This week was my 38th birthday, and I’m nearing the edge of 40. No longer am I in my early 30s (hell, not even in my mid-30s!). But I don’t mind. Birthdays tend to put things in perspective. I’m not afraid of getting older. I don’t worry about death or not accomplishing enough. For me, birthdays are simply signposts. They are a reminder to stop and take inventory of where you are at. No judgement, only truth.
I’ve started to look back on my life in terms of decades and what I’ve learned along the way. Until I was 16 years old, I was overweight and insecure. This was the decade of social survival. I was trying to be someone else. I was not willing to tell myself the truth about who I was. I didn’t have the courage just be me. Instead I created an identity based on who I thought other’s wanted me to be. I learned how to be an adaptable, persuasive, story-telling, chameleon. I could be anyone you wanted me to be – just like that. Hindsight, being 20/20, I know now I was just insecure and hiding behind this facade. But it also taught me how how to adapt to nearly any situation. It taught me how to read people and present them with win-win scenarios. These are all skills I have taken into my leadership and business building journey. The difference is that I’m not hiding behind them, I’m fully me, and just use these skills to enhance who I already am.
For the next 10 years or so (16 – 28) it was all about achievement (for all the wrong reasons). But at the time, they were the right reasons for me because I didn’t know there were any other! The desire for material things, significance, success, and “fame”, drove me to make a lot of money. I was searching for a feeling of belonging and for happiness and joy. I was just searching in all the wrong places (lake house, Porsche, awards, etc.). My ego, my lower energy which came from a very self-indexed place, was driving me. It served it’s purpose for sure. Ultimately, I learned that no material item or external experience was going to give me what I was after. During that time of achievement, I learned a lot of tangible skills – how to sell real estate, how to build a business, how to hire, grow, and lead a team – and I eventually hit a ceiling on my growth. So at 28, I had reached a point where by all intents and purposes I would be considered successful. I had the car, the house, the wife, the company, the power, the prestige… but I was still incredibly unfulfilled. In fact, most of the time it made me feel depressed and worse than before I had achieved “success.” Because it wasn’t about the next business or the next award, it was time to focus inward on my personal growth.
Let’s pause here for a minute before we go deep! Spirituality is a super broad concept and can mean different things to different people. And they are all right! Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. For me, spirituality simply means we are able to connect to something bigger than ourselves. Therefore, my mission in this physical life is to grow spiritually. I often use the terms personal growth and spiritual growth interchangeably – for me, they are one in the same.
Between age 28 and today, I started my spiritual growth journey. Yes, I know the term is probably overused, but it is a journey! There will never be an end destination. I plan to still be on this spiritual path when my physical form takes it’s last breath! About 10 years ago, I started dabbling in more personal growth activities – journaling and deep breathing, which eventually led to 1.5 hours of a daily personal development practice which includes twice a day meditation, journaling, affirmations, Future Self visualization, and daily planning. From there, I layered in even more growth components – like reading 1-2 books each week. This did not happen overnight! Spirituality is sequential, not simultaneous. I kept layering in new facets of personal growth, as I grew. It was (it is!) hard work, but it’s the most important work I do. To get where I am today, it has been over 7 years of purposeful practice.
The first few years, I learned everything I could and tried different techniques on for size. It took a solid five years to even know what I was beginning to look for inside. I had to make a conscious decision that I was willing to go beyond. What does “beyond” even mean? Beyond what? Well, it means the person you were (your ego) must die for you (the inner you) to actually move forward. This is where most people stop. And I get it! It’s scary to let go of your identity, what you’ve built, your relationships, etc. People question themselves and ask, “If I go “beyond” will I have to give up my success, my business, my family, my vacations, my drive? Will it all disappear?” I had that fear too for years, until I finally had the courage to say, “I’m all in.”
I was on the fence for a while. But one morning, a morning not unlike today, I just decided to go for it. And it changed me forever. The last two years I have started to truly reach states that I have never reached before. The funny thing is, I’m still doing the same activities I was doing five years ago, after I had honed in on my daily routine. It’s just a different part of me doing them. THAT is spiritual transformation. I went beyond the lower self and moved behind the ego, relaxing into the truth of who I am. And guess what? It made me more financially successful, it made me much happier, it created more joy in my life, and gave me complete clarity. A caterpillar doesn’t know it has the ability to metamorphose into a butterfly until it does and starts to experience life from a whole other angle (a whole other part of itself!). I didn’t know what that was until I experienced it, until I transformed and now I have made it my mission to help others achieve this.
And here I am today, 24 months from the big 4 – 0. What will the next decade bring? More spiritual growth, no doubt. I will be doing deep, deep work so that the part of me that gets up each day and learns, works, and plays is coming from pure service to the people and the world around me. Don’t get me wrong I have a bunch of “material” goals too (living abroad with my family for several months, building a new house, acquiring several companies, and becoming a New York Times Bestselling author), but none of that matters if I can’t bring the inner world to myself and others too.
Are you ready for that next step in your personal and spiritual growth? Want to go deep into who you are at the core, while still achieving your financial, family, and business goals? You can have both! Inner peace and external success are not mutually exclusive!
Apply now to join the Project | U class of 2020 where I will be walking you through a year long process to help you align your inner and outer world.