As an investor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, I am fortunate enough to meet business leaders and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and experiences. And, as we get to know each other, many of these amazing people turn to me for mentoring.
Despite being successful in the eyes of the world, many of them feel like their lives are lacking something. They come to me with questions about how to improve their business, but the problem usually lies elsewhere. That’s why we end up talking about how they can create wildly fulfilling lives instead.
Perhaps you feel the same way. If so, then my guess is that you struggle with the same thing many of the people I mentor do: how to reconcile the obligations you have with the life you want to live. In other words, you may long to slow down, but you feel like if you do, you won’t be able to run your business successfully, or be a good parent, or pay your rent.
If that’s how you feel, I’d like to invite you to consider a different perspective: you don’t need to wait until your circumstances change in order to experience the kind of life you crave. No matter who you are or what obligations you have, by implementing the four-step process I’ll share here, you can create a life that replenishes you instead of depleting you.
The Board of Directors
#1: Identify the Members of Your Board
The first step to shifting out of chaos, stress and anxiety is to align what I call your “board of directors.” These are the voices in our heads that offer differing opinions about everything that is going on in our lives and have a say about any decision we make.
You know the voices I’m talking about. There’s the voice that tells you to take a risk, quit your job, and pursue that risky career move you’ve been dreaming about. There’s the one that says you’d be crazy to quit your job, because you need the income certainty. There’s also the voice that’s comparing you with all your peers, and the one that wants you to get your life more balanced. I could go on and on.
Often, our response to all this inner turmoil is to let one voice grab the mic and run the show. Then, later, another one steals the mic, and they run the show. It’s a never-ending battle for control between all these different parts of yourself. It’s crazy-making, and it’s exhausting.
However, it doesn’t have to be. I invite you to visualize all of these voices as if they were in a boardroom. Visualize yourself as the chairman. Just as you would if you were really sitting in front of your board of directors, acknowledge and allocate space to each voice to express itself. When you do, you can start to explore each voice’s deeper intention.
#2: Look for Alignment
Sometimes, to get to the real intention, you have to dig two or even three layers down. The voice that’s telling you to quit your job and go explore that creative endeavor, for example, is really looking for fulfillment. For that “director,” it’s probably really important that you don’t settle in your life.
The voice that’s telling you to stop that nonsense and stay in your job, on the other hand, is focused on making sure that you have enough money to pay your bills. That voice is committed to making sure you have safety. It realizes that if you can’t pay your rent, you’ll suffer, and it wants to avoid that.
On the surface, these two voices may seem like they are diametrically opposed to each other. Go a few layers down, though, and you can see that their intentions are actually very similar. The “don’t settle” director and the “safety” director are both looking for you to feel good about your life. The only difference is how they approach achieving their goal.
Ultimately, by connecting with the core intention of each member—by examining the why behind the voices—you will realize they are all interested in maintaining the wellbeing of the company. And the company, of course, is you.
#3: Form a Plan
Once you’ve identified each voice’s core intention, you can begin to create alignment around the overarching goal. And, by bringing all these seemingly separate parts into unison, you create cohesion in the company.
Often the voices will use self-judgment as a tool to get your attention. Once they realize you are actually handing them the mic, they don’t need to rely on those outdated mechanisms to get their perspectives heard. No longer will each individual voice battle for control. Instead, each one can move in lockstep with the others.
At this point, you are ready to form a plan that will help address each voice’s concerns while keeping the ultimate goal in mind. For example, the “don’t settle” director may be able to recognize the value of keeping an income stream, and the “safety” voice may realize that having an outlet for creativity is important to the whole. Once they meet on that common ground, a strategy can be formulated that honors both voices and leverages their respective wisdom.
I’ve seen this process make an incredible difference for entrepreneurs and other people who are having a hard time finding peace. By bringing each part of yourself into alignment, you harness the energy and power necessary to create a life that satisfies you on every level.
#4: Test It Out
Once you’ve come up with a plan to reach your overarching goal, I invite you to set a timeframe for testing it out. This will allow you to determine if your strategy is sound or if parts of it need revision.
Once you’ve tested your plan out, go back to your “boardroom.” Put yourself back in the role of the chairman and check in with each part of yourself. How do they feel? Does each part want to keep trying the plan, or are there corrections or revisions that one part feels it would be important to make?
Just as you would in a real company, think of this as a quarterly review, except you may be doing this weekly or even daily at first. If you notice something isn’t working, use the feedback from your board to make adjustments. Then, test your revised plan again for a certain length of time.
You can do this as often as necessary. Just remember to check in with each one of your voices as you do and get sign off from them before moving forward with a new strategy. Otherwise, you run the risk that they will start the exhausting and futile battle for control again.
Take Control of the “Chaos”
If you are like many of the people I mentor, you may find that one of the reasons you push yourself so hard is because, deep down, you are afraid that if you slow down, your inner chaos will catch up to you.
I invite you—just as I invite them—to look at it another way. I believe that chaos only arises when you try to silence certain voices, or only listen to one of them. That’s when the cracks start to show, because all the other parts start shouting, louder and louder, to be heard.
Left unchecked, this leads to deep burnout, addictions, or other negative consequences. But, by following this four-step process, you can harmonize the chaos by bringing each part of yourself into alignment.
Best of all, following this process doesn’t require any significant changes to how you’re living your life. All it requires is shifting your perspective, and before you know it, you will be well on your way to a more fulfilling, replenishing, and satisfying life.
For more tools on how to create a life of deep fulfillment, you can find The Mystery of You on Amazon.
Emilio Diez Barroso was a lifelong seeker—seeking recognition, achievement, love, success, and finally, the ultimate carrot: enlightenment. In his pursuit of enlightenment, he was forced to face what all the seeking had been trying to avoid: his own sense of unworthiness. Defeated at the game of avoiding and humbled by the realization of his true nature, he is now dedicated to alleviating suffering in the world. Emilio is married and is a father to three incredible teachers. He sits on the board of over a dozen companies, is the CEO of NALA Investments and is an active philanthropist, investor and entrepreneur. He has a master’s in spiritual psychology and resides in Los Angeles.