How to Turn Your Purpose into Your Career
Years ago, I was living the American dream as it had been sold to me. I had a high-powered career at Disney, a big house, the best cars, a wife, and two children.
But I was miserable.
I was successful, but I wasn’t significant.
I knew I was more than I had become. I knew I had lost my way, and I needed to find my true purpose. Your purpose is the point at which your talents, skills, abilities, and gifts intersect with a void or a need in the world around you.
One day I decided to stop living beneath my potential, and I gave myself permission to be intentional. I knew that I needed to move more deeply into who I wanted to become.
Discovering and living in your purpose is not a one-time event—it evolves over the course of your lifetime. For me, watching the people around me who are doing this every day continues to motivate and inspire me to adhere to my true path — what I call my universal assignment.
I want to share one of these stories with you today in hopes that it ignites or reignites something in you. And if you’re still figuring out how to identify your purpose, pay extra close attention. You’re about to learn the exact formula you need to get there, using this case study as a model.
Christianne Squires has worked in publishing and editorial for nearly twenty years and as a spiritual director for almost ten. She found her purpose in merging these two vocations by creating her own business, called Bookwifery - the place where your book gets born. Christianne offers a clear and supportive path for you to birth your book with soul.
What an amazing concept, right? Well, it didn’t happen overnight. First, Christianne had to figure out what her purpose was and then how to translate that into a career. Here’s how she did it.
1. Identify your obvious, natural gifts — then hone those skills.
Christianne started out in the field of editorial and publishing straight out of college because, she says, “It was the most obvious, natural fit for me, given that I’d been a lifelong reader, beginning from the time my mom taught me how to read at age three.”
She got a lot of experience working for publishing houses, both internally and as a freelancer. She also worked with some web media companies and taught writing at the university level. Over 15 years or so, she worked continuously to strengthen her craft.
It took a long time.
It can feel like success happens overnight if you’re doing it right and, nine times out of ten, that’s just not the case. Like me, Christianne spent more than a decade honing her natural gifts and talents, turning them into real, tangible skills, before she identified her purpose and created her business. Starting with your natural talents will expedite your learning and speed up your momentum.
2. Showcase what is unique about YOU: your experience, background, interests, or passions.
About 10 years into her career, Christianne noticed she had a real desire to go deeper with people – who they are, their identity, their sense of call – so she went and got a master’s degree in spiritual formation and a certificate in spiritual direction.
Now, with her background in writing/publishing, her degree in spiritual formation, and her certificate in spiritual direction, she wondered which would supersede the other. She worked inside them as parallel careers for a long time.
Three years ago, she discovered that the two paths wanted to merge into one.
Her company name, Bookwifery, is a play on the “midwifery” birthing and pregnancy metaphor. She says, “I give birth to books that help heal the world with light.” It’s a merging of her book editorial experience with the desire to nurture the sacred and light in the world.
“What happened for me was a lightbulb moment of the midwifery metaphor. I had three clients come to me and ask me to help them work on their books, but they asked me to help in a much more in-depth way than I usually would for publishing clients. I was helping them, while they were pregnant with their book, grow the book and get a feel for how they would deliver it.
“I would ask them a lot of questions, and we would listen to the book, to what it was trying to become. It really felt like I was helping birth something from conception to delivery. It was very similar to the work I’d done 1:1 with people through spiritual direction because that’s a form of midwifing the soul.”
Bookwifery infused Christianne’s two paths that had been in opposition to each other with a joint life force.
Now, her business is thriving. She just started the Bookwifery podcast (you can sign up for the birth notes to get the recap), which is her place to talk about what it means to heal the world with light and to give listeners practical tools for birthing their books as light bringers.
Christianne also offers online courses that follow the pregnancy metaphor. There’s a 4-week book pregnancy planning course (she says it’s like What to Expect When You’re Expecting applied to book pregnancy), plus courses for the 1st Trimester, the 2nd Trimester, and (soon) the 3rd Trimester of book pregnancy.
In your own life, ask yourself: what is the invitation in your life right now? What are you being nudged toward?
3. Pay attention to where your energy shifts, and follow it.
Christianne explains, “If I don’t know where things are going or how to make the shift, I follow the energy. For a long time, I was doing freelance editing full time out of my home while pursuing my graduate degree. I loved that as a first-time entrepreneur, I was setting my own hours, carving out my own project list, and deciding what projects I could take on and which ones I couldn’t. For a while, I got super-energized by that.
“The deeper I got into my training in spiritual formation, the less energy I noticed I had for my work in the book editing world. I began to feel that tension, because more of my heart, my life, my attention was being given to spiritual work with people through courses and working 1:1 with them.”
It takes courage to follow the path all the way through even when you can’t see the end or know how it’s all going to work out.
Entrepreneurs are looking for a “silver bullet,” but Christianne did the work on the front end. She scanned the marketplace and researched the other book coaches, literary agents, and book editors out there – all the people doing the pieces of what she’s doing. There’s a lot out there – blogs, courses, books – but she came back to what she’s offering: an experience, a fusion with people’s spiritual lives, and letting that be as much of a process with their book as the work of the book itself.
“This isn’t just information they can go out and Google and find for themselves,” she says. “It’s really freeing to remember that I’m bringing something unique and unusual, a twist on the existing concept of bringing a book to life, by infusing it with spirit.”
Notice when you’re feeling most engaged, inspired, and alive. Do more of what fills you with energy, even if you’re not sure where it’s going to lead next. The path will make itself clear over time.
4. Build habits around inspiration and execution.
Here’s the advice Christianne would give to a friend who wants to do more meaningful work or start their own business:
- It always takes longer than you think it will (2 times as long).
- Break it down into small bite-sized tasks and just do one task at a time. Big projects will be overwhelming.
- Pay attention to which part of yourself is operating at a given time. Example: the shadow side versus the most authentic true side. The essential self versus the ego. When we’re afraid or motivated by necessity or survival, we can start down an ego or fear-driven path instead of being motivated and acting from a calm-filled center that is connected to what is most true about who we are and what we’re meant to do in the world.
Christianne also shared some of the practical ways she keeps her goals, purpose, and vision front-and-center among the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Her secret? Her planner, podcasts, and prayer.
Planner: The Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt
- Tara Swiger's Explore Your Enthusiasm
- Sara Tasker's Hashtag Authentic
- Kayte Ferris' Grow With Soul
- Elise Cripe's Elise Gets Crafty
- Sas Petherick's Courage and Spice
- Gimlet Media's StartUp
Make the decisions and choices that bring into your life the things that will help you fulfill your purpose. There will be times when you lose your footing or take a wrong step, and that’s okay. Each step, whether right or wrong, will teach you something and lead you toward your purpose. Listen and pay attention to each one.
Follow these three steps purposefully and consciously every single day, day in and day out. If you do, I promise that you will wake up one day just a few short years from now and your life will be completely transformed. You’ll be living your purpose.
Christianne Squires is the founder of Bookwifery, a company that helps contemplatives, teachers, and leaders birth books that heal the world with light. She supports fledgling authors through her book-pregnancy-themed online courses, her popular free workshop that helps people discern if they are pregnant with a book, and the recently launched Bookwifery podcast.
Christianne has worked in publishing and editorial for nearly twenty years and as a spiritual director for nearly ten. It is her great delight to merge those two vocations into the work she does at Bookwifery. She is active on Instagram (her favorite social platform) and lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, Kirk, and their two cats, Aslan and Lucy.