The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
As humans, we need purpose like we need oxygen. Purpose gives us energy, motivation and a reason to get out of bed each day. It puts the spring in our step and the inspiration (from the Latin words ‘in spirit’) in our lives.
There’s possibly no one who understands how critical purpose is to our survival than Viktor Frankl, the Jewish Austrian Psychiatrist, who spent three years in four different concentration camps during the Nazi reign. His wife was forced to terminate her pregnancy with his child at the onset of the Holocaust and she later perished in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. He then lost his father to starvation and pneumonia and his mother and brother to the Auschwitz gas chambers.
He literally had nothing left to live for.
But Frankl knew he had to find a reason to live because he had observed around him daily that those who lost hope perished quickly. On the other hand, those who could hang onto a sense of purpose—like, believing that their loved ones could still be alive—managed to endure relentless hardship and torture to survive.
Being a well-known psychiatrist before the war, Frankl decided that his purpose would be to survive the camps so that he could write about the details of the horrors and suffering he endured as a prisoner in Nazi camps for future generations to witness.
Despite horrendous starvation and hardship—and against all odds—he did survive. He lived to write his classic bestselling book ‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’ in just nine days in 1946, which went on to become an international bestseller. It’s still a number one bestseller to this day and has been translated into over thirty languages. His book is compulsory reading in many high schools and universities. Thought leaders like Simon Sinek have said his book is “essential reading for every human.”
Frankl famously wrote:
He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any ‘how’.
It’s this sense of ‘why’—of meaning, purpose—that drives each and every one of us. Purpose is the rocket fuel for your motivation and zest for life. I know from personal experience how soul-destroying it feels to be out of alignment with your purpose. I wrote about my fifteen year journey of struggle in my bestselling book Seeds of a Calling, which describes my decade-long challenges with chronic fatigue, illness, devastating miscarriages and eventual breakdown. My knees hit the floor and I was forced to reassess my entire life and what I was doing to myself.
It wasn’t until I finally stopped and stepped out of the rat race and did the self-reflection that was required to reconnect to myself that I found my way forward.
What I discovered is that purpose is not a ‘thing’ you have to find.
Purpose is a feeling that emerges when you’re working in your zone of genius (doing the things that come easily and naturally to you and they feel joyful—your gifts) AND you’re doing something that feels meaningful—work that’s in perfect alignment with your deeply held values. And in the process of doing so, you come alive.
Purpose makes you come alive.
Nothing describes this better, I believe, than the famous Howard Thurman quote:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
—Howard Thurman, American civil rights leader, author, philosopher.
Intuitively, I feel that my purpose is to help heal and uplift humanity by supporting others to find what makes them come alive. Because that’s what makes me come alive.
The thing that makes you come alive can take on many different forms, and it changes and evolves with time.
My first purpose evolution with my business Inspired Careers
When I branched out on my own in 2012, ‘my mess was my message’. What felt purposeful to me after quitting my professional career in consulting engineering was to help those who felt like I had —off-track, unfulfilled, depleted, drained, over-worked in their career—to find a professional path that lights them up. I started with the development of my signature program Pathfinding—How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose in 2014.
Hundreds of people have now been through this program with amazing results and I still guide people through it now. The Pathfinding program works because it helps people to reconnect with themselves; to remember who they are underneath all the societal and parental conditioning. This is where they discover what makes them come alive.
My purpose evolution with Fempire
In 2017 I met Marnie LeFevre, the founder of Fempire. Marnie had been my business mentor who helped me to grow my Inspired Careers business. We realised that we worked well together and we had complementary skill sets. When she told me that she wanted to grow her business and asked if I would like to come on board as a contracted coach, helping her to teach her sales and marketing programs, I said—YES! It just felt right. It felt aligned with my purpose. It made me come alive.
And after a year of working together, Marnie announced that she was going to change the business model and launch her franchise called Fempire. I knew I wanted to be involved because it felt like the next evolution of our journey together. Our mission was to give women the tools, strategies and skills to make money and impact doing what makes them come alive, through the vehicle of entrepreneurship.
We launched Fempire in 2019 and in that time, we created programs and platforms and led hundreds of women through Fempire’s signature program called Fempreneur Online. I learned so much from Marnie over the years about selling, marketing and how to be a powerful business owner, for which I’ll be forever grateful. I worked with beautiful women from all walks of life and in different businesses. It was a privilege to serve so many inspiring women.
COVID hit us hard, as it did to most businesses worldwide. We had to pivot quickly, innovate, upgrade our systems and processes and deliver results under extreme time pressure. And we did. I’m super proud of what we achieved together as a team during the years we spent together. We helped so many women to start and grow profitable businesses and we became resilient, smart business women in the process.
But if there’s anything we’ve learned through this whole COVID experience, it’s that we’ve entered a phase of accelerated change. The only thing we know for certain is:
Things don’t last forever and the only constant is change.
Fempire is now pivoting towards a “train the trainer” model, becoming a business that certifies women to become licensed business coaches. Their goal is “to make the business of business coaching easy”.
I love Marnie’s new vision which is “To have a massive positive impact on one billion women and inspire generational change worldwide.”
But intuitively I know that this is now the time for me to step away now and do my own thing.
It’s up to each of us to continuously listen in to our inner guidance. What’s calling you? What feels heavy? Exciting? Light and joyful? Make it your mission to follow the lightness and joy.
It’s time for a new chapter and new phase of purpose evolution for me.
My next phase of purpose evolution as an independent coach as Kate De Jong—Inspired Business.
What’s calling me in my heart right now is to scale back, simplify, and get into flow as an independent coach. I love the hands-on work of helping people to make an impact through their business with good business and marketing tactics and strategy. I want to help people (men and women) to become savvy business owners. Because I’m passionate about the impact that small business has on society. And that’s what I want to be doing right now.
And so over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the next phase of my purpose evolution, branching out on my own.
It feels exciting. It makes me feel alive. And I can’t wait to share the details with you soon.
Thank you for listening and for witnessing my journey.
In gratitude and appreciation
Kate De Jong | Inspired Business
https://katiedejong.com (new website coming soon)