Nearly a decade ago, I made the decision to go from living to thriving. I went from believing I was being held to realizing my fear was holding me back. That simple, but poignant shift in thinking threw my future into a tailspin. I couldn’t have known then that the journey I’d embark on at nearly 40 years old to ditch the comfort of my secure, entertainment executive career for graduate school to become an executive coach and start-up strategist would expand me beyond my wildest dreams. It has taught me to live more in the moment, and that clutching onto a future without fluidity can drown you. Staying connected and true to myself everyday roots me while I live my life on-purpose. Here’s what you can do to stay rooted daily to your own purpose:
- Be Fluid and Curious
When I committed to letting go of the comforts of corporate life, I committed to living my truth everyday. That means not getting stuck on one idea, one path or even one purpose. It means staying curious; to having a direction, not a final destination. Had Ariana Huffington stalled after revolutionizing journalism with Huffington Post, the wellness community of Thrive Global wouldn’t have been born. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s purpose recently expanded from start-up exec and female empowerment guru to include a new purpose in overcoming adversity since her husband’s unexpected passing. Tesla and Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk’s had success in web software and FinTech before igniting his purpose to change the world and sustain humanity on earth and in space. Remaining fluid and curious allows us to expand, and to achieve a greater purpose beyond our own imagination.
2. Do a Gut-Check
I do a gut check everyday. Most of us can relate to the experience of having butterflies in our stomach, or to a visceral gut-wrenching feeling. That’s because our gut is our second-brain. Our gut plays a vital role in our physical and psychological health via its own neural network: the enteric nervous system (ENS), a complex system of about 100 million nerves in our bellies. Hormones, neurotransmitters and electrical impulses travel between the brain in our head and the nerves in our gut that communicate back and forth. So when the brain in my head fogs-up with defenses or justifications or even necessary executive decisions, staying attuned to my gut helps me center, root and to stay honest with what’s going on even when the brain in my head wants to avoid reality. I ask myself every day: Am I still happy overall where I’m at, doing what I’m doing, with the people that surround me and the place I live? Am I still learning? The day I stop growing is the day I start withering. Do a gut-check and when it’s time, re-envision your purpose!
3. Do at Least One Thing Each Day That Propels Your Purpose Forward
Complaints and procrastination are passive action. They are counterintuitive to forward motion and keep you stagnate and challenge-avoidant. Living with purpose requires we take steps toward challenging ourselves. It means we face rejection and failure; we own our choices and accept responsibility; we commit and motivate others to join our forces. Commit to doing at least one thing each day to propel your purpose forward. Then create an execution strategy and rally support from others to knock out your to-do list. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished to hit a major milestone toward your purpose. Make each task, even the smallest, count toward your vision. Set your alarm early to accomplish your daily task first-thing or enlist a buddy or partner to hold you accountable for meeting deadlines. The consistency of your efforts will swell and reach a crescendo that others will notice. And you will soon be reminded you’re on the right path!
4. Get Comfortable with the Discomfort of Uncertainty
It’s human nature to want certainty and control… control over our future, our careers, the navigation of our relationships and so on. It relieves us of anxiety and pressure. Any surfer will tell you, if we fight the wave, we will get taken under. We can only prepare and meet risk with preparation and flexibility. Letting go of control of the outcome and sitting in the discomfort of uncertainty is healing. Accept that you have more control when you stop trying to control everything. People are drawn to that kind of intrinsic power; it’s calming. There will be set-backs. But trusting in yourself to navigate them anchors you and your team through the storm.
5. Get A Mentor, Be A Mentor
Everyone needs a mentor. My first mentor was when I was in second grade through the big sister-little sister mentor program. My big sister and her husband taught me, among other life lessons, the importance of community, mentorship and education. I’ve been blessed with other mentors through the decades whom have taught me about leadership, entrepreneurship, business and relationships. And through some of my own successes, others have called upon me for guidance and support. Identifying people along the way who can help guide you through the different stages of your purpose is stabilizing, empowering and connecting. Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) is a great, worldwide mentorship community for CEOs and their families, Executive Coaches, Board of Directors, family and even former colleagues can play integral roles in seeing your purpose come to life!
6. Allow Small Celebrations
If you’re staying committed to your plan of execution month after month and year after year, and you’re seeing the fruits of your labor start to pay off, take a moment to celebrate your small victories. Take a day off to enjoy some deserved time with your friends or family or reward yourself with a staycation. Every now and then we need to allow ourselves to relax. Self-care centers us and gives us the energy to put passion behind our purpose day-in and day-out.