I had the pleasure of sitting down with Holistic Wellness Educator, Certified life skills coach, Yogini, Ayurvedic Alchemist and friend, Navi Gill, to discuss how taking time to authentically find her why before entering the workforce has allowed her to create a unique lifestyle and career she loves, and how you can too.
Sitting down with Navi was like being transported back to the beaches of Bali, ocean waves crashing on a white sand beach, a fresh juice in my hand. She has this essence about her that instantly makes you feel grounded, and deeply connected to earth.
I wanted to speak to her because I know so many of my readers are like me. Ready to get clear about what it is that truly makes us happy without the noise, and to find that connection to ourselves again in order to move forward intentionally.
Fresh out of college, while all her friends and classmates were racing towards securing employment in big box marketing agencies, Navi was at a crossroads. Not feeling any more prepared to be in that workforce than before she started school, or remotely aligned with the industry. Wondering what step to take next, a personal loss took her on an inward journey that would unfold over the next five years.
What I love and respect so much about Navi’s story is that she didn’t follow the society standard of what life is supposed to look like. While many go through the steps of schooling, finding employment, moving up the corporate ladder, retiring, and then reflecting, she flipped the switch.
Surviving in a world built to induce anxiety
One of the biggest “ah-ha” moments of our conversation was how she described the modern western world and how it is built to induce anxiety. When I thought about this further, I realized it couldn’t be more true. Car horns, passive aggressive emails, impatient foot tapping, cell phones glued to our hands, the stress to hurry up and get promotions and meet obligations we aren’t sure we want in the first place.
Below I’ve summarized some actionable steps Navi talked about in our conversation. If you are feeling like an outsider, or are unsure of where to take your life next, these steps will help you find clarity to move forward in a more meaningful way, one that aligns with who you truly are.
Read on for some clear steps to finding your why in life.
#1) Ask Yourself: Do my current goals align with my values?
Everyone is “busy” looking for success and fulfillment in their lives, but most are looking at it through the outer lens. Our “external goals” – what others can see, the tangible ideals of “success” – are taking precedent over our inner, sustainable, core goals.
Instead of asking ourselves, how am I feeling? Is this making me happy? Would this make me happy if no one was around to witness it? we are spending time and energy wondering how we can become “instafamous” and when our next opportunity for recognition will be (think fancy car, an award, fame, insta likes).
“While there is absolutely nothing wrong in striving for material success, being clear with your value system helps you navigate towards that success much easier and provides long term stability because you know your why.” -NG
The next time you are making a decision, ask instead: Does this connect with my heart?
The epidemic of fast fashion, comparison, imposter syndrome, anxiety, stress and depression can all link back to people seeking recognition over fulfillment, thinking that the former leads to the latter. People are often sorely disappointed when they realize that’s not the way it works.
#2) Remind Yourself that Finding Your Why isn’t Easy
No ones journey to figuring out who we really are is clean or tidy, which is probably why so many of us put it off until it’s too late.
This process of looking deep into our subconscious may be depicted in movies by a woman sitting in a serene courtyard with only the sound of the flowing fountains in the distance, birds chirping whilst writing in a diary, but in reality, it’s a bit of an emotional shit-kicking.
“It is hard, scary work to unravel everything you think you know, what society tells you you’re supposed to be. You feel isolated, alone, and probably pissed off. Although “finding yourself” is the new cool thing to do, it wasn’t always seen that way. I struggled a lot with feeling isolated and confused, but I’m also grateful for that struggle. In each of my most messy and vulnerable moments I got closer to understanding my why, what drives me and this helped me find what my purpose was. Embrace the struggle, it’s the essence of the journey, what gives you the lessons and growth as you unpack and understand your shit” – NG
#3) Why You Need to Start Doing the Deeper Work Now
“Being on a path on autopilot that is not connected to your purpose is when the questioning, the doubt, the fear and anxiety creep in. If you truly know yourself and what you are striving for, navigating the path to your goal becomes more effortless because the low vibrational feelings aren’t taking up valuable energy.
Picture an end goal you are looking to achieve and ask yourself “Where is the joy in going to that place?” Because that’s life – the moments in between the destinations. It’s not about the end, it’s about how you are going to feel doing the work and putting in the time. If the process excites you, it will manifest itself because you are radiating success without doubt, bitterness or resentment.” – NG
“If I don’t know who I am and I’m running towards a goal, I’m only going to achieve it to a certain extent. Many people wonder why the milestones in their lives don’t feel the way they anticipated they would. Connection to self and purpose is essential, if there is no connection then no amount of success will feel fulfilling. Taking the time to do the inner work really makes the outer work so much easier, you get rid of a lot of unnecessary bullshit when you can see what is aligned and what isn’t” -NG
#4) Start Meditating. No, really, START MEDITATING!
Meditation is the number one way Navi recommends finding stillness in your life. This practice allows you to get to know who you are without the noise.
I mentioned meditation in my 17 important life lessons I learned at 27 after reading the autobiographies of the biggest success stories (think Tony Robbins, Oprah, Brene Brown, Tim Ferriss, inventors, entrepreneurs, business owners, you name it) where it was recommended repeatedly. I know you’ve heard this buzz word swirling around lately too. If you haven’t acted on it yet, consider this your wake up call.
I’m new to meditation, Where should I start??
“When you wake up, sit up in bed and just breathe. Start with a long deep breath in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds at the top and slowly exhale through the nose for 6 seconds and repeat for 10-25 cycles of breath.
Everyone is capable of clearing it out, so don’t get discouraged. Breathing practices help to clear toxins from the body, stabilize emotions and activate our parasympathetic nervous system.
It’s a common misconception that you aren’t supposed to have thoughts when meditating. That’s impossible! Especially with the world we live in, our brains are congested with thoughts and impressions. Eventually that stillness of the mind happens but it takes time, we need to work at it daily to build the practice. -NG
When you are ready to expand your practice:
Try meditating for 20 minutes a day, twice a day. If done right, this is the equivalent of 4 HOURS OF SLEEP!!! How crazy and powerful is that?! It’s no wonder that breath has been proven to be one of life’s biggest healers.
Tip: “If you find yourself thinking too many thoughts, acknowledge the thought, let it come, look at it, and then let it float past you. When you meditate enough, those thoughts disappear. Don’t resist. We resist way too many things in life, which is why are wound so tightly.” -NG
“I’ve been meditating for 10 years and it’s still a challenge. It’s not easy work. To get to bliss, you gotta clear out all the shit you’ve accumulated.” – NG
#5) Detoxify Your Daily Life
Get as chemical free and clean as possible. This means the make-up you use, the deodorant, body wash, shampoos, body lotions, food, everything. What we put in and on our bodies has a way bigger impact on our wellbeing than anyone realizes. As soon as you begin detoxifying your routine, you’ll see a huge difference in your life.
“This is one of the biggest obstacles to having clarity of the mind. Consumerism hinders us from being clear and operating at a different frequency. We consume without being conscious of the fact that everything carries a certain energy. What’s going inside you is impacting whats coming out of you, mentally, physically, creatively, spiritually, emotionally.” – NG”
Where to start: Download the EWG App that allows you to scan the products you use to determine how harmful they are. It’s shocking that big brands are still using cancer causing chemicals in their ingredients.
#6) Do More Yoga
Yoga is not about being physically flexible or wearing spandex while doing it.The key to yoga is the breath and the connection it created between mind, body and spirit. That process is what creates the flexibility in our beings, expansion and connection. Start anywhere and start moving, find the right teacher that speaks to you but don’t get hung up on the style or teacher.
Yoga is universal, and while teachers play an important part in sharing that knowledge with us, you are the one doing the real work. What you bring to your mat is how you operate in life, are you showing up with integrity, authentically and with vulnerability? – NG
#7) Find your Tribe
You are a reflection of the top 5 people you surround yourself with. Get really clear about the company you keep and how they are impacting your thoughts and actions. There are people out there that want to see you succeed and lift you up. Find those people, even if it means only having a few close friends. Your world will change for the better.
Where to Start: Take a look at who you have spending the most time with in the last 3 months. Think about what you did, and how they made you feel afterwards. Did you leave feeling happy, empowered, excited? If not, it may be time to move on from that relationship.
“It took me a really long time to realize there was actually nothing wrong with me. I was growing and changing rapidly but the people around me didn’t hold space for that. As soon as I started being really selective about who was in my inner circle, where my energy was spent and who was getting emotional labour from me it freed up so much of my time and energy to invest back into myself.
Your inner circle is your life line. It’s not always cuddles and cocktails but it’s also where you are held accountable. You can be vulnerable, you support and celebrate each other continuously, not only during the wins. Be weary of the people that are not mutual reciprocators in relationships and the ones who show up or chime in only when they see your outer success.
These are the dangerous relationships that suck energy and resources without replenishing you. If you have to question where you stand with someone maybe it’s time to reevaluate that relationship. Don’t be afraid to move on, the right people who are at your vibrational level will show up but you need to be clear first.” – NG
#8) Get Vulnerable
“Being vulnerable opens the pathways to connection. It’s what we all want, to feel loved, connected and accepted. Embrace being vulnerable and you’ll experience the most growth.
If we are rigid and paralyzed by perfection, we can never move forward. We want connection but we don’t want to be judged.” – NG
Ready to dive even deeper?
#9) Take a Course or Go on a Retreat
Navi recommends “The Art of Living: Happiness Program or the Art of Meditation”. Stepping away from the triggers of the day-to-day grind can provide life changing results. Navi’s trip to India is what inspired her to start her business. Go away, unplug, and get quiet, and see what you discover.
#10) Consider a Life or Business Coach/Mentor
Find professionals who are skilled and trained to help you get clear on your core values.
“A coach or therapist can help you be your unfiltered self, help shift your perspectives and help you navigate through the questions you’ve been asking yourself but can’t see to find the answers to.”
To find the coach for you, ask friends or loved ones who you trust for recommendations, or simply google “therapists/coaches in [insert your area] specializing in [insert area of improvement]”.
Keep trying them until you find the right fit for you, don’t force it. When it works it will become one of your most trusted and valuable relationships so find the coach that speaks to you. – NG