Most of us have some form of bucket list in our minds involving exotic adventures to foreign lands, or scaling tall mountains and discovering new frontiers. These are all grand ventures containing potentially life-altering lessons to be garnered from such quests.

Each notch in our belt of desired accomplishment brings unique encounters, new friendships, fresh insights and unaccustomed ways of thinking to the forefront of our life’s landscape.

But as exhilarating as these voyages are, there’s often a letdown. Once the thrill of the adventure is over, do you find yourself turning back into to the overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed person that you were before participating in some truly amazing distractions?

Consider for a moment the words of American novelist (The Color Purple) and poet Alice Walker:

The most foreign country is within. We are our own dark continent, we are our own savage frontier.”

Wow. You want to talk about an abundant opportunity for an escapade of the soul? How about a trip inside our own being — to the most foreign of all countries.

Why wouldn’t we put the same detailed effort into the excursion of becoming our true selves as we do in exploring new lands outside of ourselves? Why isn’t our own inner savage frontier as alluring as the vast uncharted territories in the world when it comes to once in a lifetime voyages? What are we afraid of?

It seems to me that our inner journey is only as foreign and dark and savage as we decide it’s going to be. I think it is much simpler than we make it. There is a familiar comfort in coming home to our true self. This place can be filled with love and light as well as peace and possibility.

The voyage doesn’t have to be bloody, or fierce or uncontrolled. Stepping into our innermost interior is only as savage or as smooth as we choose to make it. And the great news is that we get to pilot our oh-so precious life through this prized passage.  And as long as we get to decide the meaning we are going to attach to the events and circumstances in our life, I suggest joy over angst, love over fear, and appreciation over expectations, and abundance over not enough.

Get to know your self, literally. Don’t miss out on the joy of life. The following are my recommended steps to traversing the highways and byways to self-discovery:

1. Get clear on how you want to live your life.

  • How do you want your life to feel?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What do you want your relationships to be like?
  • What do you want your contribution to be?

2. Find a role model.

  • Are there people you admire because of the way they live? Study those people and let them be your mentor.
  • What books, courses and other resources can you use to help you focus on creating your ideal way of living?
  • What one thing can you do each day to embrace your genuineness?

3. As life coach Tony Robbins says, “Trade expectations for appreciation.”

  • Start with yourself. What expectations do you have for yourself that keep you from being grateful?
  • Who do you need to appreciate instead of having demanding expectations of them?
  • What are you currently resisting in your life that you can instead appreciate?

4. Be kind, for great suffering comes as a result of lack of compassion for yourself and others.

  • What can you do at the start of each day to set the tone of kindness for yourself and others?
  • What is one quirky thing that you love about yourself?
  • How can you contribute to your inner peace as well as peace and calm in the world?

Pack up your thoughts and enjoy the ride, because your inward expedition is the trip of a lifetime.

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About The Author: Annie M. Fonte is the founder and CEO of Meet Me At The Barn — a self-mastery and personal development program designed to help people of purpose achieve their highest level of living. With an MBA from Harvard University, Annie has founded numerous successful ventures in health care, sports medicine, continuing education and hard goods. At Meet Me At The Barn, Annie and her team produce live and online courses that guide clients toward living an authentic life and that help people discover and pursue their true self and passions.