Sarah is an Australian, currently based in Mexico. A self-described writer, dreamer and traveller, watch the interview to find out what obstacles Sarah faced to find and transition into her soul purpose.
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for work right now?
I’m Sarah Chamberlain. I’m an Australian currently living in Mexico.
I’m writer, namely a blogger. I started a blog in 2011 before my boyfriend I left on our round-the-world trip and I’ve been writing about the journey since then. That I suppose is my job right now.
What’s the blog address?
How would you define a soul purpose? What does that mean to you when you hear that?
It’s something that I’ve struggled with, so I’ve done a lot of thinking about it. I guess it’s your authentic life, it’s what you’re here for, I suppose.
Do you know what your soul purpose is?
Actually, I really love the name on your site being The Soul Purpose. Because usually when you hear that phrase, it’s like the one purpose, sole as in singular, and I love that you’ve done it as soul as in spirit. So in relation to your site The Soul Purpose, for me I’m not 100% clear.
I do feel like I am living my purpose. I haven’t arrived at it, I’m on the journey. The reason I know that I’m on the journey is because I feel that I’m coming in to myself, that I’m actually living the life that was designed for me, in that my insides are kind of matching my outsides. It hasn’t always been like that for me. I’ve had a lot of jobs that haven’t been what I would call my purpose.
Writing is definitely a part of my soul purpose. I’ve been thinking about it and in fact it’s not just the writing for me- it’s about connection. What I really love and what I feel is part of my purpose for being here is to connect with people on a true level, so without the facades and the pretending and all that stuff that we get enough of in the world. I feel that my purpose is about true connection and writing is a part of that for me.
Would you say that everybody has a soul purpose, in your opinion?
How did you get clear on what yours was? What was your process around that?
It was a very messy process to be honest. Am I 100% clear on it? No. I’m still in the process and it can still be messy. Honestly, I’m just taking one step at a time and showing up.
For me, to write that first blog post was really scary. I didn’t feel qualified to write a blog and I’m didn’t think anyone would ever read it, but I knew that writing was something that I’d always wanted to do it.
So I just had to begin and I think, honestly, just beginning that thing you know you enjoy and want to do is really the start. I don’t think that you can get clear on what your purpose is until you take that first step. You have to try it.
Maybe that thing isn’t your purpose, maybe it’s not for me, but the only way to find out is to try it first.
In terms of your day-to-day life, do you think that you’re living it, living in your purpose?
I do. As I said, I think with me I’m very open about the fact that it’s not cut and dried for me. I’m still confused and I still am battling in a way with finding the confidence to live my purpose.
I think that’s something that a lot of people struggle with. So I like to be very honest about that because while I do feel that connecting with other humans in an honest way is my purpose, I’m still figuring out the how’s and why’s of doing that.
But yes, I do feel that today I am. I’m showing up, I’m writing, I’m connecting, I’m being as honest as I can. So yeah, I am living my purpose.
In terms of the relationship between purpose and money, what’s your opinion on the relationship between those two things? Do we have to choose between money and passion? Can we have both? What do you think?
I definitely think you can have both but you need to prepare for it.
I know with me I don’t make a heap of money out of my purpose and I had to prepare for it. The way I prepared for it was working in a job that I didn’t necessarily enjoy or consider my purpose but it was able to provide me with that stability, I suppose, to then follow my heart and my purpose. Hopefully, I do hope that my writing and my blog will lead to a stable income but I’m not there yet.
I absolutely believe it’s possible. There are many examples of people doing it in the world. I hope it’s possible for me too. I am not averse to having to make money in other way if I need to. I don’t think people should be averse to that. You can still follow your purpose and passion and have a job that perhaps isn’t your purpose and passion. It may not be ideal but I think it’s one option.
What’s a decision or action, you made in the past to get you on course that you would make again?
It’s probably going after a really crazy dream.
About two and a half years ago, my boyfriend and I were living in Australia. We had 2 apartments; we each had a job that was fairly well-paid but nothing crazy. It was actually him that came up with this idea that we would travel indefinitely and follow our passions.
He’s a designer, I’m a writer and we would do that. It just seems like such a wild crazy dream that it just wasn’t possible. We had 2 mortgages, we had bills piling up on the kitchen counter, and we didn’t have a lot of money saved. It just seems like there is absolutely no way we’re going to go from this to that.
But sure enough, we did. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of belief that it was possible, that we really had to muster up. A lot of the time I really didn’t know that was possible but we just kept supporting each other and stepping towards it.
Obviously we had to make big changes, like we stopped spending money. We changed our life completely. He worked two jobs, I took on extra hours, we sold our homes, and we sold all our stuff. It was very, very drastic. From the outside, it probably looks like we were crazy, but I would absolutely do it again.
I hope I don’t have to because I don’t intend to get a job and a lot of stuff again, but yes, I would do it again.
It was the scariest, craziest thing I’ve ever done yet it was absolutely the best thing.
Overall, what was the support that you received from your community? Were you encouraged or discouraged?
It was mixed.
I wouldn’t say discouraged, but I’m don’t come from a wealthy family. My family is about seeking security, financial security and owning your own home. That’s the way my mother was brought up and that’s the way I was brought up.
Going against that is a little confronting for people. It’s only out of worry perhaps, and care and love that people are concerned for you if you’re making a drastic choice like that. I just think that if you haven’t done something before and if the people around you haven’t known anyone to have done what you’re doing, it’s hard for them to support you, but they’re not going to place you into the fire.
The support—I actually found it online. Through my blog, I started following all these blogs of people who had done it before, like it was normal for them. That’s how I gained the courage to do it myself. It was just that other people had done it and written about and shared about it and showed that it was possible.
So while the support in my real-life community maybe wasn’t huge, online there’s huge support. So I think I had a bit of both.
In terms of the obstacles that you faced, would you be able to rattle off a couple of the major ones that you faced in making this transition?
I think the financial obstacle is huge. It’s something that I see a lot in people. So that was probably the biggest one.
I will say that I do believe that anything is possible for a lot of people, especially a lot of people in the Western world who are living that normal kind of life of working and they have an income. So that was probably the biggest hurdle.
For me, it was just a complete change in how I handled money and how I spent money. It’s just once I had this dream, anything that I spent that wasn’t for the dream had to go. It had to be about affording the dream.
I was a shopper and a spender; I’d go out for a hundred-dollar lunches. All of that just had to go. Thankfully, it just fell away because the dream was so important that I didn’t mind. My friends minded and some people did mind when I couldn’t go out and do things with them. But you just have to keep your eye on the prize and it was absolutely worth it. So I think financial is probably the biggest one.
Fear, fear of failure, is probably the next biggest one. I don’t know how you deal with that except just know that it’s normal. I was absolutely terrified. As much as I wanted this, I was also very, very afraid that it would all end badly.
I imagined all the worst case scenarios. All I could do was go with the worst case scenario that I do fail and I don’t like it. I don’t become a writer, my boyfriend and I break up, I’ll have to come home and live with my mom. Is that really that bad? The answer was no. I’d rather risk that.
So I think they’re the two biggest ones- fear and finances.
In terms of your emotional obstacles like fear, what were some of the tools that you’ve deployed to manage those obstacles?
I did actually go to see a psychologist before we left, because I was just—the fear was just crazy. I really didn’t know which voice to listen to- the voice of “follow the dream, take the risk” or “don’t do this, what are you thinking, you’re an idiot.”
I just needed an objective third party just to talk through this stuff. It was a great help for me just to be out at lay it all out there, lay out the fears. It doesn’t have to be a therapist. You can do this with a trusted friend or a mentor or just for yourself.
It’s really getting the fears out of your head and down on paper or out into the world and picking them apart for what they are. Most of time, the fears are pretty unfounded, to be honest.
Q. What’s different about you, now that you’re living your purpose, versus when you weren’t?
I feel that my external life is a true reflection of my internal life, which I never felt before. So that’s where it’s at for me.
It’s a whole package. I don’t have to be show up in the world on this day as someone, and then go home and become myself. I can be who I am all the time and reflect that through my writing and through the different projects that I’m creating.
Because of that, I get to grow into myself and I am absolutely still growing into myself. It’s like this seamless life I never experienced before and, as a result, I’m much happier. I feel a sense of freedom.
My boyfriend and I were talking about this the other day. I wake up in the morning and there’s this excitement for the day, like “What’s the day going bring?” Even if I have to work on something or show up for something, it’s an excitement, it’s not a dread.
I used to wake up and drag myself out of bed and put my uniform on and go to work. I just had to muster up all my energy just to be okay with that and I didn’t even know there’s anything wrong with that. I thought that was normal. So now I’m just very, very grateful that it isn’t like that.
How is your impact on the world changed since you’re living your purpose, in your opinion?
I think it’s changed tremendously.
I think when you show up in the world as yourself authentically, it changes people.
That’s just how it is. That’s how it’s been for people who have influenced me. It’s all about the honesty, about their struggles as well as their triumphs.
I have a community through my writing and through my blog that I created. It’s a community of people who want to live authentic lives and who have been through struggles and who are in need of healing.
It’s just amazing to connect with people and receiving emails from people going “You really helped me,” or “I can really relate and I feel less alone.” For me, that’s rewarding.
In terms of the idea of work and your purpose, what do you think the relationship is there? Do you think that the purpose has to be work-related? Or is there room to have purpose outside of that?
I don’t think it has to be work-related.
For me, I would like it to be. But there’s just so much room for what your purpose is. It could well be being a mother, it could be having a family, it could be painting, it could be volunteering. So no, it absolutely doesn’t have to be connected to work.
In my instance, I would like it to be but I think that’s really up to the individual.
What you feel are the ingredients in your success for transitioning into your soul purpose? What advice would you give people who are seeking their own soul purpose?
I think an important one is surrounding yourself, either in person or online, with people who are also on a path to living their purpose. For me, it’s the biggest motivator when you’re just on your own and your trial of your purpose to discover what it is.
We have to look inside for the answers absolutely, but I think having a community of people who are also doing it is really, really vital. So online, blogs and forums, even in your community, there might be places to meet and people who really want to live their purpose.
I think that’s really, really important to just encourage each other. We should all be encouraging everyone to live their purpose, no matter what it is.
Any final thoughts or anything message you’d like to send anyone who’s watching this video?
Just don’t give up. I don’t believe it’s an easy road. I definitely believe it’s worthwhile. There are always stumbling blocks and there will absolutely be moments when you will question everything about yourself and your purpose. I think that is completely part of it but don’t give up.
Have your moments, have your cry, have your crisis—I had one yesterday—and keep going, take another step.
We just never know what’s ahead of us, but if we give up, well then we don’t know what’s ahead of us.