She turned to me, point blank and said “But if you don’t go back to your legal career, won’t all those years be a big waste?”
Her name was *Edna and she worked as an auditor. Was it possible that she had such little self-awareness or social skills? I took a breath and without missing a beat I responded “I am like a shark, I don’t go backwards, I only move forwards.” [Insert imaginary fist pump here] She stared at me silently.
This was not the only time that someone suggested that I had wasted my life by leaving a career as a criminal prosecutor, only others were a touch more subtle. Regardless of how it is asked, the question always feels like it has the same driving force: Fear of wasting time, energy and opportunities. Over the years, I have developed a whole new understanding of my purpose and regularly guest speak on the topic to help others find their purpose but why do some people see the learning in everything and others hold onto the status quo for dear life against their own wellbeing? The answer is all about mindset. You can take everything you have ever mastered and up-cycle it if you have a growth mindset, if not your focus remains on what could be lost. I have noticed that my clients are always the growers.
THE 10 YEAR PLAN
So, back to the legal career. Why did I do it for all those years if I wasn’t going to stick with it? Rewind to my early 20s, I was fresh out of law school and instead of following the graduate path, I headed to Texas USA to intern for the Texas Defender Service, a firm that represented people on death row. My 10-year plan at that point was to become a Barrister, work with Asylum Seekers then become a High Court Justice. Perhaps a tad idealistic, but you could blame that on my advocate’s heart. You see I have always been the type of girl who when I saw injustice, did something about it (I once got beat up on a tram trying to defend an international student being harassed but that’s another story). If I saw lies or manipulation at work, I used my voice to speak up, especially for the underdog. Advocacy is advocacy no matter what your profession. I did it as a lawyer, now I do it as an Image Consultant. Nothing is wasted, I just scooped it all up and it is still the driving force in my business today. I took all of my passion and my skills in persuasion and communication and I use them to advocate for people’s identity and self-worth. All those times I stood in court and spoke the truth, they felt no different than when I guest speak.
SOME THINGS ARE INEVITABLE
Looking back, speaking has always been my passion, it feels as natural as breathing for me. Having the privilege to speak into lives in such an intimate and powerful way- I have discovered that this is my purpose. Consequently, it turned out to be my accidental marketing strategy for business, as I realised recently that in the past 5 years almost every one of my client’s has either been in an audience that I have spoken to, or been referred by someone that was. This is also what you call having a niche. I am an advocate with a new backdrop. A microphone and a room full of women is now my courtroom. The lies that people believe about themselves are on trial and I am going to do my all to tear them down. The freedom and wellbeing of those listening are at stake and ultimately they decide how it went. There is much at stake and yet I love the dance of it all; the sharing, the stories, the transformative message. However, I never would’ve known this if I hadn’t tried my hand at law, been in courtrooms and developed and honed my passion.
You may have started out in life not knowing what you wanted to do. You may have through necessity or lack of better options, started along a path that no longer feels right. You are not alone, actually, this is one of the most common ways that I have witnessed people finding their purpose in life- Just like a giant container ship, you can’t steer it unless it is moving forwards. You have to try things, learn from them and move forwards in your purpose. Whilst doing this, I want you to know that nothing is wasted. You can learn from every experience you have been through and upcycle all of your skills and talents. The important thing is that you keep pursuing your purpose. Ask questions, talk to people ahead of you and dare to listen to the little child inside of you saying “what if I did this?” You may find that the thing you are meant to be doing was in you all along and you just needed to shed the expectations and weight of the world to discover it.
I would love to speak about your life’s purpose. If you have a group or an event needing an insightful and engaging speaker, get in touch here. Feel free to email also if you just want to chat about your purpose.