Category: Associate Development and Engagement, Conferences and Events

What’s Your Purpose?


Woman Writing in Notebook - 120747562I had the opportunity to attend the Massachusetts Women’s conference in December. To say that it was an inspiring experience would be an understatement. Let me paint a brief picture for you: 10,000 women, from all walks of life. Some were young, eager to learn and explore their place in life. Some were from the “yes, you can have it all…successful career and a family” era (full disclosure, I am in good company here). And some were of a “certain age” willing to share the journey of life for those still creating the path. The energy was amazing. You could see it, and feel it. We all had a purpose for being there.

Where do I start with the speakers? Linda Cliatt-Wyman is the principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Pennsylvania. Her purpose is to ensure that all kids have the opportunity to receive an education in an environment that is safe and full of love. Judy Givangelo is a wife and mother, and because of a profound tragedy and loss, she is now an advocate, teacher, and healer. Judy’s purpose is to engage youth to shift their culture from competition to collaboration and to create a loving heart. Then there is Blake Mycoskie, a very successful entrepreneur. But that isn’t his purpose. Blake’s purpose came when he was on a sabbatical in Argentina. He volunteered with a group delivering shoes to children. He discovered that he could start a for-profit business that provided a pair of shoes to a child for every pair purchased: TOMS shoes. There are so many more stories of purpose that I could share, (but it’s a blog post after all), so let me share mine.

Exploring the conference, I vividly remember turning to a colleague and saying- “This is amazing, I don’t want this to end!” Reflecting on the notion of not wanting it to end, I began to ask myself “Why was the conference so important and impactful? Does the feeling of energy and purpose need to end?” The answer was simple. It didn’t have to end. Purpose is defined as a feeling where there is meaning and reason for what we do.  We are all in a place where we can discover our purpose, and through that, perhaps we can inspire others to do the same.

I recently read an article which shed some light on how one discovers purpose. The steps are fairly simple.

  1. Consider what is uniquely you and what you offer. Ask yourself: What are my strengths?  What do I receive feedback on that I am really good at? What inspires me?
  2. How do I help others? What effect does it have on them and on me?
  3. Write your purpose down, one that resonates with you and has meaning.

At Boston Financial, each of us has a purpose. We have the opportunity to impact someone or something every day, no matter our role within the organization. Whether it is helping a shareholder understand complex information, providing an innovative solution, coaching a direct report, or supporting a colleague, we all have a purpose.

So here is my purpose: I aspire to impact someone, on some level, every day. Daunting as that seems it’s the right thing to do. It’s my purpose. Share with me your purpose and sources of inspiration. I’d love to hear them. Perhaps you can inspire me, too!

Kathleen Shea

Kathleen Shea

Kathleen is a Sr Learning Consultant in the Talent Development and Organizational Effectiveness team at Boston Financial. Kathleen began her career at Boston Financial over 25 years ago. Seeking a way to combine her financial services experience with her passion for learning and teaching, she became a learning professional in 1992. In her role as Sr Learning Consultant at Boston Financial, she partners with business leaders to create innovative learning solutions and customized organizational development plans to develop talent and achieve business results. Most recently, she developed a new manager readiness program which provides high performing talent in the organization the opportunity to experience the role of a manager prior to assuming a position. Prior to joining Boston Financial, she held various positions at Fidelity Investments.

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  1. Linda Nelson

    Congratulations on such an uplifting and meaningful blog. I’ve wondered a lot about the conference and what it was like to attend. Thank you for sharing.

    Your takeaways from the event remind me of a book that I’m currently reading on Kindle entitled “The Business of Me.” It helps the reader to examine his or her purpose in the work force and to find ways of honing in on what skills and proficiencies he or she has to offer and to build on them.

    I like the questions that you pose at the end of the blog post. For me, I think it might be a good idea to write them down and put them in a place where I’ll see them daily.

    Great job!


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