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Finding Your Purpose

I’ve been cleaning out my upstairs bedroom, getting ready for my sister’s visit to co-teach the Everyday Intuition class with me on October 19. She’ll probably appreciate not having to sleep on an air mattress on the living room floor this visit!

Going through boxes, packed up years ago, has been quite an adventure. I’ve lived in this house most of my adult life, so I still have lots of stuff from my past that would have been reduced if I’d have moved around.

So many memories – good and not so good. It’s been an interesting process. I’ve tried to take my time and experience the memories and emotions that bubble up, from looking at what feels like artifacts from past lives.

I’ve found things I’ve been missing for years and other surprises I didn’t realize I was missing. One of the things I’d forgotten held a huge surprise for me.

When I saw a broken board poking up from one of the boxes, memories came flooding back. It may seem like a weird thing to save, and if anyone had found it other than me, the significance wouldn’t have been apparent.

I remember thinking about getting rid of it as I was packing it away but decided to keep because of what it symbolized to me. I’m glad I kept it now, because of what it’s given me a huge realization about my purpose.

One of my favorite things about working for Aveda for most of my 30s was the incredible training we received. It changed my life. Salespeople often get sales training from the companies they represent, but the training we got went lightyears beyond that.

Aveda Lady Jill

During one training conference, they brought in Kung Fu masters to help us learn to break through what was getting in the way of achieving our goals. We were to each pick a board and wrote the goal we wanted to accomplish on one side, and what was holding us back from our goal on the other. Then, they showed us how to push through obstacles to break through to what we wanted to achieve, snapping the board in half with our bare hand.

I remember standing in line, nervous about whether I’d fail to break the board the first try in front of so many people I wanted to see me as capable. As I watched, I noticed that the least amount of hesitation didn’t get the job done. The trick, we were told, was to imagine passing through to the other side of the board, to the goal, rather than focusing on the obstacle, which in this case was the board.

The feeling I got when I broke that board with the force of my hand on the first try is something I’ll never forget. Breaking that board made me feel like I could accomplish anything! The physical reminder of the way I felt that day is the reason I couldn’t get rid of it then.

It had been so many years since I'd laid eyes on that board, I'd forgotten what I'd written. When I reread it, my jaw dropped. The goal I'd written at the top of that board over 20 years ago said, “To help people grow spiritually, mentally, and professionally, to give back at least some of I’m given.”

This was much more than a goal. When I looked at what I'd written, I realized that what I'd created that day was my purpose. One that I'm living today. When I think about it, this has always been my purpose. Since then, I've been thinking a lot about purpose and how to know what your purpose is.

On Tuesday, Jenny Wood was a guest speaker in my Entrepreneurship in the Arts class at WSU. In case you aren’t familiar with her story, Jenny is a professional musician who lives in Wichita. She was critically injured in a car crash in May, so severely injured, the doctors gave her a 5% chance of survival. That she could walk into class not even six months after the accident, talk and answer questions, and inspire students with her honest vulnerability is nothing short of a miracle. (Check out this short documentary of Jenny’s story.)

I've worked with Jenny before, helping her figure out how to make some money taking her anti-bullying campaign to schools, so she could pay her band to come to play with her. I know that part of the reason she makes music is because of how it helps people.

But talking to Jenny after class, I can see that she has truly found her purpose. She believes in the healing power of music as she never has before. Through the songs she writes and the people she touches with her singing, she shares and spreads that purpose. I think that’s why she’s still with us today. She has much more to do.

When you know your purpose, it keeps you rooted to the Earth. I can bring you back to life. But how do you know what your purpose is? How can you find it? And most importantly, how do you believe it?

What are you compelled to do?

What is it you do that you have no choice but to do? It's that thing you can’t stop doing, even if you put it down for a while, you’re always drawn back to it. Even when the nay-sayers say “nay,” you can’t stop. I’m talking about positive things that make you feel good long term, not chocolate consumption.

Can you feel it?

We know when things are right because we can feel it in our bodies. It feels expansive – like our hearts are grander than our bodies, filled with peaceful, joyous energy. I get goosebumps when something is a good idea.

What do you feel fearless about?

Taking risks is part of finding your purpose. Trial and error. Fits and starts. Taking one step forward is taking three steps back, yet you just can’t give it up. For very long, anyway. It takes this fearlessness to keep going, to find your way.

How does this help other people?

When I'm helping someone start a business, the first thing we talk about is what the company does for its customers. Does it take away their pain? Make their life more worth living? What needs does what you're doing address?

Of course, your purpose doesn’t have to be for the betterment of humankind. After all, we must learn to take care of ourselves too. But why not? Why hide your light? There is so much more to gain by sharing with others and growing together. Vibrating at a higher frequency brings everyone higher.

Life is interesting. I can see now that so much of what I’ve done throughout my life has landed me right where I am today. Exactly where I’m supposed to be. Maybe part of finding our purpose is letting it come to us gradually, following our heart to the next leg of the journey.

How do you know your purpose?

Headmistress Jill


The Finishing School for Modern Women, located in Wichita, Kansas, offers classes to help women find their authentic selves; not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We bring together women of all ages, to learn from experts and each other, how to claim our power in business, finance, communication, and life. To learn more about our live classes visit or for our online classes and free social membership.

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