“If you’re not clear on how you want to feel, you’ll keep running in law-of-attraction circles” — Danielle LaPorte
I lay in bed in the middle of the night, looking at the ceiling when my chest seized up in excruciating pain. This chest pain was something that had been going on for some time, but this was next level.
At that moment I realized something was wrong: I hated my job, the one I had worked so hard to get.
My job itself wasn’t overly stressful, but I couldn’t shake the thought that my life still wasn’t what I thought it should be, and it was quickly ticking by, with every year being the same as the last.
The work I was doing wasn’t changing people’s lives, I wasn’t helping anyone, I didn’t feel like there was any meaning in my day to day life.
On top of that, I couldn’t figure out what my purpose was, or what I’d rather be doing. I was running in circles, consuming as much information as I could about starting businesses and flip-flopping from one passion to the next.
My list of possible dream careers swirled in my head, I imagined a thousand different realities before breakfast. But I couldn’t figure out my one thing and was quickly losing hope.
Important Things Vs. Unimportant Things
As Mark Mason so aptly puts it: “We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness.”
It really is that simple. The problem is we easily get swept up in all the possible realities and careers presented to us that we quickly lose focus. We’re easily distracted.
Top that with commitment phobia and we end up stuck in the spin cycle of “well I think I would like to do that, but what if I commit all this time, energy and resources on it and end up hating it?”
Then 50 years go by and we arrive to our late life with that “what the hell?!” look on our face wondering how we made it this far without doing/being the things/person we wanted.
Our Purpose-Finding-Approach is All Wrong
“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” — Tim Ferriss
There are literally thousands of paths and careers out there. Probably millions. There are people who taste test ice cream, are professional mermaids, and Instagram for a living.
What a time to be alive!
And it’s true, the possibilities really are endless. But the problem is that we’re just throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.
When it comes to picking a passion most people are chasing goals rather than chasing how they want to feel.
So we manifest and achieve all our goals — like the pay raise, the new job, starting that business — only to find out that we’re still not happy or fulfilled.
The goals we achieve end up not being important to us, and so we bounce to the next goal and so on until we die. We might get lucky and find something that truly does bring us fulfillment and joy, but it’s kind of a risky gamble, isn’t it?
If our lives aren’t guaranteed and tomorrow might never come, I’d rather try to hedge my bets on a sure thing rather than just hoping my choices will bring me fulfillment.
Which is why I got really clear with myself. I asked myself the following three questions and it forced me to get to the nugget of truth, the real thing I was actually chasing.
Not just the goals, not just the ideas, but the actual thing that leads to fulfillment, meaning and purpose.
How I want to feel every day.
Because if every day feels like loathing, it’s going to add up to a lifetime of loathing. If every day is the rest of our life, I’d rather my days feel purposeful and enriching.
Good, here’s 3 questions you need to ask yourself before you do anything related to job hunting, business starting or passion finding:
1. How do I want to feel every day?
Don’t you dare just write ‘happy’ or ‘fulfilled’ and think it’s going to cut it. Get creative, dig deep into what you want each day to feel like.
For instance: I want my days to feel like freedom to create, I want to feel energized by helping people get back into alignment with themselves, I want my days to feel decedent.
2. How can I feel those things every day?
This is where the rubber meets the road. What things can you do every day to make you feel the things in question #1?
For instance: I want to have a creative career so that my job or obligations are centered around creation and big ideas. The decadence I want to experience could be in lingering over good meals with friends and family, having a morning coffee or tea ritual or creating dedicated time to meditate.
3. What can I be that lets me feel like this every day?
Take the list of things you can do every day and start drawing a road map for a career or business. How can you make money by feeling like this every day?
Not everything is going to fit. Unless I want to be a Instagram foodie (which I don’t), I probably can’t make money from lingering over a good meal with friends. That one is just for me to create in my life regardless of what career I have.
The point is to connect the dots between all the things you can do and then draft out an ideal career or business to start.
“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” — Bono
The point here is plugging deeply into our desires and how we want to feel. Which manifests itself differently from person to person. It’s a losing game looking outside of yourself to figure out what you should be doing with your life.
No one knows but you.
And while you might be convinced that you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, the truth is that the answer has been there all along. You just weren’t asking the right questions to find it.
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Originally published at startupsventurecapital.com
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