“What’s your purpose?” has to be one of the most lonely, maddening, and terrifying questions I’ve faced.
For the longest time, I had no idea, and it bothered me to no end. I felt this desperate urge to figure it out as quickly as possible or else I’d run the risk of completely wasting my life. Dramatic much? Yes. Did that all-or-nothing mindset help? No. Not. At. All.
After listening to tons of podcasts, reading, countless google searches, talking with friends, going to counseling, overthinking, and trying new things, one day it finally clicked for me that I had been going about this whole “life purpose” completely wrong. I had created this self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling like I was wasting my life by being so worried and scared about it that I was missing all the good things around me and inadvertently…wasting my life.
I finally figured out what I’d been looking for once I started to relax and stopped being over-consumed by the snipe hunt I’d sent myself on.
My purpose (and I’m going to be bold and say yours too) isn’t some thing outside myself that I need to go out and find. And it’s certainly not some job title or career path.
My purpose is simply to be myself and enjoy my life. That’s it.
Seems too simple, right? Maybe. But do things need to be any more complicated than that?
Why values matter
Of course, being myself means opening another can of worms by wondering and asking, “Who am I?” (Yet another one of those loaded and terrifying questions 😅)
Who I am is a cocktail of my personality, gifts, strengths, quirks, habits, likes and dislikes, interests, talents, traits, my experiences…I could go on. There are so many things that shape who are, some of those innate and unchangeable, and other things we get to choose.
I believe that the two biggest ways that we can show up as ourselves is through our values and the action we take on those values. Both of these things are influenced by everything that makes us the individuals we are, but what’s empowering is that we ultimately get to choose what matters and do what aligns with those things.
Once I figured out what actually mattered to me, I stopped caring so much about what other people thought, didn’t feel the need to chase someone else’s verison of success, and started to follow my gut and curiosity more.
That doesn’t mean I’ve been completely released from feeling doubt, fear, or uncertainty, but the difference now is that I have a concrete north star to come back to guide me.
Clarity, at last
Getting clear on my purpose and values has changed so much for me, from my outlook to how I spend my time. This clarity has had an impact on my personal life, just as much as did on my business. Believing that I was born to create, make the world a more beautiful place, and enjoy life, completely changed my relationship work, and how I’ve chosen to run and conduct my business.
What I believe and value
Here’re some examples of what I mean…
I give myself time during the day or week to do nothing to give myself a break and let my mind wander.
Simply being myself
I don’t try to be or show up as anyone else IRL or online. What you see is what you get, and I appreciate the same from others too.
Empathy and sensitivity
I see these two traits as strengths, not weaknesses, that help me to try to to understand and connect others. At the end of the day, we’re all just wanting kindness, love, and respect, and that starts with hearing people out.
Going on adventures
Life is short and I want to see and experience as much as I can. Risking comfort in any area makes life interesting.
Forging my own path
I’m dedicated to pursuing what’s meant for me, no matter how strange and unconventional other people think I am,. Life’s rules were meant to be broken, and I’m not here to live a carbon copy of someone else’s life path (;
Working to live, not living to work
I’m so much more than my job title, even though I love what I do and finally have my “dream job”. While I believe I can make a big impact through my work, I believe I can make an even bigger impact simply by showing up as the happiest, most relaxed, and best version of myself. Our energy is infectious whether it’s low or high vibe, and the fulfillment that makes us our best selves doesn’t come from being over-committed to work.
Taking time to nourish my body, soul, and mind
I can’t be my best self or do my best work without caring for myself in all aspects.
Doing whatever the hell I want
Fuck it. Does it really matter what other people think? Because the likelihood that they’re thinking of me anyway is preeetty slim, so I’m going to listen to my gut and NOT other peoples’ insecurities. Again, life’s short, and I want to be proud of myself for not holding back.
Making my own luck
As much as I wish someone could swoop in and “save me”, no is coming unless I decide to take responsibility and show up for myself. Deciding to put myself out there, try new things, and not wait around for someone else’s approval, has brought some pretty incredible opportunities into my life. (Not to mention a strong sense of empowerment and freedom too.)
What do beliefs and values have to do with business?
So what do personal values have to do with running a design studio? Nothing? Maybe. I guess this entire post could be considered self-indulgent rambling if you believe that people are fully capable of compartentalizing the many facets of their lives.
I don’t operate on that belief though. I believe that we show up as ourselves no matter what role or title we have for the moment. Sure, our behavior may shift to whatever is appropriate for the occasion, but we’re still ourselves through all of it, but we’re still, just ourselves. Knowing and honoring who that is and matters most, no matter the situation, means and impacts everything.