“Why do you do what you do?”
“What’s your greater purpose?”
“What difference are you making in the world?”
Can you answer those questions? …I couldn’t!
What do you do V’s Why do you do it?
I could answer the age old question: ‘what do you do?’ I was a Communications Specialist who had won numerous awards for ‘outstanding contribution to business’, I had filed patents, led innovation campaigns and corporate strategy. I was successful within my own little world as a high achieving fast-tracked graduate, proud to win the prestigious Leadership Development Programme for Europe, rolling out our recommendations as best practise across a global organisation of 400,000 employees. I had ‘earned my stripes’ and had a ‘bright future’ ahead.
The turnaround for me came from a three letter word: WHY…
WHY – is such an important question and the reason behind many of our decisions, beliefs and behaviours. Why we are who we are and do what we do. When I asked myself why – what was my greater purpose, what contribution I was making to better the lives of others – I couldn’t answer it. I needed to take some time out to reconnect with my sense of self.
And so the journey began…
I started researching various perspectives, insights and ancient wisdom from all over the world, reading and learning everything I could on purpose, fulfilment and wellbeing.
I took a career sabbatical and went back to China, as I had lived and worked there as an English teacher after university. I travelled independently from Beijing down to Hong Kong visiting friends and writing. During my alone times, it was as if I had been stripped of everything I knew and everything that defined me. No one knew me in terms of my career roles, responsibilities and hard earned recognitions. I couldn’t speak the language well enough to even hold a proper conversation and I couldn’t read or write in Chinese – I was someone with a passion for communications – who couldn’t communicate!
I’ve found that some of the most worthwhile experiences in life are often the most challenging, when we are really pushed outside of our comfort zones. As I travelled across Asia, I volunteered with orphanages, refugees and taught English to small marginalised and displaced communities. The orphaned children who had been through so much, were incredibly grateful for everything – for 5 minutes of attention, a bowl of plain white rice, or any opportunity to learn. It made me realise how in this country we have won ‘the lottery of life’, relatively speaking, with access to healthcare, education, food and shelter. Yet we have different challenges, in our modern busy lives, we have more stress, anxiety and overload than ever before and it is seriously affecting our health, wellbeing and quality of life.
In my TEDx talk: What Makes You Happy? I share more about what I learnt from that experience, including how mindset, gratitude and generosity are key to our happiness.
I discovered that what I really wanted to do was to help connect people and ideas, to empower personal transformation and make a difference to the lives of others.
I stepped away from my corporate career to set up an innovative charity foundation to make generosity more effective and fulfilling. We built a community of amazing people who together have helped hundreds of causes, with millions of pounds of donations and thousands of hours of vital pro-bono expertise, where it’s most needed.
I then had another complete life transformation when I became a Mum. I once again lost my former sense of identity and was no longer the professional of my adult life. Instead I was on a steep learning curve and a new path of discovery. There’s a huge void we sometimes face when we realise there’s more to life than the job we’re doing, but we don’t know how to find our purpose, how to connect with our passion and how to lead our best life. I wanted to be able to spend quality time with my daughter, but also make a contribution and fulfil my own sense of purpose. So what was I going to do with my life? What type of role model did I want to be to our daughter? What was my life’s purpose? What contribution did I want to make? What would be my legacy and how could I be of service and add value? I am sure that these are questions we all face at once point or another.
My dream was to write, create and share valuable resources, to help inspire, encourage and empower positive transformation. I’ve been delighted and humbled by the feedback and reviews from An Invitation …To the Life of Your Dreams, creating complementary resources to delve deeper into key learnings and make practical tools easily accessible. This includes the new 5 step transformational programme: Live Your Purpose, guiding you through a journey of self discovery to complete a personal purpose statement and a plan of action, to achieve alignment in pursuing your purpose and connecting to your calling.
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