Soul Stories: Heather Richmond
Heather's bio: I'm originally from New Jersey, though most people are surprised because I don't have an accent! I married my best friend and college sweetheart. I may have gotten my degree in business, but I grew up playing sports and have always had a passion for health/wellness and assisting people with living healthier and more vibrant lives. I'm a yogi at heart; I love hiking/exploring; dancing makes me smile; my life requires the sun and salty air; and laughter, travel, family, and good food feed my soul.
Did you know exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? Well, if you did, please imagine a chubby, freckled 6-year-old child with brilliant blue eyes, messy hair and furrowed eyebrows sticking her tongue out at you. Because I didn't. And that's what I felt like doing every time someone asked me what I wanted to be. Or even worse... when someone else was SO incredibly certain that the hand of God had touched THEM to step into a certain profession. I'd think to myself, "What's wrong with me? Why don't I have a path? Who am I? What am I here for?"
And so I ventured into living what I refer to as my "life of default" rather than a life of design. I went to a fabulous college, got my degree, landed a job with a Fortune 500 and after three years, found myself feeling totally out of alignment. So then I did what every other millennial does. I went out and found another well-paying corporate job.
And then life hit. A very important person in my life passed away and it WOKE ME UP and simultaneously beat me down. I developed an immense fear of death. To the tune of a panic attack... on my honeymoon... in Bali. It was the first panic attack I had ever had and I remember thinking to myself that this was it and I was dying (I had no idea about the physical symptoms of a panic attack and definitely didn't know that's what was happening in the moment). Thoughts of, "I can't believe that was my life" flashed before me. A deep sorrow for not having played a bigger game in life. A huge sense of regret blanketed over me.
It took several months to get past this massively shitty time in my life. Yet, I now relate to it as the most beautiful blessing I've ever had. I fully believe that we're handed exactly what we need to live out our purpose. And apparently I needed to be face-to-face with death, swallow a seed labeled "fear of death" and wash it down with a panic attack. THANKFULLY, what I got out of it was a vision of a greater purpose. And urgency (sadly, most of us lack this!!) to align what mattered in life to what I was actually doing with my time. It allowed me to be open to new opportunities, and it led me to where I am today. And it's the happiest I've been in my life.
Yet the truth is, even though I had this huge wake up call and have made a huge shift in how I spend the hours of my day...I STILL don't know "what I want to be when I grow" up and am pretty sure I never will. For me, I suppose it's more about a set of values that create a fulcrum for my passions and energy to pivot on. A "job" will never define me, but the expression of my core motivations of helping others, contributing to the world, LOVE, and inspiring others to lead a life that excites them (versus a life by default) will always persist. Perhaps instead of a "profession," we should all choose a "conscious message." And give ourselves compassion when the message is adapting because like the very cells we are made of, we are forever transforming.
And I by no means will consider myself an "expert" on the topic of determining your conscious message. But I've had a few experiences that lent to my discovery. So, here are some things to consider that helped me:
1) If you were to die tomorrow, what would you be remembered for? I'll pause while you think...
Then, what would you LOVE to be remembered for?
I know you didn't do the exercise. Really, take two minutes and think about it!
Now, is there a gap between the two? In answering these questions, we can eliminate the pull of what society wants us to do versus what our core motivations say. As eerie as it may sound, this practice can be life-altering if you REALLY delve into it.
2) If time and money were of no constraint (seriously - think BIG in being able to do anything you want), what would you be doing right now? I ask a LOT of people this question and they often have trouble even thinking outside of their current box to imagine a life with zero constraints. Take a minute. Give it some thought. Think about what you'd feel, see, smell, taste and hear. Who would be around you and how would you spend your time?
When you have it down to exactly what you'd be doing, compare your current path to your desired state and recognize the gap. What can you do to close the gap?
3) What motivates you? If you don't know, read The People Code by Taylor Hartman, which explains four core motivations. These motivations can be bucketed into: helping others; winning/challenge/success; creating peace; and having fun. Once you determine your core motivation (which I believe is partially responsible for what "pulls" you), you now possess the fertilizer for a flourishing conscious message. Because let's get real here. To accomplish anything with fervor, we must be motivated by our very core to do it. If you're motivated by FUN and what you set out to do is totally not fun... it's just not going to stick.
Now that you understand what matters to you and what motivates you, let's put it into practice:
1) Don't get "stuck." As automatic survival-mechanism robots... I mean, humans, we have a tendency to believe if we've been doing something for a long time, that we have no other choice than to continue doing it. We stew in a brew of comfortably U N C O M F O R T A B L E because it is our pattern. And back in the day, those patterns were essential for survival - noooot so much today. One could actually say that our automatic brain patterns are the last-season graphic tee from TJ Maxx (on clearance). Yet we relate to them like they're some Versace avant-garde bolo tie. Truly, our noggins much prefer historical patterns over greatness. And besides that neurological mumbo-jumbo, honestly, it's just a bunch of bullshit you tell yourself to keep playing small and from taking risks. At any given time, you have the ability to create your life from scratch. To start over. Hit reset. Trust your intuition and what pulls you. And create.
2) Get out of the way. Your own way, that is. Invest in your growth and surround yourself with people that resonate with what you're up to in life. My chosen combination of personal and leadership development channels has given me the freedom, courage and confidence to trust that I'm moving in the right direction and that I can create a life in harmony with my conscious message. You can have that too because I'm really not special - I'm just open to working on myself.
3) VISION BOARD! I can't even tell you how powerful this is! Okay, I can. Almost everything on my vision board has transpired and I'm really not surprised. I love the phrase "applied faith." When vision-boarding, visualize having ALREADY accomplished what's on the board. Do so with the utmost faith that it IS your future. This sets your goal as a reference point and your daily habits and actions are just applying yourself within that realm of faith. It's so freaking gorgeous <3
Now that you have sufficiently kick-started your journey of cultivating your conscious message for the world, you may have a bit of anxiety about where you are now and where you want to be. And that's TOTALLY normal (if you can really consider anything "normal"). Our brains have yet to catch up with the fact that humans are creating long-term goals versus experiencing instant gratification (here she goes talking about my brain again). To help ease the sting, I recommend a super quick read of James Clear's article The Evolution of Anxiety.
So in summary, my hope is that you have GRATITUDE for wherever you are in life (stop "shoulding" all over yourself), that you are INSPIRED to uncover your conscious message for the world, and that you're at least OPEN to the exotic shift of trusting yourself and having confidence to pursue what pulls you. Life is short. Don't spend your life in fear of change while living into the biggest fear of all - that of regret.
So much love and abundance!