Car sales reps often get a bad rap and some perhaps justifiably so but not Sally.  Sally loves cars! As a child, she loved playing with her brother’s toy cars.  Then she became fascinated with real cars, reveling in all the different makes, models and colors.  As she grew older she relished taking cars for test drives.  Her family implied early on, not directly but with lots of not so subtle hints and derogatory off hand comments, that as a girl having a career in any way related to cars was not appropriate.  She should aim for a more appropriate career choice.

Fast forward, Sally sells cars. She delights in finding just the right car for each customer matching their needs and desires with one of the many options available.  Her customers are so satisfied that they recommend her to their friends.  Sally has found her meaning and purpose in matching cars and customers.

Meaning and Purpose is a combination of what you most love to do and what the world needs. The world and its people have many needs, wants and desires. What gives us meaning and purpose at midlife?

What do you love to do?

We find meaning and purpose when what we most love to do is of service to others or used to make the world a better place.

We have a difficult time understanding how what we love to do can be of service to others or make the world a better place.   In midlife, we often want careers and opportunities that not only provide us with income but also a sense of deep satisfaction.  Sally loved cars but it was only when she realized that she could combine her love of cars with her natural curiosity and love of people into a job that she found her meaning and purpose.

What now seems obvious wasn’t obvious to “Sally.” Through her personal growth, she came to accept herself.  She was able to let go of old stereotypes of what she should and should not do with her life.  It was then that she realized that she wanted to have fun at what she did, instead of impressing others with her title or career.

What does the world need?

We want to buy from someone we respect and trust. Most of us need cars for daily transportation, particularly in places like Indy where public transportation is limited. Sally has taken something she loves.  Her love for cars and matched it with her curiosity and love of people with helping them find the right car for the empty nester, environmentally minded couple or mom taking young kids to soccer practice and piano lessons.  She found something she loves and uses it meet a need that others have of finding the right car.

Two big questions

  • What do you love to do?
  • What does the world most need?

It is when we combine what we most love to do with what the world most needs, that we discover our meaning and purpose.  I would be a dismal care sales rep, for so many reasons.  I’ll start with my lack of fascination with cars. I just want one that runs and hauls whatever I need to haul at the moment, gets me back and forth and is reasonably comfortable and clean.

Thankfully, we are not all the same nor do we all have the same talents, gifts, passions and desires. Meaning and purpose can be found in almost any career, lifestyle or opportunity but that same opportunity does not provide meaning and purpose for everyone.

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