As far back as I can remember, which is around the age of 8 my life was filled with hustle and I was always busy. Can you relate? Being 8 years old, I started training for tennis. Most days during the week consistent of two workouts, plus going to school. I would typically get a day off from tennis during the weekday because the weekends were reserved for practice and tournaments. Tennis and school took up all of my time, so there was very little left for socializing and fun.
When I was 21, I decided to stop playing tennis and started attending college. My college years were filled with studying, work, volunteering and internships. I was always busy, and the right thing to do was to keep busy.
At that time I didn’t realize that this busy pattern had a price. The price I paid was loosing myself!
By always being busy, I never had the opportunity to sit down and get to know myself. I mean, I thought I knew myself. I knew I was disciplined, hard working, focused, driven, etc. Down the line I realized that these qualities are not what makes a person authentic.
Thankfully, in 2014 I ended up in the ER for the second time. My first visit years back, fortunately or unfortunately, didn’t hit me so hard to wake me up. And it was then and there in 2014, when I stopped and decided to create the opportunity to ask myself what do I want. I asked myself, Dragana, what makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing? Initially, I couldn’t answer these questions because I really didn’t know. Regardless, of this I kept exploring. And I kept on asking myself these questions on a daily basis, until about 4 months down the line answers started unfolding.
Spending the past 4 years exploring, reflecting and questioning, gave me insight that one thing is true. If you want to live an authentic life, you have to take the time to get to know yourself.
You have to know what is important to you, what you like, what you are great at and what you enjoy. And you not only have to get to know yourself, however you have to accept whatever is coming up for you. What I mean by this, is that maybe what is coming up for you is not something that your parents, friends, or YOURSELF would agree with, however stop it! Don’t push it away.
Whatever is coming up for you is there for a reason and it’s worth exploring no matter how silly or impossible it may seem. For example, one of the things that was coming up up for me during my time of reflection is to do something that will help, inspire and empower people. At that time I was working in finance, so this seemed impossible.
Regardless, of this I knew that in order to live a life of purpose and authenticity, I had to start working with the negative voices that were keeping me in fear. So, I did!
One thing I can confirm today, is that when you know yourself, you end up staying true to yourself. And when you stay true to yourself, you end up uplifting yourself and the people around you. And from this place you can authentically create and innovate.
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