Recently, Kelly Exeter of A Life Less Frantic wrote a blog post on ‘How to find your passion or purpose in life’. In her post, she posed a series of questions to ask yourself that will help you on your way.
As I am doing exactly that – searching for my passions and purpose in life – I’ve decided to attempt answering her questions and see if they help provide some further clarity on my future path. In order to be transparent and share the realities of a person going through the process of trying to find their passions and purpose, I am answering them publically on my blog *gulp*! You often see the flip side – when someone has completely changed their life around. They’ve found their passions. They’ve found their purpose … and they have a new career which is flourishing and doing well. What you don’t often see is the journey/steps they went through to get there. I hope I have a lovely, happy, flourishing and successful flip side! 😉
Some background: I left my corporate position. I had been with the organisation (in various places and positions) for 12 years post children and 11 years pre children. It was making me unhappy and therefore unhealthy. The final straw was a betrayal that cut deep and had an impact that ultimately made me realise that it was time to change my life. If you really want to know all the gory details (well … within reason), I wrote a series of five (5) posts where I bared my soul (it was not easy to do) – Part 1 is here.
So, since I left I have been exploring, experimenting, and rediscovering who I am, what I like to do, what makes me happy and ultimately I am looking for my passions and purpose in life. I hope to turn my passions and purpose into my new career so that I can LOVE WHAT I DO.
So here I go answering the questions!
Question 1: What do your friends and family know you for or rely on you for?
This is hard – because it is observations from my perspective and not theirs!
- My family usually rely on me for assistance with anything to do with a computer. I guess my years of working in an office/corporate job have kept my computer skills pretty up to date.
- My sisters usually phone me for advice and support with any problems they may have.
- Friends probably (hopefully) think of me as a genuine, caring kind of person and that sometimes I can be a little bit funny.
- I know that at least one friend thinks I’m creative!
Question 2: What do you find yourself reading about obsessively?
Hmmm … well I absolutely love to read but I don’t know that I read about any one thing obsessively. I love the escapism of a good story. Better yet … a series!! Recently, I have started reading (for the first time ever) some books in the spirituality/ personal development genre – with an interest in mindfulness, being present in the moment, and ways to have a sense of inner calm and peace etc. I guess this stems from recent upheavals, stress and changes in my life – having left my corporate job and now *obviously* trying to work out … ‘where to from here’.
Question 3: If you find yourself bored (ha ha yes fellow parents I am laughing too) what do you find yourself doing?
My kids have all finished school so assuming the house is gleaming, all washing is up to date and I don’t have a photography assignment I should be doing: I’d read, write a blog post, take some photographs, garden or float in the pool (if it’s summer and a hot day) or if I had some company I would go for a day trip to somewhere beautiful like a rainforest walk, the mountains, the beach, beautiful gardens etc – always taking my camera of course.
Question 4: What do you absolutely make time for in your life (besides the essentials like food, family etc)?
I’d love to say ‘exercise’ here but sadly, though I do enjoy a nice walk out in nature, vigorous exercise is not a passion of mine.
I can’t live a fast paced life anymore. I need activities to be spaced out – ensuring I get plenty of quiet time. I’m an introvert and though I didn’t really need a lot of time alone in the past, I’ve found that as I’ve got older, I need it more now.
I’m a deep thinker and analyser and NEED to express myself. Since starting my blog, I find it really fulfils that need in me (to express myself) – even though it has taken some time to get used to sharing things in cyberspace with the fear of unknown people reading my thoughts as well as people I know in real life. Also, deciding what is ok to share and what is not.
Photography makes me happy – especially when I manage to capture something I find to be beautiful. The process of taking photographs totally consumes me and blocks out all other thoughts. I love that. I absolutely love to look out on a pretty garden. I enjoy nature and its beauty. It relaxes and calms me, inspires me, and makes me feel happy.
Reading. I always have a book on hand that i am reading. If I am without a book to read, I feel lost and like something is missing. I read every night in bed before I go to sleep.
Question 5: What makes you super buzzy?
I don’t get super buzzy much. That’s a bit sad isn’t it?! Hmm … Let me think.
I get a thrill when:
- I receive some positive feedback on a blog post I do (let’s face it, as a relatively new blogger ANY feedback is exciting)
- Someone compliments a photograph I’ve taken
- Capturing a beautiful photograph that I’m proud of
- I do well in a photography assignment
- When a plant I have planted starts to grow and/or bloom
- Just looking at my new turf makes me happy. It’s green and healthy and spongy and just so lovely
- Getting away to the country, a rainforest, the mountains, the beach – anywhere where nature lifts my spirits and photography opportunities abound
- My dogs – I love my two dogs. When they are happy that makes me happy.
- I am creative and have created something I am proud of. I used to be quite good at art (drawing and painting) and crafts. Life got too busy. Since I left my job, I have tried to find that creativity again but as yet it remains locked away. I will find it again though because I know that it is part of me.
I like to talk or write about:
- Women’s Health and Empowerment.
- Self Care. I feel quite passionate about women and how so many of us, in our roles as wives and mothers, neglect and lose ourselves. This is what I did. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I feel a need to tell young mums what I didn’t know when I was a young mother and in fact tell EVERY woman and mother no matter what their age that they matter too.
- Middle age. In the blogging world, I’ve noticed that there is a gap in this area. There are many young mothers who are bloggers and lots of discussions around the issues surrounding the raising of young children but not so many middle-aged women bloggers to discuss the issues we face. There are so many issues around middle age. Teenagers, Young Adults, Empty Nest Syndrome. Body issues. Self Confidence. Peri-menopause and menopause and more.
- Self image and Self Esteem. Having been plagued with self-image issues most of my life (particularly post having children), I am on a mission to be happy in my own skin and want to help other women feel the same.
- People – inspiring and uplifting them to become happier
- My dogs
- My plans for the future. What are they?
Question 6: What’s something you happily do for no money and if someone were to pay you for it you’d feel guilty because you enjoy it so much?
Inspire people / help lift their spirits. I cannot stand to see people hurt, upset, sad, depressed. I will drop everything to support a friend and/or to help lift their spirits.
Question 7: Of all the things that make you super-buzzy, which are the ones that if they were missing from your life you would feel quite bereft.
Oh this is a hard question. I need to read. I need to write/express myself. I need to take photographs. I need the beauty of nature like I need air to breathe.
If I were to be kept indoors and away from nature I would wilt and die just like a flower. Being in and around nature and photographing it. I could not live without that.
Question 8: Where is your ‘tribe’?
I think the blogging world could be my tribe. Bloggers are generally people who like to express themselves and so don’t judge me for doing the same. In fact, the more open I am, the more they seem to relate to me. I’m new to the blogging world though and the topics I currently blog about vary quite substantially, so I haven’t quite found a particular niche.
I’m also not the best blogging person. I know that networking is very important in the blogosphere. However, it is very time-consuming to like, read and comment on all the blogs out there. I try to do my best but sometimes wonder if I am doing enough. In reality though, I need time to live my real life so that I can blog about it.
I’m doing an on-line photography course. Students doing this course have our own Facebook group. I guess that is also my tribe because we all have the same interest and can relate to each other and learn from each other. What we discuss in there would bore the socks off non-photographer people!
Question 9: When are you at your best within your tribes?
Blogging: When I dig deep, open my heart and speak my truth. I seem to connect with more people when I do this … even though it is sometimes very difficult and exposing to press that publish button. I don’t really feel a true part of the blogging tribe yet as I haven’t yet fully immersed myself in the blogging world. My current blog is my ‘working out who I am and what I’m going to do blog’. When I have my purpose … when I can feel proud … when I have goals and plans … that is when I will fully immerse myself in the blogging world (i.e. networking and attending blogging conferences etc).
Photography: When I capture something special that makes my heart smile. When I share a photograph and receive positive feedback and/or suggestions for improvements. When I do well in an assignment.
So, after answering those questions, it seems that my main passions are: photography, nature, women’s health and empowerment, writing and expressing myself, helping and inspiring others.
So my purpose in life is to: ? I still don’t quite know. After reading all the above … what do you see? Does something jump out at you? Can you help?
This is what I have been thinking:
I would like to combine my love of writing, photography, nature, women’s health & empowerment and helping and inspiring others into my new blog which I would like to become my future career. Obviously, income will be minimal if not non-existent at first, but the most important thing to me is to be doing something that I love, the income will come with hard work and time (hopefully).
I would like to either start a new blog or re-brand my current blog. I’m still thinking over this one but am leaning more towards a brand new blog. Either way, my blog will go by a new name. This time, my blog will have a clear purpose and niche and a completely new tagline. I want my blog to go self hosted so I can include plug-in features that I have been unable to use up to this point. I would like a bespoke logo and graphics for my header so that I have my own unique and identifiable look. I’ll even get business cards!!
At some point, I would like a separate web page for my photography (linking off my blog), where I hope to have my photography for sale – in various forms. Initially, my photography would be mostly nature photography and if and when I can afford a macro lens – macro photography (still nature but up close stuff). I may venture into other areas in time (eg food photography, portraiture etc).
WHAT HOLDS ME BACK
- Fear of failure
- I need to finish my photography course
- I need a professional to help set up the new blog/webpage and help me learn more about the technicalities of blogging/WordPress. There is so much stuff I am clueless about!
- I also need a Graphic Designer to make me a logo and graphics for my blog header.
- I really want a macro lens!
- Travel and Accommodation. To get the kind of photographs I want to take, I will need to travel to different locations.
- Getting my family to take what I’m doing seriously and to understand how important this is to me. At the moment, I think they think I am just playing around on the computer rather than investing time in a future career path.
- What to call the new blog?
- What to name my photography?
- Women’s Health and Empowerment:
- I am not qualified to give advice on this aside from my own experiences and research. I would like to link up with qualified people to add more substance and validity to what I blog. Must not be afraid to network!!
- There are so many blogs that talk about this stuff or something similar. How am I going to make what I blog about on these subjects different and/or unique to my blog?
So there you go. It is not easy to find your purpose but at least I have identified some passions and have a general idea of what I would like to do. If you see something within the words I have written here make it clear to you what my purpose may be – please let me know!!
Wow – 2014 is going to be an interesting year. Is it not? 😉