In 2018, I had a spiritual awakening.
It was miraculous and thrilling.
I had loads of energy, newfound intentions, and a yearning to fill my heart and mind with wisdom and explore the desires of my spirit. I wanted to participate in everything and really drink from the fountain of life, soaking up all this amazing human experience has to offer.
Yep, life was grand!
Two years later, I found myself on an entrepreneurial journey. I established my own web design agency, ventured into online writing, launched a weekly newsletter, and embraced a calling to teach meditation. In between all that? There were tons of online courses, workshops, masterminds, and weekly meet-ups with incredible people from all around the globe.
Yup, somehow, my spiritual awakening turned my life into one fucking giant to-do list.
It became a laundry list of projects I needed to finish, projects I had to start, skills I craved to learn, and aspects of myself that must be understood more deeply and “fixed.” And with every unchecked box came a constant reminder of unmet expectations. While the pursuit of personal development and spiritual growth is exhilarating, it is also endless and can be quite fucking exhausting — which is usually a sign of spreading oneself too thin.
So, I decided to take a break.
A break from writing, planning, and trying to manifest things into existence. Partly because I have been bouncing in and out of travel mode for the past two months, keeping me away from maintaining any consistent focus on my daily work and tackling that never-ending to-do list. On the upside, with limited time, it’s forced me to zero in only on the things that are crucial and non-negotiable. More importantly, it’s given me the chance to take a step back, breathe, and reflect on how I want to spend my time once the vacation vibe settles and “normal life” resumes.
Sometimes, we forget, but asking ourselves the obvious question, “What the heck do I truly want out of life?” can be a powerful way to reframe things when life has you feeling overwhelmed.
As I look back at the list of projects I ambitiously set for myself and all those self-improvement missions I was gunning for at the start of the year, part of me wants to cringe. Some I completed, others got side-swiped by life’s curveballs, and some were replaced by unexpected opportunities that the Universe led me to. But the harsh truth is that many will never see the light of day this year.
Not for lack of effort, but because time is a great equalizer to over-ambition.
It reminds me of that quote, (most notably attributed to Bill Gates): “Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.” I know this, yet I still choose to bombard my mind with more intentions than are practical.
Determined to finally let this go, and finally give in to what was only in front of me, I had a realization:
I am trying to be too many different things for too many different people within too many different aspects of my life. More specifically, I’m trying to be too many different things for myself.
With all this fresh in my mind, a day before heading off on one of my trips, it hits me like a ton of bricks. By the time I am done with all my traveling over the next several weeks, there will be a little more than four months left in the year. And within a blink, it’ll be gone.
So, what if I narrowed down my work to just one thing? What if I narrowed down my self-improvement aspirations to just one thing? What exactly would truly add the most value to my life?
I then expanded on this.
What’s the one project that, if I channeled all my energy into it during my workday, would give me the most bang for my buck? What would provide the most benefit to my life right now while providing me lots of joy? And actually give me more time back in the long run.
Things started to click.
So, I took that same approach and pointed it at another question: What if I used what’s left of this year to address one of the biggest things causing resistance or tension in my life? And only sought to understand and work through that one issue?
Then it clicked some more — changing one thing can change a lot of things.
As I packed my bags to leave on my trip the next morning, I felt a bit relieved. If there is only “one thing” to complete or “one thing” to improve at any given time, it takes the pressure off of having to be a spiritual superhero or entrepreneurial badass. If there is only one professional project to work on and only one personal issue to work through, not only does the path forward become clear, but you inevitably have more time than you realized.
You might consider trying this same approach for the rest of your year:
You might be wondering why to make that second question a priority. I mean, why not double down on two projects or goals rather than putting your effort to work on “resistance.” Why dedicate some of your precious time to working through personal hurdles?
The best answer I can give is that your own awakening is the big kahuna.
It’s your most vital intention. Your own expansion is the most important endeavor in your life at any given time. Because you can only serve and support others from a place of continued clarity. When you’re most present, clear, and aligned, you become a better partner, parent, coworker, boss, leader, writer, artist, entrepreneur — you name it.
In short, we must dedicate a part of ourselves to doing the hard work, and tackle the unsightly stuff that keeps making us trip all over ourselves. Not so we can be “the best,” but so we can squeeze every damn drop of potential from this crazy ride we call life.
To quote Carl Jung, “Where your fear lurks, therein lies your task.”
Mission accepted? If so, go ahead, and embrace the potency of your “one thing.”
Jump into your day from a state of intention, purpose, and well-being.
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