Why Aligning is the New Networking

andrew-neel-218073-unsplash.jpg

How many memes on Instagram joke about crying in the bathroom at work? Even worse, those posts get thousands of likes in solidarity. While the idea of “the grind” is being peeled back one layer at a time, we are missing the key component to actually creating the life we were meant to live. This comes in part because we have to unlearn an idea so many of us are taught virtually in infancy.  

Recently, society started to take note of the rapid deterioration of people’s mental health while working jobs categorically opposed to their values. Eventually, words like mindfulness and self-care seeped into the lifestyle space. Even as these words become more mainstream, actually practicing them in their entirety proves complicated for many of us.

The value of hard work has been engrained in nearly every child’s mind for centuries. As important as this idea was, a counterculture has arisen as authors, thought leaders and everyday people started to understand the idea of aligning our career with our life purpose. Many forms of traditional hard work materialize as force; we are physically willing something to work out in our favor. After seeing generations of burnt out professionals and people living up to fractions of their potential, the seemingly unmalleable definition of hard work began to shift.  

Many of us today are caught in the uncomfortable crossroads of “hustling”, while also being told to place an unprecedented emphasis on our mental health. We learned that hard work directly correlates to our self-worth and, as such, we shirk the things actually need in favor of what we imagine will get us respect. I’ve even heard people say that self-care is now just another thing on the to-do list. What is the problem here?

What we are missing is alignment. We have to start teaching that everything we seek is inside of us; every answer, idea and plan stands readily available if we slow down long enough to listen. When we are aligned, things flow to us rather than coming as a result of brute force. The internal thrashing of deciding whether or not to keep going proves unnecessary. We are moved from the inside, rather than chasing titles, money or recognition. The worldly aspects of success come secondary to our mission on this Earth and result naturally as we follow the call.

Rather than pumping the youth full of academic information to propel them to an award-laden cubicle, we need to give them space to align. Obviously, learning school subject matter is important, but one of the biggest proponents of living a meaningful life is having a career that revolves around the core of who we are.

When we are aligned, the right doors open at the right time, the right people stumble into our lives and struggle starts to wane in the face of unbridled passion. That’s why yoga feels so good to so many people. Students are consciously aligning their bodies and mental state with peace, feeling uninhibited by the constraints of forcing. Even the work in yoga feels different; while by no means easy, the practice balances effort and flow. The dance we do on our mat is a microcosm of the way life is meant to be.

In this changing era with people starting to question forcing and the necessity of “the grind”, many still feel the shame of not doing enough and not knowing when to push harder. Yoga has taught me that when we are doing exactly what our soul desires and needs, the work feels different. The work pushes us towards the direction our soul needs to go. As someone once told me, “If you act on the path of self-respect, you will never make a misstep.”

Is your career a form of self-respect? Is what you do on the weekends a form of self-respect? Is the way you talk to yourself a form of self-respect?

These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves. Self-care isn’t a concept we need to integrate like a new meeting procedure. Self-care is another word for alignment, and this alignment leads us to what we are put on this earth to do; self-care is an avenue to living a fulfilling life.

Meditate, ask questions, spend time in silence. Listen and don’t force. You can slow down and still get things done, because the things you feel called to do will open doors. When we are crystal clear about what is important to us, we create a life where forcing is unnecessary. The hard work will come from inside, with inspiration as its impetus. We attract and allow the tools we need as we move towards our life purpose without constraint. Only when we know how to allow and move from within will we truly understand self-realization.