It was August 2013, I took the day off from work to register my son who was five at the time for kindergarten. My unit manager called to tell me effective October 2013, the site would close and every employee would be permanently laid off.
When I hung up the phone tears started welling up in my eyes, because I knew losing my income of seven years would impact my household. However, before the tears could fall, the voice inside my head said to me…
Don’t cry, be strong. You’re going to be ok. This is your opportunity to discover what you really want to do with your life. You will never have this time again, this is your moment to figure out what you’re passionate about and do it.
I listened to the voice and the tears never fell.
From that moment I decided that I was going to choose myself and discover what I wanted my life to look like. I knew that if I just took another job it would be very unlikely that I would get another chance to pause and think about what I “really” wanted for my life.
You see, I wasn’t happy at my job because it was just that, a J.O.B. It wasn’t fulfilling and I often dreaded going in to sit in a cubicle doing work that wasn’t meaningful to me.
Getting laid off was one of the best things that could have ever happened because I was able to discover my passion and launch a business that aligns with my purpose in life.
I WAS READY FOR CHANGE MORE THAN I THOUGHT
Prior to getting laid off, I paid off any debt that I had accumulated outside of my car note, mortgage and student loans. While working I doubled up on my car payments and I put a significant amount away in my savings account. I received a severance package and then collected unemployment while I took time to figure out my next steps.
While working, many of my old coworkers could tell you that I was one of the most positive people to be around and I always chose to see the brighter side of things. Even though I didn't care for the work I did as a mortgage underwriter, I was driven and excelled at my job while consistently being promoted.
This is what one of my co-workers recently shared on Facebook...
“Hey Siobhan Sudberry! I remember you from the bank and boy did I know you had a bright future ahead! I love what you are doing with your group and would live to participate at my schedule allows! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to be of help! I hope to see you soon! Take care!”
While I was employed I obtained my MBA in Marketing Communications, so if I really wanted to, I could have easily got another job. However, I wanted to walk in my purpose and get paid for doing what I love. I wanted to create a life that felt good to me inside and out, I wanted to be free.
HOW I DECIDED WHAT TO DO NEXT
I'm often asked, how did you know you were meant to empower women or how did you discover your gifts?
For years I journaled and prayed asking God, what’s my purpose in life and what were my gifts so I could have clarity on what I was put on this planet to do.
I cried and experienced a lot of frustration because I felt like I wasn't getting any answers and I really wanted to know my reason for being.
I was confident that once I discovered my purpose, I would experience what Oprah talked about on her life class.
DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I MADE
For some reason I had always thought that your gifts were tied to your talents, but my challenge was I was talentless.
I knew that...
I was great at connecting others and building relationships
I’m very resourceful and always eager to share what I know
I find joy in encouraging, motivating and inspiring others to be better
I’m infectiously optimistic and always striving to stay in positive spirits
This is what I knew to be true, but how the heck was I going to build a business based on helping others.
Next, I emailed a few of my close friends and family members and asked them the following questions...
What makes me unique?
What are three things that make me memorable?
What would you say I am good at?
What are my top five personality traits or quirks?
What are my top 2-3 areas of improvement?
And here’s what they had to say…
You're the real deal. You are an authentic and genuine person; You are truly optimistic and want the best for others; You're inspirational, beautiful/stylish (not that women should be defined by how they look, I know :)) and a positive spirit
You don't use your inside voice. You are loud; You have a bubbly personality; You have a genuine way of inspiring and uplifting others to do better and be better; You are good at encouraging; Your top 5 personality traits are: caring, cheerful, fun-loving, positive, resourceful
Your giving spirit, your sense of humor, your willingness to always see the bright side no matter what; Your sense of humor, your smile, your positive energy; Helping people see that achieving their dreams is possible, holding others accountable, selling; Your top 5 personality traits or quirks- Sweet spirit, sense of humor, helpfulness, positive posture, encouraging manner
Your zeal for life, your intellect, your smile; Helping people, being in the know (well versed and knowledgeable about so many things, being frugal); Your top 5 personality traits or quirks: Your laugh, The way you scratch your nose when your allergies are acting up, You're very loving, straightforward, goal setter
Starting your own business/stepping out on faith, abstinence before marriage, your style (hair, attire, etc.); Being a mom, resourceful; Encouraging/gently pushing others in a positive direction, nice, funny, caring , thoughtful
I got the idea to send this email from the book, The Miracle Morning. I tweaked it a little bit and you can download the worksheet below.
WHY DID I NEED TO REACH OUT TO MY FRIENDS/FAMILY?
I often overlooked what I now know are my gifts because they came so easy to me and it’s just a part of who I am. It’s my makeup and I do everything I listed without a second thought.
I knew what I loved to do and what made me feel alive but I wanted to know how my friends and family viewed me and how I mattered to them.
As you can see the feedback that I got aligned with what I already knew to be true about myself and I was confident in my decision to start helping others by using my natural God-given gifts.
When you're trying to discover what you want to do with the rest of your life, I think it's a good idea to ask the people you spend the most time with what you're good at. Also pay attention to what people ask you to do most, there's a reason that they come to you for specific things.
Once you get your feedback, compare it to what you believe your gifts are and then take action to move forward.
Don’t limit your gifts to a talent. You were born with gifts that only you possess that have nothing to do with talent but everything to do with your purpose. Even if you don't have a talent like singing or dancing, you still have gifts that you're naturally good at.
Personally, getting laid off was a blessing in disguise because I was able to create a business using my gifts to empower women all over the world.
I don't think working for someone else is a bad thing as long as you’re doing what you love. Being free is about creating the life you want on your own terms and doing what feels good to you.
If you love teaching then teach, if you love working with numbers then be an accountant or financial advisor. Whatever it is that you love and enjoy doing, do it, because you only get one chance to live.
How have you discovered what makes you feel fulfilled? Are you walking in your purpose?