Aspire for More with Erin

Know Your Purpose Episode 2

October 05, 2023 Erin Thompson
Aspire for More with Erin
Know Your Purpose Episode 2
Show Notes Transcript

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We are back with another episode of the aspire for more with Erin podcast to finish up the most amazing conversation between myself and Anna Hall. I want to give you the full bio to Anna. She is so full of strategy and ideas and ways to help our retention problem that I want to make sure everybody knows how to reach her. Anna Hall is the founder and chief purpose officer with over 25 years of experience in employee and team engagement. And program development and technology management, particularly in the senior living space. She is also a certified life coach and a purpose activation facilitator. Her mission is to help companies embed purpose across the organization from HR to operations to build culture and cultivating excellence. She also guides people of all ages and stages to flourish in their personal and professional lives based on the most powerful, innate tool that exists. Purpose. Her philosophy on purpose is derived from research, intuition, and willingness to experiment. Most of all her years of interacting with people in their eighties and nineties taught her the power of purpose and the wellness crisis, that results from a lack of it. In 2018 and I began building the purpose equation and evidence-based informed framework. They creates these consistent outcomes. This framework she invented is the basis for programs, workshops, individual group, and team coaching. And courses that are designed to ignite purpose, spark, joy, and provide tools for becoming at any age and in every moment. And it holds a bachelor's degree in English and the political science from the university of Massachusetts, Boston and a life coach certification from the life purpose Institute. I enjoyed this conversation so much, and I hope that you enjoy the last 30 minutes. Of our conversation.

Anna:

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

Erin:

It's true. I, I, even in my own history, I was very committed to companies and then like the connection was lost, whether it was my fault or their fault or both of ours fault. And then the commitment changed to the people that I had the connection with. Yes. Who did I have the connection with? I had it with my families and my residents. And my associates, it's,

Anna:

yes. Humans are social creatures. We are built to need each other. And, people don't leave jobs. They leave managers or they leave bad relationships at work. Or they leave environments that don't help them flourish in life and at work. Someone's going to work and getting stressed out and, they don't feel appreciated. They're not recognized in a way that's meaningful to them. It's real easy to just take another job. But when your boss knows you and knows your purpose words. And supports you bringing your purpose to work every day. All of a sudden, that's way harder place to leave.

Erin:

It's true. Okay, so I had the experience to go through a team building exercise with the Anna Hall, her joy fueling exercise. So I want her to dive into the experience and her summary of me.

Anna:

Okay, how exciting. So. I created a program called joy fuel. And the one question that I never asked is what brings you joy? Because if people knew that they wouldn't need me and I wouldn't need to program, I help people activate curiosity, creativity, and a completely failure free exploration of their mind, their desires, their wants, their needs. And then we take those ideas and concepts. And we trace it back to joy and purpose. So I asked everyone on the team to write notes about a very special journey that they would go on. So I asked you questions like, where would you go? Who would you take with you? If there were no rules of gravity or space or time, what would this journey look like? What would you care about seeing? What would be the meaningful part of it? And we want to tell us a little bit about your journey.

Erin:

So I and just going, I don't necessarily have a end result. Like, I just took my family, my kids and my husband on a journey, which to me was the future me, right? Like, just on my journey of, uh, self acceptance and. You've made it. Although, you never really make it. You're constantly growing. It is just more of leaving who we were, and enjoying the journey to who we are becoming Because if you know my story with my special needs son and all the drama trauma that happened 2012 and then the next 10 years were very challenging for us as a family and for me as a person. And so we've overcome a lot. And so, to me, It is the experience of I don't know where we're going, but I sure do know where we've been. Right. And so it's really enjoying everything that we've missed for so long and being excited about what the future holds. So,

Anna:

so, so you didn't choose just any vehicle either.

Erin:

No, I didn't choose the vehicle. I chose if I had a vehicle of my choice a pearl white SUV limo. And I said, because my kids were with me that the lights would change colors and that music would be blaring and that we had fun snacks. And just a really good time. Okay, so

Anna:

this is what this tells me about your purpose. So first of all, you're an outside the box thinker. I said, choose a vehicle, and you didn't just say, Oh, we're going in a car. No, it was a pearl white SUV limo with lights. So you're not going to just do what's always been done. You're, you're going to really think about what could make this experience special and meaningful. And you really took into account your family and what their needs would be, and what would make it fun for everyone who you're taking with you. You took people who are close to you. So it tells me a lot about natural personality framework, what you value, what excites you in life. And as employers, we need to know that about our team. Right. So. No destination. What that tells me is that you're open to possibility that, you're moving, right? You weren't just hovering in your journey. You were definitely exploring, but you're open to what you see and explore along the journey and that you're going to take in that information and use that to inform the next step and the next step and the next step still being open to the destination. It's not, if you don't have a fixed mindset. You said, I'm moving towards my future self. So what that tells me is that you have an incredible gift of perspective, and there's probably a piece of you also that's a visual thinker, because you, you were very clear about what, I mean, I can imagine your limo and what it looks like. You seem to have, even though it's not a place that you're going to, you have a vision of what that destination needs to feel like. What that environment needs to, to, to accomplish in order for you and your family to flourish. And you said, I want to notice new things along the way. So that tells me that one never put Erin in a job where it's going to be the same every day. For some people, that's exactly what they need. Routine and structure and being able to anticipate and know what's next. For you I would purposefully. Leave things open so that you could explore and get doses of novelty and variety into your day to keep you excited and aware. You also use the word noticing. So I've had a lot of experience in helping people discover their purpose and people who say notice are observers. You're reading the room. You're you're noticing small things that other people might overlook. You're looking at behaviors. You're thinking about what's different today from from yesterday. And how could that change tomorrow? You're looking for new inputs to update your story and to update the vision. And then you said, I want to build a healthy future for my children. And I think what you're doing in your work is building a healthy future for senior living, right? You want to help contribute to senior living 3. 0, where we don't just say that we care about people. We actually care about people. And by actually care, I don't mean that we don't care. I think everyone is really trying their hardest right now, but we haven't implemented the tools to help us see people for who they are so that they can flourish in life and work. So I see you as literally wanting to help build that healthy future. And by healthy, it's, it's a place where people can be authentic, where it's okay to not be perfect because the truth is no one is where we can talk about what we've learned from difficult challenges in life, because guess what? Everyone has difficult challenges in life. Why can't we not talk about it? Somehow we have to turn into a robot when we go to work. What makes me crazy is when people say, Leave your problems at the door, now you're at work. People cannot leave their problems at the door when they're at work. However, if they know their purpose, they can transition into a mindset of flourishing and feeling empowered when they're at work, which in turn helps them deal with those real life challenges that are at home. So I see you as a visionary, someone who deeply cares about people, someone who's authentic, someone who's paving new paths, and someone who's going to constantly update your knowledge base. and constantly iterate so that you can learn and always have the best tools in your toolkit. How did I do?

Erin:

that's pretty impressive. It's the new, it's the new version of me and probably the one that's always been there. Just

Anna:

always been there, but suppressed, repressed, shrunk down, guilted, shamed. Yes,

Erin:

by experiences that I placed the meaning on. And that's the other thing that we place the meaning on every experience. Yes, we do. We're in control of that.

Anna:

That's huge. Say more about that. That's very powerful. Yeah, it's... Meaning making, because that's purposeful too. But tell, say more about how we place the meaning and we can control what that is. That's super powerful.

Erin:

So, when we, when a move in chooses another community, or when we don't hit the mark, or we have a relationship that ends. We place the meaning of that experience in our life. I wasn't enough to make that person happy. I, I wasn't able to, Use the right sales closing techniques in order for this resident to move into my community. I wasn't enough. but that meaning fuels the fire of I'm not enough when the scarcity mindset's there when you're scared of the rejection and the fear and all that, but then you can change it to where this person wasn't the person for me, this place wasn't the place for me, I wasn't able to, I did not have a growth plan, or this person made me feel this way, so therefore it wasn't healthy for me to stay in, or now I understand what I did wrong in this tour, in this closing technique, so now I get to use this information and make myself better for the next one. That's The meaning that we can place that failures are lessons for success instead of reasons why I'm not

Anna:

successful. Show me someone who's successful, who never failed. Impossible. You have to fail to grow and learn. It's the fastest way to do it, by the way, too.

Erin:

Yes, it was. Something that I, that I allowed to hold me back in ways that I don't do anymore, because I am the one who's in control of the meaning of every Thing that happens in my life everything. Yes. And so are you, you are the one who's in control of placing the meaning in every circumstance

Anna:

in your life. Yeah. And our brain puts meaning on things because we as human beings need to have meaning. Yes. We need it. If there's not meaning, we're not engaged. And that's why purpose is so important for engagement, retention, growth, development, leadership, health and wellness. Humans need meaning period. And so if, if there's not meaning there, we put it there. And, when we don't have the tools to place a meaning that's empowering and true, it can lead us down paths that aren't helpful. So, employers need to know. Employees are going to place meaning on everything that happens at work. And if you are not helping to shape that narrative and give them the tools to be empowered with their meaning making. Then you're missing the boat and you're not shaping the behaviors and the culture and the action that's happening when you're not there. And that's where most of life and work happens when you're not watching. Yeah.

Erin:

And it's especially so in senior living because of the level of emotions that we face every day. It's extreme. Every

Anna:

day. I

Erin:

mean, as a leader, as a caregiver, as anyone inside of a community. You could just get yelled at because the chicken was too tough, and you are the worst person in the world, and then you come out of your office, and somebody's sitting here telling you that you have just changed my life. You're the best person in the world, and then you walk down the hallway, and you're like, the activities haven't started on time. Do you not teach your people to start things on the right time? And then you go down and Somebody says, thank you for everything you do. And you're like, I don't even know what just happened. And that literally can happen every 30 minutes inside of a senior living community. And then when you have death inside the community, that, that just elevates it exponentially. So it's grief.

Anna:

Yeah, it's a lot of joy and it's a lot of grief. And that's why we do the joy fuel team building exercise because we need again to give human beings the tools. To keep their joy fuel tank filled, because that's what gives them the fuel, the power, the energy to go out there and meaning make. Yes.

Erin:

And with that joy fueling exercise, you've, you find out what the things are that you need to do in order to fuel your tank,

Anna:

which is very accurate. Exactly what the things are exactly. Precisely what the things are. Yeah. What were your, what was your, so joy fuel? Uh, we do the exercise. We learn about purpose. Like what I described. I also help people identify what is your joy fuel pathway. So if I think of purpose is this light that's inside of all of us. So senior living providers, let me tell you, because purpose is innate. You cannot give your residents purpose, but you also cannot take it away. Purpose is inside of us. It's innate, but we can fuel it. And that's really. What are I think what our main differentiator and senior living can be is that we all residents and employees fuel their purpose. Let's talk about fueling purpose, not giving purpose because that's just not quite accurate. But when we, when people know how to fuel their purpose, it's, it's 4 main ways. It's movement, which is to feel embodied to move your body adventure, which is to be curious. It could be skydiving for some people, but someone who has, has changing physical abilities and maybe can't skydive anymore. They can still be adventurous and curious. And that's so energizing to think of yourself as an adventurer, regardless of your physical capabilities, right? It's about a mindset. It's about desires and then rest. Which is to relax mind, body and spirit all at the same time and synergy, which is an energetic connection. It could be a spiritual connection, a transcendent knowing and connection with other people. So, so what was your primary joy field pathway?

Erin:

Movement with a very close second to synergy, where I find when I look at it, when I look at this past year for me through this lens right through this joy fuel lens, I love when I go down to the water because I'm near water and walk. walk around the pier, walk around and I have a podcast or I have music on like, if I can describe to you. What fuels me would be that scenario. That scenario right there, because I have movement. I have synergy. I have music. I have all the things and I have even taken my laptop down to that water area

Anna:

adventure to that's learning and curiosity and adding to your toolkit, which you always are updating. Yes. But

Erin:

like you and I have said, I guess you could really picture Erin and Anna as if they were Meredith Gray and Dr. Yang in Grey's Anatomy and you put on your earbuds and you just dance it out. Like, like to me, that I have learned to do that, uh, through the years to release the toxins inside of me. But that to me, Like that is movement to me. It's not necessarily rest, but the way that you describe it is it probably is rest, but in a movement form, so I would decompress, but to be the best version of myself, I have to have some sort of cardio movement for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It helps set my mind. It helps set my mind in a positive way. I have learned that and have committed to that only for mindset. and anxiety relief than any type of weight loss. or toning up, so to speak. It is strictly

Anna:

medicine. Well, I'm glad you did that because weight loss is an extrinsic motivation. It's temporary and it's not going to keep you going in the long run, but reducing anxiety and being your best self, that's intrinsic motivation. You're going to keep exercising for that reason. It's tied to your values. It's tied to being healthy. It's tied to being there with your family and with your kids so that you can go on that journey. Yes,

Erin:

absolutely. And even if it's only for 15 minutes, I would have said in the past, well, it's not going to do anything. It's only 15 minutes, but it is when the goal is reducing anxiety and just setting the day up for success.

Anna:

So that leads me to speak about the resilience, the incredible resilience of the human spirit joy fuels purpose. So purpose is how you give and get meaning every day. It's not a goal or a role. It's not someday. You'll fulfill your purpose when you reach a certain status or you're good enough. It's who you are naturally and how you share that with the world every day a little drop of joy like 15 minutes. Can fuel your purpose the rest of the day. So that to me is the equation for human resilience. A little bit of joy gives us a lot of purpose. I encourage my clients to find what their employees joy fuel is, and then have them joy fuel at work for 15 minutes. Yeah. You know how much more productive the day is when you school your employees, make it part of work, pay them for that. You will get 10 X results. From joy field. And the other thing about joy is that what if we could reframe activity programs, the, the, the lifestyle, the enrichment to have every day infused with joy. When I talk about calendar requirements, a lot of, I think the older paradigm was the seven dimensions of wellness. I think we're transitioning from that. I'm advocating let's make the transition about purpose and joy. What if every day on the calendar, there's a scheduled opportunity for rest, a scheduled opportunity for adventure, for movement, and for synergistic connection. Imagine how we would fuel wellness. If our literal scheduling of our days and our lifestyle was based on meaning making and joy fueling. That's the

Erin:

absolutely. Yes. And joy is not things I got caught up in things many years ago, because I thought the things would help me understand why I was sacrificing so much like the outcome. Right? Like I am sacrificing so much for this. I'm gonna buy the car. I'm gonna buy the purse and all these things and you very quickly learn that it doesn't that's not joy. That's

Anna:

not joy. No, because who are you when you're meaning making you're a human who is by definition growing and evolving and learning and enjoying life. Who are you when you base your value on your car or your purse? It has, there's no link there and, and a car can get smashed in a, in a second, hopefully in a no, one in second, a purse can be lost or scratched or the new season comes out and all of a sudden yours is irrelevant. Yeah. Basing our, our worth on external things and even goals, reaching goals is it's toxic. It's who are you as you're reaching that goal? Who are you being as a being? And when we help people understand that magic happens, sustained magic happens. Yes. Like you look at you. I mean, you are magical what you're doing and what you're sharing and your strength to be vulnerable is magical for senior living. So thank you for everything that you do.

Erin:

Thank you. I, I, I accept the fact that I've done some pretty incredible things. And before I'd really just discounted them and I think that those successes get you in the door, but what I want people to know is that that was never enough. It was never enough for me. And it was really never enough for the companies that I worked for. And what is enough is when you understand that you are enough and you, you do value yourself in such a way that other people value you the same way.

Anna:

Well, I mean, it's neuroscience what you just said. So the human brain is programmed for survival to meet a goal and then forget about that goal. Okay. I've met it and on to the next one. So by nature, goal orientation is never going to be satisfied. If you switch it to, I'm going to activate my purpose every day to make progress towards this goal, then the goals become milestones, not end goals, because if you base your purpose and your worth on reaching a goal or a role or a status. This is what happens to people when they retire and they don't know their purpose. Who are you?

Erin:

It's what happened to me in 2023.

Anna:

You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. Yes, yes. So now you know who you are and you apply it to everything you do. You apply it on the podcast, you apply it in meetings, you apply it when you're in line at the grocery store, you apply it to being a mom and a wife and a friend and a colleague. That's what your purpose does. It helps you light up. Everything in your orbit.

Erin:

It's true. When you are authentic to who you are and to that purpose, to that calling in your life and, and you're okay with, I'm not for everybody. And I am so thankful when people drop off because. It leaves room for the people that matter.

Anna:

Yes. Like Brittany Brown says, if you're trying to fit in, you're not going to fit in anywhere. And, and you got to belong to yourself first.

Erin:

That's right. And if you look, and this is the other thing that she says that really stuck with me. If you look for examples that you don't belong, you will find them.

Anna:

Oh, yeah.

Erin:

So stop looking for examples that you don't belong and start looking for the examples of why you belong. And that, that reframes everything, right?

Anna:

Absolutely. It updates your story. Yes.

Erin:

I feel like we have just changed the world.

Anna:

That's what I feel like. One moment. My

Erin:

world. One moment. My world. Yes,

Anna:

my world has been changed, my world. You light up my life and you give me so much hope. Thank you. And by the way, hope in the world of positive psychology is not wishing and dreaming hope means you believe that a better future can be brought about and you work towards making it. So, and that's what I mean when I say Erin Thompson gives me hope. thank

Erin:

you. And it's really what every leader needs to do for their team. Yeah. Is offer

Anna:

hope. For themselves, offer hope and know your purpose so that you can see it in others. Absolutely.

Erin:

Thank you, Anna, for being you and diving into this deep conversation with me today. I appreciate

Anna:

it. This is my favorite topic, so thank you for having me.

Erin:

I know. And so if people want to know more about you and the Purpose Equation, they can find you on LinkedIn under Anna Hall.

Anna:

And the purpose equation. com and my website has a lot of content on it because I love purpose. So to break it down, if you need purpose for your organization from a culture perspective, I can help you with that. If you want to infuse purpose in your individuals, we can do that. If you want to make purpose part of your leadership development, which you need to do, you can find all of that information on the website. Yeah.

Erin:

If you didn't know you needed to before,

Anna:

now you do. Now you know. Yes, now you

Erin:

know. All right, so thank you for being here, and as always, aspire for more for you.

Do you feel inspired and motivated? More than you did 30 minutes ago. I hope he did. I want you to know some of the takeaways that I had is that hope is a gift that we give people. If we as leaders, can't give our associate's hope then it's going to be hard to keep them and it's going to be hard to lead them. Another takeaway was when people exit your life it's for a reason. Honor that. And don't think negatively about yourself. Just be okay with them. And figure out what brings you joy? Right? Is it movement? Is it rest? Is it synergy? Is it being around water. Whenever it is, figure it out and make sure you do it. Because we have to have that kind of refueling for ourselves. Again, Anna Hall is the founder of the purpose equation. And she is a great person to follow on social media. Thank you for listening today.