When you think of your purpose, do you draw a blank? Do you feel like you’ve lost yourself (especially now that your kids have left home)?
Do you long to do work that fills you with meaning and satisfaction?
Do you keep waiting for the “right time” to take action in alignment with your deepest desires and true values?
Do you feel like you need to find your life purpose before you can move forward in your life?
Do you have a voice inside your head that says you should be happy with what you’ve got and who do you think you are for wanting more? Even if you did find your purpose, no one would listen or care anyway, right?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you’re in the right place! I’m here to help you with proven strategies to discover your purpose and create meaningful work, happiness and success!
The fastest way to get started is to read the interview below, sign up to receive The Purpose and Passion Guidebook and my Special Delivery eZine (links to sign up are below), and then come back often to read my blog.
I’ve designed everything to help you give birth to your BIG dreams.
(If you’re publishing something about me or just want to hear about me in the third person, my official bio is located at the bottom of the page. Thanks so much for your interest and I hope we connect soon!)
Stacey, was there a pivotal moment in your own journey that led to the transformational work you’re doing in the world?
Yes, absolutely! A defining moment in my life came early in 2011: I felt so lost. I felt like all these bad things were happening and I couldn’t understand why.
One night I woke up in a panic and I asked God, the Universe, whoever would listen, “Why is this happening?!”
The very clear answer I got was, “You’re not supposed to be here.”
I knew that when the voice said “here,” it didn’t mean my bed. I knew it meant something much bigger and deeper.
Before I go into that even more, let me back up a little further – back in June of 2009, I started my coaching business as a side gig. I knew what I loved most about my work as a nurse-midwife was talking with my patients about their hopes and dreams for their future now that they were bringing a new life into the world.
I realized that I wasn’t just helping them give birth to their babies: I was helping them give birth to their dreams. From that epiphany my personal coaching business was born.
But I couldn’t imagine giving up my hospital job. My husband was underemployed and my family needed the salary and benefits I provided. While I loved every minute that I helped women bring their babies into the world, I never really enjoyed any of the bureaucratic aspects of my job.
As I became my own boss in my business, I bristled more and more at the expectations my employers had of me as an employee at the hospital.
I thought my coaching business and writing career could support us, but I had no guarantees…which led me back to wondering why I couldn’t just be happy with my job at the hospital. It wasn’t that bad, was it??
Those stressful thoughts are what led to my breakdown back in February of 2011. I couldn’t believe I was in such a bad place – overwhelmed by doomsday scenarios and too scared to think straight.
So here’s what happened on that dark, cold night in February: I decided I would do whatever it took to do the work I truly loved and get paid handsomely for it.
I continued to work the same hours at the hospital, and I also worked a lot of late nights and weekends. I invested in coaching to help build my business and overcome my fears and doubts.
Then in the spring of 2014, my business was ready. More importantly, I was ready. I quit my hospital job and walked away from my 20-year career as a certified nurse-midwife
Now when my clients tell me that I’ve helped them accomplish dreams they had all but given up on, and that they even thank God every day for me, it makes the breakdown and all of the hard work completely worth it.
I came out of that experience with the firm conviction that anyone can create the conditions for their own happiness – they can do the hard work it takes to overcome their fears and doubts, discover their purpose and create a body of work that serves them and the world. In fact, I’d go as far to say it would be a disservice to their God-given gifts not to.
How can people bring more purpose and happiness to their lives right now?
When I started coaching I focused solely on the psychological aspects of creating happiness and success – training my clients to change their thoughts in order to change their lives.
Then about 2 years ago I realized that we need to take a “Four Circles” approach – something I learned from Dr. Daniel Amen’s excellent book Unleash the Power of the Female Brain. We need to optimize the psychological, biological, spiritual and social aspects of our lives – in order to feel good and do good.
The steps you need to take to create a life you love are quite simple – but perhaps not particularly easy given that they buck the dominant messages from our culture.
This gets back to something I said earlier, though: you can do hard work and it will be so worth it when you do.
That’s why I started focusing on the “Four Circles” approach, because it gives concrete steps toward experiencing happiness and success that anyone can take right now.
In my own case, when I was optimizing various aspects within the “Four Circles,” I couldn’t help but feel more happy and fulfilled, and when I felt more happy and fulfilled I was more likely to take other decisive steps in the direction of my dreams.
Instead of psyching myself out with doomsday scenarios if I failed, I started to ask myself: “What will it mean to me to have accomplished this?”
That meaning— your why—is the most powerful fuel you can access as you make your way down your path. Once you have your why, it’s exciting to take one step and then another and another, and you never doubt that you’ll make it to your destination.
Once I had found my why, it was so much easier to keep a steady pace as I worked toward my dream of quitting my hospital job and working full-time in my business.
It really wasn’t that much longer before I was ready to walk away from my 20-year career as a nurse-midwife – nothing had changed with respect to my business income or prospects, but I had changed.
That’s why one of my favorite mantras is, “Things don’t change. You do.”
Is there anything else you want to share to inspire women who may be struggling to go after their dreams and live their purpose?
Because you’re still reading this, I already know something about you.
You’re feeling dissatisfied and it comes down to this: you either don’t know what your purpose is or you don’t know how to communicate it to the world so people will understand and care (or both!).
It’s why you feel drawn to my work because my purpose is to show women like you what your own highest value – your purpose – is.
Once you understand what your purpose is, you blossom. You become more confident, more persuasive and more influential. You become the you you’re supposed to be.
But as wonderful as it is to discover your purpose, there’s another problem.
You’ll have these questions:
How do I communicate my purpose so that people will understand or care? Can I do it on my own?
What happens if I get stuck? What if I have questions? Who will I turn to?
Who will hold me accountable so that this time next year I have made so many amazing positive changes that I don’t even recognize myself or my life?
I’m writing this because I know EXACTLY how you feel. I had all those same doubts and fears about “who do you think you are?” and “who will care anyway?”
After 5 years of running my own business mentoring women and studying countless successful people, I haven’t met a single woman who hasn’t struggled to get clear on her dreams, or hasn’t had those crippling thoughts—”Who do you think you are?!”, “You’re not ready” or “You’re going to fail.”
Everyone has fears. But here’s the thing: Your fears are as hungry as your dreams, and you want to make sure you’re feeding your dreams.
And the best way to feed your dreams is to start taking action in alignment with your true values and your deepest desires right now.
What are some typical issues your clients want to work on with you, and with whom do you work best?
I have 3 exclusive continuity programs, and I work best with clients who “self-select” based on where they are on their path right now…
The “Visionary” Path
Who You Are
You are purpose-driven and spirit-led. You want to create a lasting legacy with your body of work.
You are DONE waiting to live your best life.
You know (or have a pretty good idea) what your purpose is and you’re ready to get it out into the world in a BIG way.
Your current occupation, while it may be lucrative, is neither meaningful nor satisfying. In fact, it seems to be sucking your soul.
Your dissatisfaction with your current situation has gotten so bad that your heart sinks every time you think about going in to work – you may even feel physically sick when you are in the building.
When you get home you have very little energy for the things you really care about, like your family or other purpose-driven work, because you’re either too frustrated or simply exhausted by the end of the day.
In your heart of hearts, you know you could create something truly great if you had more courage and truly committed to your calling.
Your issues tend to be:
You so badly want to devote yourself to your calling, but your fears are holding you back. Other people – even your family and friends – don’t get you and think you should just be happy with what you’ve got.
You’re also overwhelmed by all of the things you need to do if you were going to leave your old job behind and get your purpose-driven work out into the world in a big way – you don’t know where to start.
What you need:
You need proven mindset and marketing systems (if marketing sounds to “sales-y,” just think of it as communication) to make sure your purpose-based work is serving you and the world. You need someone to get in the trenches with you, to work through each action step and give you crucial feedback and support so that you can finally get your purpose out in to the world in a big way.
The “Sacred Seeker” Path
Who You Are
You often wonder, “Who am I to want more…or think I can make a difference?” BUT you can’t shake the feeling that you are supposed to accomplish more in your life.
There are a lot of things that bother you in your current work situation, but you’re a master at telling yourself that you should be grateful that you have a “good” job, especially in this economy.
Physically, you notice your energy isn’t great. You have some days when you feel good and get a lot done, but overall you feel bored and long to feel engaged in more meaningful and satisfying work…but you’re not exactly sure what that work is.
Your intuition is telling you that you want to discover your purpose before it’s too late, since even small changes in your job could push you from dissatisfaction to extreme burnout.
You also have a sense that time is flying by, and you don’t want to look back on your life and wish you had challenged yourself more and created more meaningful work.
Your issues tend to be:
You question yourself all the time. The unknown terrifies you, but you suspect that staying in the known may be killing you. You may even feel envious of other people who have more money or freedom or opportunities than you do – but you also know there are plenty of people who have walked in your shoes and still found a way to make a living doing what they love. You have let fears and doubts define your life and hold you back.
What you need:
You need support in a whole new way of thinking and being. You need best practices for calming the fear center in your brain, reducing stress and enjoying your life. You need permission to be who you truly are and guidance to get what you really want. You need to a proven process for getting out of your own way, believing in your self and connecting with something greater than yourself (call it whatever you want – God, the Universe, Source Energy, etc.).
The “Multi-Passionate” Path
Who You Are
You’ve wanted to write a book forever – but you’ve never put one word on a page. You keep waiting for “more time” to show up, but it never does.
You could insert any creative or passion-based project (start a blog, get back to photography, practice yoga) in place of writing a book, because it’s the same story: you keep waiting for “more time ” so you can do all of the things you keep dreaming about, but it never shows up.
You often feel flighty, broken or defective. But there’s nothing wrong with you: You haven’t found your one true calling because you don’t have one singular calling, you have many.
You may not be in the best possible job for your gifts, but there are a lot of things you like about it. Basically it’s not too demanding – you can do it and still have energy for other creative pursuits. You can see comfortably staying there as you steadily devote more time to your purpose-driven body of work “on the side.”
You know the danger of your current situation is that you may be lulled into staying there for too long. You’re the kind of person who needs to put “some skin in the game” in order to take inspired action and make decisive changes.
Your issues tend to be:
You have a lot of great ideas, but you don’t have great follow through. You badly want to see one of your bold visions become a reality, but you know you’ve got to do things differently if that’s going to happen. If we’re really being honest, you’re starting to doubt you’re ever going to do the things that you’ve been dreaming of for years.
What you need:
You need a trusted mentor with whom you can brainstorm and collaborate. You need clarity on the most important things you can do to drive your vision forward quickly. You need to learn how to leverage your small windows of time. You need proven strategies to overcome obstacles easily so you can stay on track and finally get where you want to go.
Here’s the thing: Studies show that happiness is dependent on feeling heard and valued for exactly who you are, having good relationships, and doing purpose-driven work – these are all within your control, but most people don’t believe that.
They think happiness is waiting for them somewhere “out there.” My clients are ready to poke holes in that thinking, but they also need guidance, support and accountability to buck the dominant paradigm.
Most of my clients want to learn how to get out of their own way, to quell the voice that constantly says, “You can’t do it, no one will read/listen/care.”
They want to create a meaningful body of work.
Here’s another thing: All human beings thrive in an environment of novelty and challenge, but we’re also deeply uncomfortable by the prospect of change.
It’s no wonder most people feel overwhelmed by or afraid of their great big dreams.
I am a loving truth-teller who shows my clients their own highest value. I help them take their unique brilliance and get it out into the world in a big way. I take a seemingly impossible dream or insurmountable goal and break it into smaller, manageable pieces. I offer extreme guidance, encouragement, and accountability every step of the way.
How do you know your systems works?
First of all, I use them myself: In the last five years I built a lucrative coaching practice from scratch, published a critically acclaimed children’s book, and wrote 2 other books (and I’m in the process of writing a third!) – all while maintaining my job as a nurse-midwife and living joyfully with my husband and 9 year-old son.
I was able to quit my hospital job in the spring of 2014 to focus fully on my coaching business because I had built it to a level that could support my family.
I rarely feel overwhelmed. (And if I do, I know there’s nothing wrong – it just means that I need to take a nap, or take a long walk with my dog, or go see a movie.)
I’ve also used my system with my clients and they’ve had similar results — you can read their success stories here.
What’s your purpose and deepest hope for your coaching programs?
My purpose is absolutely to help women (and some very cool men) find and LIVE their purpose.
My hope through my coaching is that my clients will start living their best life — even though it may not look exactly the way they envision it (so much of that seems to be influenced by comparisons to other people’s lives – when you really have no idea what those lives are really like).
But here’s the thing: Your core desires – to create meaningful work and feel valued for who you really are – are absolutely achievable.
One of my mottos is “Live imperfectly with great delight.” The goal isn’t to achieve “perfection.”
Instead, the idea is to string together many happy and satisfying moments: first by creating the conditions for them, then by reducing stress so that you can savor them, and finally by helping you remember them after they’ve happened.
(Have you noticed that women have a remarkable ability to forget their accomplishments? That keeps them feeling stuck and small – when they should feel courageous and able to do anything they set their minds to!)
It’s not “the arriving” at your goal that’s interesting – it’s who you become on the journey.
How can people sample your work to see if it’s right for them?
A great way to sample my work is by downloading the free Purpose and Passion Guidebook.
When you sign up to receive it you’ll also receive a subscription to my Special Delivery eZine, my weekly email newsletter.
It’s also free and in it I share stories and articles that are filled with tips, tools, and techniques to create an authentic and happy life.
And I’d love to share them with you. Again, you can access them here.
What if I want to work one-on-one with you, can I call you?
Yes, of course! If you’re interested, I’ve created a completely complimentary “Discovery Session” that helps us know very quickly if we would be a good match for working together.
To find out more about the discovery session, and schedule yours, click here.
I can’t wait to see you succeed and I’d be honored to be the one to help you!
Stacey Curnow helps women find and live their purpose. She left behind a 20-year career as a nurse-midwife – helping women give birth to babies – to help women give birth to their BIG dreams.
Stacey received her nursing degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in midwifery from Yale University. She has been a student of positive psychology for years and has applied it to her coaching practice with great success.
She is the founder of www.staceycurnow.com – a website, blog and series of signature coaching programs – and serves clients all over the world. She is also the Life Purpose Expert for Aspire Magazine. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print magazines and online.
She published a best-selling children’s book, Ravenna, is a contributing author of international bestseller Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness, and is currently writing No More Crying or Complaining: How to Transform Your Negative Thoughts, Improve Your Relationships and Enjoy More Happiness.
She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband and young son.