What’s your purpose?

My name is Shannon and I’m on a journey to figure out who I am. I’ve spent the last 10 years in Corporate America “living the dream.” But wait a second. What is that dream anyway? Had I ever really defined it? Or did I just get on the Corporate America escalator and ride while standing still and not evolving? I just kept getting tapped on the shoulder with people saying: This way to your next job! To more money! To more prestige! To more external validation! But then the day came where they put me in charge of my own destiny saying: Ok! Now YOU get to pick what comes next now in your career! Quite frankly – I FROZE.

I realized for the first time that I had no idea what I really wanted. Somewhere along the way I had lost that clarity of vision. I was swirling questioning everything about who I thought I was, what I had prioritized in life, where all my real friends had gone, where my health had gone, what I actually wanted my hobbies to be. I had gotten so used to everyone around me telling me what to want, who to be, how to act to get to that elusive thing that I (or was it what they) wanted. I was starting to feel the daily burn of realizing the career I had just given years of my life to couldn’t possibly love me back at the level of love I was giving it. Yikes. Sound the alarms, right?

But I still didn’t get it. So God laid me off from my dream job at my dream company in March 2015. But God was still met with a brick wall of determination in me to NOT listen. I rebounded quickly to another company only to find myself back at my original dream company that laid me off. But this time I had the added boulder on my back feeling like I wasn’t good enough to be there. My confidence was shattered from the layoffs. I placed this burden of proof on my shoulders feeling so worthless from the “Dear John” letter they had given me previously. Every day I walked in lugging around a literal ton of baggage thinking–

Am I really good enough to be here? Have I just totally duped them all into thinking I’m better than I really am? When are they going to figure out that I’m not as good as they think I am?

I felt like I had to show my worth to this company that left me feeling totally worthless just 6 months prior and keep my mask on at all times. So again, I was too distracted doing that to see what was really going on inside me or around me.

So God starts screaming louder:

  • June 2016. A 28 year old former coworker of mine that was perfectly healthy drops dead on a run.
    • Feels like God saying to me: Hey you. Are you in there? This is your wake up call. That could have been YOU. Are you proud of the life you’ve lived? 
  • July 2016. My sister’s 65 year old father in law dies tragically in a farming accident.
    • God again: Hey. It’s me again. Have I lost you over there? Are you listening? That could have been YOUR DAD. When’s the last time you talked to him or stopped working long enough to answer his phone call instead of hitting IGNORE?
  • August 2016. A friend’s brother passes away in a freak car accident at 27. Why did this have to happen?
    • God: Can you hear me NOW? That could have been YOUR SISTER. Call her! She’s about to give birth and you haven’t talked to her since the 4th of July! What are you thinking?!
  • September 2016. My husband’s 37-year-old former boss, dear friend and mentor dies suddenly from a massive heart attack leaving a 2 year old son and beautiful wife behind.
    • God: LAST CHANCE to make a change. That could have been NATE. YOUR HUSBAND. Did you even tell him you loved him when you came home from work at 9pm? You forgot to even call to say you were working late like he’s asked you to do a million times before. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

The alarm bells are now deafening. I’m diagnosed with depression and told I should quit my job because its situational as each day God’s voice in my head gets louder now screaming–You’re not where you’re supposed to be anymore. But I’m too scared to face it. To face that voice in me saying:

It’s time to explore. It’s time to face your fears. It’s time to do something that scares you again! That pushes you outside of your comfort zone. It’s time to find your confidence again. It’s time to be more selfless toward others. It’s time to start over.

Whoa. Ok. God. I hear you now. I hear you.

So I quit my job giving 2 months notice. I walked away from major financial security, personal comforts and clear future advancement opportunities. I said goodbye to a lot of people that I genuinely admire the heck out of and learned from daily. This felt incredibly insane. It still does! But what feels even crazier is continuing to stay as selfish as I had become. Continuing on the escalator without a clearer sense of what I wanted my purpose to be…continuing to place so much of my self-worth too narrowly on how I was performing in my career instead of how I was performing as a WHOLE HUMAN BEING. Walking around without my own clarity and larger life definition of WHO matters, what matters and why, what I enjoy, what I’m actually good at, what my purpose is or how I’m going to SERVE OTHERS (my one true calling).

So this is my mission. To figure out who I really am and find an answer to the question everyone asks—“So what comes next?” I’d love to hopefully help YOU too in asking yourself the big questions–who are you? what do you value? What made you that way? What do you want your life’s mission to be?  It’s not about what your family, friends, mentors, society, etc. tell you it should be. It’s about finding it for yourself.

I’m honoring that God has called me to question, to reevaluate and to serve others. Want to answer life’s big questions with me?

TODAY’S QUESTION: What is your purpose? Your mission in life? Take a stab with me! It’s a starting place! My working idea is simply to serve others. To be a source of love, compassion & joy for others. To open doors for others who otherwise would not have access.

Caveat: I’m crazy scared to take the mask off. By doing this I think I’ve essentially sealed my fate that Corporate America will never take me back after this level of vulnerability and honesty is laid forth. But it’s a risk I’ve got to take to be whole again.

38 thoughts on “What’s your purpose?”

  1. Beautiful post, Shannon. So many parts of this resonated with me. I am so proud of you for being brave and for daring to find/pursue your life’s passion. You are inspiring, amazing, beautiful, and courageous!!

  2. Shannon, I am blown away. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. The last 12 months for me have been the hardest of my adult life and your question on purpose has been the hardest for me to answer. Your thoughts about having your life laid out for you really resonated. I am trying to pivot into a world where I get cast a vision for myself and my family and follow it. Even in my first 6 months here, I found that I wasn’t leading and working out of my strengths. Here is my stab at purpose: I want to live a life that helps those around me live their best. This includes my wife, kids, family, friends and co-workers. I think a new realization is that God is probably calling me to include others as well. Thank you again for your thougths! I look forward to participating in this journey.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, Shae (and for the continued conversation Friday afternoon). I am so grateful to have you in my life! Love your sense of purpose and hearing how God is calling you to include others.

  3. Amazingly written, I couldn’t put it down! Shannon you are an inspiration and I’m s blessed to know you!

    1. Thank you soooo much, Allison! Appreciate you and watching you follow your own purpose/journey in bringing people to greater health!

  4. I am having a hard time figuring out what to say because I know this is how you truly feel and, above all else, that just makes me so happy. I can’t wait to hear about your process. You want to help others, but you already are. Your willingness to share does more than you might think 🙂 Bookmarking this blog now! xoxo

  5. Shannon

    I don’t know what to say…
    Our current journeys seem to be so similar but for different reasons. My purpose today is to raise that two year old little boy you mentioned, that’s what I know today. Maybe tomorrow will bring a different purpose, I shall see.
    Thank you for opening up.

    1. Kimbra! I think of you, Chad and Colton every. single. day. Chad’s memorial card is in the center console of Nate’s car. It’s a daily reminder for both of us to live a life more like his–be good to people! Show you care! He was an incredible man that definitely motivated this change for me. I’m private messaging you next. 🙂

  6. What a well written first post! Such a great reminder that life is short, and it’s time to take our happiness and purpose into our own hands! Can’t wait to watch what comes next for you on the journey!

  7. Shannon what a beautifully written first post. You have always been so incredibly inspiring and beautiful and I know God is putting you in the right place to do wonders, and I am so thankful you are listening. It takes a lot of courage and strength to do that. There are so many things that I and so many others can relate to. It is so amazing to see you take the first step. I would love to suppprt and go on the journey with you! Thank you!

  8. Shannon,
    I’m speechless. I am so excited, and to be honest, so very envious of you for your selfishness to take action on YOU! I’m grateful to have met you when I did. I most certainly will be following you either through your blog, but rather (I hope for) in person in the near future. Cheers to you and your beautiful, purpose driven life!!

    1. Thank you, Emily!! Would love to reconnect in person. Just say where and when and I’m there! I’m free a lot more these days… 🙂

  9. Shannon, you truly amaze me. Your courage, strength, and vulnerability are so inspiring. I can’t fully answer your questions yet…but I hope I can follow you on the path to answering them.

    What is your purpose? Your mission in life? – If I would have answered this question 2 years ago it would have merely been to “survive”. Now that I’m not in “survival mode” for the first time since childhood, I’m a bit lost. I can easily say that “I want happiness for myself and the world”, but what does that mean for me?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. Can’t wait to read the next one 🙂

    1. Thank you for YOUR vulnerability in sharing your purpose/mission and how you’re working through it. I totally believe it can change & shift over time as mine is shifting this very moment! You know how much I respect your will to survive. I can’t wait to continue supporting you and now watching you THRIVE! xoxo

  10. Dear Shannon,
    You have ALWAYS been an inspiration and someone I look up too! You should be so proud of yourself for pushing yourself, and knowing what is right for you and your family! When I hear you say you “heard God say” it gives me hope, that I too will hear his voice and I will see things in a whole new light! But I love that you are willing to commit yourself to others, just don’t forget about yourself in the meantime! No matter what you do, you will be successful, and you do make a difference in people lives! I look forward to seeing you blossom in your new chapter! #GetItGirl
    Your friend always,
    Sierra Howard

    1. Thank you SOOO much, Sierra! Appreciate you and YES–I believe that you WILL hear God’s voice in your life. I am praying for you, girl! Excited to hear how YOU blossom too!

  11. Girl, I hope to have this kind of courage someday. Your passion to find your own meaning in this crazy life is so inspiring and I know that you will continue to do great things for other and yourself in the process. Thanks for sharing a cube wall with me and teaching me lessons then and ever since.

    1. Damn. I miss those simpler days of our cube wall sharing singing “push it. push it real good…” HAHAHA! Miss you, lady! Thank you for your kind words & support. #SuperStarJennAsAlways

  12. Shan!

    You are such an inspiration. You have put words to so many things I’ve been thinking for the past 3 years. I am so incredibly proud of you and am lucky to have met you! I am fully confident that this is the right move for you and am so excited to watch you grow. Keep the posts coming! Can’t wait to read them.

    Best of luck to you and please keep in touch! Sending you lots of love.

    1. Thank you, Hanna! I can’t wait to hear how YOUR new adventure is going. Loved that snapchat of the fancy study place. What a dream come true!!!

  13. You’ve laid the first stone on what is going to be an amazing path.

    But you know what I would say to that last paragraph. No more caveats in life!

  14. Love it! I can sympathize with getting caught up in the job and forgetting that we are humans with aspirations outside of the paycheck and daily work. I love that you’re questioning and making yourself vulnerable. It gives great courage to others (including myself) who know it’s time to do the same. It’s time to ask who I want to be outside of my occupation. 🙂 Can’t wait for your next post!

    1. Thank you Cylie! And CONGRATULATIONS on your 1st marathon finish! #ShiningStar Excited to hear more from you on who you want to be outside of your occupation. #LOVEIT

  15. Shannon this is so great- inspiring, brave and above all, passionate. You will have no problem with what lies ahead since you are following your calling… there is always a place for that!!!

  16. Shannon – this is great! I really enjoyed reading this. Writing is becoming a bit of a lost art with social media where we aim for quick and simple posts. I hope I have time to keep up with reading everything! I am excited for you in your quest for understanding yourself. I’m at a similar crossroad in my life – except I do know the direction I’m heading in, just not sure when to cross the road 🙂 Best of luck and enjoy the ride!!

    1. Thank you SO much for your encouraging words, Alicia! I’d love to hear more about your similar crossroads in life. Do tell!! PM me on Facebook or email me!

  17. Incredibly inspiring Shannon! Such a beautiful leap of faith. I believe so many people struggle with these same questions and feelings, myself included!

    1. Thank you, Michelle! Just posted a fun pic from our 3M frontline internship. Reminiscing. 🙂 Here’s to all of us working through the questions and feelings to find a deeper sense of purpose.

  18. I’ve been reading snippets of your blog posts and realized that I owe it to you and MYSELF to start from the beginning and participate! I’ve taken part in several yoga/inquiry workshops recently in hopes of finding inspiration in my life. Several weeks ago, I was asked to picture myself in 20 years-Who am I surround by? Where am I living? What am I doing? How am I contributing? I’ve been thinking on these questions LOTS lately, which tie in perfectly with your question about purpose! My (rough draft) purpose in life is to use my love, creativity and passions for food, yoga, nature, family… (the list goes on!) … to enrich and inspire others. Shannon, thank you for your candor and inspiration! xoxo

    1. Eeva! I LOVE it! One of my college professors was working toward becoming a life coach while I was at St. Kate’s. She asked me to journal on a very similar question. I will totally have to look that up and make that a blog post question for the group. I love that! And I totally adore your rough draft purpose. Sooo beautiful. Thank you for sharing! I’m newly exploring yoga with a greater depth than before and am about to cook my tail off for a new single mom. Can’t wait to read more of your answers! I hope it helps all of us explore the “big questions” a bit more and learn from each other. xoxo right back at you!

  19. I don’t know what my purpose is, and I’ve struggled with that for a long time. I’ve read all your posts so far, and have been so inspired. Maybe someday I’ll find my purpose too. ☺

    1. You totally have one! Deep down I know you do. Or maybe you had one before and it’s changed? Is your purpose to put beautiful, affordable clothes in the hands of women who adore them? Or to be a beacon of light for anybody you come in contact with? Because I KNOW I’ve seen you do both of these things before!

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