In her first book, Dooley relates to women by telling her own story, uniting them as individuals who each have something to give. Her message applies to women both in business and in life.
Jordan Lee Dooley tackles the question so many women find themselves asking – “What is my purpose?” She acknowledges the pressure people feel (young women especially) to figure out what they want to do in life or their plans for the future. She says, “The pressure to prove ourselves can cause us to expend a lot of time and energy looking for but perhaps not actually fulfilling our purpose.” She believes that this pressure and society’s perspective on purpose misses the mark – that instead of being something you have to search for and grasp onto, purpose is about understanding your inherent value and showing up right where you are. Dooley lays out practical steps that have helped her overcome barriers to living her own purpose including impostor syndrome, disappointment, shame, comparison, perfectionism, and distraction.
Each of our lives are unique to our environments and experiences, but there is so much we share in common. Dooley believes that women tend to struggle with the same core issues: insecurities, unmet expectations, and the pressure to prove themselves. While these can be influenced by external factors, we each have the ability and responsibility to decide how we internalize them.
To live out our purpose, Dooley says we must identify blind spots and unproductive habits and address their root. What is driving particular thoughts or actions? She shares, “sometimes my deepest desires reveal my deepest insecurities.” Properly identifying the root brings clarity to the situation and guides next steps.
Dooley encourages the reader to take an honest look at her week, then ask herself the following questions: What do I spend the most time, energy, and resources on? How well does this line up with my priorities? What is the simplest, most effective thing I can do to achieve today’s goals?
One quote that stood out to me was this: “Purpose has little to do with the job or role I have, the season I’m in, or the setting I occupy. Rather, it has everything to do with the significance or meaning that drives my life and what I bring to those specific situations.” In other words, it’s not simply about whether you arrive at a particular time or place in life, it’s about how you pursue opportunities wherever you are. Purpose is also extremely relational – friendship is a lifeline in both directions. Being vulnerable with someone you trust is instrumental in overcoming shame. Conversely, allowing someone to share personal struggles also holds profound purpose.
Another key concept is reframing the way you view failure by preparing well for it. When you do fail, fail forward, keeping your eyes fixed ahead rather than behind or beside you, and remember your “why.”