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Define and Align: The Secret to Living a Fulfilled Life

Define and Align: The Secret to Living a Fulfilled Life Credit: Katherine Krug

Hey you. Yeah you, sitting in that black swivel chair, scrolling through various sites trying to kill time on a Friday afternoon. You're waiting until 5:00 so you can finally leave the office. You're living for the weekend. You need a change. You need a vacation. You need something. You don't know what it is…or maybe you have an idea, but you're scared.

Years ago, I was lost, not knowing where to turn in my career. But standing in front of a blank white wall, in my studio apartment, I challenged myself to dig deeper.

With drive and passion, I soon became the founder of Better Co., whose flagship product is BetterBack: a posture strap that allows you to effortlessly sit in perfect posture, easing back pain. I now find fulfillment in my work, helping people do what they love (without the back pain!) while working with incredible people as I build my business traveling the world.

There's more to life than showing up to a job that doesn't fulfill you. You should feel confident and proud of your work, inspired to get up each morning. Here's how to find happiness in your career and, in turn, your life.

Find a blank wall and a pad of sticky notes and ask yourself questions like:

  • What brings the most meaning to my life?
  • What gives me energy?
  • What am I most proud of in my life?
  • How I would spend my time if I were completely unconstrained?

Whatever comes to mind, jot it down and stick it on the wall. When you're done, you'll be staring at a rainbow of sticky notes. Start matching similar answers together and search for themes.

You might see you have a lot of notes around themes like learning, growth, exploring, laughing or giving back. The patterns you find are the pillars of your life; they're what make you come alive and help you reach your full potential.

Use your pillars as the rubric to evaluate what to pursue. The goal is to make sure your time and energy best serve your work and relationships.

If you're working on something that doesn't align with your core values, it creates cognitive dissonance which creates resistance. You'll never give something 100 percent if your heart isn't in it; and if you're not giving something your all, you aren't going to be truly successful.

When you are navigating your life with your values as your compass, you'll achieve flow — that state of hyper creativity where the work you do adds energy to your life.

As an entrepreneur, you have full agency to shape your own reality (and you pay for the opportunity with the relentless pressure day in and out). If you do the hard work of defining your core values and dreams before diving into whatever you're doing, failure is impossible.

About the author: Katherine Krug is the founder and CEO of BetterBack. She received five investment offers on the ABC show Shark Tank and is the first solo woman to break the $1M mark on Kickstarter.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.