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 to listen to the voice of criticism without letting him get you down

when you come to the end of a project … and the voice of criticism shows up

I can look at every thing I’ve made
and hear a voice whispering
what I could have done better.

This voice comes around while I’m working on a project, yes,
but its whisper is particularly obnoxious at the end
when we are looking at the finished product.

Maybe it’s because while I’m in the midst of the project
the voice can point things out
that I can fix along the way,
so it ends up being rather helpful
so long as it doesn’t get carried away.

But then, when I come to the end,
all its whispers simply hang in the air
discouraging me, and causing me
to focus on those things
I can no longer fix.

listening to other voices alongside criticism … and finding balance

While it’s all too easy to listen to the voice of criticism,
there are other voices that try to add their two cents
as I examine my finished work.

These voices remind me of problems I overcame,
details I executed well,
and above all, moments of joy
that I experienced in the process of making.

I must choose to listen to them,
for they balance out the voice of criticism.

Is criticism right?
Does this whisper speak truth?
Usually.
But it isn’t the whole truth.

Don’t throw out criticism —
he can be very helpful
if you don’t let him drown out all other voices.

Set him aside for a moment.
Let him sit down quietly
while you listen to the other voices clamoring for attention.

Gather the truth from all of them
and pull them together into a balanced whole.

Yes, there may be room for improvement,
but there are also many things you have done well.

Bring these into focus
and you will find the criticism
is not so daunting and taunting.

drawing strength from criticism … and learning how to improve

Now that you have found your balance,
shift your focus again to the voice of criticism.

Listen to what he says
and sort out what may be true in his words.
Use them as a tool of discovery.

Let criticism teach you
and help you to identify areas
where you can learn and improve.

This room for improvement
can open up a beautiful realm of possibilities
if you choose to step into it bravely.

It has been said that courage
is feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.

I have been afraid of this voice of criticism
but I find that when I am courageous
and face that fear I feel,
I am able to push through,
trying things I may never have attempted.

Criticism may be a harsh teacher sometimes,
but if you become a good student,
he will soften.
His voice will become gentler
when he finds that he does not need to raise his voice
in order to make you listen to him.

remembering that I’ve improved before … and will continue to improve

One way to encourage the voice of criticism
to not be so harsh
is to remind him that you’ve taken his words to heart in the past.

Point out to him and yourself
those things about this project
that demonstrate your journey of improvement.

That technique that used to be so difficult,
but that you executed so well this time around.

A mistake that you caught in time to fix,
one that no one would guess you made at all because it’s invisible now.

Notice these things
and take time to smile at them.
This is evidence of who you are:
an artisan, constantly improving your craft.

Now, an artisan constantly improving her craft
will welcome the voice of criticism
and allow him to teach her.

This is evidenced by your past improvement,
so take this truth with you as you leave this project
and go to the next.

Let the positivity that you now associate with this project
inspire and comfort you with the knowledge
that you will continue to grow.

Begin something new,
and let the voice of criticism guide you to do the job well.
The process never truly ends, though a particular project might,
so never let the voice of criticism paralyze you.

Only allow the voice of criticism to speak
so long as he is pushing you to be better.
Only listen to his voice
so long as you are pushing through fear to accomplishment.

Let him do his job, but don’t let him get you down.

what is the value of a hand-crafted classic wrap skirt?

the skirt itself

This hand-crafted skirt
does not compare
with something mass-produced.

It has been made-to-measure
and stitched with your own two hands
from start to finish.

It is the only one of its kind,
a piece of art that carries
the essence of its creator.

You have carefully selected the fabric,
using the type, color, and quality
that is perfect for this design.

Beyond that, every step of the way,
you have made careful decisions,
from cutting to stitching to pressing.

Every detail
has been considered
and carefully executed.

the creation process

You have invested hours into this skirt.
Invested, not spent, and certainly not wasted!
Think on this time carefully…

If you have chosen to enjoy the time,
using it as an opportunity to slow down
and consider the process of creation,

then this time cannot be considered wasted,
nor even compared to time spent working.
This is time you have spent in enjoyment.

How much money
are you willing to spend doing something fun?
Watching a movie, eating dinner out, drinking specialty coffee…

These are consumption, and rather passive, at that,
yet you’re willing to spend money, because they bring you enjoyment.
These are not comparable to the process of making a skirt.

The making of your skirt was an investment into yourself.
You did not only spend time doing something that brought you enjoyment,
you were also learning and growing.

the educational aspect

How much money
are you willing to invest in educational endeavors,
whether formal, like university classes, or informal , like community center workshops?

The making of this skirt is like a class or a workshop.
As you read the book and stitch the skirt,
you will learn valuable skills.

More than that, you will have the book to refer to again
should you want to review or even expand your skills.
You will not absorb everything in one go.

IMG_0026.JPG

The educational aspect
doesn’t stop once you’ve learned
the skills outlined in this book.

Maybe after making yourself a skirt,
you can teach your daughter or a young friend
how to sew a skirt for herself.

You can use the book
as a resource to teach others,
whether they be friends or family.

the communal element

What do you and your girl friends
like to do when you spend time together?
Do you go on coffee dates, perhaps?

What if instead of chatting over coffee and muffins,
you converse over fabric and needles?
What if you get together to sew?

If you do,
you have the opportunity
to encourage each other in the creation process.

Any one of you
who has unique skills
may share them with the others.

You can learn
both from the book
and from each other.

And at the same time,
you are investing
in your friendship.

wearing your skirt

Then there is the value you receive
every time you put on
this beautiful skirt.

It goes beyond the simple fact
that it has been made specifically for you
according to your preferences and measurements.

Because you created it yourself
and because you found so much joy in creating it,
this skirt carries positive associations.

Every time you wear it,
you can feel a healthy sense of pride
knowing that you created something beautiful and useful.

You will think of the moments you spent carefully placing each stitch
as you listened to music, a podcast or audiobook,
or the simple sound of making.

The feeling you have wearing your own creation
is different from the experience of putting on
anything else you’ve ever worn before.

a simplified wardrobe

Because of the classic nature of this skirt,
it has the potential to help you
simplify your wardrobe.

The skirt makes getting dressed easy;
all you have to do is grab a favorite top
in order to have a neat and tidy outfit.

Even a simple T-shirt
appears less casual when paired with such a classy skirt.
Add an accessory like a scarf or necklace for something extra special!

The versatility of the skirt
makes it wearable for a variety of events,
so you will have no trouble getting plenty of use out of it!

If you already have a minimalistic wardrobe,
this skirt fits in nicely with your other
classic investment pieces.

And if you regularly waste precious time
staring into your closet wondering what to wear,
this skirt will start you on a journey toward simplicity.

so what is the value of your hand-crafted skirt?

The value is the sum of all of these:
the hand-crafted artisanal skirt itself,
the time spent enjoying the creation process,
the time invested in the educational process,
the time invested in community,
the time you will spend enjoying the skirt as you wear it,
and the time saved with a well-rounded, minimalist wardrobe!