Shelley said, 'Your purpose in life has very little to do with your job' In the last four years, I've been a psychotherapist, teacher, mentor, investor, and entrepreneur. It's so tempting to say with certitude that this job or that job is my purpose. That I'm 'called' to be a counselor, a teacher, or a CEO. But rather than using them as labels to define and decode my purpose, I now think of my roles as reflections of who I am now, in this moment in time, with these people I work and share my life with. And perhaps more importantly, these jobs are helping me become who I am supposed to be. Your purpose is to unlock--and eventually fold in--who you are becoming with who you already are. The activities that force you to grow are your calling. Learning from those activities is your purpose. Your life purpose is way too big to be filled by one role, or even one long career. If you choose wisely, your job can point you toward your purpose. Your personal evolution--becoming wiser, kinder, more curious, more YOU--is the purpose of your human experience. If you're lucky, your job might serve as the flint that sparks your growth or, as some of you know too well, it may take the form of a psychic straightjacket that's inflexible and unaccommodating. Either way, your job is a reflection of your current conditions--not the purpose itself.
How right she is. I've had five different roles / enterprises in the last 15 years and in each I have tried to pursue my purposes even though the roles have been different. In fact making the job or enterprise into something through which I felt able to fulfil my purposes and provide opportunity for creative self-expression, was and remains, a key element of my enjoyment and fulfilment in each role. In the coming week I am going to launch another enterprise - Creative Academic. Its purpose, and mine, is to support students' creative development in higher education. Looking back to 2001 I created a similar community based enterprise called the imaginative curriculum network while working for the Learning and Teaching Support Network . Both of these enterprises are, in Shelley's words, activities that force or enable me to grow and develop and give meaning, substance and purpose to my creativity. These interconnected projects underlie the fact that our purposes are too big to be filled by one role. We carry and enact them by repeatedly bringing new organisations, relationships, performances and products into existence. In this way our purposes become the real driving forces for our creative self expression. While our creativity gives meaning and substance to our purposes, its our purposes that drive our creative spirit.
“Whether we’re artists, corporate managers, accountants or whatever, we all want to create; and we want to do it in a purposeful and meaningful way. I learned the hard way that, as agreeable an idea ‘Creativity for its own sake’ is, it’s not particularly sustainable, financially rewarding or emotionally satisfying over the long run.” Hugh MacLeod
Shelley Prevost Two Unexpected Lessons I've Learned Since Changing Careers
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