Safe and easy never lead to greatness. Amazing things are achieved when risks are taken, when decisions are made to feed the desires of your soul and when you work hard to get to your destination. Living on purpose will require all these things.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jo, a blogger, writer, entrepreneur, yogi, and conscious living promoter. This young lady uses her words, knowledge, and enthusiasm for life to guide people off the default beaten path in life, and onto their own authentic trails. She works on various projects, which all have the purpose of helping people connect within, to then bring more authenticity and love to their external connections.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Sure! Well, I spend most of my 20s doing tons of different jobs all over the world. I originally studied business admin, but never felt drawn to that world. So, I dabbled in tons of different fields trying to find something that suited me. During this decade of exploration, I was more interested in wandering the world than I was about finding my true professional calling.
Eventually, I found my way into the nonprofit sector and loved it. I finally found a context where I felt as though the 8 hours I sold off to make a living, actually did something positive in the world.
But then, as quickly as I found the professional path of my dreams, obstacles were put in my way. After moving to Madrid, Spain for love, I was greatly disappointed to realize that there were very few jobs within the nonprofit sector over here. Having decided that I would try to build a life here, I had to shift professional directions.
I managed to find a job working in education, working as a textbook editor. I thought that by working to create amazing books to help kids in Spain learn, my workday would feel worthwhile and purposeful. But within no time I realized that bureaucracy, tight deadlines, and greed would never allow us to create the quality of books I knew we could make.
I started to feel like “working for the man” was no longer suiting my soul. Although there were many parts of the job I enjoyed; the values, structure and direction of the company and my team, started to suck away all the joy and excitement from my days. It eventually started feeling as though the job was sucking out my soul, day by day.
I wanted to do something I was passionate about, I wanted to do something that improved the state of the world somehow and I wanted to help people. And my day-to-day didn’t satisfy any of those needs.
So 4 months ago, I quit.
I had been working on side projects for a few months previous to leaving, and was ready to commit to building my own sources of income and being my own boss. I wanted to call the shots of how I filled my days.
So here I am.
I’m currently working on developing various streams of income to become sustainable through different interests and projects. I want my days to be varied and as much as possible, done online. That way, when the urge strikes, I can work from a mountain lodge, or back home in Canada near my family.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
To live on purpose is to live truly in line with the calling of your soul and take each step along the way consciously.
Our society and the way many of us live our lives has forced us to disconnect from ourselves and what we truly want out of life. So, to deal with the dissatisfaction, disconnection and gloom, we turn on the auto-pilot. We let the herd guide our path, hoping that it’ll bring us somewhere that makes us happy.
But long term, this standard path won’t do that for many of us.
The status quo forces us to do things how they are usually done, like a one size fits all kind of model. But we’re all so different, there’s no way that the standard life path can work for everyone. But we are convinced to stay on this default path because it’s safe, easy and causes very few collisions.
But safe and easy never lead to greatness. Amazing things are achieved when risks are taken, when decisions are made to feed the desires of your soul and when you work hard to get to your destination. Living on purpose will require all these things.
To live purposefully, the first thing that must be done is to connect within. Turn off the auto pilot and get to know who you are and what your soul yearns for. Only once you learn to hear that little voice inside, can purpose be found in each step.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
Before leaving my job, things had gotten pretty unpleasant at work. Not only did we have ridiculous deadlines to publish dozens of books between only just a few of us, but we were working with authors that made our lives miserable.
I felt like I was back in middle school being bullied by some immature, ego-filled, insecure teenager. I imagined it as though the principal was behind me saying “don’t get upset, I’ll protect you”, but then wouldn’t. The only difference was that they were a pair of bitter English “authors” and my bosses were the ones behind me saying they would take care of the bullying, but didn’t.
In the last year I was there, I cried more often at work that I had in the previous 10 years of my professional life. My work life had become toxic to me. And no matter how hard I tried to not let them bother me, or tried to become better at dealing with work pressures and the responsibility of publishing quality books under unrealistic conditions, got me to a point where I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
I’m grateful that things got as bad as they did, because it was the push I needed to get out of there and to commit to working for myself. I had been wanting to start my own business and work for myself for years, but never had the guts to do it. Finally, the misery I felt in my last job made it clear to me that I wasn’t just willing to go find another job where the same type of thing might happen.
Instead, I wanted to be in charge of prioritizing and organizing my days. I wanted to dive into projects and activities that I felt were important and valuable. I wanted to be fully in charge of who I worked in and in what conditions.
Every day, I remind myself of my responsibility of create the professional life of my dreams. I now feel closer to this idea than ever.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
There are a few very specific reasons for this.
Consumerism plays a large role in the unhappiness of the US population. In North America, more than in any other area of the world I’ve visited, society has normalized excess consumption. People are convinced that they need to over consume because of what they hear in the media, advertisements, movies, newspapers, etc. They think that the more they have, the happier they’ll be. The nicer the clothes, the better they’ll be seen by their peers; the fancier the car, the higher the social class they’ll feel a part of; but with all this stuff, the focus has been taken off the things that are really important in life.
Also, the individualistic nature of American society is another major contributing factor to the unhappiness of its inhabitants. People live in big houses, far from their neighbors, in which they can spend most of their time far from their families. Everything can be ordered online, and slowly the necessity to see other people in the day is reduced. But funnily enough, spending all this time alone and so far from others, hasn’t helped people feel more connected with themselves. Instead most of their solo time is filled with shopping, television, social media or other distractions.
I list these 2 factors as the main causes of unhappiness because people are most happy when they are surrounded by relationships filled with love, compassion, trust and connection. And unfortunately, life in the United States doesn’t push people to strive for these gems. Instead, they pursue the acquisition of more things and more space from each other and themselves.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
By reminding others of the power they have within themselves to change their lives and the world.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Connect within. By connecting with yourself, you get to hear what your soul whispers it wants from your time in this life. If you learn to hear it, it makes every day rich and filled with an eagerness to live. Your steps get filled with joy, because you feel gratitude and excitement at getting to do exactly what you want in your day.
- Gratitude. By waking up every morning and choosing to focus on the amazing things I have in my life, I’m choosing how I’ll face the day. I could focus on the bad stuff, or I can focus on the good, it’s my choice. I choose to appreciate every beautiful flower, every shared laugh and any other moments that bring a happiness into my heart.
- Live in the present moment. For many of us, our minds spend most of their time obsessive about the past or the future. Once I started teaching my mind to be more present, through yoga and meditation, I realized that I can choose my path, by choosing to be present with what is truly real, this very moment. I realized that allowing my mind to go elsewhere was unbeneficial and often destructive.
- Build a valuable community. Having a community of people who inspire and elevate you is a gift. Having spent most of my 20s moving around a lot, the community that gave me my strength was usually thousands of kilometers away, back in my hometown. But near or far, we are now privileged to live in a time when even at a distance, we can connect with those we love. Now that my life is more settled, I am actively working on building a community and network that empowers me locally.
- Accept impermanence. Life is change. The more we can accept that, the better off we are. We can spend our lives avoiding change and taking the safe route all we want, but we don’t get to choose everything that happens to us. If we accept that things will inevitably become different, it fills you with courage to leap into the unknown with less fear. Also, accepting the reality of impermanence helps me bring more gratitude into my day. Who know the people who will still be around me tomorrow. If they’re here today, I need to appreciate them today.
- Marching to the beat of my own drum. I’m no longer interested in being who others want me to be, or being like everyone else. I’m different, and like doing things my way. Once I started embracing this idea more, I felt much more confident and sure of who I was. This became especially apparent when I started writing my blog. I felt really self-conscious about publishing my articles on my Facebook, where everyone I had ever known growing up could be found. I mean, what if they thought that what I wrote about was stupid. But then, I decided that it didn’t matter. People can agree or disagree with what I think, and I’m still allow to think it. I’m allowed to my own opinion, and I’m allowed to express. If people aren’t interested in the things I have to say, then can stop reading my articles or being my online friend.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV and Howard C. Cutler are 2 books that changed my life.
Meditation is the main tool that pushes me to live fully and consciously. I recently discovered Insight Timer, which is an app that can be very helpful to create and maintain a daily practice.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”
Last year when things were really difficult at work, I walked into the office every day reminding myself of this quote. I knew I couldn’t change these bully authors, I also couldn’t change the company culture or publication plan, I could only work on changing how I confronted these things. So, that’s what I worked on, every day.
In general, this is my go-to mentality. But sometimes changing your own mentality just isn’t enough. I had given the situation all that I could and it still isn’t working for me.
In those cases, I have a second to-go quotes: “Don’t give up just because things get hard. Give up if you feel in your gut that moving on is the right choice for you.” Lori Deschene
And so, when I left my job, that’s exactly what I happened. I had given the context my best shot, and my gut said, “This path is no longer right for you”. So I left.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, I am. I’m working on a course that I will be launching on my blog soon. This is a course to help people confront life pivots with courage and ease. I know how scary change can be, so as a bit of an expert at confronting life changes, I’d like to help people that are confronting a pivot make a plan and get excited about what’s to come.
Also, I’m hosting my first wilderness wellness weekend at the end of this month. It’s a full weekend of disconnecting from fast-paced city life, to reconnect within, with nature and with other cool like-minded folks. Ideally, participants walk away feeling connected and alive. For now, I’m doing this near my home, in the mountains just outside of Madrid, but am excited to see if I make this a regular occurrences in places around the globe.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If you don’t take the time, life will not pause to allow you to reconnect and redirect. You have to create that opportunity. So do it! Pause. Be still. See what your heart tells you. Then take steps in that direction. It’s easy to forget, but you do get to choose the way.