You may be wondering if you missed a Thursday Thought. You didn't see, what had happened was 🥴...
Between bad planning on my part, technical tokoloshe, and Eskom's commitment to being an enemy of progress (read: blackouts), I didn't get last week's newsletter done in time. But today I'm baaaaaack!
Thank you for all of your questions in response to my previous Thursday Thought. Some were easy to answer, like Cava or Chipotle (for the record Chipotle all day every day with guac 🥑 thank you very much).
Others made me laugh, a few asked for practical advice, and some were profound. I'll be answering your questions in future Thursday Thoughts, so stay tuned! In the meantime, consider this a standing invitation to ask me anything.
With that said, the thing I'm asked about the most, both within this community and the wider world, is purpose. Specifically how to find yours and how to live it. This is not surprising because I am an unabashed purpose pusher.
As a coach, usually, the reason that people enroll in my workshops and courses or engage me for one-on-one coaching is because they're trying to figure out what to do career-wise. Sometimes they feel stuck and are looking for concrete next steps. Other times, they feel like they have a great opportunity and want to maximize it. Without fail, I point them towards the matter of purpose. Why purpose? Because it's hard to know what to do if you don't know why you're doing it.
Unfortunately, purpose is one of those terms that has become so over—and often incorrectly—used that sometimes we take it for granted. So, over the next few weeks, I'll spend time unpacking a few aspects of purpose that have helped me and my clients live fuller, richer, more joyful lives. I'll also debunk some common myths about purpose that can keep you from (re)discovering yours.
The first myth I want to debunk is that purpose is the same thing as a job. No boo🙅🏾♀️. Purpose is the very reason you exist. In the words of Toni Morrison, "You are not the work you do; you are the person you are."
While our careers can be a way that we express and live out our purpose, you were not brought to earth solely to announce, "clean up on aisle 5," to work with Bob in accounting on annual financial statements year in and year out, or even to become a celebrity. Purpose is so much more.
Purpose is the place where our passion and talents meet the world's needs.
For example, I am passionate about singing. If you have been on a road trip with me, in the vicinity of me in a shower, cooking, or meandering the streets, you have most likely had the misfortune of hearing me sing. Why misfortune? Because while I'm passionate about singing, I have no talent for it. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. And this is not false modesty. My own mother tapped me on the shoulder during Christmas Eve service one year and demanded that I stop my tone death attempts at Silent Night and leave it to the rest of the congregation. Apparently, there was concern that my singing would send sweet baby Jesus to the grave early.
Now contrast my sad state of singing affairs to that of Nina Simone, a bonafide child prodigy. Simone had a passion for music and performance. She obviously had the talent, and through her music, she gave the world something it needed: hope, inspiration, and articulation of Blackness that was life-giving and affirming.
From compositions like "Mississippi Goddam" to "Four Women" to "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," Simone called out the lethal realities of racism, the misogynoir visited upon Black women, and demanded society do better while still celebrating the genius, talent, and gifts of people of African descent.
If you asked me what Simone's purpose was, it was to be a mirror: she reflected both society's realities and possibilities. While she did this through her gift of music, if Simone was never paid to perform, she'd still be herself and would have likely utilized other platforms—perhaps as a music teacher, producer, or writer—to express her purpose.
In fact, off of the stage, she daily reflected the times through her speaking, dress, relationships, and activism. And in the process, she inspired others to live more authentically and fully.
Which is part of the reason that purpose is so important. When we walk in ours, we inspire other people to do the same and give them a glimpse of what it would be like to use gifts and talents to help meet the world's needs.
So, First name / friend, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to share your purpose with me. But, there's a catch: please describe your purpose outside of your job or relationship with others (ie mom, wife, rich auntie). If you were alone on an island, who would you be? If there was nothing to do, no problems to fix, just someone to be, what would be your purpose? If Simone would have reflected her surroundings, what would you do?
Please reply and let me know.
Also, stay tuned for a special announcement next week. I've created a new program designed specifically to help you to (re)discover and live out your purpose professionally.
PS If you're ready to step out of your comfort zone and into your purpose tuh-day, don't wait, book a discovery call to learn about this new program. I'd be happy to give you a preview.