“Inside out” is a word that is typically associated with clothing. Our shirts can be inside out; so can our pants, our socks, our underwear, etc. When it comes to our clothing, having the inside out is wrong, and we have to put the inside in to wear our clothes properly. However, I have become quite passionate about the notion of living a life that is “INSIDEout,” something that I believe is not wrong at all when it comes to who we are and the life we truly want to architect for ourselves.

For many people, life becomes influenced mostly from outside sources. Our family, our friends, our mentors and what we think the world around us wants us to be all play a significant role in helping us become who we are and what we do. All of these things are important and well-intended, but sometimes (and perhaps, many times), they conflict with the little voice inside our head and our heart…and that’s when we have to be careful and pay attention. That little voice is our inside wanting to get out. And when our inside matches our outside influences it gets to sing. However, when our inside voice doesn’t match our outside world, it doesn’t sing…it gets pushed aside, discredited and bullied into submission by our outside world. But only for so long.

At some point, when our inside world gets tired of being drowned out by our outside world, we take a stand for ourselves. Ultimately our internal energy source cannot be contained. And the longer it takes for us to get to this point, the messier it can be when we take a stand for ourselves and begin to live our life “INSIDEout.” Therefore, when it comes to living INSIDEout, the sooner, the better.

There’s enough evidence in the world to know that when we follow our passions and we are authentically living our life, we are happier, we are less stressed and we are, by many definitions, more “successful.” Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one. There are no “do overs.” We cannot go back. We can only go forward. So why not go forward with more authenticity than ever before? Why not see where our God-given passions, desires and purpose can lead us?

Are you living your life from the INSIDEout? Or are you feeling less than fulfilled because you may be living a life from the outside in? What do you know, authentically, that you should be doing differently…that you WISH you were doing differently?

A leader once asked me to quickly consult her on improving her business performance. I said, “Okay. What is the one, most important thing that you wish you did and that you know you should be doing, but you’re not…and that you feel guilty about not doing?” She looked at me with surprise and quickly and passionately gave me an answer. “Do that,” I said. It’s that simple.

In our businesses, we go to classes, we read books, we get coaching and we take in enough information to have a doctorate degree in motivation, inspiration, goal setting, goal achievement, management, leadership, conflict resolution, negotiation, etc. etc. etc. It’s no different in our personal lives, except that we tend to focus more on our business life when the reality is that our personal life should drive our business life. Many times we inherently know what we want to do and we know what we need to do to get the results (and live the life) we want to have. We just don’t know “how” to do it and we complicate the uncomplicated by getting too much input from our outside world.

The point is this: Is your outside world in alignment with your inside world? If your inside world is not driving your outside behaviors, relationships and environment, then you may not be living INSIDEout, and you might be compromising some things that are truly important to you. Over time, “You can’t win it if your heart’s not in it.”

None of us need a lesson how to put together a simple action plan. Think about something that you know is truly important to you – personally and/or professionally – and start to do something about it. Baby steps become big steps. You’ll be amazed at what can happen to your personal life, your spiritual life and your business life. INSIDEout is a way of life, and it’s only a step away. Good luck!