Carolyne Taylor is a community builder and event planner. Carolyne is living in her purpose. Check out the interview for the surprising, yet simple advice she gives for finding yours.
Q. Before we get started into the juicy questions, can you tell our viewers who you are and what you do?
I am an event producer and community builder. I think it’s the best way to describe what I do. I do a number of different events here in Victoria, primarily person-to-person in-stage events, face-to-face events. So the Victoria Yoga Conference is one of those and then YoUnlimited is another one, which is a place where women can connect with each other. Then I do have a bunch of different clients that I work with as an event planner and producer for as well.
Q. When you hear the words “soul purpose,” what does that mean to you? How would you define that?
Well, I think being a yogi myself, I think of the word “dharma,” which is your soul purpose. That’s the work that you’re meant to do in this world. I don’t know. It’s kind of the thing that takes away when you’re doing something. It just takes you away and then all of a sudden, you realize that the day is over and you’re doing it. I think that’s your soul purpose.
So being a yogi, I think that a soul purpose to me is also described as your dharma and that’s the work that you’re meant to do in the world. To me, that kind of work is the kind of work that you’re doing when, at the end of the day, you think that five minutes has gone by and it’s been eight hours.
Q. Do you know what your purpose is?
My purpose is to build community.
Q. Do you think that everybody has a soul purpose?
Yeah, I think they do actually. I know they do. I would say that some people haven’t uncovered what their soul purpose is yet, or they knew it a long time ago and they forgot what it was because other things got in the way. But I think, yes, everybody has a soul purpose.
Q. How did you get clear on what your purpose is? Can you tell us a little bit about what your process was around that?
I would have to say that I always—I can remember being at a leadership event. Gosh, it must be like 15 years ago. It was just when workshops and retreats and all that became like the thing to do. It was a Women’s Leadership Weekend and one of the questions that they asked was, “What is your purpose?” Just right away, I was like, “My purpose is to build community.” I can remember a woman looking at me like, “How do you just know that?” I was like, “I don’t know. I just know.”
I think I learned it from my mom. She’s always been connecting people, bringing people together, staying in touch with people, writing people’s stories. She’s written some books of different people’s stories over the years. I think I just have always done it. It’s just I didn’t have to uncover it. It was just always there.
Q. You mentioned it a little bit but just elaborate a little bit more. In terms of living in your purpose, how do you know? You said the time flies. Is there any other indicators or sort of clues?
It doesn’t feel like work. I think a lot of purpose is what we’re meant to do here in this world and a lot of that people would define that is your work. For me, that doesn’t feel like work. Some might say that I have no work-life balance because I’m always working, which really I am not.
But I think that you just feel like you’re on purpose and you’re on track and you’re doing what needs to be done and it’s the right thing. I think too that things come to you. So if you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, things show up on your path that are the things that need to lead you to the next thing.
Q. That kind of actually leads me into my next questions. 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? What’s your take on that?
That’s a hard one because what you do has to be valued by somebody, to bring that income by it. I think that that actually starts with valuing yourself. So I think that you have to value the works that you do in the world as your passion in order for somebody else to value it. So I think that that monetary transfer takes place when somebody values what you do.
I don’t know if that answers your question or not… But I do think that you can do what you’re passionate about and make a good living doing it. Lots of people are doing that.
Q. What’s a decision or action that you made in the past to get you sort of on course that you would make again?
I quit, I guess what you would call, my corporate job. It was with municipal government. I just knew that that wasn’t where I was meant to be. There was a bunch of different signs that led me to that decision, but the biggest one was that I wanted to be home with my son when he finished school at the end of the day. He was getting too old for daycare and I just didn’t want him to come home alone. So that was a big choice in terms of rather than becoming an employee, to become an entrepreneur and to have my own business.
Once I made that decision, everything fell into place and opportunities came up and ideas came to me. Some would say that I never am short of ideas but just different things came up. I trust my gut and I trust my intuition. So I would say the biggest thing was quitting my job. There were certainly people that were like, “My gosh, you’re giving up a pension and you’re giving up this and that.” I could still be there today but I’m really glad that I’m not. I’m really glad that I made that choice.
Q. In terms of that transition overall, would you say that you felt supported and encouraged or discouraged by your community in terms of following your purpose?
I was encouraged for sure. Even the people that were concerned that I was giving up a pension were so like, “Yay! Go, do it!” I was certainly encouraged by the people that were then my supervisors and my managers. They knew that I was meant to do different and bigger and better things in the world.
Q. What’s been hard and what are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in transitioning to what you’re doing now?
I would say that the hardest for me, the biggest thing for me is having too many ideas and being able to choose like, “What do I do next?” Delegation has been a bit of an issue for me because I like to have hands on and I like to do everything.
Only recently have I sat down and decided, especially with YoUnlimited and actually with the Yoga Conference as well, that I’m going to have a leadership team so I’m not going to do everything. So there’ll be people who are in charge of different areas and it means I have to let go and trust that everything will be good. So far, so good. It’s been awesome.
Q. How do you deal with those tough times on an emotional level? What helps you get through your obstacles and how do you cope?
I like walking in the woods. I like sitting by the beach. I just got back from Mexico. I love to walk with my feet in the water at the ocean. The Pacific Ocean is my favorite place. I just feel pretty grounded. I have a yoga practice not as often as I would love to do. But I do get outside. I have lots and lots and lots of fabulous community and friends which make all the difference in the world. Somebody’s always got my back.
Q. What’s different about you now that you’re living in your purpose?
Different about me than when I wasn’t? Even when I was working in what I would say as corporate, I think I was still living in my purpose. I was bringing in new initiatives and new ideas and making ways for people to be able to communicate better with each other.
I don’t know if I’ve ever not been living in my purpose, honestly. I think things have taken me off my path a little bit where I’ve been distracted. So I would say I’ve been very strongly on my path for the last four years and not letting as many things come in, that take me away from it. That can be hard.
I’m a grandma. I’ve got two little granddaughters and they moved to Alberta. So that’s going to be part of my life now, like traveling to Alberta every month hopefully, but just being super focused on what I’m meant to be doing in the world and being really clear.
Q. Now looking outwards, how would you say that your impact on the world has changed since you’ve been living in your purpose?
I don’t think we fully realize the impact that we have on the world honestly. It was funny it was my birthday yesterday and somebody brought me my horoscope for the year, if today’s your birthday thing. It talked about not knowing the impact that we have on the world.
I think that I do little things everyday that I do to make my world a better place or the people in my world’s world a better place. I think that has a ripple effect. I try to be thoughtful and mindful. A big part of what I like to do is let people’s light shine and bring their light into the world. So I’m always looking for ways to do that and then practicing random acts of kindness.
I often will buy coffee for the person behind me in the Starbucks line, if I’m in my car, not in person, because that could get awkward. But yeah, if I’m in the drive-thru, I try to do that. I just hope that—somebody did that for me once and I know the impact it had on me. It was super emotional for some reason. I thought, “You know what, I need to do that. Every time I go through this drive-thru, I’m going to buy the person behind me coffee.”
So that little thing is living in my purpose and I don’t know what kind of impact it has. I know the impact that the person that bought me the first one did. I was like, “Oh that was quite something. I wonder if I could have that impact on somebody.”
Q. This idea of purpose and work, can you explain your perspective on whether that can be separate or not?
Whether your purpose and your work can be separate? No, I guess I think of—that’s a good question. I think of work as service, I guess, and our service to the world, whether it’s paid work or it’s working as a mother and raising children. Somebody said something really interesting to me at the Hero Work, last renovation that they did. She said that her grandma on her wall had a thing that said that, “Service is the rent we pay for a time here on earth.”
I think our work is our service. It’s complex. I think our work is our purpose, I think our purpose is our work and our work is our service, I think it’s all intertwined. I think our work isn’t even what we do in our off-time in our community with our volunteering or whatever that might be. It’s complicated. I don’t know.
Q. What would you say would be like ingredients for success or advice that you would give anybody who’s exploring their own soul purpose?
The word that comes to me is “listen.”
That’s a combination of listening to yourself and, I think, also asking others who know you well and listening to what they say because they sometimes see things in you that you don’t see in yourself or that you’re not willing to see in yourself.
I just started reading Tara Mohr’s book, “Playing Big.” I think for a lot of reasons a lot of us have played small at one time in our life and we don’t see in ourselves. In her introduction, she talks about how somebody sees a woman doing this and that and the other thing and you think, “Wow! She’s doing all of that stuff in the world and how great that is.” She said that’s how other people see you but you don’t see yourself.
So I think listening to yourself but also listening to others who see. When I say listening to yourself, it’s like when something feels yucky and when something feels frustrating or boring or whatever, those are all messages, just like when something feels happy and when time flies by.
Q. Any last thoughts for anybody watching this?
I just want to thank you for the work that you’re doing in the world because I’ve watched some of your interviews and you’re clearly living your purpose. It’s awesome.