The Lost Art of Following Your Destiny
Something happened this year and it has changed everything. My days, my life, my attitude, my vision, EVERYTHING shifted. I can’t stop saying “I’m happy!” And the best part is that I really, really mean it. I am truly happy and it’s all because of one not-so-little thing:
I finally found what I am meant to do.
The funny thing is, that for the last ten years I was convinced that I was doing what I was meant to do. And, although not entirely off base, I found myself pushing and pulling, needing to reassure myself at every turn, forcing myself to do things that I honest to god did not want to do. Yet I still thought I was doing what I was destined to do.
Hard work is part of success. But how hard should the work really feel?
These past three months I have worked harder than I have in a long time. I have put in more hours, struggled with juggling a full-time work and full-time mom schedule (praise for the grandmas out there!), but I have enjoyed all of it more than I ever thought was possible. Again, even though I’m working my tail off, I am so ridiculously happy and having so much fun.
So how did I get here? And why did it take me so long to figure it out?
I think a lot of it comes down to us believing what we want to believe. We tell ourselves stories over and over about who we think we should be, what we should be doing, what our lives should look like and we start to believe them as truth. These stories aren’t always bad. They can lead to some pretty spectacular experiences and lessons, but when these stories become more prevalent in our subconscious than what our hearts and lives are trying to tell us, they can lead us down the wrong road, one that, once you’re far enough down it, can seem like there are no other paths to be on.
I fell in love with the practice of yoga when I was seventeen. I loved the physicality of the practice, the challenges it presented me, but I also loved the spirituality, the quiet space, the focus on breath. I became hooked after just a few classes, diving into every text I could get my hands on, dedicating all of my free time to studying and practicing.
This kind of passion, I thought, must mean something! It must mean that this is what I’m meant to do! I invested money, completed training after training, and began teaching. My love of the practice and of the yogic tradition overshadowed my dislike for teaching - FOR TEN YEARS! I dreaded every single class, wishing that no one would show up so that I could just practice alone. I cancelled classes constantly and gave up opportunities to teach often. But then, driven by guilt and my passion for the subject, I would persist, committing to new classes, new students, new trainings.
The problem was that I didn’t hate all aspects of teaching. I loved the preparation, creating my class plans, weaving in theory and philosophy and I loved the community. I cherished my time after class visiting with my students, hearing about their lives, connecting with them on a deeper level.
And it’s because of this, I think, that people like me too. It wasn’t that I was an exceptionally talented teacher, it was because I cared about them and took the time to create classes that had purpose (and that felt good too!) So these students, and my belief that this was something I was destined to do, kept me doing something I didn’t like. I ignored my anxiety, my displeasure, the pain of actually teaching a class and persevered for the good parts. I even took on week-long retreats in Costa Rica! My husband can vouch for the months of anxiety these events caused and how long it took me to recover after the event was over (who would have thought a week in paradise could be so draining!)
The point of all of this is that people do this ALL THE TIME in their own way. We tell ourselves things like, “But I like this so much!” or “I’ve invested all of this time and money!” or “I’ve already come this far!” or “It’s what people know I do!” and keep going down a path that really isn’t at all what we’re destined to do.
Because, now that I’ve seen what following your destiny really feels like, I can tell you that the deep pain and anxiety experienced so frequently does not come when you are doing what you’re really meant to do (not just what you think you should be doing!)
A year ago I came across the concept of Eulerian Destiny (I think through Tai Lopez) … he presented the idea and, at the time, it seemed so simple. You answer three questions and then find where your answers intersect. Ta-Da! You have your destiny, the thing that will not only make you happy, but that will also bring you money and success. Easy, right?
Well, a year ago I answered all of his questions and came up with my “destiny”. The huge problem was that I went into the process believing that I knew what my destiny was. So, much like playing with a Ouija board when you’re in middle school, I made the pieces line up how I wanted them to. (This is also how you get the Ouija board to spell the name of the boy you have a crush on when you ask it, “Who am I going to marry?” The power of belief!)
So, following my “destiny” I dove deeper and deeper into a hole, believing that somehow I would end up on another side, miraculously happy, successful, and fulfilled. I crawled deeper and deeper into the dark until I broke. Sad, exhausted, stressed - I was done!
But it was in this state of overwhelming hopelessness, a complete and utter “Fuck This!” state, that I returned to this idea of destiny. Ready to do anything to get myself out of this hole, I found myself open-minded and willing to drop my ego and all of the lofty ideas it had created over the years.
I asked myself the three Eulerian Destiny questions again:
How have I made money for the past 5 or 10 years?
What do strangers compliment me on/what was I good at as a child?
What do I find interesting? What do I like, but don’t LOVE?
I started journaling. I spent time really trying to dig to find the actual answers to these questions. I talked to my mom. I found old projects from elementary school. I committed myself to figuring this out, being completely open to the idea that my life could be destined for something I would have never, ever dreamed of. (Plumbing school? Where do I sign up!)
Turns out that WRITING is the common thread for me - NOT YOGA. NOT TEACHING. And now, committing myself fully to this new adventure (which really isn’t so new but never before was my focus) I have finally found my destiny. And I know it will get a lot more specific as time goes on. And a lot of pieces will change over time. And I’m grateful for that!
The consequences of ignoring what you’re meant to do are serious. Not being open to changes, not being open-minded in general, steals happiness and fulfillment from your life. In these few months of focusing on writing, building a new business, taking on new roles, have been more wonderful and FREEING than I ever could have imagined.
Yes, life can really be that amazing.
So, what’s your destiny? What are you really here to do? What will bring you more fulfillment and happiness? The answers won’t come to you over night, but, once you start the process, you’ll start seeing connections, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and, I promise, discover something that truly lights you up.