hi, I'm dessa:
I used to dread waking up Monday morning. The thought of going into an office for work eventually felt like it may kill me. My job was good, but it always felt like something was missing.
“Sunday Scaries” became just about every night. I felt trapped.
Then I got curious.
I left my job to do the same type of work— marketing strategy, but on my own. I figured I’d get to choose the people and categories that interested me.
I’d be in control. I could find more meaning and purpose in my work by conducting experiments, and lots of them.
I felt I needed to find my purpose through action. This was October of 2015.
Fast forward to May 2017. I was in Santa Barbara, living in a furnished rental with my husband. It was one of many we’d been in since we left our life (and stuff) in Chicago in December 2016 with the intent to “date cities”.
As fate would have it, the weekend we arrived in Santa Barbara, one of my favorite authors was speaking. Of course I had to go.
Liz Gilbert did not disappoint. As many good writers (and orators do), it seemed her words were meant for me. To paraphrase:
Society places too much emphasis on our need to find our purpose and passion, when really that task can feel insurmountable.
I practically jumped out of my seat, “yes, yes, YES!” I felt that way too. And then, to paraphrase even more, she said something that really hit me.
What if instead, we found our purpose and passion by treating life as a trail of questions?
When I was at a single company, with one job, that statement may not have resonated. Today, it pretty much sums up my life.
Curiosity. The act of asking questions. These have been my guiding light. I am the queen of questions. Most of them good, some of them crazy-making, but all of them leading me to interesting, and informative action.
Since I left my job as a Human Experience Strategist at a global media agency in October 2015, I’ve been living out what I’m calling, Life Campaigns. In other words, ways that I’m spending my time based on what I’m curious about.
It’s led me to have 7 different independent freelance consulting jobs. It means since then I’ve traveled and been able to work from many cities outside of Chicago: Austin, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Venice Beach, Palm Springs, and Boulder, CO to name a few.
I’ve treated my life like a brand. And I know that the best brands do a few things:
- Authentically serve people by looking inward first
- Continually test and learn by taking action
- Create measurable campaigns to connect with people at the right place and time
In my case, the brand at hand is me. The campaign is how I spend my time. (The sum of all my time boils down to how I live my life).
For me, in 2017 the core life campaigns are in three categories: where to live, what to do for a career, and how to optimize health.
There are three components to personal Life Campaigns:
- Research + Reflection on your personal brand
- Creating Personal Brand Frameworks
- Developing a Measurable Action Plan (Life Campaign) for whatever topic is most pressing (career, where to live, etc.)
This type of experimental approach to life is no different than how brands operate in marketing today. They test and learn. They constantly are adapting, updating, and refining based on what they learn. My life is no different, and neither is yours.
To me living is not just the work I do, but it’s also where I live. It’s how healthy I am — mentally and physically. It’s the relationships I keep. All of these aspects of life aren’t realized through a “set it and forget it” mentality. As I evolve these things can change too. I used to fight that. Now I embrace it. Sunday nights have never been so good. I wake up excited, and that’s a feeling we can all work to realize. And that's exactly why I want to share more of this approach with you.