Lori Fields is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Entrepreneur and Personal Development Coach. In This Interview- Lori shares her experiences with her soul purpose and those of her clients.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do right now for work and in your life?
My name is Lori Fields. By trade, I’m a licensed clinical social worker. I have my own coaching practice which is called Your Worthy Self. But beyond that, I’m a mom and I have three little kids (they’re 5, 3 and 1). I’m a wife and I live in New York City.
I think since an early age I was born as a person on a quest to sort of figure out what living on purpose and living deliberately looks like. I think that kind of summarizes who I am. I’m a woman on that journey.
Q. When you hear the words “soul purpose,” what does that mean to you? How would you define that for yourself?
I think soul purpose means—I think what comes up first is “living deep”. Early on, in high school, I came across and was lucky enough to be introduced to the Transcendental movement, which is reading Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. And I always say I was bit by the bug early on, in terms of really wanting to figure out what seizing the moment, seizing your life, living deep, and living in a way that feels like it’s such an authentic representation of who you really are.
And that is different for every single person which is why I love it so much—and in my coaching work with women we always talk about that. Like there’s not one way.
It’s not about perfection; it’s not about looking around to see who someone else is. And I think those things help us. We sort of look around and get a sense of what we like and what we’re attracted to and what it feels like it’s fulfilling to us. At the end of the day and at the end of your life, soul purpose is about figuring out at every turn who you’re being, and whether it’s aligned with who you’re feel like it was you were meant to be.
Q. Do you know what your purpose is?
I do. I said “I do” before I know what I’m going to say afterwards. I do.
My purpose is helping women feel worthy of who they really are. I think that’s sort of the big statement. And that looks like a lot of different things: sometimes it’s coaching sessions with somebody, sometimes it’s a conversation with someone on Facebook, sometimes it’s helping out a friend.
I am—how do I say this the best way?—I am continually frustrated sometimes and pissed off that women are so hard on themselves and that women were so quick to second-guess who we are and what we want, and we make ourselves feel bad for the smallest little things and we get trapped in our own cycles of guilt of limiting beliefs and all this stuff. And I think that if I can play even the tiniest role in helping out women really feel good about who she really is without even needing to change a thing, without having to be better, without having to be more, without having to overcome certain things—that exactly who you are right now is enough and it’s everything.
And when you actually believe that you’re worthy of being your real self, all those things in your life start to change.
Things become easier, and it becomes easier to reach your goals and even start creating shifts in your life to have it look the way you want. Most of the things that happen to us in our life, I believe, are a result of where we fall in the spectrum of worthiness. So if your life is feeling disconnected or if you think you’re not really getting what you want, there’s a much deeper story going on about what you really feel about yourself in terms of your self-worth.
So my purpose is helping a woman figure that out and really arrive on the other side of finally feeling good about who she really is.
Q. Do you think that everybody has a soul purpose?
I do. I think there’s many people who don’t always know the value of it and don’t always—I don’t think everybody lives their life on the same level at all. I think everybody operates on the frequency that feels right for them. So I think that we all have it; I don’t think everybody’s interested in knowing what it is, or changing their life to be able to live inside of that. I think that everybody’s sort of here, in your moment right now of being alive, for very different reasons. And I think some people’s journey here right now is about really aligning yourself with that. But I don’t think it’s for everybody.
Q. How did you get clear on what your purpose is? What was your process around that?
I’m still going through it. It’s ever evolving.
For me I really do feel like (I think) I was born as a creature knowing that I had a deep purpose and that I couldn’t live any other way without sort of always being in that journey of what it was. That said, I think it takes a while. It took a while for me. I’ll speak for me; it took a while to figure out exactly what that was going to manifest itself to and what it was going to look like.
I can say, for me, I’ve always known that I am a deeply emotional, sensitive, and intuitive person. So when I make choices in my life, they typically come from a place of just knowing, like this feels right. As I sort of used that as my gauge for making choices, I think it just sort of led me down this path.
I’m also—I’m really big into self-exploration. I’ve been into therapy; I’ve been a therapist myself. I’m a licensed clinical social worker. And I asked myself the big, deep questions all the time just because that’s how I operate. So I think it’s just been years and years of a journey of saying “Does this feel right?”, and if something’s feeling off, “What is that about?” and “Does this really feel like I’m inside of who I am?”
I ask myself these things and continue to, because I think the whole journey evolves all the time. We’re always, I think, a different version of ourselves. So I think just checking in—and I would say this to anyone on a quest, to sort of be on this journey, that I don’t think there’s an endpoint, and I think that it’s constant mindfulness practice of checking in with yourself and asking the deep questions of “Does this feel like it’s aligned for me with a place deep and good?”
Q. In terms of living your purpose, how do you know that you are living in it?
I don’t. Maybe I’m not.
I’ll give you just a quick little example in my business, because it’s just very real and it’s sort of coming to me at the moment. I run my own business. So there’s days like any entrepreneur out there where sometimes I feel like, you know, “It’s too hard, it’s too much, I’m overwhelmed, I’m just going to go get a job at Whole Foods and just talk with people all day—” Not that that would even be so much easier, but you know what I mean. There are days when you feel like, “You know what? I’m overwhelmed by it and maybe there’s something that could feel easier for me.”
So I’ll have these moments of extreme overwhelm, and also sort of being a mom with 3 kids and factoring those things in, it’s easy to get caught up in all those things that need to happen and be overwhelmed by that. So I will have moments then where I say to myself, “I want to give myself a little break, like for the next week I’m not going to do it. I’m going to go for a jog and read the book I want to read and go easy on myself. I’m going to ease up on the pressure I have on myself as it relates to work.”
Sure enough, the moment I do that all of a sudden I’m flooded with inspiration and what I wanted—like I can’t stop. I think that’s kind of how you know. Like the point is, every time I get overwhelmed then I say “I’m throwing in the towel”—and I don’t think I’m really going to throw in the towel, but it’s just how I feel. All of a sudden, I can’t stop. It’s like I couldn’t stop it but if I tried or if I wanted to, and I keep coming back to this place all the time. And I know.
I know that whether I were just doing this for free or whether it ends up being something extremely lucrative for me, I know it doesn’t matter. I have a message that I have to send, and my mission is to send it and to be that messenger here. So whatever that looks like, that’s awesome.
Like I can’t do anything else, I can’t imagine not doing this.
Q. What impact do you feel that there is on one’s finances as it relates to living in your purpose? Do we have to choose between money and passion?
That is a gigantic question. I definitely don’t know if you have to choose between money and passion. I’ve seen many, many examples where you absolutely don’t have to, and I’m going to believe that you don’t have to. But I also think that everybody’s journey looks different. So sometimes—I don’t want to answer that.
I don’t think that living in your passion 100% for every single person is going to look like the way they imagined it was going to look.
I think that it looks the way it has to look for you, and I think that’s for everyone to figure out. But I absolutely believe that stepping inside your worthiness—which is also a place for you of feeling like you’re worthy of living your deepest passion, your highest calling—I think that that is absolutely the place for you that will deliver the most amount of abundance that you have in this lifetime.
I think those 2 elements coming together, feeling like you deserve it—because I think so many of us hold ourselves back because we think “I should just go get a job” because you think it’s safe and secure and it’s going to deliver a set thing. And you think that if you live your passion and your purpose it’s kind of a luxury for people, that like have it easy or are lucky or happy or whatever it is.
I think that living your purpose might be one of the hardest things to do in life. I think it’s also one of the things—that leveraging exactly who you are meant to be is your best chance for success across the board of your life, whether it’s finances, a happy marriage, being the kind of mom you want to be, whatever it is. That living in your deep passion, feeling really fulfilled with how you’re living your life is your best chance for success.
But I don’t know what it’s going to look like, money-wise, for each person. But I guess I do feel like that is the place that sort of delivers the most amount of abundance.
Q. What’s a decision or action that you made in the past to get you on your path that you would absolutely make again?
I would say being part of a group of women in business. It was actually the first move I made when I wanted to run my own business and I didn’t know what that looked like. I joined a group that met in person in New York City once a week, just for a month. That was a four-week thing.
I always talk about this because it was completely life-changing for me. It was the first time in my life that I was part of a group of women whose sole purpose—not S-O-U-L, but S-O-L-E—was to come together and support one another, and to help another believe in what could be possible for them. And I’ve never been part of a group like that before. It was completely groundbreaking for me. I left that group knowing that—I think anytime you can surround yourself with a group of people that are truly supportive and are on (sort of) the same journey, I think the power of women coming together is extraordinary.
So yes, I would do that a million times over. I love being around other women who are real and authentic and trying to live their best life. It’s really inspiring to me.
Q. In terms of your own community, overall would you say that you felt encouraged or discouraged in terms of pursuing your own purpose and finding your passion?
Yes, I think I would say mostly—no, I feel completely supported. I think that sometimes I exist on a level where I don’t always feel like people get me. I think that sometimes I can be pretty intense and it scares people.
But as far as feeling supported, I feel 100% supported, and I will say that my husband so often, in the midst of whether we might be having a fight or disagreement or bad moment (or whatever it is), I always feel like the greatest gift for me in us being together is the fact that he will do anything to support me, and he always makes me feel like I got be who I need to be and he’s completely supportive of that. It’s amazing.
Q. What have been some of the challenges that you’ve encountered into transitioning to what you’re doing now?
I think what’s been hard is learning how to be a good entrepreneur, whatever good means.
There are so many areas to figure out, and not just to learn about but also to learn about whether that even resonates with you. Because it’s really easy to see how other people are doing things, and sometime you want to jump on board because it feels like “Oh, everybody’s doing this, so that seems like it’s the next best thing to do.” And I think you can learn very quickly that when you do that and it doesn’t resonate with you or doesn’t feel like your way, you end up not doing a great job, you end up procrastinating. It ends up feeling harder than it should probably feel for you and your business.
So I think for me the hardest thing is staying true to what feels like it’s a true reflection of who I am as a business person.
And I think too, getting the help that you need—I’m sort of in that place right now with myself. I was like, “Okay, I know that to grow where I want to grow, I can’t do everything by myself anymore.” Nor do I even want to. I think being smart about strategy and helping yourself through—it’s one of the places where I work with entrepreneurs too and talking about giving yourself the help you need has so much to do with whether you feel like you’re worthy of reaching your goals. So this is a big place of, a big learning moment in business of getting the help that you need.
Q. How do you personally deal with tough times on an emotional level? What helps you get through the obstacles that you’re faced with?
I think the number one thing that I’ve incorporated into my—I call it my worthiness practice now—is I think of it in terms of it really being a daily practice. That it’s much more about being in the present moment with how you’re showing up and who you’re being and what that’s really about. But there’s so much power there in these small moments that I find it—and it’s also less scary, because I think sometimes when you talk about making big changes in your life it can often feel really overwhelming, really scary, and it can be immobilizing. You don’t know. “What do I do next?”
But I think for me, when I come across moments that feel really challenging or emotionally difficult for me, it’s about “Okay, what’s really going on for me? What am I really reacting to? What is triggering this mood? What’s triggering this experience?”
And one of the number one things that I work with my clients on and myself is about radical self-acceptance. That this is part of the journey. The challenges are just as important as the victories. So those are the moments where you also have the opportunity to learn a tremendous amount about yourself.
Often the challenges can give you more room to grow than things are just going pretty good or going great. So it’s the daily practice of checking in, getting clear on what is it about, “Why am I reacting like that?”, self-accepting that maybe I’m just in a bad place and I have to be in this bad place, and if I fight against it it’s going to make it worse—but if I just accept that this is what it is at the moment everything feels easier to manage, and it doesn’t mess up all the other things in my life. Like I can be here and accept that and I don’t have to act it out (like all over the place), and I try to be mindful of taking care of myself.
I always encourage the women I work with to have a worthiness practice in terms of eating healthy, in terms of working out, whatever it’s going to look like for each person. I think we all have ways in which we know that we can set the condition for taking care of ourselves better. So when you do that, you manage all the other stuff.
Q. What would you say is different about you, now that you’re here and living your purpose versus when you felt like you weren’t?
Everything. That’s a general answer, but I really mean everything.
When I wasn’t living my purpose, what it looked like was socially isolating myself, not feeling very good physically—like about my body, body image issues—allowing body image issues to dictate whether or not I was going to go out or be social, disordered eating. Definitely not feeling in control, like definitely doing some binge eating. Dating the wrong guys, you know, looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places kind of thing. All the big areas for me, of my life, were off.
I think I was slightly depressed, maybe, without even realizing that I was. I think I just felt off in all those areas. And that 100% not how I feel.
Now do I still have emotional days, and like days when I feel overwhelmed or days where the self-doubt creeps in?. That stuff, absolutely. But because I’m in a much—in such a noticeably different place with loving myself, with feeling like I’m living on purpose doing what I was meant to do, that the way you manage those things looks and feel completely different. That you have methods now. You don’t beat yourself up because “I wasn’t my best self today” or “I ate this so now I feel bad about myself.” Those kinds of behaviors and ways of thinking have changed.
So it makes it easier then to manage all those other elements of your life. And I don’t know if I’m explaining it clearly, but it sort of changes everything.
Q. How has then your impact on the world changed? What’s the change in the impact you’re making on the world?
I definitely feel like, doing what I was meant to do has opened doors all over the place in terms of especially my connection with people. I feel like now I have a ridiculous amount of women, female friends. I go out a lot more. I have this great Facebook group which has thousands of people. And I think that it’s allowed me to connect with life in a much bigger way.
Q. Can you explain your perspective on living in your soul’s purpose and work? Do you feel that they can be separate? What’s your opinion on that?
I do feel like they can be separated. My view is probably skewed a little bit because I work in the area of helping people find their purpose and help them feel worthy of living on their purpose. I think I have the blinders on in terms of—like that’s what I see all the time.
But I don’t your work has to be your higher purpose by any means. I think that there’s—again, I think different kinds of people live in a way that feels right for them, and sometimes people can go to work doing something that’s okay for them or that maybe they like but it isn’t the deepest thing for them, and they have hobbies and other things and other ways of fulfilling what they feel like is a higher purpose. I don’t think the two have to be intertwined.
Q. What would you say are the ingredients for success? Or prescriptive advice that you would give anybody who is searching for their soul purpose in this moment.
I think step one is believing you have one. I think step two is believing you’re worthy of finding it. Because I think that’s a big thing that maybe goes under the radar. And I think giving yourself permission to even experiment and play—the way to find something is to give yourself a chance to find it. That’s very simple.
But I think sometimes we want something but then we don’t say, “Okay, maybe it takes being out of my comfort zone. Maybe it takes thinking about it a different way. Maybe it takes giving myself a new approach to finding it,” meaning go do something just because it seems silly and fun. Go try something because there’s just a tiny piece of you that’s just a little bit curious about it.
I think giving yourself more room to play and be curious and think of it as—I think sometimes we get really intense, like “I just want to find it already,” and we get impatient with it.
If you want to find it you can feel like “Why haven’t I found it already?” But giving yourself—asking yourself, “Am I really giving myself a chance in all these different ways to figure out what it is?”
Read different books, go to different movies, share with other people, maybe join a group. That absolutely worked for me. Join a group of people finding their purpose. Get yourself out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s just a small little way, and go try some things that you’re a little bit curious about. I think that anytime I think we all get whispers from the universe, all the time, about “Oh, that looks cool” or “Oh, I saw this person doing trapeze and that looked really fun” or “Oh, my friend just joined this group,” whatever it is.
Anything that comes into your mind as a thought of that seems interesting and fun, or “What did I dream of doing when I was 10 years old?” Those are there for a reason because they come from you. They’re a huge part of who you are. I think being able to sort of open that box a little bit.
If something interests you, it’s for a reason.It’s probably because your deeper purpose is trying to send you some indication that this could be the way. This could help you find your way.