One of the most common questions I receive is:

How do I know the voice inside is my authentic voice —versus a mechanism of the ego?

Let me explain:

The ego is uncanny.
The ego is conniving.
The ego is relentless.

And yet:

Your authentic self is free.
Your authentic self is open.
Your authentic self is flowing.

But again, the question remains:

How do you know which is which —especially in a noisy world?

Yesterday, I sat down to do my usual morning routine which involves at least 90 minutes of focused work even on most Saturdays.

(I choose to do this because my work makes me feel alive.)

And yet, I noticed I was being pulled away somewhere else:

Somewhere playful.
Somewhere creative.
Somewhere unstructured.

Because I spend quite a lot of time in solitude, sharpening my intuition and doing the reflective work —I leaned in.

I strummed the guitar for the first time in months. I read poems and literature. I shut the laptop down, and put on music instead of podcasts.

Then, I went for a two-and-a-half hour spiritual fitness, play and unplugging experience —that left me on my knees awash in tears at the beauty of this life.

It was one of the most cleansing, eye-opening experiences of my entire year.

Now, I share this with you because:

I could have forced myself to work.
I could have forced myself to execute.
I could have forced myself to perform.

Instead:

I did the most important work I could do —reconnecting with the part of myself that doesn’t care about deadlines, the ‘real’ world and its rules.

And it was liberating —a total reset of mind, body and spirit that impacted me for the rest of the day and I’ll never forget it.

We all need this space, otherwise we feel suffocated.

Again —how do you tell the difference between the ego’s manipulation and your authentic self?

Build the foundation.

It’s impossible to listen to our inner voice if there’s zero foundation —this is why a daily practice of solitude, reflection and tools like meditation are crucial.

Honor intuition once a day.

Once a day, honor the voice inside. Speak to that stranger. Make a random phone call. Click ‘publish.’ Practice with the low stakes situations of life.

Stay open, ready and willing.

Curiosity must lead the way —I had no idea what was in store for me by trading focused work for my crappy guitar playing. Stay open, and be willing to explore.

Here’s why this matters:

I know a lot of people who do the inner work —who use it as an excuse to avoid moving forward:

“I need to find myself.”
“I’m being called to detach.”
“It’s not the right season to start.”

And by the way, if these are deeply authentic —then more power to them.

But guess what?

The ego is always present and will do anything to keep you from leaving your comfort zone.

And of course, we all know the ambitious type who fear taking a break for losing their edge —and they’re right.

They’re losing their edge by not taking time for themselves.

Like anything else in life:

This is a dynamic balance, a dance, a back and forth.

Consider listening to yourself to be one of the most pivotal practices you can ever adopt.

Why?

Because by doing so —you’ll know exactly what you need, when you need it and fully trust yourself.

That, my friend, is true freedom.

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