Finding A Sense Of Purpose, Identity, & Connection

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Identity Purpose Connection

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Credit to Jordan “Doc G” Grumet and his interview on Paula Pant’s podcast, Afford Anything, for his wisdom and insight, as well as inspiration for this post on the 3 questions of purpose, identity, & connection.

Doc’s book Taking Stock that dives deeper into purpose, identity, and connection is available now. For more on the book, check out my book review.

My Aspirations

From a young age, I had wild aspirations. I knew I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or some other authoritative and powerful position. The positions that screamed money and success. Is this where my high sense of achievement came from as well? Possibly. 

If this whole post focused on me telling my story from the beginning, this post would be twice as long as I want it to be. You can put the pieces together in my ChooseFI and Fiology article, as well as some of my history from the FI show. Yes, I had the audacity to think of myself as a life coach.

Thanks to Doc’s interview my wild aspirations are coming back, but not in an authoritative and powerful way. I don’t want money to show off a big house or fancy car. I’ve started to understand values-based spending on a deeper level. I’ve found what I want to spend money on and what I don’t. I think what you value spending money on depends on the 3 questions Doc mentions in his interview. Why am I here? Who am I? Who are the people I am most connected to?

IF: Independence, Financial

Doc’s podcast, Earn & Invest, is the step above investing. He talks about how the podcast dives deeper into questions that don’t necessarily have a simple yes/no, this/that answer. While some podcasts focus more on the financial side of Financial Independence, Paula’s Afford Anything and Doc’s Earn & Invest, also focus on the Independence part of FI. 

This is why I call my blog a lifestyle blog and not a personal finance blog. I feel I’ve got the financial part down mostly, but the independence part is what I need to reach the growth of my finances. 

Doc mentions how the financial part of FI is the low-hanging fruit. We can earn more, spend less, and invest the gap. There are concrete steps and outlines we can build to say this is how you build wealth. Among the higher-hanging fruit is the 3 questions mentioned earlier, Purpose, Identity, and Connection.

Doc also mentions Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how self-actualization can be met in conjunction with meeting needs lower, physiological needs, in the pyramid. If we don’t, when we reach financial independence, “all we are left with is ourselves.” He recommends not putting off the self-actualization while working on the physiological needs. 

Why Am I Here? (Purpose)

I have found my life’s purpose. In fact, I posted it on Twitter on November 10th, 2020 at 4:12 PM. 

“Odd life epiphany: My life’s purpose is being a coordinator. It’s part of my current job, skill sets, and hobbies. Just now realized my life purpose is coordination in different areas.” 

Doc states your purpose can pivot. Although my purpose might pivot, I think the broad idea of being a coordinator won’t change in the future. Coordination encompasses all my hobbies, dreams, and goals. Creating systems to live extraordinarily, traveling to personal finance conferences and seeing friends, working towards financial independence, and building solid relationships all require coordination. 

Who Am I? (Identity)

“I am… “ is a very open-ended statement. If I had to complete that sentence as I write this I would state, “I am extraordinary.”  Why? Because I am shifting my mindset, at this time, that I am doing extraordinary things

Not Who I Thought I Was

Learning on this journey of who I am, I am also learning who I am not. My values changed in the last few years. The image of the person who I thought I was is not the same as who I am now. As I write this on the verge of changing into 2022 and my upcoming 35th birthday, I am not the person who I thought I would be 10, 15, or 20 years ago. I accept that. 

My theme for 2022 is going bold and confident. I’ve learned I’m doing the things I want to do: Inspire others, build friendships and a loving relationship, learn and grow, and build my future. 

Chad, The Quest Seeker

As I build my future, I can’t help but circle back to my past. I remember in high school going to my Boy Scout meetings. I told my friends I was working and told one friend I was “getting my paycheck.” Getting my paycheck was my code for going to Scout Meetings because my belief was the employers and the military paid more for Eagle Scouts (or had a better chance of getting hired). 

I was also a high achiever in the Order of the Arrow (OA) and went through all the ranks. The highest rank we were given also came with a nickname given in Leni Lenape (Delaware) Native American language. How I got mine was, in my first few years in OA I went to the national conference, and the lodge chief at the time thought I looked like Frodo from Lord of the Rings. This was before Elijah Wood was cast and the live-action movies were being talked about.  I think this was 2000?  

Thus, my nickname was Frodo for years in OA, and when it was time for me to get my nickname in Leni Lenape I was Quest Seeker, or “Frodo.” 

Now, as I build up the desire to travel and meet those in the FI community, the quest seeker has been unleashed. I want that adventure. I want an extraordinary life. I have a partner who wants to travel and explore and see the world. Learn new and exciting things from other cultures. 

Who Are The People I Am Most Connected To? (Connection)

I’ve always struggled to be around others who are successful. Some people have met multiple celebrities and see it as no big deal. I get starstruck easily. Even around the celebrity bloggers who are “regular-ass people.” I want to be great and successful. I want to inspire success in others. I want to have enough and help others achieve having enough. As cheesy as it is, I want more people to be happy. I’ve always struggled with taking on the pain of others. 

I’ve also had trouble accepting compliments. I have imposter syndrome like most. I’ve been made to feel like I’m not good enough. I’ve been emotionally broken down by others. I’ve had family, friends, and relationships want to see me fail. I’ve been mocked, criticized, and emotionally tormented. I mention this because I want to dismantle the idea that because I have suffered, others should too. That’s bullshit, let’s help others not suffer. Let’s help others have enough and find their purpose, identity, connections, and extraordinary lives.

Helping Others Find Purpose, Identity, And Connection

But Chad, you’ve barely spoken to the financial part of FI. I’m getting there. I’ve helped those with a hell of a lot more money than I have and maybe will ever have, find purpose, identity, and connection. 

Local Connections

A few of my local FI friends have struggled with purpose, identity, and connection. I used my purpose of coordinating to help a friend “break up” with her financial advisor and handle her own investments. She and her husband have kicked so much ass, after handling her own investments, she became a mom. Because she has reached CoastFI (never having to add more to retirement accounts to reach FI by the traditional retirement age of 65), she has been able to lower stress in her career and focus on building a family and being a mother. 

Another friend is in a stressful, high-paying field, but is struggling with identity and purpose. He’s not sure what to do next. He knows he wants to spend time with family, but isn’t sure what to “retire to.” There’s always the next working project, but he seems to be seeking more. 

I sent him Doc’s interview and immediately understood why I sent it to him. We talked about him setting systems and goals for what he wants to accomplish for his family and himself for 2022. 

My Romantic Relationship

Of course, part of working on my own FI journey is helping my partner find her purpose, identity, and connection. Along with my purpose of coordinating our dream life (and her coordinating it as well) she has been helping me find my identity and who I connect with. She has helped me be more bold and confident. She has been the one person I have been able to inspire. We create an “inspiration cycle” where she gets me inspired and motivated to create. In turn, I start creating and she gets inspired and motivated. 

Our Motivation

Part of what gets us motivated and inspired is building an audience that wants to have an extraordinary life. We believe that you can have an extraordinary life on an ordinary income. Of course, we have struggles and stressors. It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. But we do want to help others find the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary. 

Knowing how to make your money work for you has taken us to the next level of creating an extraordinary life. I think my partner’s purpose is to help others find their extraordinary life. She has jumped on the FI path with the same enthusiasm I had. She may not be numbers and spreadsheets-focused, but she complements my focus with her passion and creative side. She has an extraordinary side. She is the brains behind the series. This was her idea and part of her identity.

How Can We Help You Find Your Identity, Purpose, & Connections?

Why are you here? Who are you? Who are you connected the most to? Ask yourself these questions. Do you have answers right away? Do you need time to think about them?

Why Are You Here?

Do you have a recurring theme or pattern in your life? Is there an intersection between your hobbies, skill sets, goals, and life? Do you want to help others? Change the world? Just live off-grid and not be bothered? Are you looking for your quests? Are you here to make your life extraordinary?

Who Are You?

As Doc suggests, write the sentence I am… over and over again. See what answers you come up with and dig deep. Are you looking to find yourself on your FI journey? Are you creating content to keep yourself accountable? Are you just rushing to quit your job and be free? 

Who Am I Most Connected To?

Are you looking for those around you who are a similar demographic? Are you looking for different perspectives to help you understand others more? Are you empathetic and sympathetic? Are you an ordinary income or a high earner? Are you looking for your purpose or have you found it?