What is The Aha! Life?
Are you living the life you’ve dreamed about, the life you were meant to live? If your answer is “yes,” then this article is not written for you. This article is for those who have spent most of their lives checking off boxes, moving from one achievement to the next as a measure of success. It is for those who bought into a definition of success that led them to believe the more they achieved, the happier they would be. Then suddenly one day they realize it was all a great big lie. They are not happy. Instead, they are resentful, overwhelmed, and out of balance. They want more for their lives – more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. If that’s you, then you’re in the right place. This article is all about helping you to craft the life you dream of having, a life of meaning where career success and personal fulfillment coexist. It’s what I call the Aha! Life.
The Aha! Life is your personal life philosophy that reflects who you are, what matters most to you, and the contributions you want to give to others. It’s your authentic way of being in the world, and it’s the only way to achieve what you really want. Living someone else’s or society’s definition of success can never satiate your innermost desires.
The Aha! Life has two defining elements: your life’s Aha! Moments and your Highest Aspiration. First, Aha! Moments. These are pivotal moments in your life that give insight into who you are, what you value, and your personal truth. While they can be found in life’s peak experiences, they most often occur following moments of disorientation and change. I love the quote by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, on how to experience life. She said, “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
In life, we have many aspirations. They range from educational, career, family and social relationships, health and wellbeing, and financial security, to name a few. Your Highest Aspiration transcends all of the other life aspirations. Transcendence was Maslow’s definition of a person’s highest consciousness, beyond self-actualization, to live in service to others. Similarly, the Highest Aspiration is the realization that our greatest desire is to craft a life of meaning. A meaningful life is a successful life.
You can live the Aha! Life by harnessing the wisdom and insight from your life experiences (Aha! Moments) and the passion and purpose in your heart and mind (Highest Aspiration) to craft the life you dream of living – a life with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Here are three things you can do to begin living your Aha! Life today:
1. Inquire into the life you dream of living.
We move in the direction of our questions. Our questions are fateful. If you inquire into and pay attention to what brings you joy, what passions you hold, and when you are most fulfilled, you will discover your definition of success and your Aha! Life. Go inward by meditating, reflecting, or journaling. Trust that the answers are within you.
2. Kick fear in the mouth and move outside your comfort zone.
Enough! It’s time to make your move. Though the comfort zone is a place of safety and well, comfort, it is also a place where your dreams go to die. You may feel good inside the comfort zone, but you will not grow there. Brené Brown said, “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” All that you desire in living the Aha! Life is found outside your comfort zone. Take risks and bet on yourself. That may mean redefining professional success, choosing to live more authentically, letting go of relationships that no longer serve you, or pursuing a goal or long-held dream that you’ve been afraid to pursue. Whatever it is, take a positive step in that direction and let your momentum, motivation, and confidence build with each step.
3. Practice Compassion Toward Self and Others
Compassion moves beyond empathy to action. Offering your gifts and talents to lift others in turn will lift you. Find a cause that you care enough about to take a leadership role. My mentor and friend, Peter Block said, “You cannot live a life of purpose without leadership.” What moves you to act? Do that.
If you are interested in discovering and living your Aha! Life, I invite you to listen to my podcast, Your Aha! Life and to join my Facebook group, the Aha! Community. I share stories of insight and inspiration from everyday guests, who like you, are learning to craft their Aha! Lives by living in alignment with their innermost values. Your Aha! Life – The Podcast can be found wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. The Aha! Community is a private Facebook group that is growing with people who have committed to stepping outside their comfort zones, living the lives they dream about, and pursuing their goals. I welcome you to join our supportive and inclusive community.