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Finding Purpose: Leading in your life by focusing on your passions

There comes a time in almost everyone’s life that the world knocks, asking to be addressed. Sometimes it is a gentle, persistent rapping heard during international flights while gazing out the window at the mesmerizing clouds. Sometimes the call comes in the form of a knock on the side of the head when you read a headline or see an injustice that just won’t let you turn away. And for others it is a profound personal experience that leaves you a different person with different desires for your life.

Although the situation can manifest in different ways, it demands that you go out and share your passion with people outside the isolated niche that has consumed your universe up to this point in time. Some find ways to answer while continuing their careers. They may serve on boards, volunteer or get involved in causes that they are passionate about.

My shift was a gradual change in my sense of purpose. For all the 29 years I was in the high-tech industry, I thrived on the day-to-day demands of my career. But as I advanced in my career, something changed. I began to seriously reflect on my life. I had always enjoyed the various challenging positions I had taken on, but a growing part of me had a desire to do something new and different, something more purposeful that would have a real impact on the world beyond my organization. Over time, my vision of a life out of the corporate world became clearer. There was not one moment where I suddenly realized I needed to take a fork in the road to a new destination. It was a series of moments that added up to a point in time that I knew it was time for me to do something new.

As I began to seriously contemplate shifting into a new chapter, I had a few projects in mind, including writing a book and speaking on leadership focused on diversity and authenticity to help others embrace the philosophies I am so passionate about. Another project was to start a nonprofit to drive prevention and early intervention of teenage drug and alcohol addiction. Although I had these projects in mind, it was still a major decision filled with more unknowns than knowns. What I did know was that it was time for me to make a change. To stay in my job when I knew in my heart and my head that I wanted to go would have been impossible.

I had always been genuinely enthusiastic about my career. I often told people that I looked forward to work each and every day. I truly enjoyed leading large operational transformations. The people who worked on my staff and throughout the organization made the decision to leave difficult. But, I also often said if I couldn’t get up every day and look forward to what I did, then I would not continue doing it. Although I was still challenged by the work I was doing, I knew I was ready to move on. It was time to start a new journey that was solely defined and created by me. And, so, I did. I have never looked back with regret. An incredible sense of freedom emerges when you accept what is in your heart and give yourself the permission to flourish in your own life.  It’s never too early or too late to follow your passion!

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