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Can you walk away from a well-paid job if doesn't fit your life purpose?

Updated: Aug 31



Who Rules Your Life? - Podcasting with the people who live their purpose

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/who-rules-your-life/id1527796605


Hosts:

Dina Newman and Tine Bieber


Guests:


Tim White, based in Amsterdam, head of digital strategy in a large multinational company, Teva pharmaceuticals. Tim's background is in creative arts as well as marketing. His life purpose is to experience and embrace diversity of geography, culture and thought, which his job helps to fulfil. Tim’s purpose at work is to help his company’s transformation in a sector which does good for the world. Since we recorded this episode, Tim got a new promotion, so he is clearly doing something right. Tim shares his recipe for success in finding a corporate career which is aligned with your life purpose. Yes, you have guessed it - it does involve taking risks!






Elaine Favero, an entrepreneur in personal and organisational development from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Following her parents’ advice, Elaine studied law and achieved success in her career. However she had the courage to leave it behind after a painful realisation that it was not her life purpose. If you have ever been successful, particularly in a well-paid job, you know how hard it is to turn your back on it and step into the unknown. Elaine helps others to take this step and to find what our heart really wants, aligning us with what we feel, what we say and what we do. Elaine believes that the world is moving from hoarding resources to a shared economy; and that hierarchies of wealth, age and social status are eroding. 



Background: here's more about ikigai - which is mentioned at the end of this episode. Have a look at the diagram.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/02/23/how-to-find-your-ikigai-and-transform-your-outlook-on-life-and-business/#5c63d3af2ed4


Transcript of the conversation with Elaine Favero and Tim White

"I've been fulfilled by experiences of getting to work abroad, getting to work with people of various different cultures, backgrounds, insights, and these are things that I think so uniquely can actually be found in the work environment, and especially in working for a large multinational". 


"I just knew it. It's like, I cannot get more comfortable here. If I start getting more money and more privilege, I'm not leaving, so I have to leave now". 



Dina: 


Welcome to Who Rules Your Life? Podcasting with the People who live their purpose. 


I'm Dina Newman, I am a journalist, I live in London, UK, and all around me people have been losing their jobs. Many more are stuck in the jobs they don’t enjoy. 


And I am looking for an opportunity in this crisis. Will it help me to connect to my work in a more meaningful way?


In my search for “meaningful work”, I was lucky to meet Tine Bieber, she’s my co-host from Amsterdam, and she has introduced me to the concept of ‘life purpose”. 


Tine and I have been talking to so many people around the world who live their purpose, men and women from all walks of life, who feel connected to their energy, who are confident about their place in the world, and who choose how to live their life. They are better at coping with change; they have less fear; they take responsibility for their decisions without blaming anyone; and they are able to help others without resentment or a burn out. I call this to “rule your life”. Not to control it - because you can’t control your life, or even your career. Jobs will come and go, and, guided by your life purpose, you can keep doing your work.


I know that so many people right now know exactly what I am talking about - and that’s the beauty of podcasting. So get in touch if you want to share your story, to inspire others on their search. Our email address is whorulesyourlife@yahoo.com. (One word.)  If you are currently looking for your life purpose, which can be a painful process, often - perhaps you will find an inspiration on our website, who-rules-your-life.com (dashes between words)


Now in our first episode of the series, we are discussing the first step. If you begin to feel the connecton to your life purpose, and you are still employed, you may find that you are pulled away from the security of your job. Now I am not saying that it happens to everyone, but it might happen to you. At which point, should you - and can you - walk away? Companies with a wonderful purpose of their own are not interested in yours. They pay you to do their job. 


So today we are talking to two people: one working for a large multinational, and another one who has abandoned a successful corporate career. Both are connected to their life purpose, and both are friends of my purpose-driven co-host, Tine Bieber. Over to you, Tine. 



Tine: 


That’s it, thank you, Dina. Yeah I am so happy to be here with you guys today and to welcome our guests. So welcoming Elaine Favero from Sao Paulo, Brazil and Tim White, currently situated in Amsterdam. Just to give an outline about how I actually met you guys, right? So I met Elaine via this community called Radical, and it’s about like Progressive Work. And we got in touch already one and a half years ago. And then this year I booked a flight to Sao Paolo so I called up Elaine, and I was like, Elaine, I think we should do a project together, because I don’t want to be just a tourist in Sao Paolo. So we created this amazing workshop together and started working together since then, and yeah, we are actually building a house together now in Brazil, and Tim is practically my neighbour. We started talking a lot about different kinds of methods in work, how customer service works, that’s actually how we started out talking, and then we had a lot of interesting conversations about ok, how can we make impact in a static system and what not, and what is actually our purpose in life. So I am really looking forward to today’s conversation.   

Dina:

 And I'm wondering Tim, you are big on your purpose and yet you work in a stable job in a corporate environment. How do you align this? Or have you just sold out, and let's be frank about it and admit it? 


Tim:

So, no, I don't think I've sold out, although maybe you want to ask maybe my friends from childhood about that as well, but no, I, I think one of the interesting things that I found in my career path over the last decade or so is, is really that I've been fulfilled by experiences of getting to work abroad, getting to work with people of various different cultures, backgrounds, insights, and these are things that I think so uniquely can actually be found in the work environment, and especially in working for a large multinational. 



And I think my purpose in terms of just trying to also create change and trying to influence with my thoughts and ideas, you know, a broader organization and then subsequently even a broader industry,  - is another big area where I think I can almost only fulfill that in some way in the sort of role in the ways that I'm actually operating as part of my job. So, no, I think, and maybe I'm just lucky, but I have been able to sort of make things work, to be able to greatly fulfill everything I do from a work side. But I don't... I think it also just requires constantly looking at it and constantly making sure that I am aligned with what I want to get out of my life, what fulfills me and gets me out of bed in the morning. And obviously with what's paying the bills and what's putting food on the table. But I've been able to make it work.



Dina:

What's the company you're working for? 


Tim:

Teva pharmaceuticals. So we're actually the world's largest generics medicine provider. So we produce a lot of medicine for a lot of people around the world. 


Dina:

My God. Well, it sounds like a big organization. And if you really can genuinely make an impact, you must be pretty high up in that organization. Are you a big boss then? 


Tim:

I probably, I mean, if you look on the org charts, probably, and this is something Tine and I discuss a lot about organizations, hierarchy and such, but... 


Tine:

Sorry, sorry to interrupt. But Tim has like every single title in his title. It's very impressive. If you look at the profile on LinkedIn, you'll see it. It's a whole sentence. 


Tim:

Yes. Yeah. I'm working on simplifying that. I think I need a good PR person to shorten it up a bit, but so what I do basically, in short, is driving all of the digital transformation efforts for the company. And it is a big responsibility. It means sort of looking after a pretty large team, and budget responsibilities, and all that stuff that comes with a corporation. But, but as I said, at the same point, I think it also allows me day in and day out to work with different countries, companies, cultures, people, and that I think is really a large part of what  fulfills me in what I do. It's very different now in COVID times, because it's all behind screens. A lot of in the past that was actually driven much more in person and actually getting to visit these places and spend time with people. But it's still more or less the same fundamental elements of getting to drive large transformation, and also get to work with people and actually experience other cultures and have different experiences outside of my own world. 


Dina:

And Elaine, I think you have an equally impressive career? So you were a lawyer for nine years in San Paolo, that could not have been an easy job. I'm sure it wasn't. So you pursued that sort of corporate world too, right? 


Elaine:

Yes. I worked as a tax lawyer for nine years.  I started as a law clerk and the thing is, you start going for it, and then you start getting some money, and then you start getting some independence. And then as the time goes by, it gets like, something really comfortable. 


And then you start getting noticed by it, which is really good. I got to work in three really big companies in San Paolo. One was associated to an American office called Squire, Sanders and Dempsey, and I learned a lot. And I worked in really big cases for that office. And the challenges of it were pretty amazing. 



Dina:

And that's great. So once you arrived at the stage of being comfortable, what more do you want from life? and why are you not a tax lawyer anymore? 



Elaine:

Yeah, what's happened is that at some point I started to understand my personality, I had to hide some parts of my personality and things that I like to do so I could be accepted. I didn't feel that I could bring the things that I have inside, that are really strong, like creativity you can do. You don't get to be really creative about laws. And also things that I like to camp, and I like nature, and that's not the concept of success you have inside of the law world. You're expected to spend a lot of money because you make money. So you're expected to spend a lot of money in big hotels and doing what everybody is doing. At some point, I started to really hide what I was doing for vacations, so I could be more accepted, and then I caught myself crying. For the last six months when…. 


Dina:

You were actually crying on your way to work? 


Elaine:

I cried on my way to work. I felt like really big agony inside of me. And I was like, I'm just spending this day again. And I was about to turn 30, and then I looked one day and I started thinking like, if I want to be really good at this, and I want to be really good at what I do, by the time I'm 40. By the time I'm 40, I'm going to be pretty good in taxes. And that's what my world is going to be like. I have to study a lot and put a lot of money on it. And I, so I started feeling that that wasn't right for me. At some point, uh, my boss called me and gave me a promotion and gave me more money. I just looked at him and said, no, I need to quit, that's it.

I need to quit. 


Dina:

Wow. 


Elaine:

Yeah. I just knew it. It's like, I cannot get more comfortable here. If I start getting more money and more privilege, I'm not leaving, so I have to leave now. 


Tine:

What happened then? So you quit and then you were like, you had a backup plan? 


Elaine:

I didn't, but I got lucky again. The thing is, as I was really specialized, my boss asked me to stay one more year, so, because it would take him a while to train someone into doing what I did. But as I kept working from home office, I started then looking for the things I wanted to study. I understood that I was always reading something about, human behavior and, how to pursue happiness. And I saw that this is what I had to do something with my life with.

Dina: 

So I know exactly what you mean from my own experience, and I know that when your job does not support your purpose, your energy drops. You might still try to turn up for work, just to get paid - but you feel completely lost. And you lose confidence. And when this was happening to me, a lot of my friends and colleagues were saying - what’s the matter with you? Why can’t you just carry on? So how did your family react when you quit? Your parents, your husband, they must have been so proud of you. And suddenly you're telling them, okay, I'm now pursuing happiness. Right? Good luck. 


Elaine:

Yes, they are. They were, they were a little shocked because yes,  it's like, you're throwing that away. I studied in the best university of Brazil and it's really hard to get in. But then, they saw that I wasn't happy. That didn't make sense for me in my life. You said something before that I found it really interesting. It's that if you have a job, sometimes, if you don't like the job you have, you should go in and go out, and don't think about it at the end of the day, it's just about the money.

But when you're willing to make a career out of something, it means you have to give more than just the hours of the work. So, and I wanted to have a career, you know, and use what I have inside for it. So, I started to realize that that's the only option I had. And my family understood that pretty well.

So I got lucky again for having a lot of support on that matter. 


Dina:

Tim, how do you see yourself in say 10 years time? Do you think you'll still be working for your multinational or are you beginning to feel the stirrings of freedom inside you somewhere? 


Tim:

So it's a, it's a great question. I think as long as I can continue to fulfill the elements that I mentioned earlier, in terms of really feeling like I'm being able to creatively change things and actually make an impact on a scale that's significant. I think that's what a multinational gives you. It's a global thing. It's getting to see your ideas put in motion around the world and to see that impact and change. And I think as long as I can have that, and then as I said, I can also continue to experience different people and what they have in cultures. Then yes. You know, that said, you know, I also think that those types of things could be fulfilled in different ways. I have a creative arts background and been in the music industry in the past, and that side I think is probably something that's been, let go a bit because of so much focus on corporate. And I do think that maybe different elements of that could be, could be revived. And I also like working with, sometimes on a smaller scale and getting to see things move from sort of seed to seedling, if you will, as opposed to seedling to big tree, which is a bit what, - or big tree to bigger tree, which is sort of what I do day in and day out now. So I think, if I am, then it's because I think I'm still somehow fulfilled by that. And if, and if I'm not fulfilled, I would hope that I don't end up in a situation like the last few months of Elaine’s situation where I'm sort of dreading going to work or crying in the morning and all of that, because then I will certainly need to get out. Because then what's the point? 



Dina:

So Elaine, we left you your story, the point where you made that bold decision, and your family having got over the initial shock, decided that they would support you after all. Yeah. So what did you do next? 


Elaine:

So I started learning ontological coaching. I made a master of it. I was like two years and a half learning.... 


Dina:

Learning what, sorry? 


Elaine:

ontological coaching. It is, ontological.... 


Tine:

Dina your face!


Dina:

 I am constantly amazed by the kind of things people study, you know, onthological coaching! 


Tim:

Every conversation I have with Tine, I always learn new things. And I think so far, that's two for two with Elaine now as well. So it's, it's a new world. 


Elaine:

Yeah. People, I wish it had a better name. You know, the thing I don't like about onthologlical coaching is the name. The rest, I love it. Well, it's a line of philosophy that studies the science of the being. So the ontological coaching, it studies the expression of the being through language. And so it's a pretty pragmatical study that allows you to understand in a person what's the difference between what she's saying, what she's behaving and what she's wanting in her heart. So by picking up these contradictions, you just kind of throw them back at the person and then make them a question that would make them think about it and make their inner clicks to understand it, because the job is not to give the answers, but to make the good questions. 


Dina:


. And that’s where I am thinking: can we really afford to be guided by our heart? Does our life purpose have any value in the marketplace? What if it doesn’t? Is “ ruling your life” a luxury for the well-off? And if you need to support yourself, you take whatever is offered, whether you like it or not? So then your bank account rules your life. What do you reckon, Tim? 



Tim:

I think it is a good question. And it's actually something that Tine and I have discussed at length about, sort of is this. Is this actually applicable to everybody in, can it be, or is it just a nice advantage for maybe a few that can sort of go this direction? I think there's another piece to this though. And I reflect a bit on my own experience here, - which is that you do have to be willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone because I think there, if you only look within your comfort zone and say, I want to follow my heart, then I think you're really limiting and restricting the options that you have. But I mean, like Elaine said, I mean, willing to walk away from a job, willing to even forego maybe what all of your experience and  outside expectations are telling you that you should, you should do... Or in my case, it was actually more related to just uprooting myself from, from a very comfortable lifestyle in my, you know, in, in suburban United States, and say, actually, the world is bigger. There are different types of opportunities. Because then by nature, what you've done is opened up, your opportunities to a much, much broader sense that where you I think have a better shot of finding that one thing or those few things, that you can actually do, that fulfill your purpose while also earning a enough to at the very least put, put food on the table, and take care of your family.

So I think if you don't do that element, if you're not willing to put yourself out a little bit and say, you know, maybe I studied this, or I had the expectation of my parents of this or of my partner or my loved one of that. Then I think it actually would be quite hard and challenging. And then, yeah, you probably need a big pile of money sitting in your bank account.

And I'd rather call that actually a midlife crisis rather than a searching for purpose. At that point, it's not, I wouldn't say it's actually the same, uh, the same thing. 


Dina:

So, you see, uh, you've just said that, uh, you know, you’d rather call it a midlife crisis. This is exactly what I'm going through, but I prefer to call it searching for a purpose. 


Tim:

So, you really should call Elaine then, I think she's, she can do it…


Dina:

So, Tine, you work for a purpose led company - which is very rare in the job market - and you have spent years exploring your life purpose. Do you know exactly what's in your heart? That's the one question that bothers me now that I've started talking to Elaine. She’s set me off on a journey now.  


Tine:

Yeah. I mean, um, to me, like what's, what's really in my heart, I couldn't really put in words for a really long time, right? So when I say now my purpose mission is to unify the world, I can really feel that. And now looking back on my life, I was kind of like pulled, I think always in this kind of direction. And I also feel now I was reflecting on it. Okay. How do I do that? And I do it in literally breaking down boundaries to connect and that's happening with creating awareness, or with just, you know, kind of like getting the roadblocks out. And I mean, I'm really practicing it in, in organizations. That's my field. And I guess that also came over the time, you know, having a business administration background bachelor's, master's it kind of like that created my context in that sense. And also my purpose, I would say got more clear and got more developed, and we're traveling to different kinds of countries, you know, meeting different kinds of people, including different kinds of perspectives. Yeah. But I feel it, I would say Dina. Yes. 


Elaine:

It changes. It can change every day, what's in your heart. So you have to keep listening. It's not about knowing the message, but knowing how to listen, what he wants to tell you. And the heart doesn't speak in words. He speaks in images, and feelings and sensations. And trying to understand that with a rational mind, it's complicated, because it doesn't come with rational thinking. So it's an exercise of being in touch and listening to these other intelligence that we have inside, that have a lot to tell us about our perception. We're just so used to develop the perception of the rational and the eyes. So what we see, what we believe, what we can understand. And there are some things that we can't understand, but yet they exist. Right. And  it's hard for our human thinking to understand that we have different intelligence that works with autonomy inside of us. So it's a listening exercise to know what your heart says. 


Dina:


Wow. This is fascinating, you know, what's inside our heart. That takes us to a place deep inside ourselves. And even if we rule our life from there, what about the outside world? -Going back to corporations, There are companies that are actually doing actual evil out there in terms of destroying the environment, in terms of exploiting whole populations, in terms of pushing products on people that are harmful. Right. Can your purpose really take you to work in those environments? 


Elaine:

It's the place I want to go because it's needed. If you don't start the transformation from inside, I mean, they're going to keep being evil and evil, but if you're there and you can help make transformation from inside out, that's great. If that's taking so much of your energy, then leave, because you're not responsible of taking care of the world. But we have a lot of discussions: do we, should we make consultancy for a company that's destroying the Amazon? I don't know. Maybe if I'm there, I can help them stop destroying the Amazon by changing their minds, you know? So what's the purpose of this, what real impact can I make? It's about the action.  


Tim: 

You do have to... probably at least me personally, there's a level of trying to align yourself to your company's purpose or to what they're trying to do. And that Dina, is where you do have to make a judgment call in terms of how important that is for you. And I actually go the other way. Quite frankly, I love working in a sector where the fundamental product that we make is helping people. But I would say that that's not the main thing. The main thing that gets me out to work and, and gets me going, and gets me on an airplane to fly all around the world, is all of these things is, is the connecting to the people, and to driving change and transformation.

It just so happens that it also can align with a nice industry that I enjoy working for. So would I go and do what I'm doing now for a tobacco company or for, for maybe a company where I believe the fundamental product is wrong, or the practices are so wrong that  It certainly wouldn't be worth? It's a balance, because I'd have to find what is that point for me.


And honestly, I don't know it. I think first and foremost, it's about my personal purpose and the company just somehow plays a role,  in that, and being comfortable with it overall. 


Tine: 

Well, I mean, you know, I work in the oil and gas industry, right. As well as textile, 


Dina:

I think it couldn't be any worse, Tine! It couldn't be any worse.


Tine:

 I know, isn’t it?  It's in the top five of the most polluting industries of our times currently. Right. So if you mentioned it at a birthday party, people are looking at you like: Are you a crazy person? Right. But, what I always felt like, you can make impact in any kind of context you are, and in any size, you know, and impact is impact. That's it.  


Positive impact can really change somebody's life. And it's not about taking on the whole sector. But if I don't do anything and then there's nothing. 


Dina:

Ok, well, I think it’s time to sum up what we’ve heard today. My takeaway is, if you work in a large company, it’s important to be clear about your own purpose, as well as the company’s purpose. In my case, for years I kind of knew what my purpose was, but I didn’t feel the need to put it into words. It’s only when my energy levels started to drop, that’s when I realised that I am out of alignment with my life purpose and something needs to change. So after today’s conversation, I am inspired to start formulating my life purpose. That might take a while. So that’s my inspiration for today. And is there anything that’s inspired you, Elaine? 


Elaine:

I think that while we were talking I found out some things that I wasn’t aware that I was aware. And something that Tim said is that, what inspires me is that he can have the maturity level to understand that he is different from the company. And I didn't really get that when I was younger and I was like fighting everything and wanting to fight the system. I didn't have the inner peace, for example, to make a soft change or to understand that things integrate, they do not, they don't exclude. So I think this is, this is really inspiring for me to understand this.

 I knew this, but I didn't really understand this until today. 


Tim:

What inspired me is, you know, when I think about innovators, there's always a component of that, which is a risk taker, right. And we always celebrate the Elon Musks and the Steve Jobs and all of this, but actually it's also for people like Elaine, right? That, to go out and say: this very comfortable lifestyle, which I could really, I can relate a lot to that. A lot of the benefits that you mentioned are aligned with the benefits that I get in my career. And to be able to say, you know, that's really good, but actually I think that my effort, my passion, my heart is better focused elsewhere.

That to me is, is, is sort of innovation in itself almost. And is the level of risk taking that you want to see more of in the world, especially, quite frankly, in a place like Brazil, where the world could use more people like Elaine. So that was very inspiring, actually. And you have always teed up her story, Tine, that Elaine is a very inspiring person, but it was nice to hear it in person as well. 


Dina:



There’s one more point that came to mind after this conversation. Have you seen that jigsaw, the “Ikigai” theory - you will find the link in the show notes. .  


There are four questions there: 

What do I love to do? What am I good at? What does the world need? What can I get paid for? Where the four answers meet, that’s where you find your life purpose.  


So this is an elegant formula which allows you to combine the inner and the outer, and to keep them in balance. It might help you to navigate change. 

Email us with your inspirational stories if you would like to feature on our website, who-rules-your-life.com; (dashes) email us  whorulesyourlife@yahoo.com;  download, subscribe and review our podcast. Let’s explore our life purpose together. 


And that’s it from today's episode of Who Rules Your Life, Podcasting with the People Who Live their Purpose. Many thanks to our guests today, Elaine Favero and Tim White. It's goodbye from us, Dina Newman and Tine Bieber. Until next week.


#work #job #purpose #career




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