Am I living and working in my life's purpose? How do I know what that purpose is? JJ and Melissa explore this topic and reflect on their personal journeys to discover their own purposes, along with the various ways they've found joy along the way.
Melissa Albers 0:00
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.
JJ Parker 0:18
So Melissa, you want to title today's episode? What's in your dash? I and I didn't really get what that means, like, What do you mean in your dash? Like, like a dash of salt? Like, what is that?
Melissa Albers 0:38
Everything bagel seasoning. So I met this woman a long time ago. And she lives in Nashville, and she actually writes music. She writes country music, and she's gotten some she's gotten some really cool traction. One of the songs that she wrote specifically, is called what's in your dash. And we got to this conversation, because she was a little older in life when she married her husband, and they had a child, and they never thought that they would have children. And this little guy was a bit of a surprise. But they were so elated. They named him Dash. And I was like, what does this dash have some kind of significance or meaning? And she said, It sure does. She said, I wrote a song too, after he was born called what's in your dash. And to me, she said, The anybody's gravestone shows the year they were born, and the year that they died, and there's a dash in between. And she, she just went on to say that for her her purpose. And her meaning that she didn't even know about was her little guy Dash. And she wanted her life to be significant. Because of him, and what what she was able to accomplish in her life from the time she was born to the time she died. That's how she was talking about it. And I absolutely thought that was so cool. Other people have said that to it. So it's like, she didn't actually, you know, she didn't create that phrase. But she really explained that phrase to me in a way that actually I got goosebumps when she talked about it, because it was so cool. And it got what a great story. Yeah, I know. And oh my gosh, too. He's like the cutest little guy, sparkly brown eyes and just darling. But I got me thinking, like, what's in my dash? You know, like,
JJ Parker 2:32
that's a good question. That's a hard question.
Melissa Albers 2:36
I know. So then I start thinking, well, maybe that's too kitschy of a phrase, you know, maybe, maybe what I'm really asking is, am I working in my purpose? Like, am I, you know, I'm 54. Now, which I always have a habit of saying out loud, so I'm not anymore, that I might might stop using numbers all together. But I'm 54 now and I start thinking to myself, what is it that I want to be known for? You know, like, what matters to me? What matters to me? How am I spending my time? Because days fly by? Right? And how am I spending your time?
JJ Parker 3:13
Well, that's like a really, as a super interesting question. Mm hmm. And I think you're right, like so many of us, you know, sort of like on the path of life, just, frankly, just like, kind of like, Get busy, right? Yeah. Like, we've got work. And we've got kids, we've got all this stuff happening. Yeah. It's just like, Go Go, go, go go. And then do even take the time to sit back and think about, like, why? Like, what's the purpose?
Melissa Albers 3:46
Yeah, well, and there's the word right there. Right. It's like purpose, what, what is? What is my purpose? And I know that this is like a big this topic is one that a lot of people use in a way to be? I don't know. I don't know. I think some people use it in a different way than how I actually am talking about it today, or how we're talking about it. Some people use it, like it has to be a goal or, you know, get after it. Do you know your purpose? Like Ron, I don't mean it like that at all. I mean, are you doing stuff in your life that you feel deeply connected to? And do have the awareness that you are? To me, that's more of talking about what purposes? I'd be interested in your thoughts about that?
JJ Parker 4:34
Well, yeah, this is a question that I've asked and sort of tried to seek for a really long time. Like, I years ago, when Simon like Simon Sinek had a very famous talk called Start With Why and it was like, yeah, it was rooted in business right where he His thesis was like, people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it. Yeah. Right. So we see all these, like businesses that, like have this core purpose. And they're fulfilling that purpose in a variety of different ways. Right. So, yeah, so I got super interested in that, because I'm having, like, a bunch of different businesses. It's just like, What is the purpose of all of these things? And in and in one way, like, for me from, like, putting my marketing hat on? Like, I like talking about why our companies do things more than specifically, technically what they do. Right. Right. So I got super interested in that. And did a lot of exploring, but that actually turned into me trying to figure out what my Y was. Yeah. Yeah. And that was, that's been really difficult. Honestly, like, like, I went through so much of my life just like hustling and doing things that I never stop to think like, why am I doing this? Why am I creating these companies? Why am I involving myself in all of these different activities? Is there any common thread between any of this stuff? Right? Yeah. And is there like, and how it's super hard to articulate? It is I have to
Melissa Albers 6:34
articulate Yes, I agree with you. You know, normally, when we get ready for these podcasts, I sit with it and see, how do I feel about that? And you go right to Google. This time, as we've been exploring this idea of what's in the what's in your dash, and what's your purpose, I actually went to Google. Oh, cuz I first I just wanted to see how it felt it was actually kind of fun. I could see why you like that. You know, it's funny is when you talk about what is your own individual purpose. There's so many articles, there's a million articles on purpose, and you know, five easy steps to find your purpose, blah, blah, blah. I landed on one, that one particular site that I thought was really interesting in it, and the article is called seven tips for finding your purpose. I might actually even write a blog on this, because it was kind of interesting. But, you know, like, you and I have talked about purpose before. And we never, it's kind of funny, because I think what we do as we talk about what the absence of having our purposes, I think we talk about, I'm not sure about this, I don't let Well, I know it's not that, like I feel like, just naturally, when we've tried to unfold this a little bit, we talk about what the absence of purpose actually has been in our lives. And, and then we just skate on the on what it actually is like, how is it? And that's because exactly like you're saying, it's hard for someone to be able to know what their purpose is articulate their purpose, and feel really, really good. Right? I think that's difficult. So this article I'm looking at, it's like, it lists all these ways that that a person can find their purpose. And it really bugged me. Because all although it really bugged me, I thought, are you kidding me? This is the article. Well, it roped me in first of all, because it said,
JJ Parker 8:41
Yes. Sounds like a job. Like, what is this? You're curious to know, like, then you get a little irritated.
Melissa Albers 8:50
It says only 25% of Americans, American adults believe that they have a clearer sense of purpose. 25%. And I would
JJ Parker 9:00
I would believe that statistic, and actually, I might actually have been bad statistics a little high.
Melissa Albers 9:04
Yeah. Yeah. And then and then they say 40% either claim neutrality, or they just say they don't know, I think it's much higher than 40. I think, I don't believe it's only 40. But it's like, you know, you and I talk about purpose and why it's important. And we do get we I think we both are, are in our purpose. I think we spend a lot of our daily lives in our purpose, just in an unaware state. And, and so, so I'll let me I'll expand on that for just a moment. But like, here's the other thing, this article so that was kind of interesting, because what you and I do is we talk about well, purpose should not just be tied to your job. So there it is. We're talking about what it isn't. However, in this article, it says people who have a sense of purpose, live healthier lives. They live longer, and they make more money. Now isn't that interesting that goes in like lead almost flies directly in the opposite manner that you and I have talked about it?
JJ Parker 10:08
Um, mate, maybe. Let's see, well, just just to like tie the loose end up on what you're saying, Yeah, his place. All right. When you and I talk about purpose and job, we often talk about tying our self worth too closely with our vocation. Yes. Right. With our job. Yes. Right. So, so I, I would actually like soften your statement a little bit to say, hey, like, we're not saying that. Like, your, your job and your and your purpose can't be aligned and actually think like, when they are aligned? Yes. Awesome. Because they wake up every day, loving to go to work and excited to go to work. And that probably, I would agree does result in Yeah, much more happiness, and probably more money, because you're probably really awesome at it.
Melissa Albers 11:03
Well, I, yeah, that resonates for me, because I'll tell you like what you said, just at the very beginning of that was you wake up every day, you really like going to your job? And that's what I do. I love what I do. I mean, I absolutely love it. So I feel really lucky in that way. Right? And it got me thinking,
JJ Parker 11:23
Yeah, I don't think a lot of people like can I think a lot. I don't think a lot of people make that statement. I love going into my job. I love waking up every morning and get into work. Mm hmm. What do you think? Do you think that's, we should maybe get out more informal poll?
Melissa Albers 11:40
You should? That would be super interesting, actually, to hear what people say Do people just feel like they're putting in their time? And they're just waiting for the next thing and waiting, expecting that it's gonna fall in their lap? You know, or do they? Or are they just on on auto, where they go to work? They don't really think about it. Yeah, they've been doing it for a number of years. And then when they retire, they'll be done.
JJ Parker 12:04
Like, yeah, like, punch, punch in, punch out. Do my time. You hear that kind of language around? Uh, yeah. Around jobs, people will use that kind of language. Right?
Melissa Albers 12:15
Yeah. Or there's just a general malaise about their job. You know, it's like, well, yeah, it's just, it's just what
JJ Parker 12:21
I normally think about how much time we spend working. Yeah, it's kind of a shame. Yeah, right. The other thing I would say about the job thing, and then we can move on to what your list is, I don't think it's super black and white either. Like, I think there's no parts of people's jobs that they really love. And there's parts that are just that total grind. So it's a whole mix all the time. It's like, you know, it's not like, every I mean, even my job even though I love my job, there's parts of it that I'm like,
Melissa Albers 12:56
oh, gosh, yeah, like can't do without that. Right? Right. Yes. For you. It's
JJ Parker 13:01
the accounting part.
Melissa Albers 13:02
I was just gonna say, hi, Christine, my very favorite CPA in the whole world don't. This is what I've been saying to her for eight years. Hi, Christina. Love you don't leave me. She rolls her eyes.
JJ Parker 13:17
Alright, let's hop back to your list. I want to hear I want to hear the list.
Melissa Albers 13:21
Oh, of what they say to do to find your purpose. Okay. Well, I don't think that this is a good list, but I'm going to just tell you
JJ Parker 13:27
good. Let's hear out. Yeah,
Melissa Albers 13:29
let's hear it. Donate Time, money or talent. That's number one. Donate now, wow, that is obviously a very good idea to donate time, money and talent. If you have no idea what your purpose is, and you just randomly start laying down money or time or your personal resource into something that isn't great for you. I don't believe that that's true. What do you think?
JJ Parker 13:57
Well, maybe it's like a method to find it like, like, hey, go start volunteering around. And then the one that resonates with you, you kind of stick with and you'll do more. And that's kind of like a hint towards what your purpose might be.
Melissa Albers 14:14
You're right. You're that that? You're right. You're right. I don't know why this list just kind of like I was like,
JJ Parker 14:20
I like it. Don't I like that you're sorry, about let's keep going. I'll defend my listing.
Melissa Albers 14:25
Okay, yeah, that's good, actually, because you are doing a good job of that. Okay. Listen to feedback. Um, see, you can be hard to recognize things you do not feel passionate about. So you should ask other people to give you insight.
JJ Parker 14:38
Oh, yeah. So like we talk about all the time, like we see things and others that we don't see in ourselves. Okay, right. So you're just asking someone else to see something in you that you can't see in yourself. But do
Melissa Albers 14:50
you think you will? Well, no, you're right. And it says like, like, for example, if people think you're a great entertainer, or they say, Oh, you have such a passion for helping the world Yeah, hearing what others say about you might reinforce some of the things that you were already engaged in that you like. Alright. Okay, I guess I like that. But you know what I think is what I, what I don't like as much is, don't you think the number one on the list is that you should take your own inventory and see if it feels good to do it? Like that's not on this list? Yeah.
JJ Parker 15:22
You should make your own list.
Melissa Albers 15:27
And if you're gonna listen to the feedback of others, then you darn well better be careful about who you're listening to.
JJ Parker 15:33
That's true. I agree.
Melissa Albers 15:36
I don't I I'm not I'm not grooving on that.
JJ Parker 15:39
Alright, keep keep going. Okay, what's the next one?
Melissa Albers 15:43
Surround yourself with positive people? Now
JJ Parker 15:47
seems like a genuinely good life lesson. And does it help you find your purpose?
Melissa Albers 15:52
Yeah. I don't think it helps you. How does it help I? Well, and and, you know, it's like, I always say, John Maxwell says, You are a product of the top five people you spend your time with. So how you spend your time is very, very important, or who you spend your time with is extremely important. And so you know, suggesting that you have positive people in your life and not people that bring you down? Yeah, because
JJ Parker 16:16
I support like, a supportive network, like, like, you're not gonna actually, I would say, like, trying to discover your purpose. Me, to me, it feels like a very vulnerable activity. Yeah. So even like talking about it, with you, I feel vulnerable, which is, like crazy, because, like, I shouldn't, I mean, I don't feel vulnerable, talking to you about anything. Right. But no, but I was feeling so making sure that you are in a very supportive environment. I would Yes, I would say is important.
Melissa Albers 16:52
Well, and I say this in my coaching conversations all the time, you know, people say, Oh, I heard you and I knew you'd be so proud of me. And I always say, it doesn't matter what I think it does not matter what I think it does not matter what I say what matters is what you think. And like when you ask people really important questions. And I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm not saying don't be in partnership with people. Of course, I'm not saying that. But I do think, you know, when you ask somebody, and you're vulnerable with somebody, that person without being aware with that person is going to be well meaning and they're going to tell you through their lens, what they think you should be do or have. But it is so filtered through their lens that is never objective. It doesn't matter who it is.
JJ Parker 17:45
Yeah. So you're saying that this, this purpose seeking is? You think it's much more introspective? Yeah. Kind of an introspective activity? Yes. Yeah. Okay, what's next on the list?
Melissa Albers 18:00
Next on the list, start conversations with new people. And I was like, what? So
JJ Parker 18:10
okay, so that's like, that's like, that's like using a mirror. That's like, Hey, I'm going to tell this person I've never met before some things. Yeah. And sort of see what reflects back and they don't know my story. They don't know anything about me. This is like the opposite of what you're just talking about. Because like, like they have, they have no preconceived notions of me or who I am or what I'm about or write history, or they don't know anything, right. All they can do is reflect back, basically what I'm telling them.
Melissa Albers 18:46
Oh, my gosh, JJ, did you write this article? So
JJ Parker 18:50
why are you putting on my article?
Melissa Albers 18:54
Really, really, really, like you are so tapped into this. And you are making me feel so much better about this article? Because I was mad when I read this. Okay, number five, explore your interests. And I like this one. Explore your interest. Is there a topic that you regularly talk about? This is very interesting to this article very much. points back to social media in a lot of these. Like, for example, the first sentence this one says an exploring your interest is, is there a topic that you're regularly talking about in a Facebook status update or in a tweet? Are you really sharing something about climate change or refugees? Are there pictures on Instagram that engage you in particular ways? So they're suggesting exploit your interests through social media? Almost.
JJ Parker 19:52
i That That one's interesting to me like, yeah, like if we do so here's that I I won't be as defensive of that one. I just think it's an interesting thing as I think about it, because like, thinking about my own Instagram feed, it's basically filled with rock climbing and tennis. Mm hmm. And so like, are those two things? My purpose or passion? Maybe actually, like, it could be in some sort of alternate reality that I am super happy being like a rock, you know, like a guide, like just guiding on, on climbs outside all day long. Like, maybe I'm missing my purpose.
Melissa Albers 20:41
Right. Got it. Okay, I understand what you're saying. Yeah,
JJ Parker 20:44
I mean, this. So like, maybe if you can't, maybe if it's not obvious, like exploring some of those hobby things. And it's this, this one's a little mixed. For me this idea that, like, turn your hobby into your career, or turn your hobby into your passion, right? Turn your hobby into your career, a lot of times backfires. Because then you realize, like, oh, wait, I was only fun when I didn't have to do it every day. Yeah, that's how I am with yoga. So like, to me, there's like a little bit of a mixed mixed message. And that one, I want to find out what is hard. Yeah, but it probably is a little insightful.
Melissa Albers 21:18
Yeah. Okay. Okay. I really liked the title until I read, and it was all on social media stuff. And I was like, what? Isn't there a way to explore your interest just by recognizing what gives you joy when you do it? Just having the intentionality of recognizing what gives you joy? Like, when it's quiet for you, and you're when you're home and you have an extra hour? What do you gravitate towards after work? I mean, the work I mean, the things that you think you have to do when you're at your home, like once you've done that, or once you have an hour to yourself, What do you gravitate towards, that really makes you get excited to be able to go do like, to me that's exploring an interest? Also? I like that better?
JJ Parker 21:59
Yeah, well, I think it's saying the same thing, possibly just for a slightly different
Melissa Albers 22:05
set up. Okay, number six, consider in justices that bother you. Hmm. So it says lots of people have pet causes or passion projects that surround and injustice in the world? Is there anything that makes you so deeply unhappy to think about that it bothers you to the core? Hmm. I don't like this one. At all.
JJ Parker 22:36
Even when you say that the energy got a little different
Melissa Albers 22:39
with me, are you? Both or both? Yeah. You didn't like it either.
JJ Parker 22:46
I didn't like it. It feels more negative than ish. I mean, I get it. Right. I get that. Like, if there's a big problem in the world that I want to conquer. That's a great passion. And I would say that a lot of a lot of the higher profile people that are that you would consider to have real passion around something. Yeah, are going after big problems in the world.
Melissa Albers 23:17
Yes. Right. Yes. So So I always say in coaching that in every subject, there are two subjects, the having of that, and then the absence of it. And I say you can like picture it, like holding a stick on one end of the stick is what you want from it. On the other end of the stick is the lack of it. To me when you talk about this topic of injustices, it's like you talk about, you know, human welfare, or you talk about animal welfare or something. The topic is that but when you when you focus on the injustice of, to me, it creates more negative energy. And a lot of times people get like, very false not falsely passionate, but misplaced passion. And because they just need some place to put their energy. Mm hmm. And, and so they i Yeah, so I just, this one to me
JJ Parker 24:14
feels like are some places with our anger.
Melissa Albers 24:17
Exactly. That's exactly that's a better right. Yes.
JJ Parker 24:20
All right. I've I saw this very thing play out in people during the George Floyd event. Yeah, it was right over your back like, perfect example. Lots of people to jump into this. This theory of energy. Yes. Because just no word of God. But kind of against Yeah, in in a more angry way than than a like how we're gonna. I don't know, I don't know how to explain that very well, without without sounding like I'm just gonna ramble around but There is something there. We should explore that on a different pod. Probably.
Melissa Albers 25:04
Yeah. Yeah, that's probably interesting. I'll add it to the list. Okay, finally, number seven. Discover what, here's
JJ Parker 25:11
where I add one more thing about that. What I'm the thing with the passions stuff is yeah, you can be super passionate about something. And it doesn't have to be some crazy huge change the world kind of thing. Exactly. Lots of people are super passionate about things that are, like, much more subtle than that. Maybe, like not crazy and glamorous and big. And, and, and all this and that's totally okay. And it's actually probably better and way easier. So yes,
Melissa Albers 25:45
that is so true. And that brings us to number seven, discover what you love to do. Now we're in my space area go.
JJ Parker 25:54
Now we've we've flipped I like, I like how you hated this whole list until the very end, I can't believe you stuck with it the entire time
Melissa Albers 26:04
i real i know. Cuz that's not me. Right? It does not mean, I usually try to find the positive and everything. But there was something about this whole article that just rubbed me the wrong way. Except for this little piece here. And I really liked that part. Find what you love to do. Yeah, discover what you love to do. So it said, and, you know, I think it's really important. You know, you've said in the past, and it really bears repeating right now, that when you're doing something that's in your purpose, or making a really big difference, it doesn't have to be this big, huge, massive movement. Right? Yeah. Right. It's like I, I have a person a really specific personal example of this, that I think is so interesting, because I really, it really resonates with me how you said that? My coach one day, when you and I were building cardiology, you know, we had huge aspirational expectations and dreams about impacting hundreds of 1000s of people. Yeah. And, I mean, I still love that. There's nothing wrong with that. However, at the same time, my business was shifting more, and I was doing a lot more individual coaching. And I remember she said to me, and I was like, I don't really know if I want to do that. Like, I don't know, if I want that. And she said, whether you are working with one person or a million, if you change a single life, it is worth it. And how she said it was so impactful, it was almost like a little bit of a like, slap me up across the head type thing. So I agree with you, it's like what you do, if you love it, and it fills your cup, and it makes you feel good, it is highly likely that your purpose is in there somewhere. Right? And that you're whether it's like, and they give examples, like it could be, you know, being in a musical theater, you know, like a summer theater program, it could be helping little kids at a park, you know, it doesn't matter.
JJ Parker 28:10
Yeah, get these can be much smaller things and impact in the whole world, I could just be making these something as as, like, it's I look at it as like, I don't know, like concentric circles of influence or something like you can affect affect people like, just really close to you. Or you can have this big reach. And I think that people when they talk about purpose, I think that they have to have this gigantic global reach. But yeah, you like, like Susan's had, like you can have great impact with people very close to you a very small circle. Yeah. And that, that has great impact.
Melissa Albers 28:57
Yes, I am 100% in agreement with you. So so let me let me ask you one final question.
JJ Parker 29:08
All right. What
Melissa Albers 29:10
do you think that you kind of know what your purpose is now? Or what your purpose? Yeah, like in the present? Like how you what you shining towards?
JJ Parker 29:19
I told you this is the vulnerable part. Oh, no, you don't have to say if you don't know. So. Like, again, I like using this. I guess formula, the Simon Sinek formula? Yes. Like, I'm like, what you do, how you do it? And why you do it? Right. It's like refines it in. So we'll start with why. So I was I've been thinking about this for a long time. Yeah. I've never really been able to like explain it. I still might stumble around here, but I think my Y is somewhere around helping people understand themselves and others better. Mm hmm. And the the way I do that is I looking back and this is kind of like me looking back on like what I've done for maybe like past like 20 years is like I build, like communication tools, right, that are delivered with digital media and technology. Right?
Melissa Albers 30:20
Yeah. So okay, that's why Oh, good. JJ,
JJ Parker 30:23
I have built a digital signage company, a television broadcast company, I, Apple, TV, Roku, video app company, a screen sharing company. A professional coaching company, yeah, delivered through video and internet tech. And the self learners journey, which we also deliver through digital media, right. And I've been involved in a student writing program. So like, these are all things that are communication. Yes. Right. And I didn't really, I was like compiling this presentation a few weeks ago about like, my professional history. Yeah. And they like put all these logos on here of all these companies. I was like, holy cow. This definitely has a common thread. At least. That's how I came up with. That's, that's probably my why is helping people understand themselves and each other.
Melissa Albers 31:19
Yes. And I, I would say I share that why. And mine is different, though. Obviously, the delivers comes
JJ Parker 31:26
out different like your Yeah, the the how you do that? Yep. It's different than the how I do that. Yes,
Melissa Albers 31:32
exactly. Mine is through individual touch and coaching and teamwork, through businesses, and but I just love that. And mine would maybe be slightly different in that it's constantly understanding myself more so that I can help others understand themselves to I feel like as a coach it that's an important component, right? That I'm always willing to learn and always wanting to explore more for me, because then it helps everybody be able to do that and be more open and explore to without failing. Like they without feeling like they have to please something or just get judged or anything like that. But yeah. And I love it. What a great conversation.
JJ Parker 32:16
Yeah, well, I just I would say this thinking about your Why think about your purpose is a big topic. It's hard to think about it takes a lot of reflection. Maybe it takes a lot of inputs to help figure out. And, like, don't judge yourself if you don't know what
Melissa Albers 32:34
it is no one I think it can morph over time. Honestly,
JJ Parker 32:37
I was gonna say the same thing. Yeah, it's it's not it's not like a single thing. It's a moving target. You might reevaluate have to reevaluate it every Yeah. Whenever your interests change, and as the world changes and everything, but certainly, I think it's a exercise worth spending some time on.
Melissa Albers 32:57
Yep, go find what's in your dash. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast safe. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey calm. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.
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