on finding my purpose {may you learn from my story}

“Pursue your passion!”
Which one?
I know I’ve been paralyzed by that question in the past.

I have so many interests - things I love to do, things people tell me I’m good at, and things that I can’t let go of, even if I try. How’s a girl to decide where her true passion lies?

I set aside a month to rest and reflect. A whole 31 days without actively pursuing any passion, but rather considering the things that I love, the things that drive me, and the things that have shaped who I am. I journaled, talked with close friends, and restrained myself from choosing any one thing and running with it. The last was harder than you might think! Any time I came up with an idea, I wanted to jump straight into it, sure that this was the next big thing I was to pursue. I’m really glad I didn’t.

As the end of the month drew closer, I had lots of ideas - an overwhelming number of ideas! - and still no clear direction. Until a friend exposed me to this simple concept from Tom Ziglar. He outlines a way to discover what he calls your “purpose," defining this purpose as the place where your passions, giftings, and scars converge.

Passions:

Is there a time when you didn’t need an alarm clock to wake you?
When you were working (or playing) at something that brought you so much life, that you didn’t have to think twice about rolling out of bed? The things that get you up in the morning, these are your passions.

Giftings:

What problems do people bring to you?
Think of a time when someone has asked you for help. You may not think of yourself as an expert in this area, because it comes so naturally to you, but other people do. The perspective of another person looking in can help you determine your giftings.

Scars:

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?
The making of a scar is a painful process, but once it is healed, it becomes the evidence of triumph. If you’re anything like me, you likely want to forget that the scars (and the things that caused them) were ever a part of your life, but you earned them. Even the most difficult things in your past have prepared you for your present and will propel you into your future.

As I began to explore this idea, I was sorely tempted to focus only on the area where my passions and gifting overlapped. I didn’t want my scars to have a say in determining my purpose. But I made myself do the full exercise anyway.

I began slowly and asked myself what people say I’m good at. When do people look to me to solve their problems? For over a decade now, people have come to me to solve their sewing problems. I wrote down Costuming and Fiber Arts in the part of the diagram where “Giftings” and “Passions” overlapped because those sorts of things also excite me enough to get me up in the morning. They don’t get to go in the center of the diagram, though, because they don’t have anything to do with my Scars. Alterations landed in the lonely space reserved for “Giftings" that I’m not passionate about.

I broadened my considerations from there. Public Speaking landed in the space between "Scars" and "Giftings," but Teaching landed squarely in the middle, where “Passions,” “Giftings,” and “Scars” all meet.

As the diagram filled up, the things settling into the center nestled together into a beautiful picture of what I am uniquely suited to do and be. Looking at the words there grounds me. I feel like I know what I am created for when I look at it.

The things that hover around this center - things like Public Speaking, Fiber Arts, and Alterations - these are things I feel I should do, for one reason or another, but seeing that they are not centered gives me the freedom to let them go so that I can focus on the things that I can do better. Let someone who finds those things at their own center do them. They’ll execute them better than you would anyway. As for me, I have limited time, money, and energy; let me focus on what I’ve been created to do. I may dabble in these fringe passions as hobbies, but they cannot be my focus if I want to actually make a difference in the world and find fulfillment.

Over the coming weeks and months, you will see a shift in my brand that will reflect what I’ve learned about my purpose. I share even more behind-the-scenes glimpses on social media, specifically Instagram and Twitter. Watch my Instagram story to hear about my process, visit my Instagram feed to see what I’m working on, and stop by my Twitter for quips and contemplations.

What is your purpose?

Does reflecting on your passions, giftings, and scars help your purpose settle into place?

my sabbatical month {a peaceful adventure}

What has this sabbatical month been like?
An adventure.
Kind of like the rest of the year.

At the beginning of each year,
a single word
attaches itself to the months to come.

The word for 2016 is adventure
and so far
it has been quite a year of adventure.

This month’s adventures included
time to slow
and be present in the current moment.

~A flexible schedule that allows for
spontaneity
to love myself and love others.

~A purposeful choice to be with
the people
who are with me in my life right now.

~Giving myself freedom to be
interrupted
even when my day does have an agenda.

It’s been beautiful and I’m going to
take this peace
with me into the coming months.

What will the coming months hold?
I don’t know
except adventure and the peace I carry with me.

taking a month off of work

July 2016

On the first of the month, I published the {classic wrap skirt} book,
and then the sabbatical began.
A whole month set aside to step away from the work of establishing the jordan elisheva brand.

There are multiple reasons for this choice,
and the most important reason is also probably the strangest-sounding:
my God asked me to do it.

And so, I have set aside this seventh month of 2016
to step away from brand-building
in order to focus on building relationships.

It has been a beautiful month of unexpected opportunities.
The freedom I have allowed myself has inpired interactions with people I would have never met,
as well as the deepening of relationships already established

I have done just enough for the jordan elisheva brand to keep it running,
including these weekly blog posts,
but have chosen not to stress over any of it (so my schedule has been less rigid).

On top of this,
I am using this time of stepping away to give me room to reflect
and determine the future direction of j.e.

More writing, more sewing, something new entirely...
I am exploring many possibilities
and am excited to share them in the coming months!

"how am I supposed to find time to sew?"

answer: you’re not. in fact, you can’t.

You can’t find extra minutes like you can find spare change in your couch cushions;
everyone has the same 24 hours every day.

You can’t really make time, either,
for the same reason.

you have three choices: waste, spend, or invest

wasting time is easy

Any time that you simply let pass…
any minute empty of purpose…
this is wasted time.

sleep
daydreams
amusements
hanging out with friends
listening to music
social media
doodling
sewing

Yes, I included “sewing” in the list of time-wasters.

See, anything can be a time-waster.
Wasted time is time empty of purpose,
so if these things simply fill the void,
they are time-wasters.

But if there is a purpose mixed in,
then you haven’t wasted time,
you’ve spent it.

spending time requires being purposeful

Filling your time with any of these things
may be spending time purposefully.

Sleep re-charges and refreshes.
Daydreams may lead to epiphanies.
Amusements can bring joy and relaxation.
Hanging out with friends is important for community.
Listening to music is invigorating and life-giving.
Social media can be a great way to connect.
Doodling may help bring clarity.
Sewing is a creative outlet.

The important factor is knowing
why you are spending your time
on any given thing.

investing time requires wisdom

Filling your time with any of these things
may even be investing time wisely!

If you are not simply being purposeful with the present moment,
but also considering how it will affect the future for good,
then you are investing your time.

Consider how the way you are spending your moments
will affect and fit into the bigger picture
of how you are spending your life.

Invest wisely;
build something bigger
than your present.

Think of the people your life touches
and invest in them
as well as yourself.

Mostly, be aware,
be mindful,
and be wise.

learn to say “no”

In order to purposefully spend and wisely invest time
in the things that matter,
you have to learn to say “no” to the things that don’t.

Learning to say “no” to wasting time is hard enough,
but saying “no” to spending time
in order to better invest time is even harder.

The fact that you only have so many hours in a day
means that you have to say “no” to many things.
Will you be purposeful and wise about what you say “no” to?
Or will you simply let your time slip by?

Be purposeful, and decide what is worth saying “no” for.
If you want to spend time sewing,
you have to spend that time not doing other things.

You spend your time doing what is important to you;
Decide what is important to you, and do it.
Say no to other things.

That’s the only way to find time for anything.

how to eliminate the possibility of failure

When was the last time you learned something new just for fun?

I’m not simply asking,
when was the last time
you tried something new that was fun.

I mean just what I ask:
When was the last time you tried something new
for no other reason but that you felt it would be fun?

This isn’t something I do naturally.
If you ask me what I do for fun,
you may just stump me.

I like practicality
and I like results.

It’s a discipline for me
to do something fun -
to find joy in the process.

But as I have developed in this discipline
I have found it very rewarding;
even more rewarding than accomplishing a productive goal.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you try?

If you knew failure was impossible,
what would you attempt?

If you removed fear of failure from the equation,
what would you be brave enough to do?

What technique would you learn?
What new material would you use?
What new tool would you try?

Redefine failure.

It’s tempting to think that if you try a new technique
failure is not managing to use that technique like a professional.

But what if you defined your goal
not as “learning this technique”
but rather “trying this technique”?

What if you simply allowed yourself to experiment
and called it success if you experimented well,
ignoring the question of whether or not you became proficient.

When you’re trying something new,
expecting proficiency
is far too much.

The bravery of trying something new
is not in facing the pressure of proficiency,
but in simply attempting a thing.

Lean into the process of learning.

Forget proficiency
and lean into the process of learning.

Try something new
(that thing you would attempt if failure was impossible)
and do it for the sake of trying it.

Think of a child
learning to draw:
The first time you hand her a crayon
you do not expect her to stay inside the lines
or even to hold the crayon “correctly.”
No, this is a phase of exploration and experimentation.
You expect, and even encourage,
scribbles and awkward hand motions,
for in these she will learn
the basic mechanics of drawing
and eventually writing.

You do not call her first marks on the page
a failure
because you did not set out to expect
a masterpiece.

You set out to expect
a random doodle
and so, she succeeded,
and you praised her for it.

Every time you attempt something new,
you are that child.
Do not chide her for less-than-perfect work.
She is on a journey;
simply encourage her to stay on the path of discovery.

That is more than the average person would do.
Most prefer to stay in their comfort zones.
Praise your inner child when she steps out of hers!

Now you can’t fail, so try it!

Now that you understand that
the goal is not proficiency -
that success is not defined by the results,
but rather the process of experimentation -
what will you do?

That thing that came to mind
when I asked you
what you would attempt
if you could not fail?

Look at it from this new perspective;
redefine failure.

If failure is simply
failing to try,
then you are failing right now.

But you can stop.

Go try that thing.
Begin to attempt it.
That is the only way out of failure;
so long as you lean into the process of learning,
failure is impossible.