“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have been following along on Facebook you will know that recently I was exhibiting at my first conferences. Funny thing was that the 3 conferences were all around International Women’s Day, so I had to travel to London, Edinburgh and The Hague in 3 days, which was a new logistical challenge for me complete with suitcase, nearly forgetting to bring my pop up stand, my branded pens not arriving on time and navigating public transport in rush hour. (Hint: don't attempt to go on the London Underground at 5.20pm! And give your self more than 30mins to get from the centre of Edinburgh before your gate closes!)
The first was Women in Innovation in London, where I was exhibiting along side other female led businesses that joined me on the trade mission to Boston last year and others that have been supported by InnovateUK. It was great to be surrounded by so many inspirational women who are creating businesses that are changing the world for the better from new solar power roof tiles to curing cancer.
Second was AccelerateHer Conference in Edinburgh, where I was exhibiting, as I was a semi-finalist of the competition. This is a great place for networking and meeting people who can help you, with opportunities to get 1-2-1 sessions with investors to get valuable advice and feedback. The level support and connections available in such a small place is one of the many examples why Scotland is so good for people starting a business.
Finally I went to The Hague for the Families in Global Transition Conference, which was the first event I have ever sponsored. I first attended this conference last year where it is fondly called a 'reunion of strangers' and I instantly felt like I was ‘home’ (you can read about my first experience of it here).
One of my favourite things about this particular conference is that you meet people in real life that I had only 'meet' on social media months beforehand. It feels more like catching up with long lost friends instead of the usual business events where it can feel hard to make a real connection with anyone. It felt really special to thank (and hug) people in person who have been supporting me from as far as Tokyo, New York or Dubai.
Clockwise: Jodi from World Tree Coaching, Sundae from Expat Happy Hour, Amel from Tandem Nomads, Jerry from The Culture Blend, Naomi from I Am A Triangle, Lucille from Expitterpattica, Mariam from And Then We Moved To, and Renata from RGC Projects.
One of the themes that came up for me through all three events, but in particular at FIGT was the importance of finding your purpose. With the FIGT conference celebrating it’s 20th year, its purpose is to be:
“a welcoming forum for globally mobile individuals, families, and those working with them to support the growth, success and well-being of people crossing cultures around the world.”
If the welcome from those I met for the first time (for only 1 day) last year is anything to go by, then I think they nailed it! There was such a wide range of presentations, useful workshops and thought provoking keynote speeches as well as many opportunities to make meaningful connections that last far beyond the conference.
Whether starting a business or starting a new phase in your life by moving somewhere new, developing a sense of purpose and knowing your WHY is important to help you keep focused, especially when times get tough. Research also shows that people who have a sense of purpose in their life are more likely to live longer, less likely to suffer from depression or heart disease and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
When you know your WHY, other people; whether it’s your family, customers or employees; who also resonate with your purpose will want to get involved and support you. This helps you build momentum and achieve your goals. This was evident through the passion that everyone I met had. From the pitches I saw, the workshops I attended and start up businesses I spoke to, those with a clear purpose were able to make more of an impact.
Trying to find your purpose can feel daunting and overwhelming that it needs to be something huge that you devote your entire life to like curing cancer or eradicating poverty. But there was an audible sigh of relief in the room when Sundae told us a secret.
When you pick your purpose it doesn’t have to be forever!
It could be until you move home, or your child starts school or leaves home, or whatever milestone is significant for you. And you can change it when it no longer feels in alignment with what makes you feel good about yourself! Whether you want to start a business, learn a language or get fit, Sundae recommends following these steps to help you define your purpose so you are more likely to achieve the results and have the impact that means the most to you.
Get clear about what you want your impact to be, what does success look like to you, who does it help. This can be internal like your health or confidence, or external, like your family or the local community.
Pick ONE mission so you don’t loose focus. What is the ONE THING that will help you feel deeply satisfied and know that your time and energy spent has been meaningful.
Get clear about why your mission matters to you.
Test how it feels when you say it out loud; does it make you feel proud and accomplished?
Create accountability and get support from friends/peers/family.
In a Early-Bird panel session focusing on entrepreneurship; Amel from Tandem Nomads, Lisa Ferland from KnockedUp Abroad, Gina from iGina and Stephanie Ward from Firefly Coaching, facilitated by Amanda Bates from The Black Expat; all gave some very practical tips to help achieve your purpose.
Be consist and show up everyday
Give yourself a timeframe and a strict deadline
Don’t do it alone
Focus on creating a strategy for one mission to get results
Know what transformation you want to create
As well as many thoughtful discussions, throughout the conference and over the course of the week, I kept seeing reminders about seeking and following your purpose as these photos show.
So I feel it is only fair that I share the purpose of RelocateGuru with you. Its purpose is to help take away the stress of moving somewhere new by giving people a platform to share their local tips and advice so everyone has the opportunity to connect with potential new friends and feel they belong in their new community. This is important to me because I felt frustrated, stressed and alone when I moved to new places and believe in this day and age it should be easier for everyone to feel like they belong, no matter where they live.
Nicole Blyth - Founder RelocateGuru
RelocateGuru will help you save and organise everything you need to know about your town before you move in one place. Download the App today and help everyone feel like a local ANYWHERE!
I hope this post inspires you on your journey of discovery. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have found your purpose in the comments below.