Wondering what you're supposed to do with your life? Here's a process I came up with to figure it out in less than 5 minutes. Let's do this!
First a few assumptions:
Assumption 1: this process assumes fulfillment is what we're aiming for. Many people confuse achievement with fulfillment, but remember: fulfillment means achieving those things that are inherently meaningful to you, as opposed to chasing after things like money or fame that our culture tells us will 'bring us happiness'. Blind chasing of achievement is a dead end. Most successful people hit this dead end at some point in life and it's a shocker. Happiness is a journey, not a destination, and fulfillment and meaning are what bring joy to life.
Assumption 2: this process assumes that you want to live a life in integrity with your values. Not society's values, your values. Many people have never taken the time to see the difference.
And Assumption 3: this process assumes that relationships (and the experiences of being in them) comprise one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of being human.
Ok if you agree with me so far, here's how to figure out what to do with your life in a couple minutes:
Step 1. Define your values. These are the things you want more of in the world.
These can be qualities like connection, or fun, or things that interact with humans like robots, or oratory, or music. As long as they are things you value. Defining your values will give you the realm of things that you might want to work on, and the flavor you'd like to taste while working on them. These are qualities or activities that you feel passionate about expressing in the world, and that bring you joy or meaning.
For me some of my values are: security, love, relationships, creativity, connection, dancing, music, empathy, intimacy, the golden rule, fun, joy, creating value, making things, thinking big, pushing the envelope, creating the future, human potential, etc. If I'm working on a project where I get to be immersed in this stuff, I'm stoked.
Conversely, when we work on something that is counter to our values, we end end up hating ourselves. We've all been there. I once had a paper route as a kid and hated it. It wasn't in alignment with my values.
Writing down our values is a powerful filter. Once we define our values we can pretty much rule out anything that isn't in alignment with them. For Example, today I listened to a podcast about wholesaling real estate and was momentarily tempted to try that business. But upon reflection I realized I would hate it just like I hated my paper-route. Because wholesaling real estate isn't creative or future-focused. So it only took a minute to rule it out. For someone who needs to focus like me, this is a powerful tool.
Step 2. Define your tribe. These are the kinds of people who share your values, and that you'd ideally want to be around nearly all the time.
Relationships give life it's color, and you get to choose the type of people you have relationships with! So take your values and figure out what kinds of people you would ideally be surrounded by in your life. This is your tribe.
Humans are deeply social. Who you surround yourself with has a huge impact on your ability to see yourself, be yourself, live your values in the world, be self-expressed, and enjoy being alive. So take a minute and write down your ideal tribe, the kinds of people who would light you up and make you feel truly alive.
Now realize something important: if you want your life to be awesome, you are describing not just your friends, but your prospects, leads, customers, co-workers, investors (if you have them) and vendors. The more you can surround yourself with your tribe, the easier it'll be to be you and express your unique genius. Imagine your life where in every aspect of life, you are surrounded by people who inspire you, and call you to be powerfully yourself.
These are the people who you will serve, and the people who will serve you. If you surround yourself with your tribe, you will fit perfectly into your natural habitat. Like a flower in a meadow, you will effortlessly soak up the sun and feed the bees.
This is a powerful hack because it's simultaneously a way to live in alignment with your values, amplify your genius, and give your greatest gifts. Again, humans are social animals.
For me my tribe is self-actualizing, socially-conscious creators, entrepreneurs and artists who are intentionally shaping a bright future from a place of love and connection. These are the kinds of people that make my soul sing, and the only kind of people I choose to surround myself with.
I learned the hard way that I can't get behind people who just want to make money for money's sake, or who aren't interested in humanity's collective future, so I don't work or hang around them anymore. This makes my life so much better. I get to be with my tribe whether at work or at play.
Because what happens when we work with people who don't share our values? we hate (or at least suffer through) our lives. We all need to have interactions with co-workers, vendors, and customers, so we might as well choose them beforehand through the lens of our values. When we make relationships from a place of shared values, these relationships can be lifelong and bear the greatest fruit both personally and professionally. Working with people that are a values match is 100x easier, more profitable and more rewarding than trying to serve or work with people who don't share your values.
I'd even go so far as to say that who we work with is as important as what we're doing with them. Ok so with your ideal tribe in mind...
Step 3. Define your lifestyle.
In your ideal future, what are you doing within your tribe? Who are you helping and how? how much are you working? how much are you getting paid for your contributions? What is the deeper meaning behind your contribution? Brainstorm until you have a clear picture of you serving and receiving within your tribe. What are your genius qualities? how can they manifest? make a list of activities of how you could fit into the ecosystem of your tribe, the people you'll be the happiest being around.
For me, the activities I enjoy are: coaching, making music, creating conscious businesses, and playing some role in designing our collective future. The idea of spending my life doing these activities with my tribe in a sustainable and profitable way fills me with stoke, so that's what I'm doing with my life. Take a minute to design a life you love within your tribe. Be unreasonable.
Conversely, If we don't design a lifestyle we love doing activities we love, we start to resent our work and are likely to burn out. This is what I did to myself at Kindara. I prioritized growth and the getting of money over living in alignment with my desired lifestyle. I could feel the misalignment, but instead of making immediate adjustments to live more in alignment with myself, I was entranced by a fantasy that someday soon I would raise the next round, or grow the company big enough that I would 'make it' and 'arrive at happiness'.
Of course that day never came and I now see that particular fantasy as the road to burnout. Getting there was a rude awakening, but at least I learned a valuable lesson: life is a marathon, not a sprint. And you get to pick the route. So pick a route you'll like.
So that's the three step process to figure out what to do with your life. Basically fill out a table like this:
1. My Values Are:
2. My Tribe Is:
3. Ways I See Myself Serving My Tribe are:
If you work on something you find meaningful, with people who see, treasure, and amplify you, in a sustainable way that brings joy and balance to your life, you’ve got it made. That’s my definition of fulfillment.
Now you have a picture of what you should be working on, who you should be working with and the lifestyle to make it fulfilling and sustainable. Making it all real is a lifelong process, but my ask of you is that you get started today.
What did you figure out and what are three actions you can take today to start moving towards this new future? Let me know in the comments.
(Oh, and if you are a self-actualizing, socially-conscious creator, entrepreneur or artist who is working on consciously shaping the future from a place of love and connection, Holla! let's be friends.)