Tag: purpose


With Every Great Purpose Comes Passion…and Challenge

When I made the decision to focus my career coaching skills toward helping people pursue their passions, it was with the belief that passion yields purpose. The passions divinely instilled in each of us give us the ability to carry out our unique purpose on this earth, despite the challenges that come with our pursuit of purpose. And every great purpose will always include challenges. Passion is the spark that ignites our purpose. It’s also the grit that keeps us moving in our purpose despite the many obstacles we’ll face or the times we’ll feel like giving up.

Beware of the Lure of the “Easy Life”

When I started promoting paNASH’s services, I got a lot of followers on Instagram from those who assumed I was doing similar work to theirs. But they were promoting something different. Something writer Tom Kuegler refers to as:

“The digital nomad/laptop millionaire infomercial of the hot couple sitting on the beach sipping Mai-Tai’s and checking their PayPal account every 3rd drink only to find thousands of dollars rolling right in.”

They promised if I followed their cute little finger-pointing emojis to the posted link, they’d tell me how they achieved the “easy life” and how I could too. I could follow their cookie-cutter formula and spend the rest of my life laying around on a beach chair. As much as I love the beach and enjoy much-needed relaxation, I think I’d get bored doing that every day. Just like how the newly-retired 65-year-old discovers playing golf everyday gets pretty boring after a few weeks.

Eventually we long to be productive. And there’s no cookie-cutter formula to help us figure out how we should be productive or what our unique purpose is. There are various methods to figuring it out. Some are more tried-and-true than others. But we each have a different path to discovering our purpose.

One of my clients described the coaching I provided her this way:

“Going through our coaching sessions is like taking my car through the car wash. The car wash gets all the dirt and bugs off the windshield, making it clearer to see what’s ahead of me. I’m the one who still has to drive the car in my own direction. But at least now I can see where I’m going and feel refreshed. I have so much more clarity about my career path and my path in life.”

The Universal Desire for Purpose

Last week, I got to witness true passion and the universal desire for purpose. I found myself in the middle of the Amazon jungle gathered with pastors from small villages situated along the vast Amazon River. These pastors have a deep passion for providing care to the forgotten people of the Amazon. Their purpose is to show God’s love to their fellow natives and to share the Gospel, regardless of the challenge or the sacrifice. Through their actions, they let their people know that even though they’re isolated from the rest of the world, they’re not forgotten.

To fulfill this purpose, they traveled by boat, many for days at a time, to the annual  jungle pastors’ conference to learn things they can take back to their villages and their churches. The team I served on also had a long journey to the conference center in the Amazon jungle. We gave up the comforts of home such as air conditioning, hot water, and standard plumbing to teach them. But our sacrifices were unlike the sacrifices I heard of from the pastors and their wives.

purpose

Through those with the skill for translation, I heard the story of one woman who traveled nearly 36 hours to attend the conference. Her husband had to stay behind in their village to work his other job. She told us of her and her husband’s vision to build a new church in a poor far-away village. When we asked her how far away, she responded in thick Portuguese, “A seven-day boat trip.”

This is no seven-day river cruise on a luxury liner like the ones you see in those “don’t-you-want-my-life?” Instagram posts. She and her husband will soon take this long and treacherous journey in piranha-infested waters, requiring them to leave their grown children, perhaps never to see them again. This is real passion. Real purpose. Real nobility. With real challenges.

Don’t Play the Comparison Game

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking the efforts of the passive income tribe. I’m sure they’ve faced struggles and challenges of their own because we all do in this lifetime. And perhaps their approach to work frees them up to pursue something more than just a lifestyle of permanent vacations. Something meaningful and purposeful that for whatever reason they choose not to share on their Instagram account.

The problem is when we start playing the comparison game. On one hand, If we compare our lifestyle to the glossy Instagram lifestyles, we can easily become jealous. On the other hand if we compare our contribution to the world to someone else’s greater contribution, we can experience feelings of worthlessness.

The goal is to focus on your own unique gifts and how they fit with your purpose. Don’t worry if your purpose seems small. In fact, one thing I kept hearing over and over last week was:

“You may never get to see or know the bigger impact your small role on this trip has made. But it’s much bigger than you think.”

I just had to do what I was equipped to do. And trust it was making a far-reaching difference throughout the Amazon whether it felt like it or not.

It took me up until a couple of years ago to fully understand my own purpose and how my God-given talents and past experience fit into that purpose. I realized my overall purpose is to increase productivity by helping people answer the call of their purpose. This is true in both my career and my volunteer service.

Sometimes this means helping people get “unstuck” in their fear of what they’re being called to. Other times it means helping them realize their talents and skills because they can’t see in themselves what others see in them. Oftentimes it means encouraging and cheering them on as they take their first wobbly step outside their comfort zone. All while providing them various tools to give life to their vision and accomplish their mission.

My purpose is not the same as yours or anyone else’s. Therefore, I have to focus on my own journey and not compare it to anyone else’s.

Nothing is Wasted

I was able to take what I do in my work here in the United States and tweak it to fit a different audience in the Amazon jungle. (Something I never dreamed I’d be doing!) While what I was teaching didn’t require me to step out of my comfort zone, where and to whom did.

I went to the jungle to teach local pastors the importance of having a vision and a mission statement for their churches. While most churches in the US have such statements, this was a new concept for several of these pastors. I showed them how the mission statement can be used to help them make tough decisions their churches may face. I also showed them how to teach their individual congregation members to do the same for themselves. This is so they can make God-honoring decisions when facing the daily struggles of jungle life.

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Presenting with my translator Harold Pinto

This class evolved from the tools I use with my clients in my coaching efforts and from the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

And those tools and programs all evolved from my previous work with recording artists in the music industry. When helping my young artists develop their image and brand, many of them couldn’t tell me what made them unique from other aspiring artists. Therefore, before we could create an authentic image and brand for them and their music, we had to back up and figure out what made them unique. Since this happened so many times, I had to come up with a process for not only helping them figure this out, but also how to articulate it to their fan base and potential labels.

I no longer work in the music industry. But being able to trace back where my teaching came from confirmed that God doesn’t waste anything. I NEVER could’ve dreamed in a gazillion years God would take what I’d created in my previous role all the way from Music Row to as far as the remote villages of the Amazon jungle!

Embrace Challenge

When you’re faced with challenges, instead of running from them or becoming paralyzed by them, learn to embrace them because they can lead to a greater purpose. Don’t be fooled by all the “life’s-a-beach” Instagram posts. And certainly don’t compare your life to the carefully edited lives displayed on social media.

Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’ve reached a dead end. In fact, one of the pastors leading the Brazilian team of missionaries said this last week:

“Airplanes don’t lift off until they reach the end of the runway. When it seems like you’re at the end of your road, that’s when things are about to take off!” Pastor Filipe Santos

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Taking off from Miami to Manaus, Brazil

Be open to the ways your interests, talents and strengths can be used to fulfill your purpose in life. Let’s face it. We’d all be good at sitting in a lounge chair on a beach. But what kind of contribution would we make in this world if that’s all we did? How would we truly know what our purpose is on this beautiful earth if all we did was soak in its beauty without ever getting our feet wet or our hands dirty?

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The view of where we landed was Instagram-worthy, but there was more spiritual beauty to behold as our boat went deeper into the jungle. (Left: the Amazon River from the beach in Manaus; Right: a village served by Justice & Mercy Amazon)

Discover Your Purpose While Helping Others

paNASH is now donating 45% of the sales from the the on-demand program Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic to Justice & Mercy Amazon. Your purchase of the on-demand program will help pay for a pastor’s expenses to attend future conferences.

The conference provides these pastors with the training and education they otherwise would never find in the Amazon jungle. It fills the gap caused by a lack of opportunity for formal education. It also gives the pastors renewed energy and hope as they return to their villages where they wear many hats. Not only do they serve the spiritual needs of their village, but they also oftentimes serve as the only provider of medical care to their people. And some also serve as farmers to provide agriculture and food to their people.

The pastors have limited financial resources to make the long trip to the conference, but once they arrive, they learn many new things to take back to their villages to better the lives of their communities. The jungle pastors’ conference is the centerpiece of all the work Justice & Mercy does in the Amazon. This includes medical assistance, child sponsorship, emergency food relief, support for special needs kids, mission trips and training, and school construction.

Purpose

Therefore, when you purchase this on-demand program, not only will you learn how to better your own life by creating a purposeful mission statement to live by, you’ll also help Justice & Mercy accomplish their mission and achieve the above results.

You can also help by purchasing a copy of my second book, SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard for only $12. I personally will donate 100% of the profits from book sales to Justice & Mercy Amazon and mission trip expenses.

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The 12 Days of Purpose

Can you believe Christmas is only 12 days away? The holidays can keep you busy with gift buying, decorating, baking, and traveling (whew, I’m tired already!). They can also be a good time to discover what your purpose is in this current season of your life. Especially if you are contemplating a big change for 2017, including a job or career change or promotion, a start-up business, a retirement, etc. If so, here are some things you can do over the next several days (or any time of the year) to help you clarify, articulate, and present your purpose.

Clarify Your Purpose

Day 1:  Spend some time reflecting on what kind of person you want to be and to be known for (think in terms of traits instead of accomplishments). What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? And most importantly, why do you do the things you do? (Recommended reading: Start With Why by Simon Sinek.)

Day 2:  Take an inventory of your strengths, limitations, accomplishments, and how your skills benefit others. List the things you’re good at, the things you’re not good at, your biggest failures and the lessons you learned from them, and your reasons for why you like to do the things you do best.

Day 3:  Be open to constructive criticism. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, clients, etc. what they perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses. Note the things that show up as patterns and the things that surprise you.

Day 4:  Based on your own personal inventory and the feedback from friends, write down what you think makes you unique from other people who do what you do. See if you can think of additional things that make you unique.

Day 5:  Determine what makes your audience unique. Who are they (recruiters, potential clients, fans)? What do they care about? What’s their biggest challenge or need? How do your skills meet their need? How can you serve them with your abilities?

Articulate Your Purpose

Day 6:  Once you’ve determined why you do what you do (Day 1), write out your “WHY” in the form of a vision statement. A vision statement is your goal of what you want to accomplish with your skills and abilities. For example, the paNASH vision statement is, “I believe everyone should find the courage to discover and pursue their passions despite the obstacles they may face. I want to see people actively pursue their passions with flair (‘paNASH’) and confidence, along with responsibility to their purpose in life.”

Day 7:  Write your mission statement. Your mission statement is HOW you plan to carry out your vision/your WHY. For instance, the paNASH mission statement is:  “To serve, educate, and encourage others by assisting them with the discovery and pursuit of their passions in a way that honors their purpose and their own vision for success, while amplifying who they are personally and advancing them professionally.”

Day 8:  Craft your Unique Selling Point (USP). In 140 characters or less, create a statement that summarizes the unique impact you have on your audience. The paNASH USP is: “Putting your passion into action!”

Package & Present Your Purpose

Day 9:  Make sure you’re able to back up your message with a summary of your credentials and accomplishments. This can be in the form of a resume, a LinkedIn profile, client testimonials, reviews, letters of recommendation, etc.

Day 10:  Post your message on your social media platforms, your web site, your business card, and other professional collateral.

Day 11:  Foster and maintain relationships with strategic partners and your audience. Share your purpose and expertise in a variety of outlets, including blogs (your own and others’ where you can guest blog), article posts on LinkedIn and Medium, media interviews (print, online, radio, and TV), comments on others’ posts, etc.

Day 12:  Most of all, learn how to present your message and purpose with confidence and professionalism.

Do you need help with any of these steps? paNASH can help you clarify, articulate, and present your purpose and personal brand with professional etiquette and confidence. Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

From Fashionista to Passionista

Life In Limbo

I recently learned about the meaning of the word “trigger.” And no, I don’t mean the part of a gun you pull when ready to fire. Instead, in terms of life circumstances, the word “trigger” means, “a life event that forces you into limbo.” When I first saw this definition of the word “trigger,” I realized that’s exactly what I had been in for the past year and a half:  LIMBO.

What was the life event forcing me into limbo? Nothing I would describe as an “event” occurred. I just know that during the summer of 2014, whenever I wasn’t busy with my work as an image consultant, I was packing in as many fun activities into my schedule as I could:  parasailing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing and more. Heck, I even got to ride in a race car during one of the video shoots I was doing wardrobe for, which was absolutely exhilarating!

F to P

Looking back, I now realize that getting out and experiencing life to the fullest was probably my “trigger,” because it opened up in me a whole new yearning for a fully-lived life, not just for me, but also for others. But at the time, I couldn’t see exactly what that looked like. I started feeling restless and burned out with my image consulting work I once was very passionate about, and was lacking a vision and purpose for the future of my business. Despite having so much fun in my free time, I was definitely in limbo, which is not always a fun place to be.

Fear As An Obstacle

During my year and a half limbo phase, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or what God was wanting me to do career-wise. It was frustrating and discouraging. All I know is, during the summer of 2014, people were coming to me with the same struggles. They were saying to me how they feel they need some kind of change in their life and work, and how they wish they could have the time and the means to enjoy life discovering and pursuing their passions like I was.

Every time I heard this my heart would go out to them. I would say, “You CAN!” But, my encouragement was always met with some kind of obstacle, either real or perceived. Their responses included reasons (or are they excuses?) such as, “I don’t have the money, or the time, or the skill/education, etc., etc., etc.” I think a lot of those examples could easily be translated to “I don’t have the courage,” which is understandable because fear (whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of change) can be extremely paralyzing.

The Vision Becomes Clear

As the summer turned into fall and winter and then summer again, I continued trying and doing new things to help me make sense of the uncertainty I was experiencing. I went ice skating for the first time in my life, took a fly fishing class, and learned archery. In that time I also continued my favorite activity I had picked up the previous summer, stand up paddle boarding. I have two boards now and paddle every month of the year, even in the dead of winter, because I am so very passionate about it.

I also did something this past September I never imagined doing:  I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville in front of Nissan Stadium on the winding Cumberland River to Rock Harbor Marina. I thought it would take me about five or six hours to complete, but I finished in 4 hours and 15 minutes (while going against a headwind with little to no current!).

Photo by Joey Martin

Photo by Joey Martin

This experience taught me that although I couldn’t see the finish line because of all the twists and turns in the river, it eventually (even if it took what seemed like forever) would become clear as I neared it. All I had to do was be patient and keep moving one paddle stroke at a time. That’s exactly what I did in my time of limbo. I kept doing the little bit I knew to do at a time and waited for the answer to come.

All of this, along with a lot of prayer, led up to the moment on December 17th, 2015 when suddenly my limbo ended, the clouds parted, and the sun shined brilliantly on what my purpose is at this stage in my life. I was in the shower (where I do my best thinking!) and suddenly I could see in my head the word PASSION, as if written in flashing neon lights.

The message I was getting is I am to help other people discover and pursue their passions in life and work, and help them find ways over, through, or around the obstacles and fears keeping them from their passions. As soon as this came to my mind, I could clearly see and visualize ways of helping people do this, using my own unique strengths and passions. The rest of that day and for the eight weeks since, I have been receiving confirmation after confirmation this is truly my new path, and I have been taking steps toward making it a reality.

From Fashionista To Passionista

From Fashionista to PassionistaWith this new vision for my future, I was also able to look back on the past and see how God is using my past experience to prepare me for this. Straight out of grad school I became a college career adviser because I was passionate about helping college students discover what it was they loved and wanted to do in their life (instead of just doing what their mom or dad told them to do). That experience has prepared me to coach people on how to incorporate their passions into their work and how to make money doing what they love while helping others.

My own sense of adventure and love for developing new interests outside of work has also prepared me to help others pursue passions outside of their work. I was even able to see how the name of my image consulting business, paNASH, can still work with my new mission and purpose (God doesn’t waste anything!).

So, now, I am no longer an image consultant. While I enjoyed styling people’s wardrobes and helping them look and feel their best, I’m ready to instead help them LIVE THEIR BEST! I just received my certification in transformational coaching, solution-focused coaching, and life coaching to become a Passion & Career Specialist (my own little niche and twist on life and career coaching). I guess you could say I’ve gone from somewhat of a fashionista to a passionista!

I’m excited to be embarking on this new journey. I don’t look at it as something I do for a living. It’s something I live. If you want to start living this way, then pursue your passions with paNASH! Email me to find out more on the ways I can help you put your passion into action. Or, join our newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal Achievement Plan.

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