Saturday, October 3, 2015

Are You Living Your Life on Purpose?


Are you living your life on purpose?

I was twenty-something when my career in Human Resources started—around that same time I began saying I wanted to write a book.
By my mid-thirties, I already knew there were parts of Human Resources work I loved and parts I didn’t love at all. My job required both parts, and I did them because that’s what you do when you have a family, mortgage, other bills, and want to get ahead and climb the corporate ladder. 
I didn't realize back then that in the midst of that juggling act, I had already started taking steps towards living my life on purpose.
To progress in my H.R.career, I needed a Master’s degree. As an H. R. Executive, the logical degree was a Master’s in Business Administration. MBA meant statistics, accounting, and finance, the parts of H.R. I didn’t love. I wanted to excel in coaching, counselling, and training—the work I found most meaningful. In spite of colleagues telling me the “wrong” degree might derail my career, I followed my heart—and my purpose—and earned my Masters in Health Education and Employee Counseling.
Shortly after, I accepted an HR Executive position that meant moving from Philly to the Jersey Shore. Living “down the shore” had been one of my dreams since I was twenty-something. Achieving that dream when we moved to Cape May reminded me I had been carrying another dream around since my twenties—the dream about writing a book.
I joined my first creative writing group. At my second meeting, I read three hand-scribbled pages that had taken hours to write. I didn’t know it then, but those pages were the beginning of my first novel, PEACE BY PIECE.
Three scribbly pages for my book--a huge step towards life on purpose.
That writing group led to more steps—writing workshops, conferences, and eventually earning my Masters of Fine Arts/MFA in Creative Writing.
By then, I was fifty-something and determined to finally stop doing the parts of HR I didn’t love. With the support of my boss, I set a goal to not be in my job by the end of the year. Months later, I was happily coaching and training--the meaningful work that, along with writing, I know is my work life’s purpose.
So I ask again. Are you living your life on purpose?
And, just how do you discover your life’s purpose?
If you had asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, a nurse, teacher, or librarian. I  spent my career in healthcare, teach adults, and devote a load of my time to writing and books.
My child-self was pretty close. I knew my purpose as a child. I’m betting you did too.

Want to live life on purpose? Ask yourself:

·         What have you loved since you were a child?

·         What gives you meaning and joy?

·         How can you bring more of that into your life?

Take one step in that direction, and then take another. 
With each step, you will live your life on purpose.
 

5 comments:

  1. Carol,
    I guess I would have to answer "reading" to that first question of what have you loved since you were a child, and then "writing" gives me meaning and joy. I am bringing more personal writing into my life by joining a writing group (as you did) and taking a writing course. I don't know if I have a book in me yet, but that seems to be the path I am taking. As I get more time once I leave the work world next year, the writing will be my creative purpose, but I am also thinking of other things I might do to feel like I am making a contribution to the world. I think about teaching reading, perhaps to struggling children, immigrants or prisoners. I'd like to give someone the joy of reading that has quenched my imagination throughout my life.

    Chris

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    1. Chris, for as long as I've know you, reading and writing have played a big role in your life. Although it was employee communication not "creative writing" (or was it :) ) I think writing is what first connected us when we worked together. Not surprised that you think about sharing your gift by teaching others.

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  2. At the age of twenty, I began a twenty-four year teaching career. While it was fulfilling on many levels, like you in your first "job", there were parts of it I loved and parts I didn't love at all. There has to be something else out there, I thought, that could be more life-giving for me. While I was still teaching I earned a Masters Degree in Human development from Fairleigh Dickenson University (your Alma Mater), and it was a ticket to a brand new adventure. I am currently Pastoral Associate for Compassionate Outreach at my parish, and I know that this is my life's purpose. I am happy!

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  3. I didn't know we share an Alma Mater :)
    I wonder how many of us settle for jobs that are fulfilling on many levels? Glad you didn't and pursued your heart's desire

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