How can you tell if you are alive?
Search for meaning for freedom junkies: How to find your truth & calling
July 1, 2015
You want to be free
You want to make a living doing something that makes you happy every day.
But you have no plan what you really want to do with your life or what fills you deeply.
You are unhappy in your current career and in a location-dependent, unfree life, but you don't know what a better alternative would be.
In any case, you want to be free, do your thing, live where you want, travel the world for as long as you want and shape your life the way it makes you happy.
If all of this applies to you, this post is for you.
Anyone who still thinks today that a degree or a great apprenticeship and many amazing internships abroad would be the best and safest way to a fulfilled life and a full bank account is wrong.
Many of us come out of college or sit in our first job and realize that we are completely disillusioned.
I felt like that.
And I know from a lot of reader emails that many others feel the same way:
Nobody ever really teaches us how to figure out what we really want in life.
When it comes to choosing our profession, we are largely left completely alone.
No professor at university told me how I found my passion or how I could start my own business with “Communication & Media”.
And that there is such a thing as the digital nomad life? Nobody told me either.
At some point one or the other (and you) realize that there has to be more in life, that it can't be everything. Because you feel far emptier, more bored and more dissatisfied in your life and in your job than happy, passionate and full of energy.
One day you start to get to the bottom of it.
You might find my blog and get my e-book. You start reading self-help books.
If you're reading this blog post, you're one of the lucky ones. Most of them don't even get that far. #highfive
Do you know which email I get the most from my readers?
It goes something like this:
I don't know what to do next. Can you help me what to do with my life
I want to live like you. But I don't know what I enjoy or what my passions are. Let alone how I could make money from it.
Please help me."
Here is the unsightly truth
I can't give anyone the right answers.
Only you can do this for yourself and everyone else for yourself.
I can't push a magic pill into your hand or define your meaning in life at the push of a button.
That responsibility is entirely yours.
Only you have the answers within you.
I can only ask you the right questions.
Your meaning of life
Your individual “meaning of life”, your personal truth, is the intersection of four areas:
- You love what you do -> your passion
- The world needs what you do -> your mission and service for humanity
- You are really good at what you do -> your skills
- You get paid for what you do -> your income
- You live a lifestyle that you love -> your lifestyle design
When all of these five areas have sex together, you have arrived.
Sounds impossible? No way.
I did it. And many others I know, too.
Click on the links to read her story:
Nobody ever said it was easy. But I can tell you one thing:
It is possible. And it's worth it. Every fucking day.
How to find out your truth - and then live
Two stories from my life:
Even as a teenager, I always wanted to go out and travel and live all over the world, just not in Germany. I didn't let anyone stop me - it was like an invisible force that pulled me.
But at some point I went to university anyway - mostly for my parents and their expectations of us children:
"Studies are carried out in the Biesalski house."
I had no other choice, I was never given any other option. Even doing a “normal” education would not have been good enough for my father.
Still, I had no idea what to do with my BA and MA in communication and media. I didn't know what my real passions were outside of traveling and writing (the latter was my niece at university).
Before coming out at 26, I tried over and over again to be happy with men in relationships.
Because it was expected of me and it is just the "norm".
It took me a long time to realize that heterosexuality is not my truth (at least not 100%) and that I have actually wanted women for as long as I can remember. But fuck, it was extremely difficult to accept this truth and then to live it out.
In any case, my coming out helped me to stand by myself in other areas and not take conventions seriously.
Many of us live a life based on what is expected of us:
- From our parents
- From the community
- From our environment (friends, school, university ...)
This can usually also happen completely unconsciously.
You usually notice that you are not happy with your life, that you are dissatisfied, that you do not feel fulfilled, that you feel an emptiness.
It can go so far that you get sick and your body shows you in such a way that you are not living your truth.
Two examples from my past:
- During my first and last adult job in a PR agency in Berlin, I constantly had back pain, was regularly sick and felt depressed and frustrated.
- I had stomach upsets and psoriasis for years because I didn't act out my sexuality and completely ignored the fact that I love women. Instead, until I was 26 years old, I did what society expected and because I was ashamed in front of my family and friends.
What does it mean to live your truth?
The concept may sound a little abstract. It is important that you understand what it looks like in real life, i.e. in practice.
It's about you ...
- You are always 100% in everything you do - in what you do and say.
- get to know yourself better to know who you really are
- know your values and live them without restriction
- pursue your passions
- make your money doing something that fulfills you
- know and live your mission in life
- proud to be who you are
- learn to say no
- Doing things that are good for you and that make you happy - no matter what other people, friends or family think about them and without feeling guilty for them
- listen to you and your intuition
- you know your strengths and accept your weaknesses
- are brutally honest - to yourself and other people
- say how you feel and make yourself open and vulnerable
- See your deepest dreams as possibilities, not just unrealistic fantasies
Living your truth means that you, your thoughts, your actions, your desires and your words are in harmony with one another.
We are never properly shown how to find out who we really are and what our truth is.
I had to ...
- travel around the world several times
- living through personal crises
- Discover yoga and meditation
- Start life coaching
- Integrate spirituality into my life
- read endless books
- have a lot of meaningful and deep experiences
But it was worth it:
Living your truth makes you feel passionate, enthusiastic, and fulfilled every day.
Since I've been doing what corresponds to me and my personal, individual truth, I enjoy getting up in the morning every day. I am constantly and everywhere inspired and can hardly save myself from new ideas.
The way to your #HELLYEAH
We have to reprogram, reformat, so to speak. Let go of old beliefs, develop new ones and anchor them in us.
We have to ask ourselves many questions, go inside ourselves, get in deep contact with ourselves and cultivate this connection for the rest of our lives.
Finding out what our truth is is not a matter of being rushed through. It may take a few weeks or more likely months before we really have full clarity.
And even then, your truth can keep changing:
I am currently trying to redefine it for myself - because a lot has happened in the last few years since I first found it out and started to live.
At that time, three or four years ago, the focus for me was on traveling and building up my location-independent life, today it is the areas of nutrition, spirituality, emotional healing, yoga and meditation.
A few years ago I was still turned on by big cities and action and many people around me - today I enjoy peace and quiet in relaxed, small places by the sea or in nature.
So it is important to reflect on our truth again and again and to realign our compass.
Since I've been taking myself, my nature and my needs seriously, I've felt really alive - always and all the time.
How you get to this point, I will now explain to you.
Step 1: get in touch with yourself
The most important step ever.
First you have to get close to yourself, to feel yourself.
You have to find out what your needs are, what is good for you and what is not.
I can definitely recommend yoga and meditation for this. Only when you find the peace and the space to listen to yourself will you find answers (especially those to the questions below).
It may also help you to break out of your current life for a while.
Often it is difficult for us in our familiar surroundings to discover other levels of thought and to really find peace for ourselves.
I myself have my answers while I was doing my first and last adult job, but if you can, pack your things and leave:
Preferably in a place with a lot of nature. Maybe you go on a yoga or Vipassana silent retreat. Maybe you go to Bali, Mexico, Costa Rica, India or Thailand and stay in one place for a month or two or more.
Rent an AirBnB accommodation, read many books (see below), get to know other people, go to yoga, take long walks.
I would advise against traveling fast when looking for insights and answers. If you are only here for a few days and there for a few days, you will not be able to relax properly. Often times, traveling fast is just a distraction from ourselves and only confuses us even more.
I've met so many people who have traveled to find themselves. Most of the time, they return home as alienated as before and without much new knowledge.
Only in calm do we come to ourselves and can hear our inner voice.
Step 2: answer the most important questions of your life
For me, the really important insights came when I started asking myself the right questions and then consciously answering them.
I have put together a list of questions for you that I personally find essential.
But there is little point just reading them through and answering them in your head.
Write them down or print them out and answer them in writing:
- What is your perfect day like?
- If you had 12 months left, what would you do?
- What activities do you regularly do and completely forget about time?
- What can you talk to someone about for hours without getting bored?
- What is one area that you would like to be an expert in?
- If you were to get 2,000 euros just like that (no hooks) and you had to spend it on something that you yourself had a lot of fun with - what would you spend it on?
- If you could have a guaranteed high income, what would be your ultimate dream job?
- If money was not an issue, what activity would you do more regularly?
- If you had a million euros in your bank account at once - how would your life change? How would you shape your life?
- What was a moment when you felt totally creative and inspired, when you were totally in your element?
- What are your talents, what are you good at?
- What are your qualifications?
- Who could these talents and qualifications benefit from?
- What is your mission in life
- How do you want to make this world a more beautiful place?
- How do you want to or can you help other people?
- How can you change other people's lives in a positive way?
- What's your why
Do you see a pattern Can you spot two or three things that keep popping up?
And when you've found something, ask yourself:
Would you do it for free too?
Because yes, I would blog and write for free, no question.
What are your values
What are your non-negotiable requirements when it comes to practicing your calling?
Which framework conditions are important to you?
It is important that you know which values and requirements are essential for you when it comes to starting a business out of your passions.
To me it looks like this:
1. Work must not feel like work (-> concept of the zero-hour work week)
2. The way I make money must have a higher purpose
3. The way I make money must give me the greatest freedom.
4. The way I make money doesn't need employees.
5. The way I make money must allow me to live anywhere.
6. The way I make money has to help other people and change their lives for the better.
What is standing in the way of living your truth and calling?
I know that you have all sorts of voices in your head telling you “Yes, but ..” - because I had them too and sometimes they still come.
It is important to acknowledge them, because otherwise they will get further in your way and usually get louder than quieter.
Complete these sentences:
1. The reason why I no longer do what inspires me _____________.
2. The reason I stop doing what I enjoy is ____________.
3. I am afraid to live my truth and calling because ___________.
Here are a few examples of fears and limiting thoughts that are very common in our heads when it comes to turning our calling into something that makes a living (a business!):
- There is already a lot in the same area
- I don't want to limit myself
- Maybe I am not good enough
- I am not special enough
- Maybe it doesn't work and I fail
- Others may be successful with it, but I cannot
- I am not comfortable asking for money for my abilities or for something that may be spiritual or very personal
Step 3: Let go of old beliefs that no longer serve you
Here are a few examples from my own life:
1. I am not good at writing
I have loved writing all my life since I was a child.
At university, I chose journalism as a major during my communications studies. However, my professors found that I couldn't write really well and gave me 3 and 4 marks.
So I gave up my dream of being a journalist because I took seriously the belief that I can't write well.
Today my words reach over 100,000 readers every month and I get feedback from them every day that they love the way I write. I'm still self-critical, but hey ...
Fuck you, Uni and all professors with your grades. And thank you for that. Otherwise I would never be where I am now.
2. Entrepreneurship is bad and not for me
I come from an entrepreneurial family. Money was available, but that was exactly what led to a lot of problems within the extended family.
In addition, my parents were always busy with their business and never had time for me and my three siblings. Then my father's business went down the drain.
Money and business and self-employment became something “bad” for me at some point in those years. I never imagined going into business for myself. And because of my studies and my master's thesis supervisor, I was completely hooked on Marxism.
Today I know:
Entrepreneurship can be “good”. I can reach and help people AND earn money in the process.
I don't have to work 80 hours a week, I can also enjoy my life and spend a lot of time with the people who are important to me.
What are your beliefs that accompany you through life but do not serve you on the way to your truth?
It is not easy to let go of her, I know that from experience.
But basically beliefs are just thoughts that have driven a deep highway in our brains. The more we believe and repeat it, the deeper and more impressed this thought highway becomes.
The good news:
They can be disbanded, the highways closed and new ones built.
But the first thing you have to do is to start questioning all of your limiting beliefs.
Here is an interesting contribution to it.
I can also recommend you to exchange ideas with other people who are on a similar path to yours. That was pretty much the most important thing for me at the time.
Step 4: figure out how you want to make a living
Unfortunately, nothing works without coal. No matter how great your idealism - the great life you want must be financed.
And if you do not lead your best life, we come back to the point of "fulfillment" and without you can not help anyone.
So the next thing you need to find out is how you can package or offer your passions and calling in something so that others can draw value from them. Only then can you make a living with it.
This is usually not that easy and many find it very difficult.
Basically, it's the intersection of your passion, your skills, and something other people would pay money for.
Just following your passion is not enough. You can find out why this is so in this post and here.
Just because you like to travel, or knit, or look up in the air, or read books, no one is going to pay you for it.
The world has to want your passion and be ready to reward you financially.
For me it came out at the time that I earn my money in the field of social media, WordPress and translations as a freelancer while I set up a blog that should eventually provide me with my income. Tadaaa: Planet Backpack was born!
For me, the goal was to build a platform with which I could reach a lot of people. Traveling and location-independent was my thing and photography and writing and the passing on of knowledge and enthusiasm.
All of this combined resulted in blogging for me. And in the next step, information products to teach other people something (my e-book and our blog camp online course).
But in order to earn money with it, a few more skills were needed. For example online marketing and copywriting.
So for me it was blogging and writing. For you it can be something completely different.
I go into this step in my e-book in a very targeted and detailed manner and give you many examples and possibilities of how this can look in practice.
Final words from me ...
Finding out what your truth and calling is will take you on a longer journey. One that will likely last your entire life.
You will read, learn and find out a lot about yourself.
In between, always take longer to reflect and talk to other people about it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself if you can't get the ultimate answer fast enough.
Big things take time.
I also have to be patient right now until I find all my answers for the next phase of my life.
It will never stop. I'm also always on the way, never arrived. That's what life is for.
FINALLY I understood this one sentence that you read so often:
It's not about the destination, but about the journey to get there.
And finally, I can only recommend you to listen to your intuition.
Your heart knows best what it takes. Don't let your mind and logic guide you too much, “right” or “wrong”. This is why it is so important that you get in touch with yourself (step 1).
More resources for you
And also this blog post with my best book tips.
When you think that you have more than one calling in life
Then you are probably a "multipotentialite".
Check out this TEDx talk from Emilie Wapnick:
Her blog Puttylike and her e-book “Renaissance Business” also helped me a lot back then.
My last & maybe best tip:
Find a life coach.
If you are really serious and have a little money available, then find someone who is really competent to help people find their inner fire.
When I started life coaching about a year ago, I started an inner journey that has since gone deeper than anything else. It's fucking life-changing.
Because it is not only important to find out your truth, but also to live it. A life coach will help you with both.
Here are my personal recommendations:
- Ashley Paquin (I worked with her for a long time myself)
- Karen Hawkwood (I am currently working with her and have been working with her for a few months)
- Kaja Otto (great woman, I know personally, I would hire immediately)
It is the best feeling ever when you get up every day and know why you are alive.
I wish you can experience that every day too.
How did you find your truth and calling? Or are you still looking? Share your experiences in the comments!
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