Who do you think you are? 10 immediate steps to finding your True North.
So you think you know yourself. You’ve been somehow successful. You’ve built your grand life. You are good at what you do, maybe even great at it and yet…you feel empty and drained. Or maybe opposite. You’ve never found that one thing that makes the life worth living. Somehow on the way you got lost. You listened to your parents, friends and teachers tell you what’s best for you and you believed them. You followed common sense only to realize that the destination is not as sunny as promised. And that dream that you’ve always had? Well, you never really gave it a try because they said it was impossible and it would never work. Now you wish you’d never listened…and instead follow your own internal compass. Because YOU are the only one who can truly figure where is YOUR True North.
It took me a while to figure it out and it wasn’t easy. If you have traveled with me for a while, you know I am a dreamer. Growing up in Poland without much and then building my successful career in USA only to quit my job to travel the world taught me that anything and everything is possible. However, through those experiences I also have learned that making your dreams come true is just a component of happiness. Knowing who you really are and which dreams are right for you is the first and the most important step that cannot be skipped. Because there is nothing more discouraging than spending years achieving a goal only to find out that it was all wrong for you.
So if you’re feeling drained, unfulfilled or simply sick and tired of hearing about “finding your passion”, because you have no idea what your passion, here are 10 immediate steps to figure out who you are and find your True North!
STOP listening to others.
Your friends, parents and teachers may mean well but the truth is nobody really knows who you are. So, don’t confuse somebody else’s life, their choices, their successes and failures with the life that is meant for you. Stop listening to those who cannot do something and tell you cannot do it either. Stop listening to those who failed and tell you will fail too. Don’t follow somebody else’s passion or choices as there is nothing more devastating than finding yourself living somebody else’s life.
START listening to yourself.
No, not the voice in your head that tells you who you should or would like to be, but who you really are deep down inside. Take a minute to explore your path. It is ok not to know the end goal. Think about the moments that bring you smile and make you giddy with excitement, the moments when you lost track of time. These are the clues to who you really are and what your dream life is.
STOP saying ‘yes’ to everything.
You excel at work and strive to be there for your family and friends. Not surprisingly others around you notice and more you do, more you are asked to do. Before you know it you are exhausted, overwhelmed and drained heading to, well…nowhere. You’ve lost yourself. Saying ‘yes’ and doing it all may get you lots of friends in the beginning but it is a short lived strategy that will surly leave you empty, confused and burned out in a long run.
START saying ‘no’.
The fact that you have 24 hrs in a day doesn’t mean that you need to fill it out to the last second. On the contrary, you are given the particular 24 hrs one time only and it is time to guard it, protect it and prioritized it. Do only things that really matter or that make you truly happy. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to rest, breath, think and enjoy life. There is a remarkable power in doing absolutely nothing. Because only when given time to incubate, the ideas and your true feelings have a chance to surface and lead to your perfect destination. Don’t suffocate them by overscheduling and overwhelming yourself.
STOP going with the flow.
Being flexible and collaborative is a desirable character trait when working on a team project but your life is not a team project. It is your own individual assignment. Although going with the flow may be appreciated in a group setting, when designing your dream life it is sure way to sweep you down to places where you have no interested in being at all. So take charge. Stop living a script and following others’ expectations. Set your own.
START figuring out what you really want.
You are smart and hardworking and you’ve been very busy thus far fulfilling others’ dreams and expectations. I get it. But when was the last time you paused and asked yourself what YOU really want? Maybe you haven’t in a while, or maybe you’ve never had. What is your bottom line? Not sure yet? Imagine yourself being 80 yrs old and looking back at your life. What are the things that you would have regretted not doing? Got it? Ok. So now go and do them!
STOP improving your weaknesses.
From elementary school to your recent meeting with your boss, you’ve been told that there are just some things that you are not as good at and you need to improve. So you do. You keep investing time and energy into activities you hate to improve skills you have no intention of using. Not surprisingly, your return on investment is negative. You are drained, exhausted and getting better, at something you despise. Not the smartest way to invest in yourself.
START playing to your strengths.
How about reversing the concept of investing in yourself. Instead of wasting time and energy on improving something you are bad at only to get to ‘I don’t suck at it’ anymore, why not turn it around. How about focusing on things you are good at and love to do so you can go from good to great! Because only greatness truly leads to the ultimate success.
STOP being afraid.
The fear is unavoidable. We are all afraid of something. The fear of failure, rejection or other people’s opinions could be a constant companion but don’t let that stop you from going for what you really want. Funny thing about fear, it is like that boogie man. Once you turn on the light and face it, you quickly find out that the fear you’ve built up is so much scarier than anything you will actually experience. Surprisingly, there is really no boogie man, it was all just your imagination. And in the end, what’s the worst that can happen? Somebody may say something about you or you may fall down and fail? Boo hoo! So get up, brush yourself off, smile at your critics and keep doing your thing. Because in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
START taking risks.
When you look at your life, do you like it or did it happen that way because you haven’t been brave? The truth is, any successful person will tell you that if you never take a risk, you will never achieve your goal. If you want it, you have to go for it. Since your life is not fulfilled yet, you have nothing to lose, just a lot to gain. Your dream life is on the line. Don’t miss it.
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