Money, power, status, and intimacy – these are four of the carrots that life dangles in front of us as we run ourselves ragged trying to make them our own. Through identifying what it is that we think we want and working towards our core motivations, we spend our days charging towards the finish line instead of skipping in circles. The first step in achieving personal success is taking the time that we each deserve to discover what it is that we really want.
It’s Never Too Late to Discover and Share Your Why
What drives you to wake up in the morning and push yourself to the breaking point by the end of every day? When you look at your life twenty, thirty, or forty years from now, what tangible milestones can you achieve that will make you feel as if you have overcome the potential failures and setbacks that separate the winners from the losers? Once you know what you want, you can stop floundering in the sea of what-ifs and start devising a conscious roadmap to get to where you want to be.
Going Beyond Your Core Motivations
While identifying the core motivations that drive each one of us is undoubtedly the starting point in living a life of intent, the problem with structuring our lives solely around our core motivations is that we will never have enough. Even if every day we are richer and more powerful than we were yesterday, there will always be more money out there that we can obtain and more aimless wanderers that we can turn into our followers.
After we reach a certain benchmark, what used to be a source of healthy motivation morphs into a leech that starts eating away at us, consuming every part of our being. Instead of charging towards the finish line, we get back on the carousel with all of the other lost wanderers who never knew what they wanted in the first place.
When Success Is Not Enough
If we work hard enough and sacrifice enough of our wellbeing to capture the carrots that life dangles in front of us, we may achieve a certain level of success and find ourselves in the midst of a lifestyle that seems too good to be true. Too many people spend their whole lives devising a design plan that will help them to reach their goals, only to reach the finish line and find themselves more unfilled and unhappy than ever.
Even arguably worse than feeling unaccomplished and unsuccessful altogether is coming to the realization that what you thought you wanted all along never held the potential to make you truly happy in the first place. So while core motivators like money, power, status, and intimacy may prove to be efficient benchmarks of success — they are not a measure of personal utility after a certain point.
If you could do anything, what would you do? Who would you be?
There is only one way to find the level of personal fulfillment that is deeper than the intangible green light — and that comes with searching deep within ourselves to find our inner why. If there were no expectations weighing you down and you could wake up tomorrow and do anything, or be anyone — what would you do? Who would you be?
There is something deeper than the external motivators that tempt us, and that is the inner fire that burns within. Beyond uncovering our selfish motivations, we need to dig deep within our hearts and minds and find the one thing that makes us feel like we are on top of the world — not temporarily, but indefinitely.
Stop Running in Circles
While swimming in a bathtub of hundred dollar bills may make us feel drunk on champagne, the dollars are spent and the feeling fades. And then what? We make more money and buy more champagne, pulling us into an endless wheel of temporary satisfaction. In order to bring meaning and fulfillment to our lives, we need to let our deeper why drive our day-to-day actions.
We need to let our inner passion run wild, and find the one thing that truly makes us feel alive. While a certain level of money, power, status, and intimacy may give us the foundation to fulfill our greater why, it is not a change in flight class but rather a change in mindset that is going to make all the difference.
Losing Yourself to Find Yourself
A few months back, I lost myself — I was living the life that I thought would take me one step closer to fulfilling my core motivations; but when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize myself anymore. The more that I leaned over the sea of people and reached out for that green light that seemed within my reach, the more that I came to realize that the tangible accomplishments that I was en route to achieving were not going to make me happy.
Instead, they were physically and mentally tearing me apart. I reached a breaking point, and I knew that I needed to make a change. As afraid as I was to sit on the expectations that constrained me and put the car in reverse, I knew that going forward in the same direction only meant that one day I would end up running in circles.
Question Your Daily Actions
I took a step back, and I spent the time that I needed to reconnect with my greater why. I asked myself the types of questions that I asked you above — out of everything that I have been exposed to in this world so far, what is the one thing that makes me feel the most fulfilled?
When am I genuinely happy living in the moment as opposed to sitting at my desk wishing the day away? After weeks of reading books, talking to friends in different industries, and staring down at a blank page, I found a place within myself that brought me closer to my greater why.
I realized that while money, status, power, and intimacy are all a part of my roadmap for success, I am truly the happiest when I am mentoring young individuals. In the long term, I want to be a positive female role model to help young men and women to find their own sense of motivation, and to help them carve out their own paths to achieve the impossible.
Aligning Your Core Motivations with Your Deeper Why
Finding your inner why does not mean that you should throw your core motivations overboard and live your life as a free-for-all. It simply means that you need to align your core motivations with your deeper why. For me, that means using the power that I am working to obtain to inspire the lives of those around me, and using the money that I am working to earn to solve problems and create things that can change the world.
Some people will search their entire lives in attempt to find that one thing that will truly make them happy; but a true life mission or deeper sense of purpose comes in different shapes and forms for different people.
You Need to Go Out and Find It
The most important thing to acknowledge is that more often than not, your inner why is not going to fall into your lap. You need to actively commit to living a life of fulfillment and go out and find it yourself. For months, you may look in the mirror and see a monster, a person that is unrecognizable — but one day when you look in the mirror, you will see your reflection staring back at you.
And when you do, you will know that you are on your way to living not only a life of success, but a life of fulfillment — and once you get a glimpse of how that can change you, you will never look back.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that I am not always going to know right from the get-go which choice is the right one. Sometimes I need to find a way to let go in order to find myself. I’ve come to find that life isn’t as linear or straightforward as we would sometimes like it to be. Sometimes we need to just put ourselves in a variety of different situations and see how we feel once we do.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate my ability to thrive under uncertainty. Many people avoid throwing themselves into new and potentially uncomfortable situations because they are afraid of the unknown. However, I have come to learn that sometimes it is only through allowing ourselves to embrace discomfort that we allow ourselves to truly grow as individuals.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
I am proud of the fact that I’ve been able to consistently reject the conventional path in favor of a riskier alternative that is more closely in alignment with my goals.
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
Most people tend to thrive in environments with high levels of stability; however, I’ve found that I often thrive in a state of chaos or constant change. I find that when I constantly have new stimuli in my life, my creativity tends to peak. However, sometimes my desire to constantly seek out change can come off as somewhat irrational behavior. It is sometimes hard for me to justify this behavior to others, but embracing frequent change helps me to stimulate my mind, which is a part of who I am.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my ability to thrive under conditions of uncertainty. In many ways, I consider new situations to be scenarios of improvisation. When I am in a new scenario with entirely fresh stimuli and can find a way to just let myself go, I am often pleasantly surprised with what my mind manages to come up with in such unrehearsed situations.