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Let me introduce myself.  My name is Jill Boggiss and I am working with Eyes Wide Opened to grow the organisation.  EWO is focused on helping people of all ages and stages to get more out of their working lives and to identify what makes them tick so that they can trust themselves and put their renewed career or simply ‘working life’ plans into action.  

We help people to discover (or sometimes to rediscover) their true passion and purpose and then equip them with practical ideas and self-confidence that enables them to literally ‘take these ideas to work’.

Over the next few weeks, in the lead-up to our June and July ‘What makes me ME?’ courses on which I will be coaching, I’m going to be writing and curating a series of blogs and interviews.  Today I’ll be talking about my own journey to finding passion and purpose in my working life.

Helping to create happiness

I do this work because it makes people happy, really very happy, and in a sustainable way. This is the kind of happiness that lights people up. You can see it in other people and you can feel it yourself. Doing this work is truly satisfying.

Finding purpose makes life worthwhile, challenging, interesting, stimulating, and exciting – take your pick. The result is that you feel alive and want to make the most of your time.

Cards on the table

OK, so I have been searching for this for a long time. Recently I have worked with students and this is what tipped the balance for me. Light bulb moment, I just want to do the great part, the part where you inspire them to see themselves as you do: full of potential to do great things.

Years ago I did a personal development programme focused on finding the meaning of your life. After quite a lengthy process of reflection we were all asked to write one sentence that summed up what we believed the secret to life was and I wrote down: “Relax, have fun and enjoy life”.

I was surprised and simultaneously disappointed. If it was this easy we would all being doing it, right? I believed that you had to take the rough with the smooth and that work was by necessity quite hard (otherwise why would they pay you so well). I know I am not alone in this but a lot of time at work I struggled, I took things too seriously and as a result I didn’t enjoy life as much as I could have.   “Relax, have fun and enjoy life”, I wasn’t able to do this; the two days I had given up for the course seemed like a long time and the result seemed like a pipe dream. I needed to earn my living and generally speaking this was not relaxing or fun, although there were clues to my passion and purpose even back then.

I was working in marketing in financial services in the 80s and 90s.   There were elements of my work that I loved, and they were all related to people, connections and relationships.

Identifying my strengths was the route to my passion

I loved managing a team; I was new to people management but instinctively I was able to create vision, set direction and play to people’s strengths. I was able to influence and persuade people to do things that they didn’t always want to. I had a way of connecting with people, creating good relationships.

All of these qualities were transferable and if I had some help to join the dots I might have had the courage to know I could get work outside of financial services and would still be able to earn good money.

In the end it was redundancy that gave the opportunity realize my purpose

My passion (interest in peoples’ potential) and my purpose (catalyst for change) collided and I was able to focus my energy to do work that I loved (not all the time but much, much more of the time).

There have been twists and turns ever since. Nine years ago I decided to leave the UK to work in Bahrain. I am now living in Bahrain and my experience of working with young people here has definitely been a defining experience. I love using my experience, connections and personality to inspire graduates to make the most of their potential. I have plans to do this in partnership with employers.

The value of a creative framework – the “What makes me ME?” course

I am now in my fifties, I have had the main body of my working life and I now see things much more clearly.

That is why getting the opportunity to work with EWO on the “What makes me ME?” programme is quite literally a dream come true. I worked on the April course and I watched the participants work together to identify their signature strengths, to hear people tell their stories in ways that were authentic and compelling.

I have been making some calls to the course’s participants – it is now about three weeks since the course and people are taking action, steps towards what they want.

One young woman took action on a job application; she just needed more confidence and a clear story to tell. She has been offered a job that uses her skill with language. Another young woman has decided to leave her job that was draining her of her joie de vivre. She now knows the characteristics of work that will make her happy and she thinks this could be care of the elderly; she wants more balance and is planning the right time and the right steps to take. A young man on the course has decided to leave his ‘good job’ and take up a volunteering opportunity in Africa. This will give him the space to determine his next steps. He is excited and daunted at the same time but reports that he feels fully alive. Another young woman decided to sing at a family event, not just sing but sing Opera and it went brilliantly. She is also at the final stages of choosing a counselling course.  People are moving at their own pace and changes are happening.

Long journey, exciting destination

Realising my passion and purpose has taken me a lot of time. I wish I had been able to get here faster – and if I’d had Eyes Wide Opened I’m sure I would have been able to.

If you want to find your passion and purpose more quickly click here for details of our June and July courses. I will see you there!

Here I am in discussion with Julie (another coach on the summer courses) as we plan the ways to help participants find their passion.

Here I am in discussion with Julie (another coach on the summer courses) as we plan the ways to help participants find their passion.

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