"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens." - Carl Jung
Aha-Moments: When we are fortunate enough to experience those moments in life where things come together, when through our own actions we seize the day and utilize golden opportunities, we are able to create lasting changes in life and realize goals. Leading our lives with integrity means that we are living to our fullest potential and are able to create and manifest our destinies. When we are truly aligned with our life purpose, it is easy to stay committed to our goals and dreams and feel fulfillment on a daily basis.
Being truly aligned, however, is something that has to be practiced regularly. Life has a wonderful habit of providing us with variety. Just as emotions and experiences are fleeting, so is integrity. Falling out of sync with your life is what happens regularly if you are living life to its fullest. New commitments can steal your focus, deadlines approaching can envelop your entire schedule and even your daily responsibilities can overwhelm your “Bigger Picture” from time to time.
When you inevitably reach that point where your life is not going according to your “Plan”, don’t panic. That discomfort is your destiny calling in distress.
Here are 5 Tips for a Life of Integrity you can practice now to get back on track.
1. Appreciate the speed bumps
Of course, it sucks to have to slow down and acknowledge that we are not where we want to be, or things aren't moving along as planned. It is especially hard if you realize that your detour is self-inflicted, but it is important to notice the power in this awareness.
When a plane is flying to a destination, it is never flying in a straight path. In fact, the pilot and all of the fancy computers on board are constantly recalculating and realigning their direction to ensure that they are on track. That is the beauty of any journey. Be aware that it takes consistent awareness and continual realignment to ensure that we are on track with where we want to go in life.
If you experience discomfort in your life from not living in full integrity with what you want for yourself, consider that feeling as a beacon to get you where you really want to go. Use this experience as a gift to check in regularly and hone in on what needs to be revised in your life.
2. Know your outcome
It is impossible to not experience distress and internal turmoil when you feel aimless in life. It is also impossible not to feel aimless in life if you have no idea where you want to go.
Take the time to figure out what it is that you really want. This requires some soul searching, asking tough questions and maybe even experiencing some painful emotions that come up when we are faced with not living with integrity. Map out your life and what you want it to look like. Create the most outrageously amazing vision for your life if you could have it all. Once you find out what makes you passionate about life, you can figure out what you need to do to get there, and perhaps realize what is preventing you from getting there at all.
The most important step to living a life with integrity is realizing that you have to live true to what you alone really want, and realize whether your daily actions, your job or career path, and your relationships are true to you.
3. Anchor yourself
One of the best tools I use in my daily life is an anchor for integrity. To me, integrity is a strong word that evokes a lot of feeling and passion for my life and where I want it to go. A strong word can be anchor enough for some to really engage in their lives and live fully to their highest standards. For those who need something more, a physical anchor can be a powerful tool.
An anchor can be anything from a rock, a button, a piece of jewelry, to a page of your journal stored in your wallet for easy access. Some people like to reread reminders of their goals and dreams, while others prefer a more kinesthetic approach by rubbing a favorite stone.
I personally enjoy the use of jewelry and gem stones for anchors in my life. I like to look at what qualities certain gem stones are traditionally associated with. I find myself more aligned to those qualities when I wear the stones. An anchor is anything you use to ground yourself, a regular reminder of who you truly are and all you are working toward that you can always access.
4. Gratitude & Giving Back
I believe in the importance of practicing daily gratitude as a rule. In living a life of integrity, gratitude can help you stay focused on what you really want and keep you present in your goals and dreams. I believe that you can never feel too blessed about where you are in your life. Only good things come from taking the time to flood your heart with positive emotion and gratitude. The ripple effect of daily gratitude can be clearly felt in your life if you’re consistent.
To enhance your gratitude experience, consider giving back to a cause you believe in. Oftentimes we wait for the holidays to roll around, when we are often too busy or our purse strings too tight to give back to those in need. People traditionally experience guilt at times in life where we should be most ardently celebrating our blessings. I invite you to consider giving back not because you should, but because you can, now. Find a cause that speaks to you, such as a cancer society, a youth-at-risk shelter or perhaps even a museum. Consider giving just a few hours, one day a month, to do something to help out just because. Volunteering for a cause you believe in is such a wonderful experience, and really puts so much in our lives in perspective. A life of integrity starts with our actions from the heart.
5. State your intentions
If you know who you are and what you want, don’t wait to live your life. Nothing will change in your life if you are able to soul search, discover your passions, and then not decide then and there something needs to change. Even if you are rediscovering your purpose and just restating what you are already working towards, say it out loud.
If you are still undecided and feel aimless about what you really want, start again and this time, focus on what you want, not what you’re miserable about. Be willing to be completely unsure. Have the courage to be your own person and find that your first scary step is already behind you.
Write out your goals and post them on your wall. Tell your friends and loved ones of the journey you are on and be sure to tell them why. Find someone to be accountable to. Set a by-when! Begin to make plans to set your life to your true direction and before you know it, aha-moments will be taking your breath away.
Integrity comes from within. Have courage to be the author, editor and illustrator for your own epic life.