I am a woman of African-American descent. I live in a city that is hustling and bustling all the time. You can find something to do all day and all evening. People from many ethnicities live here — educated people, rich people, those people with power and those looking for power; and some party people too – eating, drinking, and some smoking weed and other stuff; and let us not forget the poor people. Lord help us. Networking was invented in this town, especially for Black people. It has always been said that if you have any talent, ambition and “get up and go” about yourself, you can make it in Atlanta. I still believe this to be true; but sometimes the “get up and go,” gets up and goes in the wrong direction.
Making it in my city requires just a little bit more of what I want to call – purpose. If you live in a city like Atlanta, you can lose yourself and your purpose. Getting caught up in keeping up, staying up, and staying out can cause confusion of purpose. If you come here to go to college, get a job, find a spouse, or to live the good life, it is easy to become distracted. You’ll wake up one morning and you won’t recognize yourself. Or if you are born here, you might think the city owes you a special place because you went to Mays High School or have some other connection to this city and the people who live here.
I make my living through public relations and marketing. I have been called on from time to time to talk to young people, whose parents I know, to assist in bringing their lovely children back to reality and to focus on finding their lost purpose. Last week, I took on a challenge such as this. Understand that I do not intend to hang out my shield and label myself as a counselor who can help you locate your purpose in life. But I do understand that the glitter in one’s eyes can be blinding; and cause one, without a clear purpose, to go astray.
So let me put on my marketing brain and try to give a few preliminary pointers in “marketing yourself according to your purpose.”
1. You may not find your purpose until you have 35 years under your belt. After you understand that you don’t have to doall of the things that mom and grandparents laid on your brain, you can begin to think for yourself. Go ahead and make the mistake and get over it on your own two feet. Finding your purpose, your passion, and your joy is your goal.
2. If you discover that you made a huge mistake, correct the mistake as soon as possible. Learn how to apologize for the wrong-doing, man-up or woman-up and make a fresh start. If you are the smartest person in the room, you may be in the wrong room; find the right room to live in.
3. Take stock of your personal assets – and I don’t mean just money. What do you have to offer? Be brutally honest about what you see in the mirror and do NOT believe your own PR.
4. Do a little research and locate a place for your purpose to be used. Where is the hole in the market place? Try to understand the needs of the market place. And, most of all, what is your unique position that you can present to the market place. Ask for help along the way because you will most likely need it.
5. Hopefully, your purpose is the same as your passion and this – purpose/passion— has now turned into a meaningful career or a project that brings you joy. You may need to look for starter relationships to use your purpose.
6. If you are selling yourself – like looking for a job — think about your purpose (your passion) and focus on this for your job pitch. Don’t fall for the hype and try to sell what you are not.
7. Last, but certainly not least, your purpose will most likely change as you grow older and more experienced. Be open for change.