By Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith
For many years, I had not tapped into my soul purpose. I was not living the life and doing the type of work that I was supposed to be doing. Now that I have found it, my book BORN TO DO IT: BECOMING THE LEADER OF A BUSINESS NICHE USING POWERFUL SPIRIRTUAL TECHNIQUES, shows you how you can find yours, too and start living your dream.
My original life plan, which involved writing my PhD, becoming a doctor, working within the world of academia and living in Wales, U.K. forever, went out the window when I began working for the Abertoir Horror Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales. Whilst I was writing my book BORN TO DO IT, it’s only now that I realize that my life has changed so drastically from my original plan. I live in the United States and over the past 10 years, have built an established niche brand within the independent film industry.
This is an amazing feeling — which you will experience too, if you put the work in. Here’s the golden rule – in order to become the leader of a business niche and a successful entrepreneur, the first thing that you have to do – before you do absolutely anything else – is to discover what your soul purpose is (also known as your ‘why’).
What Is A Soul Purpose?
Amanda Linette Meder explains that your soul purpose is the reason why you are here on Earth. It is your soul purpose that gives you that drive and discipline to do the job that you were born to do. Amanda explains that the soul purpose is what keeps most people aligned to their truth, motivated to wake up in the morning, and it often gives businesses and entrepreneurs their customer base.
She explains that your customers will see in you what your purpose is, and that it will keep them coming back. When you are living your soul purpose, your job never feels like work. Why? It’s as simple as truly loving what you do. And when people witness you doing what you love (aka what you were born to do), others will want to follow you and your work—both as a client and as a member of your team.
It is very important to remember that EVERYONE has a soul purpose within them. It is not something that only a handful of people have. Everyone was born and put on this Earth to do something. Your soul purpose is inside just waiting to be discovered. It is a deep inner calling that is unique to each and every individual on the planet.
Licia Rester and Kirk Souder in their book, The Soul Purpose Method, explain that the three key ways in which a soul purpose presents itself are:
- Feeling vibrantly alive (that thing that gets us out of bed each morning)
- Learning and growing (committing to giving our all)
- Being of service by making a meaningful contribution to the world
In this case, as we are exploring the term soul purpose within a business context, it means making a meaningful contribution to your niche and filling a gap within your industry. It is your knowledge, gifts and expertise that will help to expand and deepen it.
One of the hardest things to do in your life will be to identify your soul purpose, as it’s not always obvious at first. And it’s also not often something which you consciously look for either.
Meder suggests that a way to do this is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there an activity that makes you lose all sense of time?
- Is there a craft that you work on where when you step into it, hours pass?
- What do you wake up drawn to?
She advises taking a few days, a week, or even a month to observe what brings you joy and excitement. When you have found that thing and begin living your gift, time becomes irrelevant. In fact, you might find yourself working well past dinner and straight through lunch. She explains that your soul’s mission on Earth is to find out how to live your purpose with the most joy, love and happiness imbued into it, whilst you are living your dream.
Planting the Seed and Finding Your ‘Why’
Essentially, every business owner who wakes up every day excited to start their day of work is living their soul purpose. As an example, a colleague of mine, a film producer named Charlotte, explains below how she discovered her soul purpose:
‘I owe my entire filmmaking career to my Mum. Not just for being supportive and helpful and believing in me and my crazy ideas, but for actually suggesting working in film. My entire plan (seriously, since the age of 4) had been to work in theatre. Both my parents work in theatre so it was my whole world. I went from wanting to be a dancer, to lighting designer to stage manager. I trained in stage management, did work experience at some incredible places, but it was one last work experience job that ruined it for me. So, after 2 years of finishing my A Levels, living in Germany and moping around, my Mum said, “well you like watching TV, why don’t you work in TV?”⠀⠀⠀
That then became film after I got onto the BFI Academy at Rural Media and realised how much I loved producing. It was like I’d found my ‘thing’ and knew exactly what I was meant to do. So I signed up to a couple of job sites and marketed myself as a producer. Within 6 months, I’d produced 3 short films and was off. My goal was to get 10 credits by the end of the year, I’d done it by September. I think you know when you’ve found what you’re meant to do, and it’s almost impossible not to put everything you have into it⠀⠀⠀⠀
Since then, I’ve produced shorts, a radio program, developed features, walked away from projects and still not worked in TV, all thanks to my Mum.’ Although Charlotte hasn’t used the words soul purpose in her story (as at the time she wrote it she was not aware of the concept either until I explained it to her), what she describes is the process of how one discovers it.
Charlotte’s story demonstrates that other people can help you identify what your soul purpose is, too. She explains that it was her mother who helped to plant the seed and lead her towards this venture. Her story also shows that when you’ve found your ‘why’ (or as she describes it ‘her thing’), it is the driving force in everything that you do, and in her case, it was film producing.
The Moment You Discover It
Personally, I took a huge life-changing risk to make my business work and it was my soul purpose that was the invisible driving force behind the decision to start my business; The Film Festival Doctor, instead of pursuing a career in academia. My soul purpose gave me the confidence to not give up or listen to the people telling me that The Film Festival Doctor wouldn’t work. Instead, I chose to believe in myself 100% and charge forward in order to get it off of the ground. When your soul purpose intuitively tells you that this is what you need to do, nothing will not stop you or hold you back.
When I began working for the Abertoir Horror Festival, I soon realized that I had a passion for the film industry, however, not once or in a million years, did I think my soul purpose would be within the film festival niche…
The Film Festival Doctor would not exist if the Director of the Abertoir Horror Festival; Gaz Bailey, had not created his wonderful film festival – and that’s a fact – so in a way, he’s not only partly responsible for helping create my business, but is also the person who helped me discover my soul purpose. Sometimes I find myself thinking: What if Gaz had never created the Abertoir Horror Festival?’ If he hadn’t, then I would still probably be working within the world of academia and ultimately, not doing something that I was passionate about.
A bit of background: The Abertoir Horror Festival is one of the most unique ‘one-of-a-kind’ film festivals in the world. It not only screens cutting edge and outstanding horror films but it also incorporates theatre, live presentations, book readings and a live music.
I have so many amazing memories of the festival that I could share but it’s important to note that during all of the fun and madness during this time, I began to take film festivals and filmmakers more seriously. And it was at this point where The Film Festival Doctor was conceived. The project management related skills that I learned and developed whilst writing my PhD helped me to identify that there was a huge gap within the film festival world that needed to be filled.
The frequently reoccurring ‘common problem’ that I had picked up on, was that filmmakers needed help getting their films seen at festivals. Specifically, they didn’t know how to a) create a festival strategy for their film, b) which festivals they should submit their film to, and c) who to talk to that could help them solve this problem. Tapping into my soul purpose, I knew that person was me. I was committed to learning how to create festival strategies and how festivals worked behind the scenes, while also working within the film festival arena.
I felt that I was in my element when I was attending other film festivals and working for the Abertoir Horror Festival. I felt more alive and inspired. I found that the hours flew by. I was doing exactly what I was put on this Earth to do. Suddenly, this made me question whether or not academia was my passion. Is that what I really wanted to do? It was difficult, but I came to the realization that deep down, it wasn’t. I noticed that when I had previously attended academic conferences, I wasn’t as engaged as other academics were. I didn’t feel like I was part of their world or on the same wavelength as everyone else.
I remember one of my friends saying ‘I just love the world of academia there is no other industry like it, is there?’ and that was when my gut instinct told me that this just wasn’t for me. I didn’t love academia. I wasn’t emotionally connected to it. It didn’t excite me — and I didn’t see it being something that I could do for hours, getting lost in excitement about the work through lunch and dinner. It wasn’t that something that I was supposed to be doing.
Academia is certainly very interesting, it holds an incredible amount of value and I’m proud of my PhD thesis, however, I didn’t have a deep-rooted interest within it and I didn’t share my colleague’s passions. I began to question why did I want to go into academia in the first place? Did I feel like I had to as further education was what everyone else was doing after graduating from college? Simply put, my heart just wasn’t in it to continue working further in academia or as a career. It’s important to ask questions like this throughout your journey — and it’s also okay to change your mind.
Everything Happens for a Reason
If I hadn’t have gone down the path of writing my PhD, then I would never have known how to identify gaps in the market and create award-winning film festival strategies for our clients. The day after Abertoir finished for the second year, I just knew that the world of academia was no longer nurturing or feeding my soul’s purpose. So, I had to let it go and listen to the messages which the divine was trying to get through to me. As I became more and more involved with Abertoir, I made the commitment to see my PhD through to the end, while also getting my business off of the ground. 10 years later it’s still going strong… I’d like to think that this is proof in the magic that happens when you tap into your soul purpose.
So, continue to ask yourself ‘why?’ Don’t stop searching for that thing that brings your joy. Keep moving forward and never look back. You may not know exactly what lies ahead but tuning into your soul purpose can help lead you to a lifetime of happiness and success.
Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith (aka Rebekah Film Dr) is an award-winning consultant and media personality with more than ten years of film festival strategy consulting experience. Smith and the hard-working team behind her company, The Film Festival Doctor, are creators of success who are committed to nurturing filmmakers to help them secure film festival screenings, win notable awards and earn positive recognition within the industry. Currently, her company has won more than 1,000 awards for their clients and her team has supported nearly 850 creatives across the world.
In her honest, detailed, and personal debut book, Born to Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques, Smith records her hard-won knowledge to help individuals pondering the leap into entrepreneurship and those already on the journey, but are yearning for more success and profitability. To find out more, visit www.rebekahlouisasmith.com or connect with Rebekah on Instagram @rebekahfilmdr.