“What’s important to you? What do you give a shit about? If you were running for the toilet and had no time to think, could you tell me what your top five values are without stopping and soiling yourself?”

– Jacob Sokol, Living On Purpose

I remember reading that passage (a year and a half ago) and NOT knowing my top five values, yet laughing out loud at the imagery as the scenario unfolded in my mind. And while yes, that passage is hilarious, I now know how important it truly is to, as Socrates said, “Know thyself.” I remember thinking that to actually know myself that well — on demand, snap your fingers and just like that, you spout off an answer — would be some kind of magic.

Oftentimes, so much of this “living on purpose” work comes down to our willingness to sit with those easy-to-ask but difficult-to-answer questions: Who are you? What are your top five values? And what do you really want? But here’s the thing… Sitting with those quality questions isn’t enough. We have to be willing to live our answers. Period.

When I met Jacob, I was in a very vulnerable place. I was on a path where I had identified my purpose (to inspire others to chase their potential and live an extraordinary life) but was unclear of how I was actually going to do that. I knew my soul needed out of corporate America, and each day that passed, the golden handcuffs got tighter and tighter. In fact, they were cutting me. And since I wasn’t into bondage, something had to give.

At that time, my life story was effing perfect – handcuffs and all. In society’s eyes, I had it made: the amazing Fortune 500 gig that came with a great salary, company car, benefits, bonuses, vacation time, and flexibility. I was on the fast track. I owned my own home and a wonderful dog. I had just received my M.B.A, got married to my best friend, and at the rate I was going, the only thing missing to put a bow on it were some babies. Time to get busy! Well… not exactly.

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Something bigger was missing.

Driving home from the Capitol Grille the night of my grad school graduation, I remember having a nervous breakdown. My husband was simply trying to explain how proud he was of me and what this milestone meant for our family, when what he probably thought were tears of joy mysteriously morphed into me hysterically crying. Choking on my tears and shaking my head from side to side, I cried out, “IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING!!!” Which was the truth. The milestone meant nothing if, at the end of the day, I wasn’t using this newly-acquired and quite expensive skill-set for the greater good.

Shortly after that, I began scheming/business-building with a friend as a means to magically break free from this life. But before I could really go on my own hero’s journey, I needed to do the work.

The inner work.

The work that was going to allow me to get out of my own way and finally live MY life. Not the life that society or even my loved ones had picked for me, but the life I knew in my core I needed to be living. I needed to be doing the work I was called to do in service to the world. And I realized that I could not do this without clarity. Without really knowing myself and having the courage, strength, and faith to trust in my vision for my future. To humbly say, “No thank you,” to promotional opportunities, leaving money on the table, and say “Hell yes!” to my best self.

So fast forward to today. It’s been nothing short of magic.

A year and half later, while I’m still at my gig (for now), I have never been more on purpose or happy in my entire life. I’ve launched a new business that has created a deep sense of meaning in my life and the lives of those that I serve. I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people, like those in the Inner Circle, and I’ve prioritized self-care to the point that when I seem somewhat out of sorts, my husband checks in with me by asking, “Hey babe, did you do your fundamentals today?”

So when Jacob asked me to share a big idea from Sensophy and the coaching we had done together, an idea that had the greatest impact on my life, my mind immediately zeroed in on using my values (God, Authenticity, Love, Integrity, and the most recently refined Growth) as a compass. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that while knowing thyself is critical to building a solid foundation, the magic really and truly is in the mundane.

The fundamentals.

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Those things that we know we need to do on a daily basis to make life work. The self-care that fuels my body, mind, and soul and gives me exactly what I need to show up like a boss, even when I don’t feel like one. Because our feelings actually follow our actions; it’s not the other way around.

For me, it’s the following daily practices that get me in the zone: meditating, completing a devotional, praying, hydrating, exercising, drinking my green smoothie, writing my daily gratitude list, creating something, and laughing. Disclaimer: When I first got started, my only fundamental was to meditate for 5 minutes. Don’t get it twisted; this work takes time. My list grew as I grew.

In the end, for me, it wasn’t really about holding up the middle finger to society. It was about holding up a mirror to myself and embracing, loving, and trusting me (and my God) enough to keep slaying the dragons on my hero’s journey. And you can only slay dragons and achieve success on your terms when you’ve fueled your fire (yourself) every day.

So I leave you with one request: Figure out your daily practice and honor that commitment to yourself by actually taking action! Start today. Treat that morning ritual as sacred and trust me — magical things will just start to happen. You got this.

Coach, marketing strategist and author, Theresa Campbell brings high-achieving, remarkable women into the lives they dream of but fear they can’t have. Theresa equips her clients to optimize their potential while feeling confident, reassured and supported in all areas of their full and authentic lives. As founder and CEO of Her Life, Her Legacy LLC., Theresa believes that authenticity combined with action towards a compelling vision for the future leads to influence and ultimately legacy.

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  • POSTGRADOLESCENCE

    Theresa, this was absolutely fantastic! I love your words, your journey & your message. I myself had quite a similar breakdown this time last year. Because everything I had put on a pedastal in my life as 'important' really wasn't. At least not to me. And as I started to get to know myself & what I really wanted I realized that there was so much more out 'there.' That I didn't have to be confined by 'normality' & what society deemed 'acceptable.' I starting my own self-discovery journey & as time has gone on, I've gained so much clarity & ground. Kudos to you for stepping out & having a great support system (in your hubby!) to back you up. Sometimes you find that people end up falling away when you start moving towards your destiny/calling, but the right people will stick. The ones that believe in the path you're on. Cheers to our continuing, deeping journeys & making a serious impact in this world.

    • yotheresacampbell

      Thank you so much! It means the world that my husband supports me on this journey. And to your point about people falling away…that's happened too. Glad you're on a similar journey and am just as excited about your future as I am my own. Thank you again for your kind words and encouragement. Lots of love! – T

  • YOU are magic in the truest and most inspirational sense of the word! I loved every bit of greatness in this piece from your vulnerability and breakdown (I've only had one or 72 of those in the last year) to your courage and strength to not let the uncertainty of your (then) current path overshadow the deep-rooted, mighty and noble purpose you were COMMITTED to living! I am so impressed by your tenacity, your undying faith and your incredible work ethic. Thank you for the gift of your story :)

    • yotheresacampbell

      Thanks JG! So happy that we connected via Sensophy but also that you're just down the street! Very small world and I appreciate you and your continued support of my on my journey. You are also MAGIC my friend. See you Friday! :-) -T

  • April

    That's so funny ! O ;) with Jacob you never know what kind of article you are going to read, very funny, and in tandem with positivity! Thanks for making the world lighter and more light hearted, O=)

    • yotheresacampbell

      Thanks April! This stuff can be really heavy — the fact you said I'm "making the world lighter and more light hearted," makes my world lighter :-) Appreciate the love. – T

  • Rockin' those fundamentals and "knowing thy self"–might be the two MOST important parts of this journey (along with the many needed emotional breakdowns that we've ALL go through ;p). Love it Theresa!

    • yotheresacampbell

      Word. n nThanks Josh! …can I call you Josh? :-) nSpeaking of fundamentals…it's about time for my run! Thank you so much for the love and I appreciate you! – T

  • Amrita Khanna

    Amazing, inspiring, lovely!!! <3

    • yotheresacampbell

      Thank you Amrita. Thank you. nReading these comments this morning and your three words have touched my heart. I sincerely appreciate it. Lots of love – T

      • Amrita Khanna

        Ur post inspired me to write my gratitude list daily, although I write a few more things, but u knw wat,surprisingly the magic has already begun, thanks :) nKeep spreading the magic!!

  • JD:)

    I think I'll try your suggestion for a morning daily practice. I'm pretty good at my nightly practice (meditation, gratitude list) but haven't tried anything for the morning (they're so crazy, mornings). So the new practice: 5 minute morning meditation. I've been experiencing anxiety lately, and feeling like I might fall apart at times. I had been on my way toward a yoga teacher certification when my knees started having pain. That was about two months ago. Right now, I'm on the road to recovery, much less pain, but still can't move around the way I used to, certainly not yoga ready. During bad times, I'll ruminate, feel frustrated and lost. Patience is a difficult thing to learn with a smile on your face. But after all that, hey, a little morning mediation can't hurt. :)

  • NatalieN

    Amazing and awesome message Theresa! So beautifully said and such great reminders of what we continue to learn on our own "heroes" journey! I am on a very similar path right now so I resonate with so much of what you have said!! Yes, the fundamentals are so important and I know now that once I get off track, I totally feel it!! Thank you for your encouraging words of wisdom. You go girl!! Lots of love to you! :)

  • Great Blog!!! Thank you for sharing your story. I have just started to "fuel myself" and it works perfect for my working-for-someone-else-days, however, on my day-off I am inclined to slack. It's like I have began to associate the act with work because it helps me endure. Kinda like drinking coffee on your way to work but not wanting to rush to a cup of joe cozied up in bed on sunday morning. Your thoughts and suggestions?

    • yotheresacampbell

      Wow. My apologies for just now seeing this comment — to answer your question, the fundamentals are those things that we do on a daily basis because we know that once we've done them we're going to feel incredible and if we're sick or feeling not our greatest, we do them anyway because we can't help but even feel a bit better :-) These activities (that we pick) have nothing to do with how we feel. So to your point about the not wanting to grab a cup of coffee on a Saturday, that makes total sense. I would just ask you to identify those things that fuel you on a regular (exercise, nutrition, meditation etc.) that you can do whether you feel like it or not. Does that help? and again…so sorry for not seeing this. I was getting email notifications for some but not all. Glad I came back on to snag this link! Hope you're doing great :-)

  • Loved this!

    • yotheresacampbell

      Thanks coach :-) …I wonder who I learned all this amazing stuff from? — Lots of love!

  • Chip Tausch

    I'm so glad you touched on fundamentals here, and starting small, with just 5 minutes meditation. I hit a wall in life where before I even added 5 minutes meditation, I had to go back to making sure I showered daily!! (Good thing I always brushed my teeth morning & night) Like you said, the list naturally evolves into adding exercise, hydration, maybe some daily journaling, prayer or other meditation practices, strategic planning, etc. n nI've also noticed the Brian Tracy thing, "Whats the #1 thing I need to stop doing?" is a list that consistently grows as well. As I continue to keep those at bay (most recently I stopped turning on channel 12 news in the morning) I also notice a shift. n nKeep rockin' it and being the change!!! :)

    • yotheresacampbell

      That's awesome Chip. nI never watch the news anymore :-) n nT

  • I have to echo Joshua Barad. Great piece, and I especially loved the passage you used right at the start. It gave me something to think about (and laugh my ass off at the mental image!) .