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The 5 Steps I used to turn pain and loss into purpose

Find how to be happy and fulfilled even in a season with unknown outcomes

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Photo courtesy Park & Jungle
Photo courtesy Park & Jungle

March 23, 2017, I was with a coworker, and we were walking in New Orleans; as soon as my foot landed on Bourbon Street, my jaw went numb, my body began to tremble, and my heart began to palpitate uncontrollably.

Over the course of 2 years, I met with 18 doctors (Western and Eastern medicine), had too many EKG’s, MRI’s, CAT Scans and ER visits, and I went to 2 world-renowned medical facilities all on a path to find a holistic way to recover from migraines, fatigue, brain fog, vision problems, and anxiety.

Fast forward to summer 2019, the surprise loss of one funder resulted in a domino-effect, which resulted in the closing of my non-profit. 

What I know now is all the pain and loss was my path to purpose.

After closing the non-profit, I decided to chart my next steps instead of just letting them happen to me. I discovered that what I wanted to do next had been bubbling up inside for years – and somehow owning my own business and food had to be part of the plan. 

How did I come to that conclusion? 

I worked through a process. 

Here’s how you can do the same.

1.         Write out the top 3-5 things you would do with or without a paycheck.

2.         What are your natural giftings?  Are you a giver, teacher, leader, tend to show mercy, do you like to serve, or do you encourage others?  How can you use those giftings to support the 3-5 things you wrote in step one?

3.         Write out what the world will look like once you step into your purpose.  For me, I wrote – Iron will sharpen iron.  Women will be able to share this knowledge with friends, family members, and coworkers. 

4.         Listen to that small voice inside of you and align it with what you want to do.  At some point, you’ve “felt” something tugging at you – write, draw, cook, create, act, teach, coach, give. How can you take that prompting, help others, support your emotional needs, and still make a profit? And ultimately, what does that look like – find a job that aligns with your purpose, volunteer, start your own business?  Does money have to be a part of the equation?

5.         Then ask yourself –  should I overhaul my life to walk into my purpose, or should I use what I’ve learned as a guide to walk toward my purpose?

As I worked through these questions, it became clear what I needed to do.  There had been that tugging, or inner prompting, for years that I should start my own business, and I knew food had to be a part of the business.

So, I went for it.

I started putting the pieces together:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Love of food
  • Health Crisis
  • Holistic Education
  • Giver
  • Teacher

And I decided I would teach women, especially those of us who feel as if we aren’t being heard, how to use holistic nutrition to overcome the same hormonal struggles I had – low energy, brain fog, unexplained rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, and the inability to control weight gain.  

How did I do it? I launched Leigh & Ollie – a health and wellness business that teaches high-performing women to use nutrition to overcome hormone-related issues like the ones I had. Running a coaching business is not always easy, but purpose doesn’t always equal easy.

Here’s my challenge to you – find purpose in the middle of your circumstances – job loss, divorce, sickness, death, or wherever you may find yourself.  Grab a sheet of paper, write out the questions from this article, turn off all devices, find a quiet place, and begin to figure out your purpose.

You’ve got this.

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