One of my LinkedIn contacts reached out to me recently. She wanted to visit with me about my mission, career, journey. We chatted recently and she asked me this question …
“When did you know?”
She wanted to know when I knew that I was on the right path with my life, relationships, career, etc. I stammered through some extemporaneous answers — but her question triggered a lot of thought (as good questions do!) so I decided to elaborate further here.
I would say there was no set moment when I knew. It was more of a dawning — an elimination of darkness, a clearing of the fog. And it was very recent. Just last month, I had this realization: the gaps between my relationships, work and personal growth were essentially gone. These gaps have caused a lot of suffering in the past years. But now I began to see a congruence; a flow that blended these three essential areas of a fruitful life.
My first attempt at knowing came in November 2010 on the heels of a mental breakdown. At 40, it was the first time in my life that I really begin to examine what made me happy, what I believed, what I wanted.
From then until 2014, I mostly experimented with different roles. I was a freelance brand strategist, then the CMO of a start-up, then the contract CMO of a consulting firm. I thought I was looking for the perfect job or role. I did not yet know that: a) there are no perfect jobs (at least not for me) and b)even if there were, it wouldn’t make me happy. I also reached out to mentors, advisors, other successful people to learn from them.
In the spring of 2014, I had my first true awakening. It was an awakening to my own value as a human (I call this “I met me the human). It was full acceptance of who I am and how I’m made. This was a huge awakening because I had been taught that who I am and how I was made are threats to my soul. Not true.
Later on in 2014, my mission began to crystalize as part of a greater spiritual awakening. (I call this “I met me the soul). I realized I’m here to teach self-worth to every one I meet. I am strongly certain that increased self-worth would be a world changer. This mission also manifested as a message:
Nothing matters until you connect with your heart.
I then began a combo that I continue to this day:
- I read. A lot. I read about 75 books between 2014 and 2017. And countless blog posts and articles. The topics were about spirituality, personal growth, innovation, creativity, history, biographies and more. (If you send me a message, I will send you my book list).
- I began to journal in earnest in late 2015. A practice I continue on 90% of my days. I keep three journals. One based on the booked “Writing Down Your Soul”, one that is more of a free thought journal, then also use Apple notes to capture daily ideas and concepts.
- I created a personal ownership system that I tweak to this day. It’s based on something I created called “The 5 Pillars of Self-Worth”. It’s a system of accountability but also of freedom — all intended to keep me grounded in my soul, yet ever growing and learning.
- I started going back to therapy in 2016 but it wasn’t until I experimented with several therapists until I found my current one. Her work with adult attachment style and deep psychotherapy has brought many hidden wounds to surface in order to heal.
Along the way, I learned how to understand the roots of my emotions, how to express them as feelings, how to ask for what I want (this is still a weakness). I learned that nature is a great spiritual teacher. I learned to be more vulnerable with those that I love and that love me. I learned to ask myself great questions.
All of the above — plus a series of life experiences — contributed to that recent dawning of knowing. I know I love my friends. I know I love my work. I know I love me. I know I love God. I know my mission. I know my worth. I know what to work on. I know to stay humble. I know to be present. I know there are flat days. I know I will fail, but I also know I will get back up.
I also know that I need friendships that run on truth, deep connection and a shared curiosity about life. Thankfully, I have been able to make a number of friends with these same standards.
I know there’s a “what’s next?” to knowing. I’m not certain yet of that answer. I know I need to work on visualization and imagination. I know I need to continue to work on my physical body (fitness, nutrition, rest). I know I need to continue to walk into my darkest corners with a spirit of curiosity. And when I get there, I know I need to let you know how it goes!