Following a morning hike among the serenity of red rocks, wildflowers, and mountain views, I sat in conversation with an old friend. We had an important topic to discuss. Mainly, my future career.
My friend knows that I'm a depth-oriented executive coach who has spent the last 6-plus years in graduate school earning a doctorate in clinical psychology. He knows that I spent the majority of my last two years writing my dissertation. And he knows that I have ambition--that, thanks to the shackles of graduate school, has yet to be unleashed in a professional setting.
But as we sat eating a hard-earned meal, he had one simple question for me: What's next?
As I sat contemplating my answer--not wanting to utter empty words--I decided to speak my truth. Unfiltered, I told him about the kind of person I want to become based on the values I hold rather than the type of work I want to do.
That discussion lead to an important insight--that, to me, money doesn't matter. Yes, I want it, but that's not what drives me. Admiration, validation, respect. Yes, I want those, but those aren't the most important factor either.
At the end of the day, the one thing that will make me happy is to share my voice with the world. To speak my truth no matter how difficult or uncomfortable. And to live in congruence and authenticity with my highest self.
That's what matters to me. And I know that, from that foundation, I can build a meaningful and successful career.
Don't get lost chasing the wrong things. Building your life from the ground up is the only way to maintain the integrity of your foundation.
Read the list below, which contains eight life lessons most people learn too late in life. They are at the core of my personal philosophy, which I hope inspires you to discover your own values and then do the hard part--practice what you preach.
1. Everything is connected. Yes, everything.
Mind, body, and spirit are all related. At the deepest and most fundamental level, we are all modifications of Consciousness.
As such, we must view challenges from a holistic perspective. And we must understand that because everything arises from a Prior Unity, we have the responsibility to treat everyone and everything with love, kindness, and respect.
2. Authenticity creates presence, confidence, and influence.
The most influential leaders are the ones that behave in ways aligned with their values. When you listen to your intuition, trust your instincts, and practice what you preach, it creates authenticity.
And that authenticity is palpable. When people feel your genuineness and sincerity, your presence creates a powerful energy that resonates with others. Like a tuning fork, others begin to follow and align themselves with your vibration.
3. Trust is fundamental to your relationship with yourself and others.
Trust is an essential component of self-development. If you can't trust yourself, then you can't grow. And if you can't trust others, then you'll never discover your true potential.
Our suffering can be eased by opening ourselves up to the wound of love. To loving ourselves and others with such intensity that we forget the possibility of being hurt. And from that position of trust, the universe opens and allows us to move beyond our suffering.
4. Love, not time, heals all wounds.
People who think that time heals all wounds have no idea what they're talking about. Experience is what changes your perspective. Love is what opens you up to deeper and more meaningful experiences. And love is what allows you to forgive others and yourself.
5. Balance creates harmony and deepens fulfillment.
While everyone's balance may look different, the truth is that being out of balance creates toxicity. And that toxicity will be expressed on a mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual level.
Working towards a balanced life in all aspects is often the more difficult road, but always the one that ends in the greatest fulfillment.
6. Freedom requires responsibility for your actions.
In this paradoxical world, the more of an individual you become, the more responsible you are for your relationships with others. The mature adult, of which there are few, doesn't hide from this responsibility, but instead this the fulfillment of life's law.
7. Seeking happiness prevents its attainment.
You are seeking that which you are actively divorcing yourself from. We often misplace our essence--love-bliss happiness--onto external objects and then seek those characteristics as if they are separate from ourselves. That's a common and fundamental error.
8. Quick fixes don't provide lasting results.
When I was a kid, I thought nice basketball shoes made you jump higher. They don't. As an adolescent, I thought that a nice long board made you a better skater. It doesn't. This pattern continues infinitely if you let it.
The truth is that quick fixes don't work--they mask a problem and create 10 more.
Don't get caught living a life of quick fixes, unhappiness, and consumerism. Move beyond those superficial tendencies and towards something deeper.
Take a seat and reflect on the meaning and purpose of life. Because if you haven't reflected on your values, then you're living according to someone else's.
Don't do that. Take a stand. Stand for something. And use your personal philosophy to guide you towards a meaningful and fulfilling life.