If entrepreneurship and the journey back to my most authentic self have taught me anything, it’s that getting lost is a part of the process. As much as I wish the path to our own version of success was straight and clear, it’s just not.
When I realized I was sacrificing my health and well-being for a job that didn’t suit me, I worked up the courage to quit. After finally recognizing that I wasn’t using my unique gifts and making the impact I knew I could make, I committed to living authentically and finding my own version of success.
You Will Get Lost: 4 Questions to Lead You Back to Your Path of Success
Success? I don’t know what that word means. I’m happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody’s eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.
— Denzel Washington (more quotes)
But here’s the thing: I had lived for so long as a muted version of myself, that I almost forgot who I really was, and what my unique gifts were. I had been striving for someone else’s version of success for so long, that I almost forgot what I really wanted in life.
So when I ventured into entrepreneurship, I got lost. Very lost.
As I learned how to run a business, I got caught up trying to emulate others who had come before me. I clung to their ideas and systems, hoping they would bring me success too.
When I wandered down those paths, I lost sight of where I had come from. Inevitably, I always reached a point where I’d look up and feel lost. I’d feel disconnected from myself and stuck, not knowing where to go next.
After getting lost in this way so many times, I started to realize that these periods of straying from my path were opportunities to come back to myself. I started to use this disconnected feeling as an indicator of when to tune in and listen.
And when I tuned in to myself, I would always find my way back to my authentic path and my own version of success.
If you’re feeling lost on your journey to authentic success, ask yourself these questions to find your way again:
1. In what ways am I trying to be like somebody else?
One of the biggest creativity killers is comparison. Trying to live, work, or run a business like somebody else is the quickest way to detour off your authentic path. Getting honest about the ways you’re attempting to be like someone else is a great way to highlight the areas in which you could focus on yourself instead.
2. What does my version of success feel like?
Define success for yourself. Examine your family’s and community’s definitions of success, and then decide for yourself. Decide how you want to feel when you’re successful, and take steps to feel that way now.
My version of success feels like freedom, connection, and resonance. When areas of my business consistently don’t make me feel these ways, I know I’m likely not on my path to success.
3. What’s my ideal way to work?
When I’m stuck, lost, or tired, I take an honest look at how I’ve been working. “Am I working in ways that I like to work? Or am I working in ways that I think I should work?” Comparison can come into play again here.
I value flexibility, variation, and freedom, so when I find myself working 10 hour days from my home office, without days off, I know that I’m off course.
3. What comes so easily to me, I don’t even consider charging for it?
Think about the things that you love doing. The things that come so naturally to you, almost no effort is required. For me, this is writing. I’ve never considered myself a writer, but I love it. The parts of my business that showcase my writing are my favorite parts; coincidentally, they’re also the parts that, up until a few months ago, I offered for free.
Only recently did I realize that writing about my authentic personal experience was so powerful. It requires relatively much less effort than many other things I do, and I enjoy it so much that it didn’t even occur to me to explore it as a possible revenue source for my business.
Find the thing that makes you think, “I couldn’t charge for that, I love doing that,” and explore it as much as possible. In this thing, you’ll find your unique gift that the world needs, and aligning with that will always keep you on your path to success.