When we ask someone a question, we don’t typically get a response that can cause us to wonder how we’re living our life. When I asked my friend Ryan, “Why are you going to Thailand?” He responded simply, “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys.” I felt like I was trying to solve a confusing riddle.

I immediately went home and started to think about my life. I started to think about how easy it was for someone to tell me they were traveling across the world without much of a plan other than to do something they were curious about. Like a new mantra I discovered, “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys,” began running through my mind and reminding me how I wasn’t living my life. I needed to make a shift.

The past few years I’ve been working to grow my own business and recently, when it’s come to making my dream a reality, I haven’t been doing it from a very peaceful place. I’ve been doing it from a place of, “what if it never happens?”

Sharing what we’re passionate about and being vulnerable can sometimes cause us to question ourselves and the outcome for which we hope. After speaking to Ryan, I thought what could I do to approach my dreams with the same reckless abandon he had going to Thailand. Sometimes going towards something with curiosity as your only plan, is the best plan.

Three things I learned after first hearing “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys” I want to share with you. Three simple tools to use in your own life that in choosing to do, have brought more peace into mine. And as a result, a shift in how I’m realizing my dreams.

1. Connect with your core values. I discovered in speaking to Ryan, I wasn’t connected to the things I cared most about in life. Here I was someone who thought I valued peace, faith, and freedom, but these weren’t the qualities I most embodied.

At the root of all human behavior lies our values. Whatever action we demonstrate in the world is based on what we’re choosing to value in our lives.

Some of our values change over time, but I believe we each possess a set of core values that serve as our inner guide to personal fulfillment. When we’re consciously connected to them, we’re in alignment and our lives tend to flow.

I know in my own life, whenever I’m experiencing discomfort or suffering it’s usually because I’m out of touch with my core values.

A fun way I creatively connected to my values was Googling “common core values.” I found a ton of words to choose from. It was a little challenging to figure out which ones were actually mine. So I thought, what 7-10 words would I be willing to tattoo on my body. Not because of what I wanted someone else to see, but because these are the words I’d be willing to permanently carry. From there, it was easier to narrow down my core values.

Once I had my set, I was able to clearly see where in my life I needed to make a shift. Especially when it came to how I was approaching my dreams.

2. Actively and authentically love yourself. I wholeheartedly believe the most important thing we can do in life is to truly and authentically love ourselves. It’s one thing to understand this on an intellectual level, but another to actively demonstrate to ourselves just how much we really do.

In life, if we’re not our own authentic champions, we wind up giving our power away to something or someone who couldn’t possibly ever give us it anyway.

A simple way to begin is to go shopping for the perfect greeting card, exactly like you would for someone you cared about, but this card is for you. Take time to write yourself all the things you would someone else, get a stamp, take it to the nearest post office, and drop it in the mail.

Sometimes, when we’re working towards something, we don’t necessarily see the results right away. Be it a relationship, diet, or dream. Sometimes, having someone let us know we’re doing a good job and that we’re on the right track is just the nudge we need to remind us to keep going. And who better to give us a nudge than ourselves.

They say in nature, the antidote always grows next to the poison. The very thing you’re doing as an act of self-love, will come from the same place your fears live. Your higher-self will know exactly what you need to hear and when you’ll need to hear it most.

3. Use a mantra. This mantra doesn’t have anything to do with meditation, but has everything to do with reminding ourselves how we want to feel in the pursuit of our lives. “To swim in the ocean and play with monkeys,” has been a daily reminder of the peace I want to embody, while growing a business, pursuing a dream, and living my life. Like a scent or a sound, using this sort of mantra can instantly shift your perspective and remind you how you want to feel.

If we remain true to our core values, are actively and authentically loving ourselves, we’ll discover the peace we seek is already present and available. Not intellectually, but from the tangible shifts we’ll see unfolding around us and the experience of it in our day-to-day life.

One final note, when someone asks me why in the hell am I going to Thailand this summer, I’ll reply simply, “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys.”

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