I think many of us millennials are driven to live purpose- driven lives. We don’t want to settle for just paying the bills. Instead we want to make real, lasting change not only in our lives but the lives of others. We want to be innovative and try new things, start our own business and travel.
What it all comes down to is, we don’t want to settle. And we want to live an authentic life that we design based on our goals and aspirations. But what happens when what we want conflicts with what society things we should do? What happens when we believe that success looks like this prescribed label?
You know what I mean… go to school, get a good paying job, get married, have kids, have kid number 2 and then poof you’re done, you’ve lived and have accomplished the American dream.
What happens when what we want is different than the norm? And how do we live our lives authentically, define success for ourselves and go on our own path? How do we live those purpose-driven lives when sometimes society or our family tell us we should be striving for something different?
I’ve struggled with this in my own life. I’ve been sold the American dream but deep down I wanted something deeper. Believing my parents and society knew best I did just that. I went to school, got my Masters degree, got a government job and bought a house.
Now that I’m older I’ve realized that what I really want is to write and coach which maybe means less stability.
I don’t have all the answer but I definitely know that I don’t want to stay at my government job 30+ years and retire. And just in thinking about my true, real goals I begin to think “Would I be letting my family down,?” “Can I do this?”,”Is it too risky,?”, ”Would leaving my job also mean loosing security?.”
I’ve sometimes gotten so worried what people will think and became so fearful of loosing financial security I considered just settling and doing what’s easier.
But I don’t know about you but I want to look back on my life and know that I lived it authentically and know that it was a true reflection of who I am and what I value. So in an effort to push past that resistance and fear that I have and instead choose to live my life authentically here are the tips I have to get started and start creating the life you desire.
Define success for yourself
One of the first things that I’ve learned is that you have to define success for yourself. Forget what society and people think you should do and focus more on the things that fulfill you. Make time for the things that make you happy. It’s hard enough living your dream, even harder to live some one else’s.
Be brave; learn to listen to your own intuition. Don’t just go with the flow, create your own rules. Regardless of what society thinks is right, what does success mean to you?
You have the right to make up your own rules and determine how you want to live your life. This can be a hard one. I’ve always felt that success was higher education and an excess of money. Now I’m not saying don’t go to school, I’m a huge advocate for learning, but maybe your idea of success looks differently.
Maybe you don’t measure your success in dollars but rather you measure it by how many risks you take, how fulfilled you are on the inside, how often you get to travel. Or my favorite, how true you are to your goals and how you want to live your life. To me, success is living simply and intentionally. What’s success for you?
Who says you have to make a major change, quit your job, and commit to a life of travel? While all of those sound awesome, it’s a quick way to not only get burnt out but also feel overwhelmed.
I say, really look at your life and the things you want to change. Sit down and start creating goals and plan small steps you can start making today to move you forward towards your goals.
Make these goals as specific as possible. I know you’re probably familiar with SMART goals. Start small by making one SMART goal and figure out how you can make it happen. Things tend to feel less overwhelming and more attainable when you write out a goal and a plan.
And if you’re feeling ambitious add some deadlines, schedule it out and tell your family and friends to help to start keeping you accountable.
Do something everyday that you love
I know I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, do something you love everyday. As horrible as your situation may be right now doing something small that you love not only fuels you to do more things that make you happy but it gives you something to look forward to everyday.
One of the keys to living an intentional life is doing things that you love and being intentional with how you are spending your time. Make time for the things that fulfill you and bring you joy.
Gratitude and Service
To me, living a fulfilled life has a lot to do with gratitude. Appreciating where you are, while working towards what you want.
It’s appreciating the family and friends that you have and the little things that we all take for granted. Being of service to others allows time for you to reflect on the things you have to be grateful for but also is an opportunity to help someone in need.
Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that you’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life.
Don’t let others write your story or make you believe that you have to follow their rules. Create an intentional life by designing success for yourself and working towards things that fulfill you. Be present and grateful for what you have now.
Living someone else’s dream will only lead you to feeling stuck, bored and unhappy. So be brave and decide today that you’re going to live the life you’ve always imagined!
So, what small step are you going to take to start living more authentically? I would love to hear.