I believe that living “as your most authentic self” is the happiest, most fulfilling existence one can hope for. As entrepreneurs, our work is so intertwined with our life that in order to live authentically, we must be engaging in work that is itself authentic to us.
But the path is hard because (1) we need to know who our “authentic self” even is, (2) we need superhero powers to stay true to this inner being through our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and (3) we must adapt to and trust how this authentic self continues to evolve over time and life circumstances.
I reflect on this topic because I finally feel I am living and being who I am supposed to be in my life and that I have built a company that truly reflects my core values and passions. It’s a tremendous feeling of fulfillment, alignment and peace, but It has been quite the journey to get here.
I remember I used to convince myself everything was “good enough.” When wild desires/instincts would surface, I would eventually silence them with excuses. It was always more comfortable to go back to complaining about what wasn’t right or was missing in my life than actually doing something about it. I was successful and secure in the financial and material sense which slowed my recognition that it was time to move on. And deep down inside there were habits I had shame around – certain behaviors that lacked integrity and a scarcity mentality that kept me skeptical and immobile. Can you relate to this at all? Are there aspects of your life and career that feel misaligned? If yes, I want to share with you some of the steps I took to move into alignment.
Warning: It has required a relentless commitment to personal and spiritual growth, leadership development, self-education & empowerment.
Ask the big question and commit to the answer.
I deeply asked myself, “What do I want in and for my life?,” COMMITTED to getting it, and (most important) believed in myself that I could get it no matter what.
Build in purpose.
In defining what I wanted, the “what” required a greater purpose or service and positive impact bigger than myself, which in my case became empowering women, but empowering them in the very specific way I empower myself and continue to experience it.
Only engage in what serves your greater purpose.
I got brutally honest with myself about the internal and external factors/people/habits that didn’t serve this greater vision and took action to remove/distance/forgive them.
Commit to your growth.
I invested my time in reading, coaching, conferences, and yoga/meditation as well as a faith practice -- and, in each, allowed my natural instincts to discern what lessons to keep and what not to.
Articulate your values and mission.
Through those actions, I defined a value system to live by and mission statement to navigate me – and they continue to evolve and mold my work.
Manage your mind.
I promised myself to always stretch instead of settle, choose courage over comfort…. and because the glass ceiling is thicker in our minds than it is in the outside world, I journaled incessantly as a tool to manage my thoughts to better empower myself.
This is still my lifestyle today. I am far from perfect at all of this, but then again, I celebrate my imperfections and messiness as a part of what makes me uniquely me. As my friend Agapi Stassinopoulos says, “We want to be originals, not carbon copies.” I believe we’re all born with natural gifts and a purpose and it’s our job in life to find out what that is. The struggles, risks, discomforts ARE what bring us closer to that clarity if we can believe in ourselves enough (cultivate deep self worthiness) to act on them. I believe this is the process of becoming who we are meant to be, and it is when we are living this destiny, that we can truly experience our highest potential -- as entrepreneurs and people.