 24/7 to even come close to being “all that you can be.”
I don’t know about you, but it turns out, pushing myself for the work I was doing, night and day, day and night, completely sucked the joy out of life.
I receive so many messages and emails from readers who tell me they are feeling trapped in an unhappy, unfulfilled existence. They are so fearful that they are wasting time, losing out, doing things that they don’t want to be doing and don’t have any sense of purpose for them. They are crippled with not knowing how to express their own special uniqueness. They frantically work to have fun on the weekends, and then loath and dread the week ahead. Is it possible your life is like theirs, cherishing a few moments of satisfaction, then losing that space of contentment with the nagging, constant grind of work and a life that doesn’t fulfill you?
Then I had an “aha” moment. Bolder than a light bulb going off in my head, more like a freight train bowled over me—I’d heard this going off in my brain forever but I resisted it until that thundering voice spoke so loudly I had to pay attention: “Let go and give yourself permission to be who you truly are and give this to the world in everything you do, at all costs, no exceptions. This is your journey to living an extraordinary life.”
I knew then, as I know more and more every day, that a dramatic, radical shift is happening, and I am wired almost as if my life depends on it to listen to the voice and follow the inner guidance—my life is changing and changing for the better. Oh it’s tough, it’s so rocky on some days I’m quite sure I won’t get through it, vacillating from confidence and strength to doubt and judgement, but I do the work, I stay grounded and I pay attention to what I want no matter what the outcome. I can tell you without the slightest hesitation that the one greatest gift I have to share from my life thus far is this:
If you want to live an extraordinary life you first must know who you truly are, and to get to that place you must go find out who you truly are. It won’t happen stuck in fear, it won’t happen frozen in doubt and it certainly will not happen without a dramatic shift in your perception of what the purpose of your life is.
The six questions here, inspired by the writings of Dr. Joseph Nowinski, are changing my life. They will also change your life by allowing you to dig deep and discover your True Self, and why it is you are here on this great big planet.
"Self" in this context doesn’t refer to what others expect of you or the persona you put out to society right now, the face you think you have to show to be accepted or what you feel others demand of you. This is your True Self, the you that is unique, individually special with qualities and a voice that is all yours in this vast, crazy world.
Give yourself time to sit with these questions and you will begin to discover your passions, strengths, intrinsic values, long lost desires, and those motivations all yearning for your expression to come to life and be shared. Listen, I didn’t really believe this myself for so long, but I know with every fiber in my being, we all have a unique purpose. We may not have the tools to bring it to light in all it’s glory immediately, but in discovering the answers to these questions, you will align yourself with that purpose that is all yours and bring a palpable sense of meaning to your life.
Gaining a sense of who you are is the greatest knowledge that you will ever acquire. Our individual ability to fulfill our unique internal passion will determine our ability to realize our potential, which then opens the pathway for us to determine the quality and the purpose of our life. Even as I share this, I am powered up and my desire to shift dramatically is ignited and the ideas and the sense of purpose are so validating. I want you to feel this too!
These questions, in my interpretation, help me to know myself more deeply and to find what is truly important to me. We all have so much unexpressed desire to reach our fullest potential, this is offered to help you discover yours.
1. What do I love absolutely?
Okay, so this question isn’t referring to your love of chocolate. More so, it’s a list of anything that you expressly love about the world and the people in your life. We can all be cynics and say the world is a hopeless mess, but deep down we do have things to us that matter. Write down anything that fuels you, that you get excited about, and those things that make you feel alive. For me it’s writing, creating new projects, my son’s music, teaching, my yoga, conquering something I used to be afraid of... absolutely anything that you love lies within your deepest passions.
2. What do I consider my greatest accomplishments in life?
This is a list of the moments that you are exceedingly proud of, and any time you feel you were successful. Accomplishments are realized when we tap into our inner strengths. When you acknowledge your accomplishments, think about what it was that allowed you to have the success—was it a behavior, an action, or a set of strategies? List also those activities and things you enjoy that are a breeze for you to complete. With these accomplishments are your greatest strengths.
3. What would be my purpose if I knew no one would judge me?
Wow. So this is the biggie for me. This single defining question is what rocks my world the most each time I go to my list and answer authentically and honestly. Tell yourself, and write down everything that you would do, everywhere you would go, even everything you would say, if there was no fear, no worry of repercussions, no judgement of your choices, right to your most deeply held wishes and dreams. When we are connected to this, we are connected to the purpose of our life, and this is the dramatic shift inside. This practice will guide you to discover your greatest personal values.
4. If there were no limits to what I could have or could want in my life, what would that be?
We all say to ourselves, “just imagine what I could do if I had...” So, describe what that would be. Your ideal life, be specific, nail down how you would live out a day if you knew that you were guaranteed success—who are you? What kind of person do you think you would be? How much money are you earning, and where are you living? How are you living? Are you a successful chef, author, yoga teacher or the next Jimi Hendrix? This question is a true eye-opener for many as it has us verbalize and list what exactly we think we are missing, and surprisingly it might not be that far off from where we are at the moment! Aligning with these inner expectations, we can work toward the life we genuinely want. Our desires are also rooted in the quiet wisdom that we really do have the power to make this a reality. We put the life we want so far out of reach that we convince ourselves it’s too much to tackle to see it manifested, telling that voice inside there’s no way we can go from here—to there. We can though; list it and see how close you might be to realizing that potential for you.
5. If I had all the money in the world, what would I do?
When we are not realizing our life’s purpose, when we are living in a day-to-day world of “if only,” and we are on the verge of a dramatic shift, we tend to get bogged down with thinking it’s all about not having enough. For so many, it’s not enough money. So make a list of every single thing that you would really love to see happen in your life if you had all the money in the world. (No, on this list you don’t have to pay taxes. Remember, no limitations when you visualize.) Lots of us would list endless travel, buy a house (but three houses), start your own business, give money to your family and your favorite charity. But after you’ve done all that and there’s quite a bit of money left over, then what would you do? Challenge yourself to think along the lines of no boundaries and fulfilling a purpose—then what would be on your list? Here is where we get a chance to think limitlessly. Remove any restrictions you can, open up to what you really love and want to do with your life. You know the old saying, “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” It’s so true here. I have represented clients that, when we removed all the limitations and obstacles for them to realize their dream, they realized it’s not what their life purpose was all about. Remove limitations, and you begin to visualize opportunity for growth and dramatic change.
6. Who do I admire most?
Here is where I find my most inspirational motivation, my confidence to manifest my own brilliant destiny. Who exudes the qualities that you admire most in a person? Think about what really inspires you in this world, and who is living their own world OUT LOUD. We tend to admire those people who have very similar qualities to our own selves but who have escaped limitations and refused to be prisoners of fear. They are not always famous or grand; they have harnessed the power of faith and trust in knowing no matter what, living authentically is the only option.
Will taking the time to respond to these six questions change your life overnight? No, it probably won’t do that, but... it might, and if there’s the slightest chance that we can shift our perception to be one of dramatic alteration of our present circumstances, then why not? Each time we choose to implement our passions, strengths, values, desires and our motivations into our daily patterns, the sweeter our lives can become. Choosing to change my life dramatically, while seeking a sense of self knowledge, has given me a window to my True Self. And that is the most meaningful and definitely the most fulfilling journey I can be on. Our power to change is within, our purpose of our life is within. Ask a few questions, get some answers, and your own shift will begin.