We often speak of work and personal life as two opposing items on a spectrum. We identify that the two forces are contrarian, working against one another in the fight for our time, energy and emotional real estate. But what if we could shift this dynamic so that the two—the professional and personal aspects of our lives—were coalescent? What is one never overpowered the other, and the two were in complete alignment?
The state of alignment is one in which all things in life work towards personal fulfillment. When you are doing work that is both meaningful and in line with your personal mission, goals, and targets, the demands of work become less daunting and more personal, and overall your joy becomes blended with your reality in all activities. For me, this state is synonymous with retirement and still critical to daily being. More on defining retirement for yourself later.
But how do we achieve alignment? What specific steps can you take, and what changes in your approach to life do you need to make in order to reach the state of alignment? This ever-present question has remained at the forefront of my professional journey. Still, the path has unearthed a bit of wisdom along the way. Here are four steps and eight strategies to help you in your journey.
Four Steps to Alignment
- Identify your thrusts. What’s important to you (personally and professionally), and why do you love those important things? What gives you joy? Is it about working in the spirit of service?
- Identify your strategic targets across the areas of your life. Do you want to buy a home? Do you want to run an organization? Do you want to teach or be a lifelong learner? How can you reach these goals and targets in SMART goals?
- Be present and know where you are in your journey. Take a hard look at your current state. Compare it to your values and put your targets into context. What changes (sometimes significant) are you willing to make to ensure that you met all of your goals with joy?
- Shift accordingly. You’ve identified your changes, now make the shift your reality. Be your change.
Eight Strategies to Shift Your Approach
- Live life on purpose. Say yes to opportunities for growth, take more chances, and learn to seek out experiences that reinvigorate your soul.
- Be both deliberate and picky. Know what’s important to you and align everything with those principles. Give yourself permission to color outside the lines, or to say no when something is misaligned. Learn to make your vision your truth and to let go of the rest. Define your own boundaries.
- Be unapologetically authentic in your leadership. Honor all parts of yourself and use all of you (even the parts afraid and unsure, humble and rejoicing) to inform the way you lad others. Know your leadership as formal and informal, by example and through inquisition. It is how you speak, your experience, your grit and the lessons you’ve learned from it all.
- Speak life. Speak your purpose into existence. Recenter your paradigm on your affirmations, excising the doubt and negativity from your speech and beliefs.
- Invest in soulful self-care. Candles, bubble baths, and massages are not always enough. Invest: match your care with the intensity of your struggle. Be determined to be whole, and chart your path. Ask for help and take it from the wise: those who have successfully done what you’re seeking to do, or those who you rust to steer you (ie, a therapist or mentor).
- Prioritize yourself first. Make your calendar reflective of your life, and ensure your life is not a reflection of your calendar. Write down the things you need to do for yourself first, blocking out time for self-care.
- Surround yourself with people who live and support your pursuit of purpose. Surround yourself with people who live and support the pursuit of purpose. B discerning of your investment of energy. Learn to walk away and set boundaries for those whose season has ended or whose reason is unclear.
- Pursue your purpose despite fear: do it scared! Don’t allow fear or circumstance to cripple you. Motivate your struggle to success! Perseverance through struggle allows you to arrive at your purpose. Grit through struggle allows you to arrive at abundance.
Are there specific strategies you employ to achieve alignment?
Psychology Today. Alignment, Not Balance, Is A Woman’s Saving Grace.