How to Discover Your True Path in Life

We were all moved, and many of us shaken, by the loss of Steve Jobs last week.  He inspired us with his vision, his passion for his work and his creative genius.  We cheered him when he battled back from being fired at Apple.  We so badly wanted him to win his ultimate battle with his unrelenting foe.

In reflecting on his life and his beliefs, many of us watched the 2005 Commencement Speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University.  What stood out most to me are two, beautiful messages:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.


Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads off the well-worn path.  And that will make all the difference.

Steve Jobs is imploring these graduates to discover their True Path in life.  It’s a quest I’ve been on myself, lately, and I’ve discovered twelve critical lessons that I’ve decided to share in the hope they will prove valuable to you…

1. Look within yourself

This was the biggest surprise of all and the most valuable lesson.  All the answers to the questions of who you are meant to be in this world – and what you are meant to bring to this world – lie within you.  You simply have to know where to look and be open to listening to your own guidance from within.

I have learned the critical importance of spending quiet time each morning being still, quieting my mind, and being open to what my heart wants to tell me.  It’s how I connect to my True Self, and it enables me to lead from within as I move through each day.

Connecting with your inner self, your True Self, is the first and most important step to finding your True Path in life.

When we leave childhood behind we often leave behind our own sense of self.  We become sensitive to what other people think and to what they want us to be.  We may lose our own sense of self-expression, playfulness, and our ability to “let go” and feel a real sense of freedom.  In doing so we slip off our True Path without even knowing it.

Reconnecting with who we are within – who we are in our central core, in our soul – is the only way back to our True Path.

2. Ask courageously for what you need and want in your life

I know how difficult this can be.  You see, I had to ask for a kidney.  When I opened up my heart to believing in my own worthiness to make such a bold request of the universe, and to the possibility of actually receiving a kidney, a woman whom I had never met called me on the phone.  She told me she knew in her heart that if she was a match, she was meant to give me hers.

The courage to ask for what you need, and the sense of worthiness to ask for what you most desire, are critical ingredients to finding your True Path.

3. Accept that there is an inner light within you with power beyond your understanding

We all have a life force within us. You alone have the power to take this brilliant life force to the world.  As a leader, this is a true gift. It should be used wisely and to its greatest potential for the good of the world, and for the benefit of those you lead.

This was truly one of the most important and inherently powerful realizations on my journey.

4. Connect with and accept the beauty of your physical body

We humans spend a lot of time telling ourselves what’s wrong with our physical bodies, sometimes to the point of feeling disdain.  When we do this, we completely disconnect from our true selves and deny the most essential life gift we’ve received.  Discovering your True Path involves accepting and loving everything about your True Self, including the body through which you travel your path.

5. Let go of everything that is holding you back

Letting go can be so difficult, even as it seems so obvious. We hold onto our walls and our fears, sometimes because they’ve simply become comfortable.  We’re not quite sure how we’ll function without them.

You hear this often in regard to people who need to lose weight; they lose the weight only to find themselves uncomfortable psychologically because they have grown accustomed to their mindset of being overweight.  They haven’t closed the door on their old mindset in order to open a new door to the new path they are traveling.

You have to let go of what holds you back to create the freedom to move forward toward your True Path.

6. Stop lamenting and choose to move forward

Again, this may seem so obvious yet it’s easy to spend years and even decades lamenting the past rather than choosing to move forward.  There is a time and place to lament, but to find and travel your True Path you must consciously choose to begin moving forward.

Have you chosen to do so?

7. Observe, don’t absorb

I wrote an entire post on the power of these three words to change your whole outlook, but the gist is this:

We are faced with so much uncertainty, fear and stress in our world today.  Our success, and to a great degree our well-being, depend on being observers rather than absorbers.

If we absorb the uncertainty, fear and stress – particularly the fear and stress of other people – we lose our own sense of self, and we get easily knocked off of our True Path.

Although this is one of the most difficult steps in the True Path journey, it is one of the most critical.  Why?  Because we will always be around people and situations that have negative energy.  Always.  It is just a reality of our lives and of the world.

Those who live their True Path learn how not to take the uncertainty, fear and stress of others along with them…

8. Let go of what’s not on your path

Just as you don’t want to take the negative energy of others and of the world with you on your True Path, you have to come to terms with what you personally have to leave behind as well.

This was horribly difficult for me.  I had to finally accept that because of my kidney transplant and other factors in my life, I had to let go of the idea that some things I wanted were still ahead of me.  They aren’t. They are simply not on my True Path.  A part of me already knew this, but I hadn’t accepted it or worked through it until my recent journey.

Taking the time to mourn what’s not on your True Path with you is critical to moving confidently forward down the path.

9. Remember Abundance Comes From Within

Abundance lives within you and has expansive energy.

Remember as you come face-to-face with “lack” on your journey that it comes from “without” and is not nearly as powerful.

It is the fear of lack that fuels the lack, gives it energy and power, and creates a psychologically debilitating cycle.  When you are in fear it is very difficult to feel balanced, and virtually impossible to travel your True Path.

10. Open yourself up to receiving abundance

It may surprise you, but many of us block abundance from coming into our lives by surrounding ourselves with a fear of “lack.” That fear serves as a wall that actually keeps the abundance at bay.  Read that sentence again because it can literally change your life if you genuinely acknowledge it.

You have to let go of the fear, and you have to let go of the ways you hold onto that fear, in order to fully open yourself up to abundance!

11. Commit to staying in the present moment

You probably never thought of it this way but it is in the present moment that you hold and can wield all of your power.  You have absolutely no power over the past and the only power you have over the future is to affect it in the present.

The present is where your power exists, where doors open, and where your True Path unfurls.

Only in the present moment can you “be the change you want to see in the world,” as Gandhi instructed. If you are not living immersed in the present moment, then you are not living from your own strength and power.

When you are thoughtfully and energetically present with those around you, and when you give the gift of your presence and your energy that come from your inner self, you become more highly attuned to the moments when you stray from – or move closer to – your True Path.

12. Honor yourself

Ultimately, everything about the journey to discover your True Path comes back to honoring yourself.

Honor who you are in every moment, every single time.

Be mindful of the words you use.  When you put words out into the universe you give them power to be true. Honor yourself by speaking and thinking in ways that are true to who you are and to the brilliant light and power within you.

Honor yourself by doing the work to free yourself of what’s holding you back, by starting anew connected to your True Self, and by living on your True Path!

Wishing you all the best of life as you travel your own True Path…


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How to Open Yourself Up to Receiving Abundance

Whose Path Are You On?


Photo is Dune Walkway to Beach by rockmixer:


  1. “If you are not living immersed in the present moment, then you are not living from your own strength and power.” What a powerful statement and what a profound impact it can have on one’s life. Great post.

  2. letmemoveyou says:

    What a wonderful post! It reminds us not to take life for granted, to cherish every single moment, to celebrate ourselves, as well as others. The world is alive and whirling around us. If we don’t choose to embrace it, we miss out on the magic there is to find in every moment, and in ourselves. Thank you, Lisa.

  3. Alan Hill says:

    Your post reminded me of a formula I used to teach in business coaching
    Be X do = have

    Kinda funny though… to see this and just yesterday I was teaching on social media and blogging to a group.

    The question they asked me ‘how am I supposed to find time to do all that?’ (twitter, facebook, blog, etc.)

    Kinda hilarious when I put it up against your blog post. Makes me wonder where do we find time to ‘be’ if we’re so busy in our ‘do’
    Great post Lisa, excellent synopsis.

    • Alan,

      Such a juxtaposition, yes? But so critical to BE who you really are in each moment as you are “doing…” Thanks so much for sharing how this post “hit you” today! Love it!

  4. Henry Motyka says:

    This really hits home.

    I have always said that the answer lies within ourselves. We alone know what’s best.

    Observe don’t absorb is so true. As a job hunter, I often let the negative energy of others or of a situation get me down. There is no reason to do that.

    One of the best things I have done recently is to start playing basketball at my local church. It has really showed me, even as I am not a kid anymore, how important fun is and how important it is to stay in shape. What a great release from the stress of life!

    Lastly, letting go is so important. Looking for a job, you have to let go of old job hunting myths and old methods of finding a job. When I hired a career coach, I let go and placed myself in her hands. It was so worth it. I am much better now at hunting for a job and I have so much confidence in myself. But it’s tough to do and I had to talk myself into it.

    That’s the key. If letting go means a better life, what is holding you back from making that commitment.

    Change is go but tough to implement. It is so worth it. I’m a prime examle of that.

    • So glad to know that these ideas resonate with what you’re going through right now, Henry! You absolutely ARE a prime example of so much of this! Kudos to you for that – and for realizing how far you’ve truly come!

  5. WOW Lisa…WOW…This is a really strong post! There is so much to take away from your work here. Right from the gate, where you quote the late Steve Jobs, “Your Time Is Limited So Don’t Waste It Living Someone Else’s Life” you had me engaged. (I am a big fan of: Time is your most valuable asset – don’t waste it!) And the Observe, but Don’t Absorb…So True. (After I read your post this morning, I spoke about Observe, But Don’t Absorb, in a client meeting later in the afternoon – I owe you a cannoli!)

    Lisa, each one of these points could be the topic of future posts in itself – Really gr8 work. Thanks for the inspiration – good way to start the day.


    • You made my day, Steve! Knowing that it not only resonated but that you were able to apply some of it today in a client meeting is fabulous! Thrilled to hear it. Thank you so much for the very kind words, and I like chocolate chips on my cannolis. :)

  6. Hey there Lisa,

    Incredible post and seriously great takeaways in every single point. So many people look outside themselves for when things go wrong; yet the only person that can truly make a difference in anything we do is the one looking back at us from the mirror.

    Maybe we just need a better mirror? ;-)
    Danny Brown´s last blog post ..Think Bigger Than You

    • Thank you, Danny! You’re right about how people look outside themselves. We often feel like a “victim” of decisions made by others, and yet every day we wake up and make choices. Perhaps you’re right about that mirror! A mirror that forces us to look straight ahead, see genuine beauty, and then make choices that serve our True Selves rather than making excuses would be a beautiful thing! Thank you so much for taking the time to be here and to comment; it means a lot to me!

  7. Don’t give in to fear. Let go of the past and strive toward the future. These are straight out of the New Testament — and they probably reflect the writings of other faiths as well. Even the idea of following the light within (to a Christian, that could be the Holy Spirit) resonates.

    While I know that your blog is nonsectarian, a person of faith will recognize some wonderful truths here. Add some other great insightfs — I was especially grabbed by #7 and #8 — and you’ve given us an extraordinary article. I even like the photograph at the top. Thank you.

    • These are beautiful and inspiring words, Larry. Thank you so much for sharing such a uniquely intuitive perspective on the post and for letting me know what grabbed you the most. Your encouragement and appreciation mean so much to me. Thank you!

  8. Points no. 2 & 11 taken. I am a big advocate for living in t present! Kind of what I mentioned earlier about being all wI am created to be falls in line with no. 2…that one is challenging, asking for what you want even if it means more, in order to discover your true path.

    • Kerry,

      I couldn’t agree more – they’re actually all very challenging. I think that’s what our journey is about…learning and growing with each step! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and have an inspired weekend!

  9. Lisa,

    I saw your Facebook invite and absolutely love your new site. CONGRATS! Also, enjoyed last Tues night celebrating the One Year Anniversary with #LeadershipChat.

    You’ve been so inspiring and generous with so many.

    Steve Job’s quote resonates with all of us: ? “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

    BTW – Honor to be listed with you today on Margie Clayman’s “12 Most Leaderific Women In Social Media”.

    Cheryl K. Burgess´s last blog post ..How to create future brands

    • Cheryl,

      Thank you on all counts – and for your ongoing thoughtfulness, support and generosity. You have been such a guiding light for me this year as you are a master of connections and true marketing thought leadership. I hope very much that we’ll have the opportunity to meet in real life very soon. All the best and have a spectacular weekend!

  10. Lisa I love this post! I am wondering, I agree complete with #12, Honor Yourself, and I think this is so true. Often, I think we make decisions based on what the heart wants, when our head knows what is best for us. Maybe that’s not exactly what you meant, but it made sense for me, so I am going with it ;) See you at #LeadershipChat tomorrow night!
    mack collier´s last blog post ..Is Twitter making us lazy bloggers?

    • Thank you, Mack! I would actually say the opposite… Often our heart knows what we want and what we need, and our head tries to talk us out of it for all kinds of “practical” purposes. I was also trying to convey the principle of knowing your innate value in this world and not letting others devalued us in any way. When we realize this is happening, standing up for ourselves and making choices that serve who we are and who we are meant to be.

      As a matter of fact, your email is a beautiful reminder this morning. :) See you tomorrow night!

  11. I agree entirely with the section on the difficulty in letting go of what is not on your true path. It is so easy to be side-tracked by the interesting but irrelevant distractions in life that you can lose sight of what is important.

  12. Msomi 4rm South Africa says:

    I realy like your post because it teaches us that we are all designers of our future.Yet we can discover our inner creativity by probing deep into our minds,lv u.


  1. […] thought Lisa Petrilli’s observations about what she’s learned from Steve Jobs were well worth reading and sharing with […]

  2. […] it to Lisa Petrilli to pull the most amazing aspects of Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech, transfer his advice to her own life, and then return to her readers lessons on how they too can […]

  3. […] How to Discover Your True Path in Life by Lisa Petrilli […]