Finding Your Purpose, It's Always Been There
Have you ever wondered what you were born to do? What's your biggest strength? What's that thing that feels like a second skin, home, your place where you flow?
It's all around you, in everything you do, but you're missing it. You're probably looking past it to the next task, deadline, project, or other noise in your life. What if you looked for it, though? It's not as hard as you think and can be done in a short period if you know where to go. The best place to start this search is in your past. You'll see clues right there.
The only way I know how to teach you this is by showing you myself, literally. I want to take you to my time machine. We will visit the Emilys of yore to discover my purpose in the hopes you learn how to apply this in your own life. Before we begin, know these are the stories that stuck out in my life. They are places I frequently visit in my memory. I now realize they've been showing me my path.
When you undertake this task for yourself, look for the stories that feel comfortable, familiar, and are easily recalled. So let's go back to the 80s.
It's 1987; I'm in the first grade, my first year of public school, and I'm terrified. There are giant kids on the school bus in the form of 5th graders, and everything is different, unpredictable. I find an odd comfort in the routine of things and start organizing my desk in the order of the day to access everything at just the right time effortlessly. My teacher notices this and rearranges the class so that I'm sitting next to the "less organized." At the time, this annoyed me, but then I found myself organizing their desks too, showing them my way and why I did it. They improved. (not dramatically, I wasn't a miracle worker) Let's now jump to 1988 when the same thing happened again. 1990, repeat. Each of these years, my teachers saw my organization as a skill that I could teach to others.
It's 2001, and I'm living in a college dorm room, which is built very similarly to a prison cell. (Cinderblock walls and a roommate in a space about the size of a postage stamp, I bet you never saw the parallels before) My organizational skills get a kick out of this challenge, of course, but something else comes into play. I find my voice. I chair my sorority composite (a giant framed picture with every sorority member's headshot). I stand up at the weekly meeting and announce "make the picture days or don't be in the composite; this is your choice. If you miss the day, you're out." Having clarity in communication is empowering for all parties involved. We have the best composite participation ever. This single event is a defining moment for everyone in that room. I become known as clear, candid, and direct. I gain respect.
Around this same time, I declare a major, Supply Chain. A degree in streamlining systems, processes, and people. In 2003 I gave my senior project presentation. The historically critical teacher says, "you were born for this." (Only years later do I realize he means for public speaking)
I'm 22, I begin working and find myself not enjoying the actual work but instead, I love getting to know my coworkers and bosses on a personal level. I become fascinated with how people ended up in their careers. I ask everyone I meet, "how did you end up in your career?", 90% of people can't answer this question. (start asking people this, and you'll be shocked how most careers happened on accident while people were waiting for their life to start, it's unfortunate).
From 31-33 - I have ten employees that report to me in some fashion or another. I push them so hard; I pull, I yell, I can't get anything accomplished. (These years I'm not me, I decide to wear someone else's skin and use their tactics. I'm unsuccessful because I'm not me. I never forget this).
At 34, I draw up a plan for MY team, the environment I want to work in, I want to treat people like the unique souls they are. They are empowered, heard, loved, and challenged but on their terms. We laugh, we cry, we are a family. We create the most effective team in the company, and they successfully save 60 million dollars, 1/3 of the budget.
In 2013, looking for a way to connect to more people, help them find their path, and streamline their life. I joined Beachbody, an online fitness sales force that gives me my first platform for change. I connect to thousands of women (and men), motivate, energize, listen, and have a blast. The challenge I face with this model based on recruiting others to sell. I want to instead motivate people in their chosen path. For 4 years I struggle with this concept and decide in October of 2017 to stop promoting it because I have found the thing I've been searching for, what all of my life experiences led me to.
Once you've written out all of your stories, look back at them and look for common themes. When you write down a particular story, what inspires emotion? Do you feel that same emotion in all of the stories?
In looking at my own stories, I see:
Helping others but on my terms, in my voice.
Streamlining simple tasks, ideas, and people.
Meeting someone where they are through listening and understanding their world.
Personalizing help based on each person's passions and frustrations.
Motivational speaking to reach a larger audience and to clearly articulate my passion for everyone to find their purpose.
Life coaching individuals, companies, and groups to find and hone who they were born to be.
Find your Purpose
If you'd like to find your purpose click here to receive a workbook containing this exercise for you to work through.