When I talk about Living Authentically, it means that what is on the inside of me, matches the outside of me. The inside of me are things like my values and my purpose. Things that feel authentic, give me energy; and they make life feel fulfilling and fun. It is knowing what my true intrinsic value is and expressing.
The outside of me are things like my relationships, what I do professionally, the causes I get involved in, the friends I associate with, the things I spend my time doing, and how I show up with my money and where I spend it.
In short, Living Authentically is when my thoughts, emotions and behaviors are aligned. When the outside matches the inside, I feel like I’m in complete alignment. The emotions that arise when I am in complete alignment are fulfillment, peace, contentment, gratitude, energized, and excited about life in general.
When these things are mismatched, it causes a lot of frustration, resentment, and even anger. I feel off. It feels like I am wearing too tight of clothing or something. It is just uncomfortable and we are not usually very happy with our lives.
If you are feeling a bit frustrated with your life, in one or many areas, maybe it is time to take a closer look at this concept of Living Authentically.
Seven steps to Living Authentically and your best life:
Step off the treadmill of life and take a step back
Sometimes we can find ourselves on the treadmill of life and don’t even realize how we got on it. All of a sudden, we look up and the choices we have made along the way have created a life, a business, or a relationship, that isn’t really what we want. The first step is to get off that treadmill so that you can take a step back and honestly assess where we are.
Get quiet, get still
When our lives get overly full, we can find ourselves running from one thing to another, and this can generate a lot of noise not only one the outside of our lives, but on the inside as well. With all the noise and distractions, we can’t really know our purpose…our reason for being alive on this planet. So we have to get still. We have to be quiet. While this is a simple step, it is not easy. So try implementing quiet and stillness for at least 5 minutes each day.
Evaluate your values and purpose
Once we get still and quiet, we will start to notice and then hear our inner voice that is offering us guidance and direction towards those things and people that are fulfilling and energizing for us. This will be good information pointing you towards your values and purpose. Your values are those characteristics that are important to you. Things like accountability, loyalty, integrity, success, honesty, intentional, etc., are all examples of values. Your purpose is an ongoing evolution. I don’t believe that anyone finds their purpose and then they are just “done.” I believe that our primary purpose is to be present with whatever we have chosen to engage in, in that moment. When we bring full presence to our activities we are infusing them with our best self in that moment. The secondary purpose of our lives is to be and do what lights you up. Write these things down.
Now evaluate your career, job or business; your closest relationships; your financial situation; and your health and well-being
When you get quiet and can really look at your life, holistically, you will start to see where you are not living your values and purpose. For example, if you say one of your main values is your family, but you spend more time working than with them, are you truly living this value? As we take the time to honestly assess where we are in the areas of our lives, we may find some inconsistencies. There is nothing you need to do in this moment, it’s really more important to just notice and write these inconsistencies down.
Design the future you want
It is hard to create something new when we don’t know where we are headed. Therefore, taking some time to think about how you want your life to look and feel; and what sorts of things you want to be spending your time on and with whom; are all very important to actually creating the future you want. This step takes a bit of dreaming, a bit of letting go of reality, and a lot of trust in the process. Again, writing down the future you want to design is critical to your success in this step.
Decide on what the first steps are to moving in that direction
As you gain clarity on where you are now; where it is you want to go; you will start to notice that you are pulled towards certain people, activities, careers, etc. that may or may not surprise you. My advice is to just allow these things to come up and pay attention to them. A good practice is writing down what you are noticing and feeling, as well as what you are drawn to. Then spend time thinking about these new ideas.
Constantly evaluate, rework, and improve – rinse and repeat
This is a never-ending process. We most likely will never get to the end goal. It is good to keep assessing and improving. I have found that my secondary purpose seems to evolve over time, and I am always looking to improve and expand. However, my primary purpose of being present with what I am doing in the moment always remains in place. If I can bring presence to all my decisions, activities, and relationship, as much as humanly possible, I make the best decisions for me. This is what keeps my out life in alignment with my inner life.
These 7 steps, and this entire practice, has assisted me in Living Authentically, creating a life of joy, peace and contentment.