I recently prompted my email list with the question, “are you enjoying your freedom?”
I got a response from a reader who shared that she was putting her best foot forward and working hard but not seeing the kinds of results she was hoping for. She even added that she felt her purpose in life was lost.
She wanted to know how she could get out of this situation.
There isn’t an easy answer to this question, because there are so many variables to consider.
But here are several questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you’re on the right track:
Do I Have a Victim Mentality?
Have you taken full responsibility for everything you have in life, both the good and the bad?
Many people have a victim mentality, and in their mind, everything is someone else’s fault.
Certainly, there are some variables beyond our control. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t involved on some level.
When you take full responsibility for yourself, you will feel empowered.
I think a lot of people subscribe to a victim mentality because they need an excuse for when things go wrong. They can mitigate the embarrassment of making mistakes by blaming it on someone or something else.
So, if you aren’t owning up to your part in creating your reality, do so now. Your purpose will become clearer.
Am I Endorsable?
Do others see you as being trustworthy and credible? What kind of reputation have you built?
Sadly, mindfulness has become a bit of an artform in recent years.
A couple of years ago, I had an investor approach me with the idea of becoming a partner in my business.
The problem is he didn’t even introduce himself. I had no idea who he was or what he did.
He just went straight for the jugular — “I like your business idea. But here’s what you’re doing wrong. I can show you how to make more.”
I hate time-wasters as much as the next guy, and I often appreciate it when people get straight to the point. But if you can’t be bothered to establish some context before making me an offer, I don’t want to work with you.
People are always trying to determine whether they can trust you. If you work hard, show up early and stay late, add value to others, and demonstrate that you’re reliable and dependable, better opportunities will land in your lap.
Am I Trying the Same Things Expecting Different Results?
As you are surely aware, this is the definition of insanity.
I have a friend who wants very badly to succeed in his chosen industry.
The problem is his skills clearly lie elsewhere. He’s been trying for years to break through in his niche without much success.
I admire his tenacity, determination, and persistence.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tries, there’s a good chance he’s not going to make it in this field.
It’s not because he isn’t smart or talented. It’s because he’s not playing to his strengths.
In some ways, this goes back to a comment I made earlier about mindfulness. Some people aren’t mindful of what they’re good or bad at.
I have another friend who’s convinced himself that he’s a great guitar player, but he isn’t. It’s apparent that he either doesn’t practice or is just going about learning the instrument the wrong way.
So, maybe you can’t succeed in the field you’ve chosen. Or, maybe you’ll need to adjust your approach. Either way, it’s good to know where your talents and skills truly lie.
Am I Improving?
Many people say they want the success they see others enjoying but aren’t willing to take the steps necessary to get there.
If you’re doing something you enjoy doing, you should be improving.
It isn’t always easy, but if you’re passionate about your craft, you’ll push through any challenges or obstacles you encounter and keep leveling up.
You need to take inventory of whether you’re improving. Otherwise, we’re back to insanity all over again — doing the same things expecting different results.
I once interviewed a guitarist friend who shared that there was one guitarist that booked himself in at a certain venue all the time. People would walk in to the venue seeing him performing and would go, “oh no, not again.” Not exactly the response you want as a musician.
But out of nowhere, he disappeared, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. About a month later, he resurfaced. Because of the precedent he had set, people were a bit leery. But this time, he ended up blowing away the audience. Redemption is possible.
If you’re continually improving, you can command better and better opportunities.
Am I Willing to Persist?
A lot of people count persistence in weeks or months. I count persistence in years and decades.
Why do I say that? Because this is exactly what most people’s actions and work ethic shows. People are revealed by their actions and not their words.
I had an intern who was interested in learning how to do internet marketing. He worked for me for two months and then gave up. If he’d stayed with me, he might not be earning millions, but he could have created a significant income by now.
Between 2008 and 2009, I played in a band whose potential I strongly believed in. We played a lot of great gigs and were cash flow positive.
Unfortunately, not all members were on the same page, and the band broke up. I still believe we could have gone places if we could have set personal differences aside.
18 months is too short a time to measure the success or efficacy of a band. If it was up to me, I would have stopped and reflected at the five- and 10-year marks instead. An annual review is also helpful, especially if any course correction is necessary, but there’s no need to count the chicks before they’re hatched.
So, ask yourself: how do I measure persistence? How long am I willing to stick with a project before I see results? Am I willing to course correct if I’m not getting the kind of response I expected to get after a couple of years?
Am I Adding Value to Others?
I first learned about Steve Pavlina, the world’s leading online personal development blogger, in 2007.
When I saw that he was making good income blogging, I decided it was something I wanted to do as well.
I spent years launching different blogs and creating content, hoping to earn just a fraction of what Pavlina was earning. But I never even came close.
Then came the opportunity to create content for a company I was investing in. As I began shifting my focus from myself to others, I soon realized there was an opportunity to earn an income as a blogger. It may not have been in the manner I expected but creating SEO optimized blog posts for others proved to be a profitable venture and has been one of my most significant revenue streams in the last six years.
Whatever you’re engaged in you must shift your focus from yourself to others if you want to earn an income doing it. This is especially true with creating art.
How to Get Unstuck
Sometimes, getting unstuck can be a relatively simple matter.
Maybe your world doesn’t need to be shaken up right now, and a small change could make a big difference.
Here are a few things worth considering:
- Moving your office or work space to another location.
- Getting all your ideas out of your head and onto a whiteboard (take a picture with your phone, save it in Dropbox, and wipe the board clean).
- Thinking about or doing your work differently than you are right now.
- Changing your input — listening to different music, watching different videos, reading different books and articles, etc.
- Collaborating with someone you’ve never worked with before.
As for purpose, it tends to come from doing the work. As you work more, you will develop more of a passion for it. As you become more passionate about something, your purpose will become clearer.
If you don’t feel like you’ve found your purpose yet, it could be because you’ve never fully applied yourself to anything.
If you feel like you’re doing all the right things, then just keep doing all the right things. The Law of Reciprocity will take care of the rest.