A valid question and one that often gets overlooked while we all operate in a world serving others.
Don’t get me wrong, we are here to empower, uplift and inspire others, as well as contribute physically, financially and emotionally, but who’s looking out for you? Who’s making sure you’re living a good, fulfilling life – one of wealth, health and happiness?
And be careful how you answer this because, at the end of the day, there’s only one person that can be responsible for your outcomes; only one person that can truly be the creator of your most awesome life.
That is, and will always be . . . YOU!
Now, for context, let me take you back a few years and tell you where I’m going with this.
A Major WAKEUP Call
For many years I was not comfortable in my own skin. I was trying to be a version of myself that I thought others wanted me to be. I was very conscious of how people perceived me and what people thought about me.
I was burdened by a need to please, a need for validation and a need to fit in.
When you live in this way, a big portion of your energy and life is spent doing what you think you need to do and living the life that you think you have to live, for whatever reason.
I lived that way for many years.
I was the person I thought that people wanted me to be. And I did quite well being that person; I showed up, I delivered, I made people proud, I made people a lot of money, I made a lot of friends, I empowered others, and I gave a lot . . . And I mean I gave blood, sweat, tears, money, possessions, you name it.
I was doing so much for others, that it was inevitable I was going too hard, for too long and something was going to snap. And then it happened.
“One day I woke up and shit had hit the fan.”
Now, this is going back about five and a half years and let’s just say a series of life events happened. It started with a death in the family, and that triggered a sequence of events.
There I was at what I thought was the pinnacle of success and then this WAKEUP call came. This wasn’t just a gentle tap on the shoulder saying, “Hey Jay, here is your WAKEUP call.”
No, this came through like a truckload of sh** hitting the biggest fan in the world. Although, from the outside, it didn’t look like a mess, on the inside I felt the mess more than you could possibly imagine.
So, how did the WAKEUP call occur?
Well, I can remember a phone call I had around this time with one of my good friends – one of my true friends – and there were only a handful of true friends that I had at that time.
I was sitting in my truck in the grocery parking lot, and we were chatting on the phone. I had been telling him the circumstances and what had happened, and he said to me,
“Jay, that’s great, but I have one question for you. Who is looking after you?”
Dazed at his question and enthralled by what he said next, I continued to listen intently. You see, when you have a true friend, someone that truly knows you from the inside asking you this, at that moment you just shut up and listen, so I did.
He then said,
“Jay, there is something I have noticed, and it’s that you take care of yourself last. And I’m not talking about monetary; I am talking about emotionally. When are you going to start looking after yourself? When are you going to start looking out for your needs?”
And there it was, a hard gut check to the body, mind, and soul. Who was taking care of me emotionally? Who was looking out for my best interests? Because I certainly wasn’t.
In essence, that gut check said to me,
“Jay you need to WAKEUP.”
If It’s To Be, It Is Up To Me
Those 9 words were my WAKEUP call that happened that day; 9 simple yet profound words,
“If it’s to be, it is up to me.”
And that was the last time I needed one of my friends to step in and slap me across the head and say, “Jay WAKE the f**k up.”
That was all I needed to wake up to the fact that I am of the utmost importance; that if I’m going to be able to sustain and continue my life’s mission and purpose in helping others, that I must come first.
Self-care is not only important; it’s vital to your success, period.
Because you only have one life to live. As long as you are living it for other people, you are going to come up empty inside. At least that is what all of this meant to me.
Because until you start loving yourself, accepting yourself – the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between – and stop pretending that you are this put together person on the surface….until you start being your authentic self, you will never truly be happy.
At that point in my life, I wanted nothing other than to be truly happy, to be truly fulfilled. And at that moment I couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
In that WAKEUP call, and I remember the exact moment, I hadn’t felt that alone in a long time.
I felt like a little kid again. I had to figure out how to learn a skill that I didn’t even know was missing. That skill was looking after myself.
I went back to the drawing board, I went back to the basics and the only way I know how to change anything about myself, is to come to a place of complete surrender, a place where I fully accept who I am. The things I have screwed up, the things that were done to me, the things that I have done, just accept it all. It was quite humbling actually.
I went to a place of full self-acceptance, and I used this experience to grow emotionally and spirituality. I started to fully accept myself for who I am; the good, the bad and the ugly.
That’s what it comes to at the end of the day. We all have stuff to deal with.
Pointing the fingers and passing the blame . . . None of that stuff works.
But what does work is taking ownership. Start saying,
“That’s me, and I created it unintentionally…but the good news is that I have a lot of shit to work with. What can I do with it to turn it into good.”
The only difference between a crisis, a challenge, and an opportunity is a slight paradigm shift. Once I got that, I set my intention to do the best with what I had.
How To Start Living More Intentionally
Last week we talked about intentions, we talked about the difference between setting goals and truly having the intentions. Today I want to carry on that conversation and take it a step further.
Because there is something truly profound and powerful about living an intentional life.
See, what I’ve discovered is when I am living intentionally, I get to be myself. I get to be exactly who I am at any given moment. Whenever, wherever the opportunity arises to be myself, I am myself. And there is no better feeling to be yourself and to be comfortable in your own skin.
And while I’m sure there are a million different formulas for living more intentionally, one of which I expanded on in my last blog post, starting isn’t always the easiest. The starting point seldom is.
So, with that, here are a few pieces of advice to get going immediately.
#1 – Do your best with what you have today.
If you practice living that way, you will have no problems sleeping. Leave the things you can’t control up to life and the way it happens.
That caused me to start living really intentionally. Nothing sounded better at that point in my life than just being truly happy, content and at peace with who I am at the exact moment, I’m living.
This actually took a lot of pressure off of myself because I stopped having expectations of where I was supposed to be and started living a life of embracing exactly where I am. That’s exhilarating once you master this.
#2 – Accept yourself
I learned that the day that you accept yourself for exactly who you are is the day that you tell the universe that you are good enough.
And the fact is, I am good enough, and you are good enough.
Whatever you were told previously, whatever you were holding onto that didn’t allow you to tell yourself that you’re good enough, or whoever wasn’t supporting you, all that has to go out the window. It’s clearly not serving you. If it were, you’d be in a better position than you are.
Let that sh*t go and just accept yourself exactly where you are at this moment and say “THANK YOU” that you’re still alive. This means you’re still here to live out your mission and purpose.
#3 – Write down your intentions
Having goals are great! More importantly, is having them support your intentions. What do you intentionally want to fulfill and execute on over the coming months to a year?
Now, I found that the best time to set an intention is after a WAKEUP call… right after one of these ‘holy shit’ moments that I told you about earlier happens.
I always tell people to write down what their intentions are somewhere on a piece of paper so they can carry it with them on an ongoing basis.
I took this a bit further and created these actual cards that fit into my wallet so they can go everywhere with me. On the back of the card, it is future dated January 1st, 2018.
In one little paragraph, I have set 7 intentions for my life, for the next year. Keep in mind that these aren’t New Year’s resolutions or goals. These are things that I thoughtfully and deliberately set out for the year.
What I wrote is basically how to be the highest version of myself. The intentions I set were in the different areas of my life; financial, health, relationships and business, but most importantly at the bottom it says
“and I have never been happier.”
Now imagine if that actually came true. That would be priceless. And all it requires is that you have these words around to remind you. They bring your vibration levels up to a frequency that emulates these thoughts.
Do you understand how powerful that is?
#4 – Be nice to yourself
Lastly, be nice to yourself. Be your own best friend and be gentle, because you are good enough.
That WAKEUP call that I had with my friend is the moment that got me inspired me to get back to living intentionally.
My challenge to you is to take today and be selfish. Who is looking out for you? Take the time to think about your needs. What are your physical needs, emotional needs, financial needs, spiritual needs? Once those needs are met, what are some ideal circumstances?
We don’t just want our basic needs met; we want our self-actualised needs met. To become the best possible version of ourselves. To wake up every day and do what we know we were put on this planet to do.
When you’re living a life of purpose, passion becomes the motor or the purpose that drives you.
Go get what you live for.