Your purpose is something to be discovered over many years, maybe even a lifetime.  When you are doing something aligned with your purpose, passion, and talent, that’s the holy trinity of a joyful career.

Shares Katherine Longhi, Inclusive Culture Consultant and Conscious Entrepreneur.

Katherine knows very well that knowing your zone of genious and monetizing your heart’s calling are two different things. As a successful HR professional, she landed a successful career. Yet something was missing. The purpose. Katherine set herself on a journey to discover her heart’s calling and explore ways how to embody this calling into her day to day work.

It tooks years, but she didn’t give up and successfully navigated all challenges. In her story, she shares openly how she overcame the personal with the support of career coach and financial challenges that were holding her back from following her career dreams and how she got where she is today, working in a careeer she loves.

Where do you come from and where are you based now?  

I’m Katherine Longhi, American-born, British-naturalised, married to an Italian. Current location is London.  Future locations will be Tuscany and Florida. My American dream was to live in Europe and I got my first break when my New York-based company transferred me to the London office in 2003.

As a child did you have a dream job? 

 As I child, I loved the performing arts. Dancing, acting, singing.  At the age of 16, I was crushed when my father told me that ballet was just a hobby.  It had never occurred to me the unlikelihood of becoming a professional ballerina. I can’t say that I truly to desired to become a professional dancer but I wanted to believe it was possible as long as possible.  That was a tough blow to a dream that I didn’t even know I had.

When and how did you discover direction for your ideal job, career or business?

Talent and passion were always more obvious to me but starting to discover my purpose in 2015 was the critical missing piece that set me on my path to a fulfilling career. Purpose is like a compass, our own personal North Star.

It is something to be discovered over many years, maybe even a lifetime.  When you are doing something aligned with your purpose, passion, and talent, that’s the holy trinity of a joyful career.

How did you recognize your genius – what are you best at doing in your career or business?

When I was in my mid-30s I worked with a brilliant career coach (like Adriana!) Everyone should get a coach at least a few times in their professional lives. This coach helped me identify my natural talent through a genius assessment and at the same time she reconnected me to the things that I loved doing as a child.

I could see that there were new ways for me to perform, not as a dancer or singer, but as a speaker, trainer, and presenter. In my business, I am best at generating new ideas, public speaking, marketing, communicating, and team building. The other stuff?  No, thank you.  I work with other team members who have complimentary skills to my own.

What is your job or position in business now? Why you do what you do right now?

Today I am an Inclusive Culture Consultant and Conscious Entrepreneur.  I help organisations build high performing teams and companies by hiring diverse talent and nurturing an inclusive culture at work.  This work is how I monetise my purpose, passion, and talent.  It is a calling as well as my reason for waking up in the morning.  My days are 80% filled with joy, flow, and fun.  20% the other stuff.  But before I started my career transition 8 years ago, those numbers would have been reversed.

Work and life balance – what does it mean to you and how do you keep it? 

I don’t believe in work – life balance.  I believe that work is an integral part of life and that it’s both an art and science to train your ego to serve your soul.  By that I mean, there are things in our lives that we have to do to look after our physical welfare, keep a roof over our heads, put food in our bodies, and function at a minimum level in society.

There are also soul desires, callings, and longings we feel connected with our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. If there’s any balance to be had, it’s not between work and life.  It’s between our ego needs and soul desires.

What have you learned on your dream job journey? What were the most difficult things you had to overcome?

Probably a lot of women and some men who are not part of a majority group will resonate with this.  My biggest challenge in my dream job journey has been to believe in my vision and my ability to deliver on that vision.

My secondary challenges have been to navigate a world, workplace, communities, and my family’s inherited conditioning that were not designed to support me in my quest.  In fact, they are very real barriers.  But I get comfort in the fact that the vast majority of us face similar challenges. So we are not alone in this.  We have each other.  And it’s important to find a community or tribe for that support.

How did you manage starting your business financially?

I don’t think that making a career change, starting or growing a business means that you’ll have to take a pay cut.  In fact, I’d suggest that you don’t think like that but adopt a different mindset like “how can I make this work to keep my salary at least the same, if not more?”  For example, I’ve negotiated with employers who couldn’t give me a pay raise, to give me a day off once a week instead.  That’s essentially a 20% pay increase that gives you something way more valuable – time to spend on your business.

Also, make sure to do regular reviews of your financial goals, spending plans, expenditures, and investments.  I review some element of all of these on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

Finally I would say, take your transition in stages.

If you’re in a job and want to start a business in a totally unrelated field, try freelancing in your current field first whilst you develop your business as a passion project on the side.  If you’re currently freelancing in something you love doing, start to create some packages or products you can sell rather than exchanging your time for money.  There will be a right next step for everyone where you are on your journey.

Which 3 tips would you give to someone who is right now considering changing jobs, career or starting freelance?

  • Work with a coach who has done what you want to do to discover how to monetise your purpose, passion, and talent.
  • Create a 5 year vision for your life and annual plans to fulfill on that vision each year.
  • Find an accountability buddy who knows your plan and you can keep each other accountable to your dream jobs.

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Author: AdriAna Kosovska

I work with women in 30s and 40s to help them to find and thrive in their dream career so their career not only looks good on their CV but also feels great inside.

Certified coach,  founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB and TALENTED WOMAN