Have you ever dreamt of getting paid to do something that you love and are most passionate about? It is possible that you have at some point, but life somehow got in the way and you diverted down a career path that doesn’t quite seem to fit you.
However, it pays the bills, so you take the path of least resistance and continue on with it, right? With each passing day, month and year, you grow more and more discontented as you ignore the purpose calling you to do something different. In some form, this is the story of the majority of professional women I’ve coached over the years.
The truth is, everyone needs something to jolt them into deciding to make the change for themselves. One of my personal tipping points was when I was in a corporate job that started to affect my health adversely. Being in severe pain after attempting to eat only a couple bites of food and getting a diagnosis from my gastroenterologist of stress as the culprit was the beginning of my journey to pursue my own purpose. I had survived three rounds of company lay-offs and with each, I couldn’t help but feel that I might be next up on the chopping block.
I had been “thanked” by the company with a measly $700 (R10 000) bonus cheque for playing a vital role in helping my team win a $30 million client and personally bringing in $2m into the company in one year. To top it all off, I was also about to get transferred to a new boss who had a reputation of making people’s lives miserable. So I took a leap of faith and answered my calling to coach high-performing professional women like me on how to forsake familiarity for fulfilment and to profit from their purpose – unleashing their inner “execupreneur”, as I call it.
Are you still sacrificing your fulfilment for financial gain and your purpose for a salary? “Purpose, by its nature, transcends making money,” once said Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Julian Birkinshaw, Nicolai J Foss and Siegwart Lindenberg. Here are some practical ways that you can start profiting from what you were born to do. It is important to take an inventory of what gives you the greatest joy.
I experience my greatest joy in giving people good advice, admonishing them not to settle and to only make room in their lives for the things and people that are in alignment with their life’s purpose. My gifts of advice and exhortation, and my love of empowering women to launch their own businesses converged, and Pursue Your Purpose LLC was born. Once you discover what is already inside of that can be used to benefit others, you will have conquered half the battle.
Always ask others who know you well to help you assess your strengths. Being objective about yourself can sometimes be difficult. Taking a poll will give you more insight into your gifts, talents, skills and abilities. In the words of talk show host and entrepreneur Steve Harvey, “Do not ignore your gift. Your gift is the thing you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort.” I’ll add that your gift is a clue that reveals your purpose. It will also be helpful to ask those same people what they would pay you to do whatever it is that you do well and that gives you satisfaction. I find it helpful to make a list of what problems you like solving for others and what moves you to action.
Innovating a way to get paid to solve people’s problems and to satisfy their needs or wants is the purest definition of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are people who decide to build their own dreams on their own terms instead of building someone else’s. Your list should help reveal what people would pay you to do or provide for them – a topic I recently wrote about in more depth. To monetise your purpose, you have to approach it like a business and have a written plan. The basics of a business plan include what you plan to sell, who you plan to sell it to and how you plan to sell it. Write out your ideas as you conceptualise them. They don’t have to be perfect and will evolve over time.
If your concept is already developed, it’s a good idea to create a more formal plan. It’s important that you embrace the process of profiting from your purpose. Dedicate time each day to work on your dream. Although you may not be an overnight success, the fulfilment of finally embracing what you were born to do is a gift to yourself that keeps on giving. You will have a clearer sense of direction when the work you do is intrinsically tied to who you are as a person, you will be naturally motivated to trudge forward while getting paid to do what you love.
Tamiko Cuellar, the CEO and founder of Pursue Your Purpose, is an international business strategist, speaker and coach of women leaders who want to venture into entrepreneurship.