Have you ever experienced a crisis in your life that left you feeling derailed? Maybe you lost a job that you thought was secure, or had to part ways from a significant other, or or faced a severe illness.
Most of us know the feeling - The whole world feels like it's upside down.
Dealing with a crisis is never easy, especially when your resources are limited. But every crisis is also an opportunity, raw potential for a powerful growth experience. The secret is to refuse to feel like a victim, and to seek the gift that’s hidden like a jewel in every setback.
When I embarked on my journey to freedom I was completely broke. although my life was in turmoil it served as a big turning point for me — transforming not only my poor financial habits, but also my mindset around work and how I use my time.
Freedom for me was not about quitting my job and doing nothing. It was about designing a life that I’m so passionate about that I can’t wait to wake up in the morning. Rather than planning to retire from work, I wanted to do work so rich and fulfilling that I would never want to retire.
The ability to shift perspective is a critical skill for personal development. When a setback or a crisis happens, don’t think of it as a curse. Maybe it's exactly the inspiration you needed... When you can see a “negative situation” from a positive angle, you can reflect on what’s important and maximize your growth.
The difficult emotions that usually accompany crises are catalysts for dramatic change. They are designed to inspire action. For example, my deep frustration with not being able to see my parents after their car accident inspired me to rethink my life and my purpose.
By sitting with the frustration, understanding its source, and then letting it go, I learned my real hunger was for freedom. I was ready to satisfy it.
In fact, when I think about my motivation to tackle my huge debt and pursue financial independence in one year, I tapped into the most powerful energy source:
I had found my calling.
The "Why" Behind your Calling
"The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling." ~ Vishen Lakhiani
More important than goal-setting or constructing a vision, a foundational step for living your dreams is to invest time in understanding your motivation, your big “why.”
The reason is simple: as human beings, we operate at our highest level when we’re in touch with a deeper calling; a sense of purpose invigorates us and provides our road map and compass.
Take Oprah Winfrey, for example: At age nine, Oprah was sexually molested by her cousin, and by age fourteen, she gave birth to a son who later died in infancy. Despite this trauma and hardship, she achieved extreme success. Her journey to overcome her childhood sexual abuse led her to become a defender of young victims and inspire millions of people around the world.
Or Hal Elrod, author of best-selling book, The Miracle Morning. Following a car accident, Hal died for 6 minutes, fell into a coma, and woke up to doctors telling him he had permanent brain damage and would never walk again. After consistent hard work and dedication to his recovery process, he used his crisis as fuel to teach others about the “Miracle Morning,” the process he used to transform his life. His tribe of Miracle Morning followers continues to grow.
In my case, my calling pushed me deep into indefinite nomadic travel, leading me to inadvertently discover a deeper part of myself. I realized I needed freedom so that I could explore the world more fully. By immersing myself in new cultures, I learned invaluable lessons about who I am and how I can be of service to the world.
In your case, it might be different; to live a meaningful and fulfilling life might mean spending more time with your loved ones, or giving back to the community and the environment. Whatever your “why” may be, make sure it is deeply rooted in your heart.
Take one of your big dreams and ask yourself, “Why is it absolutely necessary for me to achieve this? What’s the calling behind my dream? Is it a “nice-to-have” calling or a “must-have”? If it's just a “nice-to-have,” then your “why” might not be compelling enough to pull you through pitfalls along the way.
It’s also important at this point to determine what’s at stake if you don’t pursue your dream. How would your life look (and feel) if you took little or no action? Because the more that is at stake, the more seriously you’ll tackle your goals.
Remember, why you're doing something is more important than what or how you're doing it, so make sure your desire is clear in your mind and huge in your heart.
One final word, carving a new path may feel uncomfortable or unclear in the beginning, but just because it's unfamiliar doesn't mean we should abandon it. The path will get clearer as we go.
Tal Gur is an impact-driven entrepreneur, author, and investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has led him to found Elevate Society and other impact-driven ventures.