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, 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.


  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.


    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.

  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