Leading from the Spirit
There’s been many times that I’ve pondered the question: How should I live my life? That question was at the center of my decision to leave academia in 2005. Should I continue focusing on the analytical side: doing research to come up with technological advances to make it possible for all people to benefit from technology?
Why not? I was good at it. I had a respectable role as a professor at a major research university, and I had been instrumental in raising over a million dollars in research funding, had written a book and several book chapters, had published lots of articles and papers, had traveled the world speaking at conferences and organizations, had a six figure salary, had developed a complex software program that people wanted to use, had some modicum of fame in my niche, and so on. So, why not?
Choosing a Different Path
Despite the upside, I chose to walk away from it all. No job, no plan, no clue what I was going to do. I chose a different answer to the question: How should I live my life? The answer was that I wanted to live my life from the inside out: I wanted to lead from the spirit. What does that mean?
It meant that I no longer operated and made decisions based on what’s happening out there (i.e., outside of me). It meant that I was committed to going with what felt right, listening to the hunches, and following what I think is my purpose or contribution to the big picture. It meant that I would spend time clearing my energy field, aligning my chakras, expanding my aura, and seeking divine guidance to see the invisible path that stretched out before me. (See, that’s why I had that lengthy discussion about being a human-spirit being just to lay the foundation for this post!) It meant that I would courageously and boldly take a stand to fully express myself, share my talents, and contribute to others.
Following One’s Compass
There’s a lot of different compasses that we can use to guide our lives. That compass could be our physical attributes (i.e., let our looks or athleticism take us to great places). That compass could be our mental abilities (i.e., let’s invent something or use our smarts to take us to great places). That compass could be our religion (i.e., let certain principles take us to great places). And so on.
There is no right or wrong answer here. The point is that we have to be clear about what that compass is, and, whatever it is, we have to commit to following it. Even if things don’t go the way we’ve planned, we don’t abandon the compass. We need to see things through and, in the rough times, trust that the compass will take us where we need to go. Sometimes, it’s as simple as clearing the clutter so that we can see the directionality clearly.
I think this aspect is missed by a lot of people. We often blindly follow the herd (I know I did even in the midst of my professional successes), instead of carving out our own path. In these cases, it’s best to abandon someone else’s compass and choose your own.