“I sort of had an epiphany. ‘What have I done for the greater good with my life? If I drop dead tomorrow, what can I say that I’ve done?’ ” — Bettina Wassermann
“I feel like I am needed, I have worth and there is purpose to my life.” — Kristin Livan
Wassermann and Livan are founders of the nonprofit rescue organization Unwanted NYC Pets. I read about them over the weekend and was immediately drawn to their dedication, passion and generosity.
And the career coach in me — whose favourite challenge is helping clients discern their authentic vocation — was struck in particular by what they said about how their lives have changed since they took the leap to found this organization.
Wassermann had endured a health crisis that brought her face-to-face with issues of purpose and calling. An executive in an international firm, her cancer diagnosis revealed an emptiness at the core of that outwardly successful life.
And Livan, owner of a dog grooming salon, knew from the moment she began fostering pets that she had found her true calling.
How many of us allow ourselves to even think in terms of “calling”?
How many of us instead pass from one year to the next, faithfully toiling at jobs that pay the bills but leave us feeling empty inside?
My clients often balk at the seemingly monumental task of figuring out their life purpose. Some assume only special people have a life purpose. Others worry that what they most feel drawn to do isn’t amazing enough to be considered a life purpose. (We don’t all want more than anything to save the lives of 700 unwanted pets, after all. And that’s OK.) And many of us are just so hamstrung by over-responsibility and guilt that we can’t even let ourselves think beyond earning a steady paycheque, no matter how miserable we are.
But if you find yourself questioning, like Bettina Wassermann above, “If I drop dead tomorrow, what can I say that I’ve done?” you need to heed that urgent voice in your head.
It may take time and it may be challenging, but together we will find a path to your purpose, your unique reason for being here.
Read more about Unwanted NYC Pets here.