At 41 years old, I was at the height of my career with a plan to be promoted.
I was also burned-out, exhausted to my bones, and secretly resenting my career for making my life feel so unfulfilling.
Here’s a glimpse of what my life looked like:
- Working 60+ hours per week.
- Working past midnight and on weekends.
- Missing family events and social gatherings.
- Waking up 4:30 a.m. to prepare an early meeting with the boss.
- Staying in the office past 8:00 p.m. waiting for a meeting to begin.
- Rescheduling my medical testing to attend an ‘important’ leadership presentation.
- Leaving my sick 8-year-old at home, alone, to run a management meeting at the office.
- Taking an 8-hour flight to Italy, attending a 1-hour meeting upon landing, and immediately taking an 8-hour flight home.
Granted, this was PRE-pandemic and at a time when working virtually was uncommon. But, given recent headlines, the POST-pandemic workplace appears to be worse.
Back then, I was angry my entire life revolved around my work, that I didn’t know my neighbors, and that I abandoned my hobbies and health.
It wasn’t until my daughter stunned me by saying, “mom, I don’t want to have your life,” that I decided to change things for good.
For the past 8 years, I’ve been on a wellness and spiritual evolution that brought living to the forefront of my life.
Here’s one important revelation I made…
I wasn’t burned out because I was overworked.
I was burned out because I was disconnected from my soul.
Your soul is your essence, your mission, who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe.
It’s easy to forget the truths of our soul when we are conditioned by society to measure ourselves by what we produce.
As kids, we were taught to value ourselves by our grades, rank, athletic records, championship titles, community service, leadership roles, and various jobs.
By carrying that programming into the “never enough” and “always more” adult world, we continue to produce one achievement after the next or get left behind.
Producing at all costs seemed foundational for getting ahead in the corporate world. I lived it for 20+ years.
No doubt, my career was successful.
No surprise, my life was failing.
Not remembering what I stood for kept me anxiously chasing perfection, recognition, and the wrong ambitions.
This 1 simple practice changed the rest of my life:
>>> I let my soul guide me. <<<
Because our soul is connected to something far more powerful than our human existence.
> It knows the right answer for us.
> It’ll always lead us toward the right path.
> It remembers the life we are meant to lead.
I always listened to my mind; listening to my soul felt confusing.
But with some practice, I found these 5 ways helpful for uncovering my inner wisdom:
- Meditation. Conscious breathing and letting go of thoughts, even for 5 mins per day, does 2 things-
It empties your mind and makes space for creative thinking.It helps you recognize the nuances of your body to know when something feels ‘off.’
- Walking silently in nature. Nature is a powerful source of energy. Silence, without the distraction of music or your phone, helps you remain present. Presence is where your intuition will communicate with you by sending you a thought, a sense, or a knowing.
- Asking the universe for help and watching for signals. Years ago, I was searching for purpose. I prayed for help. The next day, a colleague told me about a book she was reading called, “The Untethered Soul.”
A few weeks ago, I was writing a speech. It sounded clunky. So, I asked the universe to help. The same afternoon, I noticed a podcast I never finished listening to. The subject was about authenticity and living from the heart. It was the exact message, offered in the perfect moment, to help me finish writing.
The universe (a.k.a. God, Holy Spirit, the Divine, a higher power, your faith) always has your back. When you send a question into the universe, it will be answered for you. There are messages delivered to you all day. Nothing is coincidental. Be present and open to receiving them.
- Honoring my values. As Brené Brown remind us, ‘living into our values means more than professing them, we need to practice them.’ Running your decisions through the filter of your values guarantees living with integrity and never making the wrong choice.
- Imagining the advice of someone I admire. When I am stumped on what to do, I imagine what some of my close mentors, esteemed colleagues, or inspirational figures would say to me. Whatever I imagine about their response is really a reflection of my own intuition. It’s my wisdom, not theirs, I am revealing.
Yes, there are times when things STILL feel unsure to me. When that happens, I rely on this sacred rule:
If something doesn’t feel like an undeniable yes, then the answer is always no. Trust yourself.
Here’s what relying on my soul has empowered me to do:
- Resist the urge to say yes to everything.
- Stop frantically responding to problems.
- Stop tolerating things that drain me.
- Set better boundaries for myself.
- Make decisions with confidence.
- Trust myself, fully.
I sometimes cringe when I recall 41-year-old Alyson. Because, 49-year-old Alyson would NEVER tolerate such madness.
Remember this, leading a powerful life comes from the power of your soul.
It’s time to start living the life you forgot existed.