How To Consistently Align Your Actions With What You Want In Life
Fulfillment is an abstract idea.
It’s hard to measure.
Fulfillment makes you light up and gives the feeling that the work you do create a real impression to you and others.
No one can tell when you feel it. You’ll only find it out on your own.
Most people seek that fulfillment in life. But only a few find it because many lack the initiative to search for it. Their days are filled with so many responsibilities that squeezing time for reflecting is impossible.
So they settle even when they are longing to do something different. They have dreams and goals waiting to be rekindled but never happens. They hardly tap their potentials to fulfill what they are meant to do.
Goals are helpful to direct your steps. But more important than goals is the strong reason “why” you work for those goals.
When you know the deep reason why you seek for them, you’ll be more motivated to push through.
You’ll intentionally seek for opportunities that align with your “why”. You’ll filter your actions that do not support it. You’ll start your day with clarity.
You’ll merge your passion and inspiration toward the things that support your “why.” You’ll get what truly fulfills you instead of what others dictate to you.
You’ll discover the reason that fires you to move and finish your race. Your surroundings will share your values because you’ll intentionally look for the culture where you belong.
If you’re committed to search for your “why”, you’ll devote the needed time to search yourself. You’ll look for patterns that will provide clues that lead to it.
If you’re committed to seeking fulfillment, you’ll search for the right people that share your convictions. You’ll merge your power with theirs to create a lasting impact in this world.
Your reason is not only to hustle for money. You’ll inspire changes in the lives of others because you have a deep-seated purpose behind your actions.
Only those who are willing to search will see the difference in their lives and reach the fulfillment they are longing for.
If you’re not willing to act, then you are not passionate enough to find your “why.” If you don’t believe on searching your deep-seated purpose, then you can settle with what life gives you.
What It Takes to Find Your “Why”
You control your actions and decisions. If you want to feel fulfilled, you have to seek the right opportunities for you. If you want to inspire others, you have to inspire yourself first.
If you want to see your vision translate into reality, you have to clarify why you want that vision. You have to articulate the reasons for the actions you do and opportunities you search.
In our society, we are shaped to adhere on the common metrics of success — fame, money, and power.
But far too often, there are many people in the news who seemingly have all of these, yet, lose their lives and freedoms for reasons we do not know. We are wired to believe that if we achieve those metrics, we will be able to deliver fulfillment to ourselves, to people we care and our community in general.
We believe that life is about following what the society dictates to us.
It’s not surprising to see people exhausted and depressed trying to catch up in the rat race. We do more, get more, and work more only to come home to our loved ones void of any fulfillment that can fill our hearts.
The truth is:
It’s never impossible for you to enjoy life and make a living at the same time. You can work hard or do more and still feel fulfilled.
You lose your journey to a fulfilling life when you settle your eyes on the metrics of others.
When you examine yourself, you slowly find out why you do certain actions.
Your “why” is a very important component of you. It is what will keep you going even when the external factors are not existing. It may not unfold in just a snap but searching for it will lead you closer to it.
“Why is like a piece of jigsaw puzzle. When you know what your piece looks like, it’s much easier to see where it fits or doesn’t fit.”
Let us exercise our brain’s frontal lobe power and see where this line would take us:
Why is Like A Piece of a Jigsaw Puzzle
A jigsaw puzzle requires patience and time to build. You can only build it if you have a clear picture of the possible outcome. Each part is unique. Shapes may look like each other but the tiny details that set each shape apart make it unique.
Each part has intricate detail and description that has a corresponding location. It requires concentration and intentional effort to combine everything together to solve the entire puzzle.
Our “why” can easily get tossed in a sea of confusion when we don’t apply the necessary effort to search for it. It likewise requires patience to find out where we really fit in.
At times, we try to squeeze ourselves in different situations only to be frustrated in the end.
Many people are longing to experience fulfillment because their piece of the puzzle is lost in a different puzzle.
When You Know What Your Piece Looks Like, It’s Much Easier To See Where It Fits Or Doesn’t Fit
It is easier to build the puzzle if you know the shape where it can fit. If all have the same shapes, it would take longer to solve it.
The shape of the puzzle is your “why”.
If you know the deep reason why you do such thing, it is easier to look for opportunities that would match your “why”. You don’t force yourself to integrate into something that does not share your value.
If you know your “why”, you can find the tribe where you belong that would complete the bigger picture that all of you aspire.
You don’t just walk alone.
You have others rooting for you and encouraging you to share that “why” with others.
To know where the piece of a puzzle fits, look at the characteristics, background, and description of each piece. Those will give you clues on how to fit them properly.
To find your clues, you also have to look at your own background. The background will give you clue on how to fit yourself in your big puzzle.
In the book Find Your Why, authors suggest to frame your “why” statement into this format:
TO (your contribution) SO THAT (the impact of your contribution).
It must be simple and clear, actionable and focused on others.
For instance, mine is something like this:
To synthesize materials and experiences I had so that I can share the insights and learning to help others improve their lives.
With that in mind, I consistently look for opportunities that allow me to deliver it. I develop my skills that will help me share this purpose.
Why Do You Do What You Do
Here are some ways you can do to find out your “why”:
1. Dig Your Golden Nuggets
“Only when you take the time to pan for the significant moments of the past, retrieving them nugget by nugget, will they turn into treasure.” — Find Out Your Why
Simon Sinek and his co-authors, David Mead and Peter Drocker, encourage us to Find Our Why by digging gold nuggets.
These gold nuggets are buried in your STORIES.
Stories are a great way to revisit the experiences that shaped who you are. They provide clues on the things that you hold dear. They also explain why you behave in a certain manner today.
The more stories you have, the more data you can collect.
The more data you can collect, the more chances of seeing recurring patterns.
Revisit the stories that are close to your heart.
These stories carry strong feelings, conversations, lessons, opportunity of hardship, pains and important people in your life.
They are great footprints that would lead to find out your “why.”
To make it more effective, approach someone to be your partner.
This person should be willing to listen to your stories without bias. Ask your partner to write down the times when he sees a strong emotional response from you. This will help you to see the recurring patterns from your stories.
2. Ask the People Around You
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” — Bryant McGill
Sometimes, we unconsciously do something that impacts other people. For us, it is just a natural thing to do. But other people are encouraged when you carry out a particular action.
What comes out to you naturally when you empower others can be your gift. Since it happens unconsciously, you may sometimes ignore it.
When you listen to the compliments of other people, it can actually bring the gift to your consciousness. Listening to what others say about your good qualities can actually help to uncover your gifts.
Ask and listen to people around you about the characteristics and abilities they associate with you.
You can do it in person or make it fun by posting it on Facebook. Either way, find a way to solicit some responses from people who matter to you. Find the common response that ties them all together.
They might probably give you a characteristic that you don’t pay much attention but they consider it as your strength.
It will help you see yourself through the eyes of others.
Your gift is hiding somewhere there and it might be obvious to people you care.
Keep an open mind.
3. Time Travel On Your Past
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” — Charles Kingsley
When I was young, my aunt bribed me to read books and write reflections for my cousin’s assignment. While they all happily played outside, I stayed in the house to finish the assignment.
It seemed unfair, but I actually loved doing it. I loved reading, writing and getting paid in return is a wonderful bonus.
Fast forward on my adulthood, I tried different activities. I got steered in a different career. But none of them filled the satisfaction I had when I was a kid.
I went back to what I enjoyed, and I still feel the same passion. I like learning, synthesizing information and sharing it with others.
Now, it’s your time to travel the memory lane. Recall what you did when you were young.
Look particularly at the moments you enjoyed doing. The moments that made you feel happy and proud of yourself. The moment when you showed something to your family and they were just all amazed how you pulled it off.
Are you still doing them now?
If so, do they still make you happy? If not, why don’t you try again?
4. Picture Your Own Euology
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” — Norman Cousins
Dr. Stephen Covey wonderfully explained the concept of “Begin with the End in Mind” in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
He clearly explains the importance of making a conscious effort to visualize who you are and want in life.
When you connect your uniqueness and ethics, you can focus your activities that will lead to your desired direction and destination.
If you are in your own eulogy, what will people say about you? Will you like what they say?
If you continue on living the way you are right now, can people say you live out your purpose?
What is your tombstone going to show? (The Person Who Watched Netflix All Day; The Person Who is Depressed from Work Everyday; The Talented Person Who Chose to Get Buried With What-Ifs)
Would you enjoy hearing your own eulogy? Will there even be stories about you? Will there be parts people can emulate from you?
You still have time to shift the scenario in a better way.
5. Be a Volunteer Intern
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — St. Francis of Assissi
John Dewey, an education reformer, is a huge advocate of the philosophy “learning by doing.” When I was teaching, my students would light up when we do activities that inspire them to apply the concepts.
The same principle applies to adults. The best form of learning is when you try it yourself.
Do you want to know if teaching is right for you? Or photography? Or website developing? Or social work?
Extend help to the people who are under the area you are targeting. Don’t expect any payment.
Keep in mind that you are after the experience. Once you find out what it’s like, you will have a clear idea whether you like it or not.
6. Host a Class Session With Kids
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman
You will be forced to be patient when dealing with kids. You will receive the most honest opinions. You will see the most encouraging and discouraging moments of your journey.
What will stand out the most is if you insist on teaching them the passion you have.
They will feel your spirit. They will see the spark. They will kneel down in front of you to listen with their eyes widely opened. They will even ask when you’re coming back.
Do a mini session of baking, dancing, drawing or whatever. You will get the most genuine feeling from them. After the session, ask yourself:
What is it that made you really patient with them?
What is in the activity that you want them to learn?
What impact does it give you sharing that learning to others?
7. Attend Your Premiere Show
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” — Shannon L. Alder
Life is like a movie. It’s a series of ups and downs. You can even predict the ending sometimes.
Most of the people can predict the ending of their lives. Work hard, contribute to their 401k, wait for retirement and enjoy life.
The sad thing is:
They don’t reach the ending they desire. They work hard, but they don’t make it on the enjoy life portion. They get sick, weak, unfulfilled and void of energy.
Psychologists refer this as “hypothetical thinking.” It is the ability to look at your behavior and see where it will get you.
Now, you can decide whether or not you like what you see. You can make necessary changes while you have the time.
What will be the ending of your movie if you continue doing what you are doing right now?
What are the scenes worth watching?
Are there scenes explaining the underlying reason of your work?
Or does it simply show you get by with life?
You still have the chance to change these scenes. Avail that chance.
8. Pray About It
“Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you..” — Matthew 7:7
There is a reason why you are created.
The same reason plants are there to provide oxygen, sun exists to light up the world and water to nourish the body.
Everything has a purpose.
Why is it amidst all the thousand books written on purpose, no one can identify that one way to find it?
Why can’t they answer it directly the way they can on the purpose of the sun?
It is something that is beyond our own recognition. The only one who can answer is the Creator Himself.
When there’s a problem with the product you buy, it is best to send it to the manufacturer to be fixed. They know it since they created it.
No matter who you believe in, someone Higher than us knows perfectly why you are here.
Ask Him. Talk to Him. Meditate and Pray.
He created you and has assigned a destiny even before you were born. Capitalize on the gifts He gave you.
Start moving because He will bring you the experiences, people, and circumstances you need.
He will open and close doors as you go along. He will direct the paths where you need to go.
9. Create an Inventory of Yourself
“There are two great days in a person’s life — the day we are born and the day we discover why.” — William Barclay
One of the strategies to explore a topic is by using the KWL Chart. We will modify it for this purpose.
Let’s call it KLV Chart. On a piece of paper, divide it into three columns.
Label the headings as:
What I Know
What I Want to Learn
What I Value
The challenge is to write 10 things under each heading.
You can be silly as you can. Do not mind if they don’t make sense. Just keep writing what comes into your mind.
Afterward, read them again and examine yourself. Highlight the Top 3 under each heading that resonates to you as of the moment. It doesn’t matter if they overlap. You can start the journey by using the top 3.
You know the basics of baking. You want to learn how to make fondant cakes.
At the same time, you value health.
You know very well that Fondant cakes are very high in sugar. Now you can find ways to make Fondant cakes healthier and more welcoming to the public.
Examine yourself again during the journey and take notes of your response on each situation. Reflect if you find fulfillment while doing the task.
If you don’t find fulfillment, move on to the next list.
Are You Ready To Take The Plunge?
A lot of people just sail through life letting the waves direct their paths. They think that they will stumble upon their purpose while sailing.
Sometimes, the purpose plays hard-to-get because of distractions.
This leads them to give up and simply go with the flow. They are not able to maximize the gifts within them.
They continue to live without igniting the very gift that will help them prosper. They sometimes wonder why they feel unhappy. Only a few take the time to search those gifts and very few benefit from maximizing them.
But you are different, right?
You’re going to promise yourself to search until you uncover your gifts.
You’re going to find the reason that brings you joy.
You’re going to seek what makes you jump in excitement and sprinkle the values you possess.
Eventually, you will wake up each morning feeling great. You will come home feeling fulfilled. You won’t feel like you are lost in the woods. Your motivation will soar high.
People will feel your amazing spirit. People will remember you. People will thank you. People will be inspired.
Simply, because you discovered your gifts.
And your gifts touch people’s lives in ways you never knew it’s possible.