by Stacie Vanags
- LEADING WITH A PURPOSE:
If ‘finding our purpose’ wasn’t front and center before the pandemic, there’s no doubt it’s showing up and gently (or aggressively) prodding at most of us in 2021.
The thought of it can be exhausting, even leave us with a feeling of emptiness or defeat if we don’t have the answers or the vision to work towards our independent purpose, or join an organization where purpose is front and center.
Many of us are asking:
- What am I supposed to be doing anyway?
- What was I really put on this earth to do? ( I love this one, NO pressure)
- Where / how can I find my purpose?
For me personally, my purpose is a constant moving target.
It’s a beautiful mix of ideas and passions all swirling into one. I envision a painters palette with colors that have seeped together and created a myriad of rainbows.
In my experience, purpose doesn’t thrive when the primary colors are confined and forced to stand alone.
The real magic happens when we allow the colors to spill, mingle and dance to create our own intricate story, and most importantly contribute to the story of others.
Also, what I’m interested in today at age 40 isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago.
I share this as an opportunity to give yourself permission to change your opinions and interests, and do the work to get unstuck if you’re feeling any resistance to change.
For me, hosting my podcast is the channel that allows all of my interests to spill into one, intersecting my love for surfing and the ocean, talking about mental health, being a steward of the land and the environment, and my most recent adventure as I join the Torchlight team.
More on that soon!
If you’re still struggling with your passion, try swapping out that daunting word and filling in the blanks with more playful words like joy, excitement or curiosity.
Ask yourself the question in a different way that feels more inviting to answer:
- What 1-2 things really stoke your fire, and bring you joy each day?
- If you could spend 8 hours a day doing something you love (with no pressure of paying bills) what would you do more of?
- What community would you choose to serve that would leave you feeling a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each day?
- What one thing are you curious about today, that you could study or learn more about for the next 30 days?
Leading with joy, curiosity, or purpose, whatever you want to call it, has helped me stay grounded and mentally healthy during the pandemic.
You don’t have to host a podcast or do anything grandiose to achieve this.
You don’t have to lead a community like me, you can simply be part of a conversation, and that’s enough!
Next up for me on the mental health checklist is simply… accountability.
Being a podcast host forces me to keep showing up week after week for my water community because frankly, I don’t want to let my community down.
When I close out my Zoom and walk away from these sessions each Thursday, I exhale and smile. I don’t know how to describe it, but I just feel better.
I feel like I’ve somehow grown in that 30 minutes together by learning something new, hearing a new story, a new set of challenges and solutions.
Consistently showing up can be one of the most difficult thing to do, it’s why most podcasts fail. But, it’s also how great success can be achieved. And it’s that simple, just show up.
What’s an example of this?
If you say you’re going to publish a new podcast episode every Thursday, then stick to that schedule so your community knows what to expect from you, and when.
Consistency builds trust, confidence and loyalty in you as a person and your brand.
If you have an email subscriber list, pick a day of the week, let’s say Friday.
Consistently publish content each Friday so your community knows to expect a gem or a joke from you going into the weekend.
Lastly, if you are a community leader, asking for regular feedback is key to ensuring you are still providing value.
For this reason a few weeks ago, instead of hosting a speaker I sat with my community and asked them for candid feedback.
Essentially, should we keep doing this?
One of my community members shared that she lives and works alone in her tiny home, and this community sit on Thursday mornings is often the thing that “gets her out of bed,” and these conversations have ‘positively impacted her mental health.’
Wow. That feedback was the confirmation I needed to keep going.
I know if I can help just one person, that’s enough.
3. DRIVING AN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY OF LIKE MINDED PEOPLE:
They say we are the average of the five people we surround ourselves with.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this saying.
Now I’m giving you a high five if you’ve actually gone through the exercise of writing down ‘your five,’ and asking yourself if each of these individuals are ‘growth friends.’
Do they challenge you? Do they encourage you to grow, evolve and do better in the world?
On the flip side, sometimes we get caught in the muck, the mundane, the negatively with our own people, even people we love!
It’s tough, I’ve been there.
I’ve done my best to craft a passionate community of waterpeople who lead with a growth mindset.
Whether it’s boating in the summer at your local lake, fly fishing on the river or surfing in the Pacific, we are a water community that cares deeply about our mental and physical health, that of our communities and our oceans.
I get excited when I see Mo joining from Nova Scotia, Jill from Florida, Zee from Portugal, Zandi from South Africa, Kristen from New Orleans, to name a few.
We are imperfect activists, environmentalists, sailors, surfers, stand up paddlers, river guides, beach goers and we come in all colors, shapes, ages and sizes.
I’m not the smartest person in the room, that was never the intention. I enjoy taking a backseat so I can learn and grow from other waterwomen around the world.
In summary, having purpose, accountability and a sense of community has nurtured my mental health this past year.
I can say with great confidence that hosting a podcast has changed my life.
If you aren’t part of a community today, and you feel like you need some grounding, I encourage you to seek out an inclusive community you are curious or excited about.
Step outside of your comfort zone, community isn’t going to land at your font door, it’s not Amazon. We have to put ourselves out there.
If this post resonated with you, but you are still feeling stuck or simply too shy to join a community, reach out to me and I’m happy to have a chat.
Lastly, if you have found a community that is bringing you great joy in 2021, please leave a comment below so others can be inspired, as they may want to join your community too, and all ideas are welcome!