Eudaemonia

Purpose, with Jae Hermann

October 30, 2019 Kim Forrester Season 4 Episode 2
Eudaemonia
Purpose, with Jae Hermann
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Eudaemonia
Purpose, with Jae Hermann
Oct 30, 2019 Season 4 Episode 2
Kim Forrester

Jae Hermann is a motivational storyteller and business consultant specializing in personal development and digital marketing. Her mission is to motivate and inspire midlife ladies and creative entrepreneurs through storytelling and one-on-one coaching. On this episode, Kim chats with Jae about the importance of a meaningful life, and explores why it’s vital to base our daily actions on a sense of authentic purpose. 

Show Notes Transcript

Jae Hermann is a motivational storyteller and business consultant specializing in personal development and digital marketing. Her mission is to motivate and inspire midlife ladies and creative entrepreneurs through storytelling and one-on-one coaching. On this episode, Kim chats with Jae about the importance of a meaningful life, and explores why it’s vital to base our daily actions on a sense of authentic purpose. 

Intro:   0:02
Welcome to Eudaemonia, the podcast that is all about flourishing. Plug in, relax and get ready for the goodness as we explore the traits and practises that can help you thrive in life ... with your host, Kim Forrester.

Kim Forrester:   0:22
Studies show that people who begin each day with sense of purpose are not only happier in their lives but that they also, literally, live longer. Jae Hermann is a motivational storyteller and business consultant specialising in personal development and digital marketing. Her mission is to motivate and inspire midlife ladies and creative entrepreneurs through storytelling and one on one coaching. It's my great delight to be connecting with Jae today, to discuss the importance of a meaningful life and to explore why it's vital to base our daily actions on a sense of authentic purpose. Jae Herman, it's an absolute delight to have you here on the Eudaemonia podcast. You're in Florida. How are things in Florida this morning?

Jae Hermann:   1:07
Absolutely beautiful, actually. And thank you for having me on today. I appreciate it.

Kim Forrester:   1:12
I'm really excited about this, though, because I think purpose and meaning is a really important topic that we often overlook or ignore in our busyness. In your work, Jae, you help people become more certain of who they are, what their purpose is, so that they're better equipped to succeed in their projects and their businesses. In your experience, what are the main reasons people lose sight of their purpose - of their values - as they work toward their dreams?

Jae Hermann:   1:40
Quite honestly, the main reason I think people lose sight of their purpose and their values is they start paying more attention to what other people think, as opposed to what feels good to them. Because, once you understand what your purpose is and you attach yourself to it, that should be your beacon. That should be your guiding light. And it's very easy to have your lights kind of snuffed out if you're hiding behind someone else. As we go about our life, obviously things change. We ebb and flow, and we need to be flexible. But unfortunately, especially with social media, it can become difficult to feel unique or to feel that your purpose has value.

Kim Forrester:   2:21
So I guess that leads onto the obvious question: how do we know when a sense of purpose is actually ours, and not just some idea or ideal that we've inherited from others, or that we have allowed to be swayed and ifluenced by others?

Jae Hermann:   2:36
Well, I would say that, if it's something that sparks fire or desire, or you have just a strong attention to, attachment to - it's what you read about, it's what you think about, it's what you dream about - and it's something that you can do in service to other people as well. To me, that's a huge part of what having a purpose, finding a purpose and recognising that this is a purpose - and, let's be honest - a purpose that you can do but then also build a career from. So is it valuable to other people, not just to yourself?

Kim Forrester:   3:11
Actually, that's a really important part of purpose that you bring up, there. Because you're talking about having a fire or a desire to do something, there are people out there who are vehemently committed to seeking revenge or to bringing other people down. But you're saying that, it's not truly a purpose, it's not really meaningful, unless we are being of service to other people. Is that what you've experienced with the people that you've worked with? Is helping and lifting and supporting others an integral part of having a true purpose in life?

Jae Hermann:   3:42
Most definitely. And that's beautiful, what you said, in that, when you listen to another person's desire or another person's understanding of what their purpose should be, that in and of itself is a service. It's helping them come to a realisation, helping them to find attachment. Because you speak things into existence, right? And so in giving validation to someone else's dreams, that, in and of itself, is a way of service, and it's helping people to find their purpose. So sometimes, to be perfectly honest, that is what I do with my clients. It's not necessarily leading them to something that they don't know, because that's a big part of it, too. I'm not telling anyone something that they don't know. We have our own answers, and a lot of times we're looking for validation from others.

Kim Forrester:   4:26
Do you feel, as with many things in life, that is easier to see, and recognise, and validate another person's purpose when we're more attached to, more aligned with, our own purpose? 

Jae Hermann:   4:39
Honestly, no. There have been occasions in my life - and I've been through several reinventions now - but there have been several occasions where I have an idea that feels like it is a new pathway to something else, and I'm not completely attached to it. It takes for me to have conversations, it takes for me to reach out and become a part of someone else's search for purpose, that my purpose - or this new idea - becomes clearer to me. So I think it's duel purpose. Yes, it's very important to feel fully attached to something, but that's not always the case when we get started. 

Kim Forrester:   5:16
You bring up a really important point there. You have had many inventions and reinventions through your life. You've had the military, you were an actor, you've done consulting in various forms. Do you feel that we're overly attached to this idea of a life purpose; a single purpose that we must find and then pursue through life? Do you feel it's just as possible for us to have a purpose that adapts and changes as we grow through life?

Jae Hermann:   5:39
Yes and no. Let me explain that. Yes, I think we are multi complex creatures, and it's almost irresponsible to try and pigeonhole people into a box, because we have infinite possibilities. So, yes, I think having purpose that takes form in many different directions is totally possible. I'm proof of that. When I say no, it's because I think, no matter what avenue you decide your purpose will take form, typically there's one underlying theme. So, in my instance, I would like to believe that in everything that I do, there's love and compassion. So whether that's I'm on stage as a storyteller, if I'm writing as a storyteller, if I'm doing video projects as a storyteller, I try and do everything with compassion and love - either for the project, for the people, or the programme. And so there is that underlying theme, but it takes different avenues or different forms, if that makes sense.

Kim Forrester:   6:49
It does make sense and it brings me to an awareness that, we are so obsessed with the idea of what we do in life - we're obsessed with doing. When you meet someone at a dinner party, you say, 'Hey, what do you do?' And what you're kind of implying there is, our purposes is, perhaps, less about what we're doing, but what we're imbuing into that action or activity. Does that feel right to you?

Jae Hermann:   7:13
It does. And it's funny that you would bring that up - the dinner party scenario - because I talk to my clients about that quite a bit. Because networking is a big part of business, right? And so that question, 'What do you do?' makes me giggle because, typically, if someone were to ask me that, I say 'I do anything I want'. But that's not the answer they're looking for, right? They're looking for, 'What do you do as a career? What do you do that makes money?' So there's a huge difference in understanding: this is the thing that I do for money; this is the thing I do for fun. But at the end of the day, most people really - or at least they should - want to know, 'What are you about? What makes you tick?' And I guess that's when we get into 'what's your purpose in life?'

Kim Forrester:   7:53
So let's compare a couple of circumstances in your life. When you joined the U.S. military, it was a very logical decision. So, you weren't really called into that role. Rather, you felt that it was something you had to do to get where you wanted to be. Now it was later in life, that you found yourself almost shepherded by life into a very meaningful consulting role. Was there a difference in the way you experienced these two careers? Does it really make a difference, Jae, if we're doing something with purpose.

Jae Hermann:   8:24
Oh my goodness. My military experience, as you pointed out, was a very logical decision. It was a means to an end. It was not a calling. It was not, you know ... it was a job for me, a pathway to get to another part in my life. Conversely, doing something creative, I never really considered myself a creative person before that point, you know. I went through college with one career goal, and that was to become an attorney, and then it was to join the FBI, and the military was a great pathway for me to do that. Any type of creative outlet that I had - even though I thought I was trying to do some singing projects in school, but I didn't consider that necessarily creative - that came much later. That came through an evolution of, 'Who am I as a person, and what do I have to offer?' And so, for some people it's like, 'Oh, that's how you determined what your purpose was going to be.' Nah, no, I did not know then what I was going to do, or how I was going to do it. I just knew that I had to do something different, and that's something that was outside of myself and something that was beautiful and pretty. And so that's how that morphed into doing something creative.

Kim Forrester:   9:36
So what was your experience like, then, in the military? Here you are, you've gone in because, logically, it seems the right thing to do. You obviously find at some point through that career that, 'Oh, its not really what I want to do.' How is that lack of purpose manifesting itself in your day to day life, while you're in the military?

Jae Hermann:   9:57
I have to say that I honestly didn't have this mindset then to even make that type of connection. I was a totally different person, I think, in so many ways, especially in that way: having that mind's eye or that heart's eye that I speak about with my clients. I didn't have that then. I was very, very driven. Just ... I was myopic. You know, I was very in my OCD days back then. So I had a mission, I was to complete that mission, and there wasn't much else to think about. So I can't answer that question because I really I didn't have that mindset then.

Kim Forrester:   10:33
So conversely, then, let's talk about today. Let's talk about when you are writing your blogs, when you're connecting with your clients. How does it feel to have a sense of purpose in your work now? 

Jae Hermann:   10:49
It is more than fulfilling. I will say that. It feels, it is the right thing for me to be doing at this stage in my life. And I check in; I check in with my heart, I check in with my mind's eye, my heart's eye, quite often to ensure that I'm still on my right path. When I sit down to write something, I'm feeling out a theme or a topic, I check in. Is this in line with my personal mission statement for what I need to be doing with myself today? I do that quite often, and it's feels fulfilling, and it feels it's like being able to take a deep breath. It's just, it's a very grounding feeling for me.

Kim Forrester:   11:37
It's interesting that you talk about, in the military, you had a different mindset. You weren't even aware of who you were, where you wanted to be, at that point. And I feel there are many people who go through life precisely in that manner. In your experience, with clients - or perhaps reflecting back on your own life - do you think it's possible that our own goals, the goals that we create in our mind, can actually lead us away from our heartfelt purpose and meaning?

Jae Hermann:   12:11
Most definitely. One of the exercises that I've learned from my mentor is, to have conversations with my younger self, right? So if there were lessons that I've learned later in life that I could go back and teach her, what would it be? And, quite often, I'm telling her, 'This is not the end of your story. You're not even halfway there, honey. Don't get so bogged down on what you think, you feel, you need to be doing right now. Go with it. Check in and go with it.'

Kim Forrester:   12:48
So that sounds like great advice. Say we're at a crossroads, Jae, in our life and we're not sure which direction will take us closer to our sense of purpose. What do we look for when we're searching for purposeful choices and opportunities?

Jae Hermann:   13:05
Well, first, I would say a very important aspect of doing that type of exercise is, you've got to write it out. Granted, yes, I call myself a writer, and so it would seem obvious I would say that. But no, I am serious. The one way that you can become connected to something is to see it written out. So that gives you a visual aid. But also, things change. So you have an idea that, maybe I want to do this and I feel really called to it, write it down because there will be additional opportunities to kind of flush that out. You have to look at the logistics of things until we get that. But it's - write it, write it down. Write it down so that you have a visual aid to check in with those heart muscles, with that heart-mind, to say, 'Is this good for me? Is this good for someone else? Is this something that I want to learn more about? Is this something I can see myself doing for a long time?' Not, 'Is this something I can do for free', because I don't tell my clients that. But 'Is this something that really connects with me? Is it something that really makes me feel good every single day?' And if you check in with what you've written down and, at some point, that you don't feel connected or it doesn't feel as strong, then maybe it's not something that you should pursue. Or maybe it's not something that you should stay in.

Kim Forrester:   14:25
I love that you bring up the heart-mind there. I guess we would call that the gut instinct. But actually, Daoist, ancient Daoist tradition talks about heart-mind, and it's something more than gut instinct. It's an absolute awareness and knowing that arises from within. Is that what you're talking about in terms of checking in and seeing if this resonates with you from deep within?

Jae Hermann:   14:46
Most definitely. Yes, yes. For me, because I am such a highly sensitive person, it's a very interesting thing that I honestly don't know if I can put it into words succinctly. But when I visualise, I don't just visualise with my eyes, or even in my mind. It is something that is very connected to my heart. And so when I'm thinking about something, visualising something, feeling something, it's almost as though it funnels through what I feel is my heart-mind or my heart-eye. And so, yes, that is that deep gut intuition, checking in, to determine 'is this good for me'.

Kim Forrester:   15:30
I often share with my clients an idea of knowing what the truth feels like to you. When you've been carrying around a lie or a deception for some time, a period of time, and then you go and you confess, there is obviously a sense of embarrassment or shame or whatever comes along with that. But always, always in your body, when you step into what is true, there is a resonance through your body. When you are telling the truth, it feels light and vibrant and resonant in your body. Is that what you're talking about in terms of knowing what your heart-mind is communicating to you?

Jae Hermann:   16:09
Yes, you nailed it. It is a lightness, because anything else feels heavy. And that's a very good way to know that this is something that you should look at it, or this is something that you should investigate. This is something you should check in if you're feeling too heavy about it.

Kim Forrester:   16:24
Now, Jae, something that's really powerful about the work that you do, and the messages that you share, is that you're very open about the messy moments in your life. How does having a sense of purpose help you through those inevitable dark moments?

Jae Hermann:   16:39
Well, I don't know if, consciously, I've made that connection or that decision. And when I share something that, as you say, is messy, it just comes because that's a part of my truth. That's a part of just being me. Anything else takes much more work; it takes much more energy than I want to give - feeling like I'm hiding or I'm just not giving my all. And so, if I'm being real, or if I'm being honest, I'm giving all of me including the messy moments or the moments that, I think, typically, most people would shy away from sharing. I don't have that luxury because I just don't have the energy to make that division, 'This is something that I should share. This is something I shouldn't share.' It's just kind of like, it's all or nothing,

Kim Forrester:   17:25
But that actually brings up something really profound, in that, I think there would be an expectation that if we're following our purpose, it's going to look pleasant; our purpose will always be nice, and inviting, and uplifting. And I truly believe, having followed your work, that you are constantly tapped into what is most meaningful for you, even when you are sharing the messiness of your life. So perhaps what my listeners can reflect on is, that having a sense of purpose and meaning in what you are following and what you're doing, doesn't necessarily mean that it's always going to be pleasant. Do you feel that that might be the truth about our purpose?

Jae Hermann:   18:06
Oh, most definitely. There's truth in just being you, being your messy self sometimes. I know that I've had some of my readers of my blog contact me and say, you know, 'Is that true what you said, or was that just a story? Because that was like, really, like, deep and vulnerable.' And I don't tell my stories for effect, you know. Sometimes I write as something has happened to me, and I'm trying to make sense of it, and it is what it is. You know, there is no point of me that goes, 'Oh yeah, that's too gritty.' No, I think people appreciate when we're able to show our sensitive underbellies and just be real, and not try and candy coat, and not be happy all the time. And it's not all smiles, and it's not all rainbows and unicorns. That's just not realistic so why would we want to portray that? Especially when we're doing purpose work or when we're trying to connect on a very human basic level. Why would you want to do that? Why would you not want to be real? Because at some point or another, honey, it's going to come out anyway. anyway.

Kim Forrester:   19:17
What you're talking about there, Jae, is actually showing up, and you encourage us to 'choose how our stories evolve by actively showing up every day'. That's a quote from your website. What do you mean by showing up? And how can we show up more effectively in our life?

Jae Hermann:   19:36
For me, showing up is being the real, being the raw that we've been talking about. I determined, earlier this year, that that would be the basis of my sharing - is to be real. In fact, my best friend said to me, he's like, 'So what you going to do with yourself this year?' I said, 'I'm going to be real.' And he said, 'What does that mean?' and I said, 'Yes, exactly!' For me, being real and showing up means, not hiding any aspect of who I am for fear of judgement, or fear, or self doubt, or the negative self talk. Just showing up; being available, being open, looking for opportunities, moving forward, having that momentum - that, to me, is showing up. Showing out is another component of that. Showing out is saying, 'I'm going to do this regardless of what this person says or thinks or ...' That's showing out. Showing up is committing to being present. Showing out is doing something about it.

Kim Forrester:   20:41
So once we're clear about our purpose in life - and you spent many years, sort of searching for the true sense of purpose that resonates with you - once we find it, Jae, what on earth do we do with it?

Jae Hermann:   20:54
Please, dear lord, don't keep it to yourself. That is not what we should do with our purpose. Our purpose is active. You know, when I say 'live on purpose', not live with purpose, but live on purpose, that's what I mean. You have to take your purpose and do something with it, and that typically means, give it away in some shape or form. You know, whether that's in a career or how you live your life every single day, do it on purpose. Live on purpose.

Kim Forrester:   21:22
And does purpose have to look big? Are we missing something if we haven't found a purpose that's going to change the world in some profound way?

Jae Hermann:   21:31
No, no. I think in everything that we do - whether it's perceived as big or small - makes a change. There's a ripple in everything that we do. We are energy creatures; we interact with people every single day. That energy field that projects six feet from our heart-eye, someone's gonna walk through it. So, whether your action that you're doing, whether it's big or small, you will have an effect in some way, shape or form.

Kim Forrester:   21:59
Which sort of says to me that our purpose can be as simple as being real, being vulnerable, showing up because it kind of gives those people around you permission to get a little more real themselves. Do you think we're bit fixated on the types of purpose that we should be pursuing in life and that it could be a simple as being kind, being purposeful, being authentic? Of the clients that you've worked with, do you feel that purpose becomes more intrinsic once you've worked to the bottom of it?

Jae Hermann:   22:35
Yes, I have a new workshop that I'm doing with my clients that takes the building a mission and vision statement, and really breaks it down to the pre-steps and finding what your purpose is; what your 'why' is. And a big part of that is tapping into personal belief. And that's where it should begin, so that those small acts - whether you're looking at being authentic, and being kind, and being honest - that really should stem from what do you believe, or what do you want to believe, about yourself? And how do you want to project that to the world and to others, whether it's something big or something small?

Kim Forrester:   23:19
What if someone, what if one of my listeners truly believes that they already know what their purpose is, right? They're locked in to this sense of meaning; they're really clear about what they want to contribute to the world. But life doesn't seem to be working out that way and, despite their knowing about what it is they want to do with their life, the doors always seem to close on them. What's your advice to someone who has that kind of experience going on in their life? 

Jae Hermann:   23:46
Well, it's interesting, you mentioned they feel that they're locked in and that doors are always closing. Well, that's mind set right there, right? And so, anyone listening to this and they feel in their heart, 'I know what I want to do but the opportunities aren't presenting themselves', or, 'I haven't quite figured out, how do I make this work?' - beliefs. What do you want to believe about this? What do you want to believe about what you want to offer to the world? Do you want to believe this is ... 'I can find success in doing this because it makes me feel good', or, 'I can help another person in doing this thing because it really resonates with my heart muscle.' That's really ... because there's a lesson in that, you know. For you, an opportunity may look closed or may look difficult, and to someone else, they might look at that opportunity as a blessing. So it's really looking at those personal beliefs, really being in touch with them, and then understanding that everything that happens is a lesson that's moving us forward.

Kim Forrester:   24:53
It also, I guess, brings us back to that whole idea of 'doing' because opportunities only ever seem out of our reach, or doors only ever seem closed, when we have attached our purpose to some form of action or expression. Do you feel that, maybe, if you think, 'I want to nurture and nourish and so I want to be a nurse', for instance, 'My purpose is to become a nurse', and things don't seem to be working out, do you think that's a time to revisit and go, 'Well, no. Maybe my purpose is actually to nourish and nurture, but it might not look like nursing.' Is that something that you have discovered, in your experience?

Jae Hermann:   25:32
That's exactly right, because that example - I want to be a nurse. What does a nurse do? Like you said, nurturing and healing. Well, then, that's what your personal belief is - that I am someone capable of offering healing and sustenance and nurturing. That's your foundation; that's the basis; that's the theme. Well, there are other avenues to do that. That's that 'checking in'. Is my personal theme, my personal manifestation, my personal affirmation - what is that? And then how do I accomplish that?

Kim Forrester:   26:08
That's really powerful. Jae, my final question. It's one I ask every guest on the Eudaemonia podcast. Can you recommend a morning reminder - so this might be a daily ritual, a practice, an affirmation - something that can inspire my listeners to create a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their daily lives?

Jae Hermann:   26:28
Yes, and it is something that I have to remind myself to do, actually, but it's very, very powerful: setting an intentional declaration of your beliefs. That becomes your own personal affirmation. Writing that down and having access to it ... you know, it's not necessarily something that you have to memorise and have by rote, that you can say or that's ... no. I feel it is extremely important to write out your personal beliefs, create an intentional declaration of your beliefs, that become your personal affirmation. You write it down and that's what you read every single day. 

Kim Forrester:   27:14
And when you say beliefs, you're not necessarily talking about, 'I believe in a god or gods.' What kind of beliefs are you talking about in this practice?

Jae Hermann:   27:23
Personal beliefs. In fact, the exercise that I do with my clients to develop this, I recommend writing down five personal beliefs that you have about yourself. And I can't stress this enough, it is so important to write them down. Because when I did this exercise with myself, many months ago, my initial personal beliefs that I was trying to write, I had that negative self talk in my head going, 'No you're not. No, you're not. You can't do that.' And, for example, my five personal beliefs: I am a bad ass; I am fiercely talented; I'm loyal and dedicated; I am beautiful and gracious; I am successful. Now, I was writing them out, 'You're not so bad ass all the time.' You know, 'You're not as talented as you think you are.' But I couldn't force myself to write the negative things - I could hear them in my head, but I couldn't force myself to write them. So that's why it's extremely important to write them down. Now, once you do that, creating a sentence or several sentences, that is a combination of those things. For instance, I came up with, 'As a beautiful and talented bad ass, I successfully overcome obstacles with grace and dedication.

Kim Forrester:   28:36
Great. And you tap into that every morning to carry you through your day.

Jae Hermann:   28:41
Yes, I absolutely, positively have to. I think at this stage in my mid life, it is important for me to do that, because I get forgetful. I need my own little reminders. And I have this on my sticky, as a sticky note, that's on my computer since I look at my computer every single day.

Kim Forrester:   28:58
That's just amazing. Jae Hermann, if people want to learn more about you, and your writings, and your work, where can they find you?

Jae Hermann:   29:06
The best place would be to go to www.jaehermann.com.

Kim Forrester:   29:12
I am thrilled to have had you on the Eudaemonia podcast talking about purpose. Thank you so much for gifting your time, your energy, your wisdom, and your bad ass-ery.

Jae Hermann:   29:23
Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. You are fantastic. I enjoyed every moment.

Kim Forrester:   29:29
The great Dolly Parton once said, 'Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.' You have been listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. If you'd like to learn more about how to live a truly flourishing life, please subscribe and check out www.eudaemoniapod.com for more inspiring episodes. I'm Kim Forrester. Until next time be well, be kind to yourself, and live on purpose.