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I went shopping the other day. Shocking, right? I preach frugality and yet I had the audacity to shop. Haha, all things in moderation. Anyway, I bought a fancy dress and learned a valuable lesson from an unlikely person. So much so that I thought to turn it into a blog post.
This is Not a Dress Rehearsal
There is this unique women’s clothing store near me which carries eclectic, high-quality items. The price tags typically reflect that. Well, in my true frugal fashion, I’m aware of their semi-annual sales where items which are typically $100+ are marked down to $10, $20 & $30. This is about the only time I shop there and it’s fun seeing what I can get on sale.
I had a gift card to the store to use so I went to their sale recently and found some nice quality pieces…and then I saw this dress!!
It felt like this dress was made specifically for me. Furthermore, it was marked down from $162 to $30. There was only one problem. When the heck would I wear this dress??
I was walking around the store in my quandary and I struck up a conversation with a saleswoman. She told me that she once worked for a boss who said, “this is not a dress rehearsal, so you might as well dress the part!” It reminded me of a girlfriend from Colorado who used to wear all of her fancy clothing every day as a social worker. She said to me, “you don’t need a special occasion to dress up, you just do it.”
Yeah, one might argue that the saleswoman was very good at her job…and she was. I ultimately decided to buy the dress. Moreover, I plan on wearing it. And when I do, I’ll post some pics…
Dressing the part
I just loved the line that this is not a dress rehearsal. That can be applied to so many aspects of life and in particular, financial independence. Are you planning for a future date when you’ll achieve financial independence? I propose we don’t just plan for it, but we start to dress the part now. So what does this look like?
Firstly, while we are saving intensely for our futures we need to remember to foster our passions now. And this can be true for anyone, not just early retirees. Jillian from Montana Money Adventures challenges us to ask the question, “how can I invest in changes that will make our life and the lives of others better?” Furthermore, she challenges us to ask it before we get to retirement.
After all, you don’t want to get to retirement and have no passion projects to work on. If you plan your retirement well, your passion projects don’t need to bring in money but they might!
I think it comes down to defining our purpose and this is not an easy task. I was reminded, when listening to Grant Sabitier on ChooseFI, that finding purpose can put a lot of pressure on a person. Grant said something to the effect that when we tell young adults to go after their passions/purpose in life we need to be careful as it can apply a lot of pressure.
This really made me think as I’m often encouraging others to find their purpose in life. While I do think this is a worthy pursuit, I’d like to remind others that the timing of this discovery is not linear. Furthermore, our purposes can evolve throughout our lives.
Finding My Purpose
I now know that my purpose in life is to teach, serve, and coach others. However, I did not always know that. As a matter of fact, I first discovered my calling to teach when I was in my young 30’s. I went to graduate school for this but with an unreconciled past, addiction caught up with me and prevented me from realizing this dream. That’s a story for another time.
Eventually, when I hit my bottom, got sober, and did the hard work which comes with recovery, I unearthed my purpose. Amazingly, now my giftings are used to help other women coming out of similar situations. We are best suited for helping others in the things we have experienced ourselves.
Additionally, once I finished digging my way out of debt, I started teaching other women the steps to take here as well.
So finding my purpose has occurred in stages and when I was a young girl I never thought I’d be helping teach women in recovery. One never knows where the twists and turns in life will take us.
Finding Your Purpose
Now I’d like to help you find your purpose but in a way that doesn’t feel pressure-packed. Firstly, if you don’t yet know what it is, that’s fine. I’d advise you to keep living and pursuing passion projects until you do. Even in mundane tasks, purpose may be revealed.
Here are some exercises you can do to explore your giftings and purpose:
Writing in a journal each day can be telling, especially if you are willing to look back and reflect upon what you’ve written. I start each day with prayer and a bible study. In this time, I journal. Some of the things I journal are:
- Questions I have
You can also journal dreams, hopes, and future plans. Some people like to journal free-flowing thoughts. I say, do whatever works for you, just be sure to set aside some quiet time to write. Additionally, you will need a journal for these future exercises…
#2 Identify What You Like About Your Job
Make a list of all of the tasks you do at your current job and furthermore, star the tasks that you really enjoy. Often times, things that we are gifted in are more enjoyable.
I would imagine there are some tasks you enjoy in your career. If not, it may be time to re-evaluate it.
#3 Identify What You Do in Your Free Time
So when you are not working, what do you like to do? Make a list of your favorite past times.
#4 What is The Greatest Thing You’ve Overcome
Many times our purpose is tied to the thing that we’ve overcome. I know mine is. What have you overcome? I’m sure there is something you’ve overcome and no matter how little it is, put it in your journal.
#5 Look for the Common Thread
So now that you’ve made these lists, is there a common thread? Compare and contrast each of these lists and identify things that require a similar skill set.
I think these exercises need to be repeated as things change and/or evolve in life.
For example, I did this little exercise with myself:
It’s not an exhaustive list but for the purposes of an example, it works. I love to execute things when I know what needs to be done! Also, I do love the analysis part of my job. Moreover, I simply love presenting and teaching.
When looking at my three lists, I would say the common theme that jumps out at me is teaching and presenting.
In my spare time, I do this with the things I’ve overcome but in my job, I do this in regards to health insurance. Both allow me to feel on purpose
Additionally, I’ve found things that light me up in regards to health insurance like health care consumerism and cost comparison. I’m passionate about providing value to our clients while reducing their costs because I’m passionate about this in my own life.
I feel like I’m living a financial independence purpose-filled life now. Why? Because I’ve worked my way out of debt, put my savings on autopilot, and live my purpose. I’m dressing the part and when I truly become financially independent and don’t have to work for money, I will ramp up the things I currently do in my spare time. Who knows, perhaps there will be new opportunities that align with my purpose and calling.
This life is but a mist so we needn’t waste any time. My advice to you is to keep trudging the road by being intentional, reflective, and dressing the part. I believe wholeheartedly that your purpose will be revealed if you do these things. Don’t give up and don’t give in; keep on keeping on.
So what do you think? Do you think this exercise will be helpful? What can you be doing today to dress the part?