Follow the Signs!

My palms were sweaty, my stomach in knots as if moulded into a pretzel and my heart beat so loud I’m sure my audience could hear it as clear as if they each had a stethoscope pinned to my tight chest. I tried to mask my nervousness by cracking a joke but it felt more like I was cracking a whip on the back of their precious time. What afflicted me was not the fact that I was 20 minutes late for the strategy session for my client (one of the big four banks in South Africa), or the fact that I was as unprepared as a new-born exiting its mothers’ womb, no what really burdened me was my lack of impetus and drive for the work I was doing and how I cared little for the consequences or others’ opinions.

I was two years and a bit into my career as a management consultant which I had started with such vigour and zeal, it launched me into the firm driving seat as one of the top performers of my year. But something happened as I entered my second year of work: I felt as if something had literally sucked the life-force out of my entire being that left me limp like a boneless chicken. This was not normal for me. It took me a while to realise that these were signs that I was misaligned and not doing what I was meant to at the time. It was a clear message: I was not living my purpose.

The more I travel on this journey of authenticity, the more I become aware of the relevance of my uniqueness.

It’s a beautiful thing to find your purpose: that distinctive reason why you were put on this earth.

It is when you do not find this, when your life starts not to make sense. If you are aware and in touch with Your Authentic Self (YAS), you will notice the signs: the boredom, irritation and inability to apply yourself to tasks. I also get a not-so-great feeling in my chest and stomach when something is just not right in my life and I’m not doing what I am supposed to be doing. The signs of a misaligned life are important to take note of as they indicate a need for change to bring you back on track.

The indicators mentioned above are very general signs but they manifest differently in our lives depending on where we are on our path to authenticity as well as how in tune we are with ourselves and the world around us.

Remember, the universe wants us to excel and fulfil our purpose. It will often give us clues when we are not in the place we need to be.

Finding our distinct purpose does not happen overnight, often there are different ‘stations’ we must pass for the sake of learning something about ourselves. Stops at these stations could be either brief or long depending on what we have to learn. For example, when I was in university, I was heavily into slam poetry and performed in numerous competitions throughout my time in school. Now as a speaker, it is evident that that poetry ‘station’ was teaching me the invaluable lessons of how to connect with my audience as well as express my thoughts and feelings in a way people could understand.

Poetry was preparing me for the future station of being a speaker. It was later in Cape Town, when I was offered to take up poetry professionally, that that feeling of unease came up: something inside me knew that this was the end of pursuing poetry further than it being an avenue of expression. I moved onto the next phase that would reveal my destiny.

Your journey is not static, it constantly shifts. You must be aware of these shifts that often happen when you don’t want them to. It is when we ignore them that we start to feel that discomfort in our lives. Overstaying at a particular phase in life is common and leads to concerns and phrases like “Something is missing in my life!” When you overextend your duration at a particular station you will feel it! Do not try and resist these shifts, they are there to nudge you into the path of Your Authentic Self!

If you haven’t seen it, check out the latest episode of my video series YAS here:

YAS: Ep 3: Risk the Ridicule!