I’m just settling down after a wonderful weekend of celebration and festivities from my brother’s wedding. During that weekend I got inspired to pen this article. You see at a gathering the day after his wedding, I was put on the spot when I was asked about my 5-year plan. This question totally caught me off guard, and had 7 curious people staring right back at me waiting for a response. I know personally I’m not one for laying out my plans to the world, but for showing everyone with my actions what I intend to do; so I simply smiled, gave a witty reply of “no comment”, and just strutted away.
This experience got me thinking about how often we pursue things far out in the distant future that we believe that will make us happy or fulfilled, to only get there to be sometimes disappointed or momentarily satisfied. Let’s be honest, your plans can only go as far as you can wrap your head around. That means you can probably wrap your head around a year or two, but as far as beyond that it can get hazy. And if you bite off more than you can chew, it can create unnecessary anxiety, but most importantly it may have you engaging in meaningless pursuits.
Here’s what I mean; anything that has you striving for something that offers momentary to no true value to you, or is quietly working towards someone else’s agenda is considered a meaningless pursuit.
A perfect example of a meaningless pursuit for me was when I set my sights on trying to climb the corporate ladder in the fashion industry. A fancy corporate title and status was important to me back then, until the 2008 recession hit and woke me up. At that time I was striving for the big shiny object (fancy corporate title), which gave me the illusion of something to aim for. For someone else this maybe a legitimate pursuit, but for me I was only doing it because I believed that’s what I was supposed to do, and it was a way of showing that I had finally made it. Although, there were other aspirations that I longed to follow but felt obligated to my initial career choice.
So now you’re probably wondering how to figure out if something is worth your while; well here are some quick tips on how to put an end to meaningless pursuits and go after what authentically aligns with who you are.
1. Start with “Why”!
Have the guts to ask yourself “why” you are pursuing a particular goal, and clarify the unmet needs before exploring strategies or leaping into action. The best way to do this is to start by reviewing your major goals, and going down the list asking yourself “What needs am I trying to get met here?” At first you may cite obvious reasons that have to do with a lot of surface fluff, but don’t stop there; continue to dig below the surface and you may soon realize that your reasons run deeper. It doesn’t matter what it is, just breakdown your ‘why’ to one or two words.
2. Explore your response
From an objective perspective look at your goal along with the “why”, and ask yourself these questions:
What is it about this pursuit that appeals to me?
How would this goal help me along in my journey?
If after your evaluation you determine that your ‘why’ is rooted in fear, validation from others, or dreaded obligation, it may possibly be considered a meaningless pursuit. On the other hand you may discover that it’s a particular feeling you are trying to achieve, then only you can determine whether it’s worth going after a feeling or try to cultivate it from within. There’s no judgment here; the power is yours.
3. Take what genuinely resonates with you, and leave the rest!
Now that you’ve identified what pursuits are truly worth your effort; you now have the opportunity to either revise or eliminate the ones that are meaningless. For instance, as I mentioned earlier about climbing the corporate ladder I recognized my why/value was ‘growth’. As a result, I’ve revised my pursuit from climbing the corporate ladder to now reflect personal, spiritual, and entrepreneurial growth for me. The lesson learnt here was that there’s many ways to achieve ‘growth’, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be on a straight-laced path.
Overall it took radical honesty and self awareness to help me realize that I had previously been too attached to the means and not the ‘why’; which evidently was most important. As you can tell the point here is to help you save your energy, money, and resources so that you can channel them toward worthwhile pursuits that are actually personally and spiritually rewarding to you. It comes down to honoring your values along with your purpose, and doing what benefits you in the grand scheme of life.
Sending you much love,
Now, I’d love to here from you! What are some meaningless pursuits have you previously or are presently chasing? What is your take away or insight from today’s post?
Express your thoughts, and join the conversation in the comments below. Share this post if you found it thought provoking, or helpful to you.
P.S. I have 4 spots left for a Complimentary 1-on-1 breakthrough session with me before the end of the month. Just the two of us! If you’re interested in taking one of the last spots, you can fill out this short form HERE, and I’ll get back to you with all of the details.