Are you religious? Then you most likely have some peace of mind about why you were born. If you’re not, then are you spiritual? No? Then you probably have some angst as you wonder what you’re purpose in life is.
If you’re religious or spiritual, then you most likely understand why you’re here and what you should be doing with your life and career.
The Consequences of a Lack of Faith
For those people who don’t have their own spirituality (I’ll use this interchangeably with religion), they’re unable to understand and cope with why bad things happen and why their actions or the sum of their actions even matter.
In my case, I didn’t grow up with any particular religion. I found my own spirituality in my early 20s. I believed was there was a God or higher power. I knew I believed in evolution, but that was it. I didn’t have a job. I had just dropped out of college because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in. I had no direction or career aspirations. I didn’t know it yet, but I needed to find my own belief system.
Fortunately for me, I met a woman, who would eventually become my mentor, best friend, and adopted grandmother. When I was only 20 years old, she helped me understand my own beliefs. She mentored me on why I was here by providing context to my life and exposing me to new ideas. For 23 years, I talked to her every day about my life, personal relationships, and work.
This discovery with my grandmother became the foundation or bedrock of my life. Ever since then, I know why I’m here, what I should be doing, and why it matters. This belief provides meaning for my actions, life and career experiences, and overall reason for being. I don’t see life as pointless. I don’t fear death.
Ever since finding my spirituality, I’ve weathered trying crises that could have challenged my faith, but I survived because I found meaning in the experiences. I’m resolute in my beliefs.
Why is Spirituality Important?
A lack of spirituality can cause a crisis of faith. You may be unable to understand the bigger picture of your life by asking, “Why am I here? What’s the point if we’re just going to die? Why do bad things keep happening to me? Nothing I do makes a difference.”
How is this related to your career? If you have your own belief system, then you’ll understand there are no accidents. Â Each job in your career is a link in a chain. At times, it may feel like you’re going backwards rather than forward, but each experience adds value to your cumulative knowledge and wisdom.
If you don’t have your own spirituality and are having issues similar to what I’ve described, then I recommend you take time out to discover your belief system. Research various Western and Eastern religions or New Age principles. Find a friend, family, or mentor to help you find your own answers. Find what feels right to you.
Word of caution, it could take you a weekend, a month, a year, or your lifetime to discover your spirituality. Just be patient with yourself during your journey. There is a reason for being. The trick is finding out what yours is and practicing it as you manage your life and career.
You’ll know you find it because when you see meaning in or understand why bad things happen and how it affects you.
The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management series outlines my rules of personal and work success. After reflecting on my personal values, I made this list, realizing values are my rules of being or life management principles. Based on your experiences, I hope this list inspires you to identify your own rules. Here are the rules to my success that may help you over the course of your journey:
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management: Overview of the Pyramid and Its Levels
Level 1: Rules for Our Fundamental Nature
- #1 Find your own spirituality and practice it.
- #2 Know what you want or the Universe (or God) won’t know what to send you: If you don’t know what you want, how can you get to where you want to be?
- #3 Fate or free will? Regardless of what you believe, we all have a purpose to being here. The tricky part is discovering what it is.
- #4 Don’t wait for your future to happen to you, you have to be vigilant in making your future happen.
- #5 Understand your dark side, but don’t give into it or indulge it.
- #6 Aspire to always help and teach others.
Level 2: Rules of Continuous Learning and Modeling
- #7 Watch or read media sources when you need inspiration. Reflect on why you like a certain movie or TV show, so you understand why it moves you.
- #8 Always be learning. Continue learning through books or any source that gives you new ideas on how to approach your work or feeds your passion.
- #9 Become self aware. If you aren’t, then how will you know you’re screwing up?
- #10 Accept responsibility and make peace with your decisions and the consequences of those decisions. They have created the person you are today. The trick is, do you like what you’ve created? If not, then how can you change?
- #11 Keep a lid on chaos. Never let situations or emotions get away from you. Be the calm in the eye of the storm as strength, reflecting confidence for the most vulnerable people in your life.
Level 3: Rules for the Actual Journey
- #12 Stay still and don’t move if you feel lost, so you can find yourself or let the opportunity find you.
- #13 Always be course correcting.
- #14 Surround yourself with trusted and loyal friends. Be prepared to deal with betrayal without ambivalence. But be prepare to forgive (if the person is sincere, I mean really sincere).
- #15 Learn to channel your inner extrovert, if you’re an introvert. Learn to channel your inner introvert, if you’re an extrovert.
Level 4: Rules of Adapting to Environment and Interacting with Others
- #16 Make peace with your weaknesses. We’re not perfect. Even your strengths will turn into weaknesses. The trick is knowing when your strength has become a weakness.
- #17 Master your emotions and body language. Use them strategically in life and work.
- #18 Mentor yourself via the Space Time Continuum. What would your future self tell your present self? How can you get back on track? What have you done well? What more can you do? What would you tell yourself as a child, teen, 20 or 30 something?
Level 5: Rules of Humility
- #19 Never take your success for granted. Always prepare for the worst case scenarios. Be prepared for two steps forward and one step back.
- #20 Be humble. Treat others well, don’t be arrogant, and don’t drink your own Kool-Aid.
Level 6: Rule of Being
- #21 Be compassionate.