You may have noticed that my last few blogs are about finding core purpose, passion and enjoyment. Although by a long shot I don’t know everything on the topics, I do have some expertise. That’s because I’ve spent the last five plus years trying to rediscover mine. To be clear, it’s not that the last five years have been devoid of passion. I’ve always been very enthusiastic and remained so even on this journey. However, I had this gnawing feeling that I was just going through the motions – and lots of them – without a sense of fulfillment. Something was missing and I needed to find it. My hope is that if you find yourself in similar circumstances, hearing my experience may be of value.
Quick disclaimer here: this wasn’t anybody’s fault. It wasn’t my job’s fault, it wasn’t my boss’s fault, it wasn’t my co-worker’s fault, it wasn’t my family’s fault (even you, Mom & Dad) and it wasn’t life’s fault. My core purpose had evolved, or at least become more focused, but I’d either been too busy to notice, or simply chose to ignore it. Regardless, the result was muted passion and enjoyment, not just in my professional life, but personally as well.
Being quite results-oriented, I thought to myself, “Fine, a couple sessions with a life coach or counselor and I should be good to go”. Wow, did I miss the extent of this journey! It sure seemed easy, or at least like it should be. After all, I was discovering myself, right? I should know myself better than anybody. The central question seemed pretty straightforward: What is the essence of Joel Sauer? That’s easy, it’s … um … hmmm … uh oh.
Turns out there’s a whole lot of clutter that can get in the way of discovery. For me, this “clutter” included: my upbringing and our family’s value systems – not just parents, but siblings as well; my religious education and the church culture; a lifetime of experience and the learned reward system; society as a whole and its accepted norms; a wife and family of my own and those unique relationships; and a busy full time job. Each of these powerful forces pushed values and beliefs into me that, after time, the origin of which became unrecognizable. Was that something I truly believed at my core, or was I taught to believe it? If the latter, do I really believe it? When the answer is no, there lies an internal conflict.
Let me reiterate that none of the above influences were evil or trying intentionally to mess me up, nor were they even wrong. It’s just that some of what I learned was out of sync with my own core belief system, which then created inconsistency. Seems rather simple, but sifting through all of this and determining what was mine versus what was pushed into me has taken enormous time and effort. In fact, I’m still sifting!! I am making progress though, to the point that I am using this awareness to direct both my personal and professional lives. Which is actually pretty cool and very rewarding.
For my journey I needed outside help (consultants, so to speak) and largely found it in several places. The main source is and was my wife, who has invested many more hours than me as a student in life. Between this formal education, her intimate knowledge of me, and her innate ability to interpret people, she is by far my greatest asset in life’s voyage. Beyond her I also consulted a business/personal coach and a psychologist. Each brought different and valuable perspectives to my learning, and really helped identify those things that tripped my trigger and those that simply sapped my energy. More importantly, being a very visual person, these experts helped me distinguish between metaphors of my ideal and that for which these images truly represent.
Perhaps the most dramatic step I took was a radical change in careers. I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but there wasn’t anything wrong with my old job, nor the people with whom I worked. Really! It was actually a great job and was infinitely valuable to me in its experiences and relationships. On the other hand, it was very demanding and required a lot of time. So much so that I didn’t have enough energy left for the personal work I was doing. Although an understatement to say my path was scary, the decision was clear.
As you might have already surmised, this was the genesis of Sauer Consulting, LLC. I took a couple months completely off in between; time to decompress and hone in a little more clearly. This was time very well spent – even though it was uncompensated, which is very unnatural for me! So now it’s just over a year later and, although I’m still working on it, I’ve become much more expert at identifying and attracting my kind of work, concentrating on those engagements that enflame my personal passions. In perfect harmony, it turns out that these are also what I’m best at. How sweet is that?
So in the final analysis my main passion is that of others. I’m inspired by it and can give it back enhanced. It doesn’t matter the focus of the passion either; it’s just the raw desire I find invigorating. (OK, if someone is passionate about bank fraud, I’m not helping out, but you get the point.) For those who have lost it, I’m energized to help rediscover purpose and direction.
The result of all of this is the formation of Sauer Consulting’s core purpose. It may change, probably not wholesale, but perhaps become even more focused. For now it is …
Sauer Consulting Core Purpose
Sauer Consulting will enable businesses to leverage their passion toward an overarching purpose to accomplish specific goals. For those without a focused core purpose, Sauer Consulting will help re-discover one and then passionately engage behind it. Ultimately, Sauer Consulting will be a valuable partner to its clients, helping them further their mission and thus leaving the broader community a better place.