In today’s fast-paced, get it done NOW world, wouldn’t it be nice if you could create the life you really want in roughly the same amount of time it takes to walk to the nearest sandwich shop, order your food, scarf down your pastrami on rye (with Dijon mustard of course) and get back to work?
The answer is yes.
Realizing true happiness, fulfillment, and contentment begins with understanding who you are and how you’re wired to excel. Forget living in a cave for six months and hallucinating your way towards visions of your future. You can get the answers you’re looking for in less than hour.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly understand the cave approach can work. But, for the rest of us who live within the constraints of reality, there is an easier way to facilitate this quest.
To create the life you deserve and desire, it is imperative that you heed the inherent blueprint that naturally exists within. And, it is here, in this pre-embedded code that you will discover your WHAT— that is, the ONE thing you were born to do. And, once revealed, everything else (almost magically) falls into place.
Far too many people, however, are content to meander through life and never put their finger on the pulse of what truly fires up their soul. If (in the words of Popeye) you’ve “had all you can stands and you can’t stands no more” and are ready to discover your WHAT, there are six pro-active steps you can immediately take.
Each step requires you to grab a pen and paper and write down your thoughts. Let’s begin:
1. Identify what you absolutely love. Like magnets, we are naturally drawn to certain things and repulsed by others. I want you to take a moment and create a list of your favorite books, movies, internet sites, sports, leisure activities, TV shows, etc that you love.Now, give some thought to what you find most appealing about your choices. With millions of ways to spend your time, why these?
The key is brutal honesty. In business, people often refer to the 80/20 rule (80% of business comes from 20% of clients). Life is the same way. Your goal is to concentrate on the 20% of your life’s activities that bring you the most joy and pursue these as often as possible.
Now, look for commonalities among what you’re attracted to. One of my favorite quotes from Tony Robbins’ is “success leaves clues.” By taking a look at what piques your interest and feels effortless when you’re engaged in the activity, you’ll begin to find clues for where your soul truly soars.
2. Identify what you loathe. Take inventory and write these down. Your soul doesn’t lie. Trying to force a square peg into a round hole will only result in pain. You know what attracts and what repels you. Now, take a look at your life and see how much time you spend each day pursuing activities that there isn’t enough money in the world for you to do and, yet, begrudgingly you complete the task day in and day out.
I wholeheartedly believe that every minute you engage in an activity your soul abhors, you reduce your life expectancy by an equal amount of time. You must be clear on what you won’t stand for… otherwise, you’ll fall for anything.
Think about OJ Simpson trying on the glove that is ‘obviously’ too small J. Some things fit, some things don’t. It’s when you land on an activity or way of being that is congruent with who you are that everything is as comfortable as a hand in glove. That is, a glove that actually fits…
3. At some point today, give yourself an hour of free time and choose what to do. While this may sound overly simplistic, it’s a lot harder than you think. Don’t immediately sit on the couch and grab the remote or the book you’re halfway through. Really think about what you can do with that hour and give yourself the freedom to choose an activity that brings meaningful emotional rewards.
The key is not to go immediately for what you know. That’s called a routine. And, for most people, routine reflects repetition and is strictly a result of familiarity. Inevitably, familiarity breeds discontent. Look at life as a blank slate and let your heart direct you. Changing your life often requires a new compass. You’ll be amazed at the directions your soul will pursue you if you eliminate preconceived notions and expectations.
4. Identify family members, friends, teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, etc. you most admire and write down the character traits they display. Think about what it is about these people you find most appealing. Are they brave, fearless, unwavering, or bold? Maybe they’re kind, caring, compassionate, and put others before themselves? Whatever their traits are, write them down.
Now, look at the list of traits you’ve identified. Interestingly, what we admire in others most directly reflects our own natural inclinations and aspirations. Conversely, take a moment and think about people you despise. If you dislike someone because they are cruel, self-centered, or unresponsive – odds are good these are character traits you try hard to avoid.
Machiavelli said, “A prudent person shall always follow in the footsteps of greatness and imitate those who have been outstanding.” And, yes, while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, replicating the actions and embodying the character traits of those you admire is simply brilliant.
In life, you don’t have to create your own wheel. You simply have to paint it your own color.
5. Look for moments when you accomplished something you put your mind to. Small victories add up to winning the war. And within these victories hide the secrets to understanding where you’re compelled to soar. By examining moments of excellence, you can extrapolate key indicators that define when you’re operating in a manner that’s congruent with who you really are.
From winning awards and completing difficult assignments, to getting the companion of your dreams or hitting the game-winning shot, there were times in your life when you’ve succeeded brilliantly. Conversely, there were other times when you failed miserably. This is not a coincidence.Your DNA is programmed to excel in a very specific manner. To fight this is an effort in futility. Identifying moments of accomplishment or times when you’ve been proud of yourself will help you develop a clear sense of your personal “sweet spots.”
These moments reflect circumstances when everything aligns perfectly and you’re able to achieve astounding results without expending extraneous energy or overt effort. Take some time to try and identify why you were compelled to succeed.Was it because of the person you were working with? Someone you were trying to impress? Because you were backed into a corner? Or, maybe because you were engaged in a skill that came as naturally to you as breathing?Once you can pinpoint the rationale for your ascension, living at The Pinnacle of your existence is not far behind.
6. Compile the information from these five steps and make a list that you can easily refer to. The expression ‘knowledge is power’ has never been more on point than when you’re exploring who you inherently are.
If you begin to immerse yourself in activities you love, surround yourself with people you’ve identified as being of positive influence, and weed out those activities (unless, of course they’re daily chores/responsibilities that take time to eliminate) that do not serve you well, you will inevitably be happier and feel in much greater control of your life.
Ultimately, your WHAT is there for you to discover. This process takes time and there will certainly be moments of hit or miss as you begin down the path of becoming who you were born to be.
The bottom line is that we are each put on this planet to do one amazing thing and it is your responsibility to cultivate the gift which you have been given.
People instinctually want to discover their WHAT, but far too many bury it deep within and make excuses for why we shouldn’t, or aren’t able to, share our unique talent with the world. I encourage you to heed the following mantra: “My WHAT is bigger than my but.” In other words, there isn’t a single excuse that should ever get in your way of pursuing what you are compelled to do.
My hope is that your appetite for pursuing who you were born to be has been awakened.
And, remember, you’re either leading or dying. Choose to be a leader. The world is waiting for you!