As far back as I can remember, which is around the age of 8 years old I was always busy. It’s then I started training for tennis. The weekdays consisted of two workouts, plus going to school.

I would typically get a day off from tennis during the week because the weekends were reserved for long practices or tournaments. Tennis and school took up most of my time, so there was very little left for socializing and fun.

When I was 21 years old, I decided to stop playing tennis professionally and started college. My college years were filled with attending classes, long hours of study, work, and my free time was filled up with volunteering and internships.

When I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in economics, I co-founded a start-up company and several years later joined a Fortune 500 company where I supported them in finance.

During these years, I volunteered locally and abroad and traveled as much as I could when I had free time to reward myself for my success.

All I had learned to do over the years was to keep busy and naturally, it seemed right to fill my time up with activities, work, etc. At that time I didn’t realize that this busy pattern had a price tag on it. The price I was paying for the first 30 years of my life was “disconnect”.

By consistently staying busy, I never got the opportunity to get to know myself. I mean, I thought I knew myself. I knew I was disciplined, hard-working, focused, driven, etc.

However, I didn’t know what truly lights my soul on fire, what drives me, and at the end of the day what makes me happy.

Thankfully, in 2014 I ended up in the ER for the second time. My first visit a decade prior didn’t hit me as hard to wake me up from the rat race I had been a part of.

And it was at this time when I stopped being busy and created the opportunity to ask myself the following questions: what do I want, what do I need and what do I truly enjoy doing?

Initially, I was stuck. I couldn’t answer these questions for months because I simply didn’t know. Regardless of this, I kept asking myself the same questions for the next 4 months on a daily basis and as I kept asking answers started to pop-up.

Spending the past 5+ years exploring, reflecting and questioning, gave me insight to one truth! If you want to live an authentic life, you have to take the time to get to know yourself.

You have to know what’s important to you, what you like and don’t like, what you are great at and what you enjoy doing. And in this process of getting to know yourself, you have to learn to accept whatever is coming up for you.

What I mean by this, is that maybe what’s coming up for you is not something that your parents, friends think you should do, but I have to tell you it’s not about them. It’s about you! Living an authentic life starts with you.

In 2014, if you were to ask most of my friends and family members what they thought about me quitting my lucrative finance job they would tell you that I shouldn’t have quit. However, my decision wasn’t about them. It was about me.

And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t make a quick decision to quit, it was well-thought-out.

Before I could think through it I had decided to stop being busy and being a part of the rat race even though I had a full-time job. With this, I spent the right amount of time and resources making sure I was listening to my intuition and my intuition told me to quit my job and to explore my dreams.

At the time I didn’t know what this meant exactly, but as of today I know they’re happening in the daily work I do of mentoring and inspiring people to believe in themselves no matter what fears are coming up for them.

So, one thing for you to remember is if there is something that is coming up for you there might be a valid reason for it and this is worth exploring no matter how silly or impossible it may seem. Don’t use the excuse that 95% of people use, “I don’t have the time, I’m too busy” because if you do you will cut yourself short.

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 lifting yourself and the people around you. And from this place, you can authentically create and innovate in whatever way you have envisioned to do so.

If you feel that you’re too busy to pursue your passion and purpose tell your mind to stop with this excuse and set 30 minutes per week in your calendar to reflect.

Here are 3 things you can start asking yourself to get clarity. With clarity, you will have direction and purpose and therefore live your authentic life.

  • If money wasn’t an issue what would I do in my free time?
  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • When do I lose track of time?
  • When do I feel the best?

Your first step to living an authentic life is getting to know yourself, so start today, not tomorrow! Give yourself the permission to be who you’re meant to be because if you don’t, no one else will!

Comment below one thing you learned from this post and will implement in your life today.

With love,
Dragana

P.S. Share this post message with a friend and help them live a life of authenticity!