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At one time, Karen Taylor, 33, was running away from her purpose in life. After spending several years as an entertainment publicist, Taylor ventured into marketing only to discover publicity was her true career path. “I thought publicity was an avenue to something else but I realized that publicity took a certain gift and passion. I had to accept that I had this gift and that this was one of my purposes,” says Taylor, who launched her own public relations firm, Newark, New Jersey-based TaylorMade Media, in 1999, and counts Grammy-nominated, neosoul singer Jill Scott among her clients.
“Purpose” is one of the steps–and is also the acronym for all seven steps in Stephanie Stokes Oliver’s new book, Seven Soulful Secrets for Finding Your Purpose and Minding Your Mission (Doubleday, $22.95). “Finding your purpose is discovering what makes you happy, what you have a passion for, and how you can serve others,” says Oliver, editor in chief of Niaonline.com and author of Daily Cornbread: 365 Secrets for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit (Doubleday, $22.95).
According to one passage: “If we look at the lives of great people, their purpose seems so clear. It could be said that Martin Luther King Jr. was born to give this country–and the world–a vision of equality for all, and to work toward making it a reality. Yet he lived with doubt and insecurities brought on by the high cost of having that purpose. But his triumph was in never letting that adversity stop him from pursuing what was embedded in his soul.”
The other soulful secrets are “ultimacy,” “which means being your unique, unusual, unequaled, unbought, and unbossed self”; relaxation; “positivity”; optimum health; spirituality; and esteem. While Seven Soulful Secrets targets black women, Oliver offers universal advice along with helpful exercises. A chapter is dedicated to each secret, taking readers on a journey of self-awareness.
For instance, there are nine steps to being the ultimate you. Here are just a few of them:
- Be unique. It’s our uniqueness that sets us apart and defines our own purposes.
- Try the unexpected. This means try something out of the ordinary like volunteering at a retirement home, or going to a hospital to hold boarder babies.
- Be unequaled. “When you do whatever you do better than anyone else, you’ll always get ahead.”
- Go for the unusual. There is nothing wrong with being something different from what the world thinks you are.
Taylor puts the secrets to use daily. She tries to find the positive in negative events. “I’ve always had good self-esteem, but I make myself be still so I can appreciate how blessed I am and to give thanks,” Taylor explains. She also makes time to exercise–even if it’s just a walk–and gets eight hours of sleep per night. “When I travel, I build in extra days just for myself. It’s important to rejuvenate, refocus, and relax,” she says.
“You can’t work hard unless you relax hard,” Oliver agrees. “If you’re always in a meeting or on the phone, it’s hard to move forward.