What comes to mind when you hear the word alignment? Do you think of your car's wheels? If alignment has little meaning other than that, let me introduce you to this life-changing word and its potential to create significant value for you.
Align what you ask? Many things and areas in our lives can use alignment. When something is out of alignment, like a tire on a car, it reduces your fuel milage (your energy) and wears out far quicker than it should (wears you down). This is especially true in the most significant area of life - our relationships.
Relationship misalignment has far-reaching effects on you and everyone with whom you interact. However, relationship alignment can strengthen and build you up, significantly increasing your life satisfaction.
The definition of alignment, according to the Oxford Languages dictionary, is:
1. arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions.
2. a position of agreement or alliance.
While the first definition of alignment is useful, it is the second that will make the most significant difference in our lives and relationships.
Start with powerful questions
As with many things in life, the best way to get answers is to ask questions. The more powerful the questions, the more meaningful the answers. If you wish to learn more about formulating powerful questions, check out this brief article How to Question Your Way to the Top.
Something every great person has in common is their ability to ask powerful questions. Using such questions can quickly and easily determine where alignment is needed.
Learning to ask powerful questions is an important life skill for examining and understanding anything. As an ancient philosopher once said:
"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates (470-399 BC)
If you think it takes a great deal of effort to come up with a powerful question, think again. The most powerful questions are often the simplest. A powerful question will lead you to more profound insight and reflection. Such a question will bring answers that supply flavor and richness, getting you to think more deeply and look inside yourself.
Questions to start aligning
Use these two questions to start on this alignment journey:
- Where am I aligned in my life?
- Where am I misaligned in my life?
More specificity is needed to turn these simple questions into powerful questions. There are practically endless possibilities when you think about the many areas you can be aligned or misaligned. Let's start with the thing that matters most - key relationships.
As you answer these questions, I suggest you use your journal to pen the answers when you have some alone time with no interruptions. Let your thoughts flow freely and record whatever comes to mind. By answering these questions, you will learn more about yourself and those important others in your life.
You can rephrase the above questions to make them more powerful by asking:
- Where am I aligned with my spouse (or child, children, closest friend, etc.)?
- Where am I misaligned with my spouse (or child, children, closest friend, etc.)?
Once you answer these questions, you can ramp up the power to take your thoughts to a deeper level by asking:
- Why am I aligned with my spouse (or child, children, closest friend, etc.) in this area/thing?
- Why am I misaligned with my spouse (or child, children, closest friend, etc.) in this area/thing?
"Satisfying relationships don't bring alignment; alignment brings satisfying relationships." Esther Hicks (1948-present)
To make this exercise as robust as possible, do it with someone else, such as the person in the relationship you are examining. This will further strengthen the activity, and you can benefit from it simultaneously. A twofer, if you will!
Here are a few suggestions to start alignment in your life, including some beyond relationships. Each of the following questions is reasonably powerful. You can always follow them up with the most powerful question– the why question. Simply replace the "where" with "why" to gain deeper insights.
- Where are you in alignment with your spouse? Where are you out of alignment?
- Where are you aligned with your closest family member(s) (including any of your children) Where are you out of alignment with them?
- Where are you in alignment with your boss? Where are you out of alignment with him/her.
- Where are you in alignment with the work you do/your career? Where is there misalignment?
- Where are you in alignment with your finances for the future you desire? Where does misalignment exist?
- Where are you in alignment in enhancing your learning and improvement? What about your leadership skills? Where does misalignment exist?
It is important not to rush through the answers to any of the above questions. It takes a bit of time and effort to get the most benefit from them, so take your time. The effort you put into this exercise will surely be rewarded!
As with those closest to you, employee alignment is critical if you own or work in a business, regardless of its size. Do those closest to you and your boss and company a favor by seeking alignment. Uncover where your colleagues and employees are aligned, where misalignment exists, and why. Attending to these questions in your business and life will create radical transformation.
When you gain and maintain alignment, you will find greater peace, joy, and satisfaction in life. Without alignment, you can expect more stress, pain, and dissatisfaction.
I suggest you take at least one or two of the above questions seriously and do the work to start improving your life and relationships. A little work on alignment now will save you much pain later while adding tremendous benefits to your life. I assure you, it will be worth it!