Authenticity: Rediscover who you are
How it’s linked to joy: “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are,” wrote Carl Jung. Authenticity means having the self-awareness to understand what really brings you happiness—only then will you be able to discover your life’s purpose and pursue it with passion.
That’s what Cathy Klein did when she gave up a high-profile, high-paying career as a head soccer coach at a prestigious U.S. university to pursue her passion of teaching by creating a developmental training program. That was over 10 years ago, and she’s never looked back. “I followed my passion and found my joy, which involves working with kids and dogs, and rebuilt my life. I used to have a six-figure income and a big expense account. Now I live in a small cottage in the country and have a minimalist lifestyle,” says 50-year-old Klein. “I peeled away the layers to find out who I really am and I’ve never been happier.”
How we lose it: When we always strive to please others—or become hooked on achievement—we can lose sight of our true selves. Dr. Klein spent decades proving herself before realizing it wasn’t making her happy. “I got to the highest level of women’s soccer there is and it was like chasing air—there was always something else I felt I had to accomplish.”
“I became defined by being on a national team, having a top athletic career and getting a PhD. I bought into a measure of success that was defined by what others wanted for me. Now I make the effort each and every day to ask myself what really brings me joy.”
How to reclaim it: Sometimes it’s a big event that makes us realize we aren’t living our right life. For Dr. Klein, the wake-up call came when her father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She returned home to help care for him and began to reassess her life. “That’s what started my real transformation.”