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Passion & Purpose: Your “Moral-Emotional GPS,” says Oprah at Harvard

What keeps you moving, motivated, and on the right path? According to Oprah Winfrey in her 2013 commencement address at Harvard, it’s your purpose and  your passion – or, as she called it, your “moral-emotional GPS.”

Whether you are a new grad or contemplating a change after many years in the workforce, it’s always valuable to think about what you really want to do, what will get you bounding out of bed in the morning, and not just “where the jobs are” or “what they’re hiring for.” Or, as Oprah said:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

This week I spoke with a client who is recently unemployed. He needs a job, and he’s getting interviews. But he has absolutely no passion for the type of work he had been doing, and he really doesn’t want to do it again! So he’s projecting no energy or enthusiasm in the interviews … and, to date, receiving no offers.

Can he really just throw it all away and do what he wants – an entirely new career path that will engage everything he’s got physically, emotionally, and intellectually? I don’t know, but I do know it’s worth a try. He’ll be so much more engaged and convincing and energized in those discussions, he’s bound to make a better impression. And when he does land a job, he’ll be absolutely thrilled to go to work every day.

Or, to quote another of my favorite inspirational women, Sadie Delany:

Life is short. It’s up to you to make it sweet.

Happy job hunting! Or should I say … happy life hunting.

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