Aspire for More with Erin

The Power of Knowing Your Purpose with Anna Hall

September 29, 2023 Erin Thompson
Aspire for More with Erin
The Power of Knowing Your Purpose with Anna Hall
Show Notes Transcript

Connect with me on LinkedIn


Follow me on Facebook where I educate, equip and empower family members how to proactively care for their elderly loved ones.

Follow me on Instagram where I educate, equip and empower family members how to proactively care for their elderly loved ones.

Join my email list where I will lift you up, and send tactile advice weekly to support you to grow your experience in your senior living career.


Hi, thank you for being here. I wanted to let you know that this podcast has such. How powerful and purposeful. Content that I felt like we needed to divide this into two separate podcasts. So if you're listening today, This is the first 30 minutes of mine. And Anna's conversation about purpose for ourselves and as leaders inside the senior living community. And then next week I will dive in to the last 30 minutes of the episode. All are powerful and I cannot wait. For you. To hear it all. Thank you for being here and now let's start the show.

Erin:

Welcome today. I have the awesome Anna Hall with us on the Aspire for More with Erin podcast. And I just want to say hello, Anna. How are you?

Anna:

Hi, Erin. I'm so happy because I'm here with you.

Erin:

Yes. Okay. So I first met Anna through Aaron fishes and Florida senior livings, cocktails and conversations. And I've told you this before. I'm sure. But when she spoke something about the inside of me, just like lit up and I was like, who is this person? I want to get to know her. And then, yeah. Through different connections on LinkedIn, we were able to meet and the rest is history. I feel like there's a lot of synergy with value and purpose and as Anna is the founder of the purpose equation. So, Anna, give us a little rundown of who you are, who you serve and. Everything about you.

Anna:

Ooh, everything about me. That's a long and complicated story, but I want to say when I met you, I saw this incredible bright light shining out at me through from you through zoom. And I so admire your vulnerability. I think, well, I know the vulnerability is such a sign of strength. So I'm just, I'm drawn to you because you're such a purpose filled purposeful person. And I felt the same way about just absolutely having to know you, Erin. Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, I, so I've worked for in the senior living world for over 25 years. I've worked at every level of senior living organizations. I love marketing because it's about building relationships and sales and helping families. My real love in the majority of my career has always been focused around engagement. How do we help employees, residents, families engage in life to improve wellness. That's really what it comes down to. So I talked about engagement for the last 20 years. But then in the last five years, I took a life coach certification class and that opened my mind to a whole new perspective about how to help people dive deeper into who they are and what makes them tick. And then I became more and more obsessed with purpose. So I translated or transitioned the word engagement to purpose because All of the research shows that purpose is really what keeps us alive, what gives us quality of life, what gives us inner strength, outer strength, the ability to recover from illness, the ability to take more control of our brain health, our mental health, our psychological health, our physiological health purpose is literally everything, and it has implications in all areas of life. So now I work with organizations. My focus is senior living communities because that's my love. That's where I grew up and older adults have taught me so much about purpose. So I GET TO help people and organizations discover and activate purpose every day.

Erin:

Yeah. I mean, just talking about it makes me like, yeah, I mean, honestly I have overcome a lot. I have been honest with that. And a lot of the podcasts episodes that I have put out into the world. And the one thing that I can say has been the driving force to continue to move forward is purpose for me and when I met you and saw that was your mission and then followed you and then read the things that you post on LinkedIn, it literally adds fuel to this fire inside of me that is so true. And like, we have talked about one on one The idea of purpose, the idea of a calling greater than just the day to day is what senior living needs to focus on to offer additional value to their associates, right? To their leaders. Yes, It's easy to overcome. Well, I will say it's easier to overcome setbacks. Like you said. When you know your purpose and how have you seen that work for your customers and then you can ask me some questions too. But, talk about what you've seen when you preach into and I say preach because I feel like I'm being preached to in a very positive way when you talk about purpose.

Anna:

Oh, good preaching in the land of purpose is an exchange of energy, which I feel with you. Yes. It's really, it's helping people to look inside of themselves and find out what are their superpowers and bring that to life. So the purpose equation is an evidence informed framework. I take a unique individual, guide that person to discover and define their own purpose. I don't give them a survey and it says, Erin Thompson, here is your purpose. I think that that kind of survey like Myers Briggs, StrengthsFinders, DISC, I think all of that is very effective. But it's way more effective after a person already has a platform for understanding their unique purpose through the equation. So the equation is a self discovery, self defining experience that empowers people to accept themselves as they are to get back to who they are naturally and then move through life with that sort of natural ease. So I can give an example of the CEO of a incredibly successful life plan community who's had an incredibly successful career, yet she felt something was missing inside of herself, and she was exhausted. I mean, senior living going through the pandemic, which still is having implications, was monumental. And so after that experience, I think it caused a lot of people to think, okay, like, what is life really about? I think all of us in senior living understand how fragile and temporary our life really is. That pandemic was a wake up call. So she discovered her purpose equation. And first of all, she loved it so much. She had her entire executive team discovered their equations and now they're working better together. They're more compassionate. They're more understanding. They have words, specific words. I think of words as tools to communicate more clearly with each other. So they get things done faster, more effectively, more efficiently. But she now knows how to take care of herself. She knows how to calibrate her energy. She knows how to stop either environmental things, internal or external environmental factors that drain her, so that she can keep her energy level more, More steady. Mm hmm. That cup filled, right? If you wait till your cup is drained. It's going to take 10 times longer to fill that cup up. So why not keep it filled in little ways every day? And that's what we can do with purpose. I love working with companies to help onboard new employees. What better gift could you give to someone who is entering your new environment, your new culture than to help them understand their values and their strengths and what makes them tick and then be able to specifically apply that to their job. Purpose is the most incredible motivating tool known to humans. So to me, help infusing employees with their purpose and helping them understand what their purpose is, is the most effective way to engage them by linking their personal mission and goals to the organization's mission and goals. And then you're walking in lockstep and people can be more clear about why they are here in life. Why they are in that role at work and how to reach those roles and goals through both challenges and through amazing triumphs. Life is filled with all of that,

Erin:

It's interesting several things about that a words, words are very important and I grew up hearing that, but I never understood the value of that and honestly, until recently, and then, talking to you a lot, you use, Words in such a way that inspire emotion and connection. And then you tie that into the words that we say to ourselves, that story that we tell ourselves I have realized that I have a tendency to diminish. Purpose, maybe even worth, or even important things based on the words that I use. And I will give you an example. This was a few years ago, there was this man that I met that I saw. He was security guard at a school, and then I saw him at another location. Okay, and so I said to him, Oh, you're the little security guard from the school that I met the other day.

Anna:

And

Erin:

he said to me, I am the director of security for that school. And like, I felt this small. I had no intention of. Diminishing him, even if he was just a security guard and that incident has stuck in my head because what I realize now is that I did that to myself for everything. I diminished. Everything with words, because I didn't want to feel the importance, I think it was because I didn't want to let myself down. Like, I was always guarding myself. So any success that I had, or I'm just the executive director, I said, I would say that all the time. Right? And I did that to him I was like, oh, my God, but to me, that's just the way that I spoke to myself. And then the other aspect that you said is just being aware in general. That's

Anna:

power. Because you can move from awareness to intention, right? You can't get to intention without awareness first. And for all the women who are out there listening to this, eliminate the word just from your vocabulary. Eliminate it. Erin, you're not alone though. And that's why I'm so just amazed by you. I admire you so much. For sharing your story, because it helps people understand they're not alone. You're not the only one who went through that, right? So a lot of people are afraid, especially women, to let their full selves out. The word that I often hear is allowing myself. Because there's an underlying fear that either I as a person or my purpose is not good enough. And so by holding it back, we never have to come face to face with our purpose not being enough. When in fact, I have never ever in my entire life, my 46 years and yeah, I'm not afraid to say my age 46 years and proud. I'm grateful for everyone. And I hope I get more of them to say that every single person who has discovered their purpose, their essence, their calling, whatever we call this natural fire inside of us. No one's disappointed. In fact, people fall in love with their purpose, and that's what happened to me. I've had self acceptance challenges in my life, and I also live with depression. That luckily, I live in the first world, and my family has been able to help me since childhood manage it. I'm one of the lucky ones. But, but, this fear that we're not enough. And this fear that our purpose will not be enough holds us back. But for me, the way that I got to feeling more confident and not caring so much what people think of me is not through some journey of self acceptance that didn't work for me, but I can identify my purpose and I'm absolutely in love with it and that translates to confidence. Yeah, the sentence,

Erin:

I am not enough is a sentence that that has plagued me. That word just was in front of a lot. And I believe that has really much what held me back for a long time. It wasn't anyone else. It was me and how I protected myself from not feeling the disappointment. Right. Of not being enough of I, I can't do this because of this. And so therefore here's what it is. And I think I have felt more free in this past year, because I have realized all of those things that you have just said. And I hung around some life coaches, you, you talked about how you I went to life coach school and it taught you things.

Anna:

Yeah. Getting a, so I was certified as a life coach by the life purpose Institute. Big shocker, right? What I found about coaching is that I can coach anyone in any field because I don't need to be an expert in that field. What I need to do is understand this skill set that I gained from coaching and the philosophy of life coaching is that the person you're coaching already has the answers inside. They already know, but there's some kind of disconnect or fear, something holding them back from fully accessing that knowing. So it's about asking powerful questions and helping people come to their own conclusions. And when people come to their own conclusions and make their own decisions and set their own goals and have some guidance to do that, that's where the power is unlocked. It's like purpose. Everything that you need, you are born with. It is already inside of you. Your job in this life is to figure out your purpose and live to the fullest, unbridled, let it out. That's how you make a difference in the world. That's also what's helped me accept myself more. So I'm an assertive human. I'm an extrovert, mostly. Which makes me somewhat gregarious. But also, I've gone through a lot of hard knocks. And I know what my purpose is. I'm very clear about it. And so, I am fully myself. Some people love me for who I am. Some people, not so much. That is the best gift I have. Because now, I can surround myself with people who fully accept me for who I am. And the people who say no, thank you. I say, thank you. It's saving us all time. And it just makes life so much richer. And the sense of freedom takes off a lot of weight from everyday life to be yourself. Because Everyone was put here for a reason. Everyone has a unique purpose. You are built in a certain way in order to move through life and see life and experience life and share life in a very specific way. And so why waste time justing or shoulding yourself or trying to be someone else when you're meant to be you? Yeah. One

of

Erin:

the biggest blessings in life is when you realize you're not for everyone and you attract your tribe. Yes. And how much time have we spent in life chasing people who were never meant for us to begin with? Preach.

Anna:

You

Erin:

know what I mean? Like, every rejection in life has shaped me and molded me to be who I needed to be when I needed to be that person. But when you're like in that moment, you don't understand that. But now, like you said, it's, thank you. I don't want to be. Where I have to dilute who I am. I don't want to do that

Anna:

anymore. That's not why we're here,

Erin:

right? And maybe I'm too much energy, and that's okay, you're not too much

Anna:

energy, though. You're not. Yeah. You have exactly the energy that you were built to have. So I'm curious, Erin. Okay. Now that you allow yourself, and you love your purpose. How do you think you, how has that changed you? How is that coming out in your life now that you're fully allowing yourself?

Erin:

I can authentically walk into a room now as me and not shrink. Yes. I used to shrink. Or I used to puff up, right? Like I used to make myself very important, or I used to not be in the room at all. And now I just am consistently who I am, I may not walk into a room with a theme song, right? Like Coach Prime, although. Although you might

Anna:

sometimes,

Erin:

just the fact that I know now when I walk into a conference or walk into a room, I am who I am. And that has been the biggest gift to me because before I often wondered, does anybody want to talk to me? What do I need to say to this person? I want to make sure that I don't come off this way or I don't come off this way. No, I'm walking into this room as Erin Thompson. I have changed a lot of people's lives. I have been very successful in this industry. And I'm going to go add value to people because that's my purpose. That is what I say to myself now, instead of all these other things. I'm going to wear what shoes I'm comfortable in. I'm going to not wear a blazer today because I want to be whole as who I am without the blazer.

Anna:

Yeah.

Erin:

Yeah. All those things. And that has been the most empowering thing for me. here's the other statement that I like, what is mine will be mine, who I am supposed to meet I will meet and I will add value to the people's lives that I meant to add value for.

Anna:

Woo. That's it. Because you've updated your story. Yes, I have updated my story. And in the purpose equation, the research that led me part of the research that I reviewed to, to create the equation is this, this theory called narrative identity. So humans think in stories. That's why good marketers tell stories because that's how we think that's how we remember, but we're all walking around telling ourselves a story about who we are. And a lot of us are basing that story on the I'm not enough. Yes. Or fears, or shoulds, or guilt, or thinking that I'll be enough one day when I accomplish XYZ. What? Meanwhile, life is passing us by. So when we can tell ourselves a story that we can truly believe, that's why the equation works because it's evidence based, it's, it's a self created story, but with hardcore evidence. It's a story that we can believe and start to tell ourselves and that story that we tell ourselves. Is who we are becoming and becoming. Learning and growth can be constant when you're living in purpose. Like there's no end to it. And I know that that's something that really lights you up too, is learning and growth and seeing possibilities. And we'll talk about how I know that about you in a sec. Yes, yes.

Erin:

You know the concept of the future, you and I think that fits into this conversation. Absolutely.

Anna:

Absolutely.

Erin:

And I think that's the frame in my mind that has shifted. Because before I was so focused on the past and the anchors that held me down because of the meaning, right? That story that I placed on my worth. Because of things that happened in the past, so I could never really focus on the present or the future because my present was affected by my past, And now I reframe everything and this is taking me time. This is for those who are listening. This takes time. This takes intention. First of all, as Anna said, it's awareness and then it's

Anna:

intention and a little bit of therapy mixed in there. I'll say is not a bad thing for me.

Erin:

And now it is. I want a goal, whatever my goal is,, I want to be here, but in order for me to be here, I have to do stuff today in order to get there. So my vision is strictly in the future me and not the past me, whereas I had always worked on trying to prove people wrong about me or trying to Prove myself wrong about me to now. It's like, these people thought that I could do these things, whether it's my family or it's friends or new colleagues. And so I'm going to be better than they think I can be, and I'm going to be better than I think that I can be So, I think that's the shift that most women and men can do, take away the past, the past definitely defines your present. If you allow it, but if you look to the future and you make the future you your goal, your future will now define your present. And that is a much more graceful way of living.

Anna:

Absolutely. I mean, the past is very informative. We can look at the past and say, what did I learn from this? And what, what, when, when a similar situation arises today, and usually similar situations will keep arising until we learn that lesson. What can I learn from this? How can I think different, be different, do different this time? And that's how the past can help us. But holding on to regrets and I wishes and I used to, I mean, older adults saying I used to is really what sparked me to switch from thinking about engagement to purpose. Because I used to is thinking about who I was in the past when here I am existing as a human today. That's no way to live. No, it's not.

Erin:

And so this work that Anna does. Is crucial, I think adds value and certainly can help, uh, turnover rates inside the senior living industry. For sure. When we talk about the senior living industry as a whole, let's really dive deep. We have predominantly female high percentages, minority, and I would say, based on my experience, a high percentage of these females are people pleasing women who want. To put their worth and their definition of worth their identity into their work and their outcomes. No matter what position, had I had this kind of awareness or this kind of mindset, base level understanding of training and how it applies inside the industry, I don't think that I would have like run into the wall, like whenever that Looney Tune character was, who was that Looney Tune character that ran into the wall so much?

Anna:

And then gets back up and runs into the wall again.

Erin:

Yes. I would not have been I don't think I would have gotten to that place because my entire life was senior living. I mean, that was just that was it. That was my identity. I mean, I am an executive director. That's what I thought my purpose was. That was I'm changing lives. This is this is who I am. This is what I do. But having the ability to talk to somebody or to even have a training about separating the two and understanding how to care for yourself would have been could have been life changing for people.

Anna:

I think one of the challenges that senior living has is one attracting people to work in this space. And I just want to say everyone come and give senior living a try. Erin and I grew up and have lived our career here and it's the most fulfilling place to work. I can imagine. On the other side of it. How do we expect people to come into an industry where they don't see room for growth. If we onboard people as a role only, instead of as a human being, then we're putting them in a box from day one. And what we need is people who have found out who they are as a human, what their strengths are, so that they bring that to their role, but that they bring that to every interaction in the community, so that they can see a way to grow and evolve naturally within the community. And to share more and more of their gifts and their values. And, and especially for, for the women, the minorities, the people of color who work on the front line, they don't feel seen and heard and senior living does not exist without them. No, it doesn't. And so purpose helps us do little things like instead of saying, Hey, Erin, I love your Navy button down. Hey, Erin, I noticed how kind you were to that resident, your kindness is beautiful. I see you stopping and being present and noticing that Mary was smiling and asking her what was making her happy. That's a compliment that is literally going to help that person want to stay in that community because they feel seen and heard for who they are as a being, not what they're doing that moment in that temporary role. That's

Erin:

a huge concept just right there in staff retention is complimenting people based on being a human being rather than their role.

Anna:

Yes, that's, that's expansive, right? It, it, it opens infinite possibilities.

Erin:

Yeah, I mean, it really does. I think, looking back I did that. I loved my team passionately. I don't know if I can say I did that. I just wanted everybody to feel valued. And so I, I don't think I intentionally like had this plan to compliment people based on their humanity, but I did do that pretty consistently. in the sense of I just wanted them to feel valued as a person. But now I have this lens to know, okay, as a woman who is a reforming people pleaser, who had, uh, words issues and self acceptance issues, I believe that most of my caregivers suffered in the same way. And so I gave them value the way that I would have wanted value added to me. And so I'll think about that now. And I'm like, this is the way all senior living operators should add value to

Anna:

their team. I have tools and training to help you do that. I just finished a daily purpose guide to help residents and employees live in purpose together. That's the key like human purpose is a powerful tool asset energy fuel that drives a person focused industry.

Erin:

Period. We lose sight of that in this industry, the numbers, the metrics, the finances, all of that is important, but we deal with real life, hard

Anna:

things, hard things,

Erin:

death, sickness, family members asking us questions that we don't know the answers to. Disappointments, setbacks, high stakes, emotional blowbacks from from innocent mistakes. I mean, these are the things that we deal with. And I don't believe that we are armed with the knowledge and the tools that you are referring to. And I think if we could make this type of training a priority for our leaders and even our, our care associates and our culinary associates because it adds value to everyone. And if it adds value to the associates who else does it add value to: the residents. Yes. Yeah. Here's

Anna:

the coolest thing about purpose. When you help a human discover, define, and activate their unique purpose, a lot of other problems melt away. Yes. Some CEOs will say to me, well, okay, so you help them to discover their purpose. Now, what, what are we going to do about retention? I say, help support them and their purpose, recognize in their purpose, use their purpose words. When you talk to them, train their supervisor to talk about their purpose engagement plan in one on one meetings, all of a sudden retention engagement. Going above and beyond caring about the quality of your work, making meaningful connections. All of that isn't our natural outcomes. That's what I want people to understand. A lot of the problems that we're trying to just firefight could be fixed at the root cause, which is taking the best care of our people. And the best way you can take care of a human being is to help them understand their purpose.

Erin:

It builds connection and without connection, there is no commitment, but with connection. There is commitment.

Anna:

Yes. Natural commitment. Passionate commitment. Authentic commitment. Yeah

My main takeaway of the first half of this conversation is that purpose is one of the most important things for you to understand. In your lifetime. Your identity is not in your outcomes. It is in how you can change your life. And in other people's lives. When, you know your purpose. You know your power and whether you have faith in God or in other higher powers, there's a falling on our live. That will give us the sense of peace. And the purpose that keeps us going. When, you know, your purpose, fear has less control over you. I can't wait for you to hear the next half. Make sure you look and join us next week. And she will be a guest speaker at our culinary leadership workshop. In Birmingham, Alabama. October 10th. Talk to you soon. And as always aspire for more for you.