“Find something you really love doing and mix it with something you care about.” – Kathleen Hanna.
Last week I shared a story about how much I care about the refugee situation and it led me to this week’s story on finding purpose. I’ve always wanted to do something to support refugees but felt helpless in the face of so much need. Then, I discovered Their Story is Our Story and have since become their director of strategy because one thing I can do? I can help organizations be more strategic about storytelling. So I’ve married my skills in storytelling with my passion for the cause of refugees.
And I think one way of finding purpose is in merging what you care about with what you can do. That isn’t always straightforward. It wasn’t for me, and I don’t expect it to be for anyone.
I am working on a project for our school district to help students get inspired about their future. The goal is to give them ideas, not on “What they want to be when they grow up,” but what they want to do. Last month, I held a focus group with a classroom of high school students to understand what is on their minds when it comes to their futures. Do they think about it? (Yes, they said, every single day). Are they worried or optimistic? (They are ALL optimistic. I didn’t have the heart to dispel of them of that silly notion. Kidding!)
As a side note, don’t call YouTubers “vloggers.” You’ll get a laugh when you weren’t going for the laugh. They are YouTubers.
I asked the students if they knew what they wanted to do with their lives, and 90 percent of them did not know. It was my chance to tell them they didn’t have to know. They have to go out and experience the world. Live it. Get to know the world. Get to know themselves.
I had no idea what I wanted to do. I mean, I was still waiting tables right up until I turned 30. I took the first job I could find so that on my birthday I didn’t have to say I was a waiter. I came home crying from my first day. I was a concierge at an upscale apartment building in Seattle and spent my first night buzzing the door open for residents younger than I was, making real money at real jobs, and coming home from an evening out to dinner.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I did know what I didn’t want to do. My motto has always been to say yes to adventure and no to that which does not serve me. I stuck out that job for the advancement opportunities and the experience.
If you don’t do anything, you don’t have anything to build upon. I thought of this because a friend’s son in his late 20s is in that directionless phase at the moment and is turning down jobs waiting for the right one. The perfect one.
You won’t find your soul mate if you don’t start dating.
Most of the guests on my Breaking Trail podcast followed a circuitous and unintentional route to landing in their sweet spot. They found they could blend doing something they love with something they care about. Like the quote’s author (above), Kathleen Hanna said she has always loved playing music and cared deeply about ending violence against women. She is the founder of the feminist punk riot girl movement.
It doesn’t matter what age you are because we are continually reinventing. Our story is a work in progress until it ends. So I like to keep thinking about the next chapter and the next intersection of caring and loving.
It’s also a great “template” for your personal story. What do you love doing? And what do you care about? What is the intersection?
Take care out there,
Some ways I may be able to help you and your team:
Need Guidance And Accountability? Take a big leap: I advise purpose-driven individuals who want to make a big change, level up their career, start a new chapter, or launch a thing. I still have a few spaces available in December for my Take a Big Leap Advisory program. Respond here, and we can schedule a time to discuss.
Help Non-Profit Team Members Level Up their Storytelling. In this three-part series, I can work with your team to help you elevate your organization’s communications and storytelling skills. Want more details? Respond here to schedule a time to talk.
Digital Transformation. Need to bring your work online? I’m here to help. Contact me for details.
Stay in touch.
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