Ep. 35: Passion into Purpose - Meaningful Work Fuels Your So...
I'm Lindsay Mustain and this is the Career Design Podcast made for driven ambitious square pegs and round holes type professionals who see things differently and challenge the status quo. We obliterate obstacles and unlock hidden pathways to overcome and succeed where others have not stagnation feels like death. And we are unwilling to compromise our integrity and settle for being average in any way. We are the backbone of any successful business and those who overlook our potential are doomed to a slow demise. We do work that truly matters aligns with our purpose, and in turn, we make our lasting mark on the world. We are the dreamers, doers, legends, and visionaries who are called to make our most meaningful contribution and love what we do.
Welcome to the Career Design Podcast today I have a special guest for you and she's someone I've known for a number of years and she is just a remarkable human being with a huge heart and her name is Destani Davies. Now she actually is somebody I knew at the beginning of starting my business in career coaching, and she has since made a pivot, and not only that she is changing the world. So today, we're gonna be talking about turning passion and purpose, and how meaningful work really fuels your soul's mission. Destani, welcome to the Career Design Podcast.
Thank you very much for having me today, Lindsay, it's an honor to be on your show.
I'm so thrilled that you are here. So why don't you start by kind of paint the picture of what happened to you to get to this point, and then we'll dive into come to that point. Where do you really pivoted?
Yes, so I was actually thinking about this earlier. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, where do you start? I suppose for this one, I'm going to start right at the very beginning. So my parents and before they actually had me, my mother was 17. And my father was 20 at the time, and my mother had grown up. Her mum had passed away when she was 11 years old. She didn't know her father ended up growing up with her grandmother and my father. Hit his own adversities he had gone through as a young men. So by the time they felt pregnant with me, they didn't feel like they had a lot to offer me. So together, they made the decision to put me up for adoption. My mother met with prospective parents. And she found one, the couple that had been trying to you know, have a baby for over 10 years. And it was settled, they were going to be my parents when I was born. The Doctor who birthed me, you know, he was informed of the plane at the time. And basically, the plan was the moment I was born, he was to take me outside of the birthing suite doors, there was a nurse that was going to be waiting, and I would be handed over to my perspective parents. Of course, when I was born, the plan was not followed. Instead of following those steps, he plunked me on top of my mother, and she couldn't, she couldn't give me up. What also happened is she received a phone call from another family member who said, you need to keep that baby or keep her girl inside their family. So the plan had switched from, we're going to adopt her outside of the family to we're going to keep her inside the family a day or so later, my mother and father went to the market knowing there was this new plan forging ahead and they had somebody who was ready to take me, they had left me in the car and while they were at the markets back in the mid-80s, it was safe to do that just so everybody knows and when they came back to the vehicle, I've been kidnapped. After talking to a few people, they actually ended up finding out the person who had taken me was the next one who was supposed to be my mother. So of course, my mother was, you know, besides herself, she knew she couldn't give me up, there was no way she was going to be able to do that. But because my mother and father were prepared to give me up, they had absolutely nothing in place to take on a baby. So over the next few days, they left me with family so they could go and sort that out. Basically, Iby the time they had actually come back to get me, they ended up staying in a property that had rodents in it, it was dark, dingy, and probably not fit at all for a family. It was definitely not ideal, which is why they wanted to give me up. And I suppose I share all of that, because that is part of you know, resilience for me started from that very moment. I also think there's the reason why everything happens and at that time, the one thing they had agreed on is my name. My father had chosen the name Destani, and my mother had chosen the spelling D E S T A N and I knowing full well that she was going to give me out And the reason why she chose the spelling to be different was so she could recognize one day if I ever became somebody that I was her baby. And you know, I've always known the story. But as a mother of five children myself, I never really considered how they would have felt to be in that position or even to be able to think on those terms like, how am I going to find them later on, I find it, it's quite emotional for me now. But I mean, this is just one instance of, you know, the life that I had been bought into and now I'm very grateful for all of the things, you know, we ended up being around or as a child, heavily around domestic violence, I was brought up in a woman's refugees because of their boss sick here, as a child who went to over 40 primary schools in the process, I was also sexually abused, 40, four zero, yes, I used to be able to name them. But now, I think I'm too old, I can't remember, which is a good thing. As a child, I was sexually abused at the hands of multiple individuals, which started at the age of four, which really changed everything for me. And then as a teenager, was also raped more than once, as well. But I suppose all of these different things and crappy is probably an understatement, or like, not the right word to use. But looking back, I can now say that I'm grateful for those experiences and grateful I suppose, from what I can now take from that and help others in that space if that makes sense.
That is just beautiful. Well, tell me about what kind of happened in your career, because you have gone down this one path, and then you decided, Okay, you know what, this is not going to work for me. And you decided to go all-in on true, what do we call passion and purpose, the real foundations of true career power?
Yes. So this is where I got to meet Lindsay actually, so originally, I had started in the career space. And this is, I think it's a lot of it had to do with because of those 40 primary schools I had been to, I realized, there are so many transferable skills that I had, and side those times of adversity that I actually bought into my job searching, I've had over 60 roles, and you know, multiple corporates, totally different industries, probably 250 into views. And I'd like to think I learned things along the way that we're able to, you know, I was able to land jobs much quicker and help other people in that space. And I thought this is it. This is exactly what I can do. I'm great at doing jobs and recognizing as I said, the transferable skill set that people have in situations they may not recognize prior, and I suppose as a way to empower them in their journey going forward. So here, I was going in that space. And you know, things were kind of going well, but then it didn't. And it started to affect my relationships. And I think just pivoting from full-time work into you know, working in the corporate side to doing my own thing was a journey in itself. I am that, like I failed miserably throughout that process, and was really ashamed that, you know, it just didn't really take off. But now looking back, I can see, although I looked at it that time because I was learning as my first proper business venture, that it wasn't actually a failure at all, it was stepping stones into what I am now currently doing, which is very much aligned and still quite the same. I'm just not working in that career space anymore. So that journey happened, I ended up packing it because it did interfere. I shouldn't say interfere, but impact my relationship. So I thought, well, I, you know, family needs to come first, if I keep pursuing this, I'm basically going to lose my family. So I chose to let that go for a bit.
I just wanna pause you there for just a minute because I want to say that just takes an extraordinary act of bravery. And for people that are listening right now, I think it's really important to know and we use the word failure. And I like that word. But that word is incredibly painful for people like we typically just want to be successful. But I want you to take a moment just to pause and look back, as Destani has and say, Wow, the things that were actually my failures. And I call this the scenic route, the scenic route prepared me to take and ascend to the next level, if it had just been easy to just come to me, we wouldn't have been able to become the person we are now to do the next thing, and then the other part I want to say is that there is a point we're all reaching our lives and I hope before you get to the point where you're hemorrhaging or where you know, you have to make this do or die decision that you choose to pivot at that point before it becomes so painful. Now I didn't have that I got to the point where I was basically felt like I was hemorrhaging. I was bleeding out. I was bleeding my purpose, and I was acting like it was the most unimportant thing to keep me safe. But there's a point where we have to make that change. And I hope you'll do it before you get to that point. But it's just such a powerful message to say I've done all these things and I'm still walking about them. While I've been successful and helped a lot of people let's not deny that it wasn't the right thing. And so I chose to deliberately pivot intentionally to shift my career.
That is so true because I actually like sharing about this perceived failure because it really isn't. But that only happens when you shift through that, and you do make that pivot. So what sense happened from that, you know, I packed it, because as I said, it was either you continue on that path or goodbye to your relationship. And you know, my five children were my family. But that was I noticed it was still, it's part of who I am. And I had already unlocked it inside me, you can't put a back in the box afterward was like no, no family, I had to convince myself. And then I was at work one day, and somebody at my work had told me about five men at the time that had lost their lives to suicide. This was just from your every day, you know, going to make a cup of coffee, I'd run my first half marathon. And we're just having an everyday discussion. And she shared that with me, the five men that had passed away were originally from New Zealand, which is where I'm from. I wasn't prepared for that conversation. But that was actually a massive turning point for me. I stood there, just about ready to cry. She then went on to say that she had received a call earlier that day from her husband, about another young person who had also lost his life to suicide. I thought this is, this is my people and when I say my people, because they're from New Zealand like they're hurting so much, but it's not just about my people, because there are so many people around the world, especially with the pandemic at the moment that are feeling alone, like how many more people are out there feeling this way. And total, that was six people and you know, a radius of 10 kilometers on the Gold Coast here in Australia, within two weeks that had lost their lives to suicide, thinking outside of those like these, probably hundreds, 1000s million. At that point, I knew I was going to do something about it. I just didn't know what that looked like. I went home and shared it with my partner. And he was like, Yeah, that's it. And I thought, Why do you not feel the same way that I feel about this? Oh, you know, I must be weird or something or whatever. Anyway, it comes to Friday and I hear on the radio that somebody else is running a half marathon daily for an entire year to raise awareness for homelessness. And I knew then in there that my journey was going to have to do with running because I absolutely despise running, which probably sounds weird, but I dislike it with a passion. I sent some bags on a journey to run 10 kilometers per day for an entire year as of November the first 2020 and created the solution. And it's the solitary project here that was created to raise awareness for those suffering in silence. There were three objectives at the time running the 10k the other side as we will be fundraising for charity. So I have a GoFundMe page that people can donate to and at the end together, we will select a charity and gift those funds to them so they can keep doing the amazing work that they're doing. And number three, is hope wall is a digital wall that people can share a message of love, hope or inspiration to lift up somebody else who was suffering in silence. That was specifically created for the families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. I am fortunate that I have not gone through that.
Haven't gone through that at all. But I can imagine and from the conversations, I've had with people that those who have carried a burden that is so heavy, you know, it is not a burden that I feel belongs to them, but they carry this each and every day. So I thought how can I get them to release part of that from themselves, but at the same time, help other people and that was what we hope all came into play. But I thought well, they can put up a message that can only come from them from their heart, their experience, and the other side who actually needs that message can take that from that war that has since caught on rolling from that concept to hopeful and audio which is our hope for podcasts. I thought you know, this is great. We've got hundreds of messages on this board better people actually looking at them and every now and then I would get messages about it, which is great. But I thought maybe we could make it bring it into audio let people share. So we've done that site and it's about to go into video but I suppose the part that I never saw happening and I'm very proud of this and I'm probably gonna start crying is a physical hope or so I'm working with a local government organization here in Brisbane and they said, Destani we want to hope or down here. And I thought ok Yes, they want the digital war. They're like no, we want a physical war. Anyway, as part of that, they had the source to a particular space. And I said we're going to get in contact with this mob and then see if they're able to do it came back to me. And they said, No, fortunately, they're unable to assist us with that, but we'll look for another space. Well, two weeks ago, I got a message to say, we have a space that's available, we will need to work with other government departments to make it happen. But the space is no one or people attempting, and there have been a lot of fatalities. People who have lost their lives to suicide in this space. And when I read the message, because they said, you know, it might take some time for us to get that suppose I said, No, that's the space like, we have to wait for that space, however long it takes, even if it pushes out the timeframe of the project that we're working together, because that is exactly what that was created for. It's basically going to be like a last line of defense when no one else is there. And I say that, because I'm assuming that when people are in this space, you know, they're there at nighttime, there's no one there because if there was somebody there, the person would try and stop or intervene. So as I listened to that particular message, I got back in contact with him. And I was saying, you know, we need to have lighting there, or maybe a glow on the dark message that you can't see during the day. But at nighttime, it's big enough to see to try and make them choose to stay. And I know it probably sounds like a small thing. But to me, I'm really proud of it. Because I didn't think if you asked me back on first November 2020, that this would be happening, I would never have thought this was possible. Because I still as much as I was doing it, I didn't believe the beauty of it is this is only going to be the first of many hope wall that goes up to around the world and spaces where they're needed. And I'm proud, I'm proud of that, especially if it helps to save you know, one life that helps to reduce one family having to cope with it. I'm definitely proud to be able to share that with the world. So oh, sorry, crying is better.
Beautiful message does not apologize. Because there's something I like to say like when somebody cares so deeply about something, that's when we feel tears. And that's one of the things like we have to tap into our humanity, we seem to have lost that in the world. But we, the people who are listening, care about others. And so the work that you're doing is so very powerful, so beautiful. And actually, it's not just improving lives, it saves lives.
Some, I'm very lucky to have a great support system, to be honest. And Lindsay, I didn't even mention this path but actually played a part in this war happening and me stepping into who I truly am as, as a great friend. You know, as I said, I had lost belief in myself, even though I was still doing the solitude project. I knew in my heart, it was created for the world. And I wasn't ready to step in to be who you know who I needed to be, I'd keep trying to hold myself back because I was afraid of you know, what are people going to say what it was if they don't like it, all of these different thoughts popping in my head on one day, I was watching him as he was doing life with another one of our great friends. And basically from there because I trust Lindsay, I thought, you know, I'm going to jump inside. What it is that this particular individual was doing. Absolutely amazing in the PR media space. And if theory and from that, that one video of watching for like a minute or two-hit, you know, really helped to prepare me and build that belief as well. I'm just very, very grateful to have an amazing, powerful network of women behind me. I mean, there are many and two, but these women are leading the way so it helps me to believe anything is possible. And the more I step into that, I'm grateful because then I'm also able to do the same for others who are inside my network, so then they can step in to be who they truly are. So I suppose the thing I wanted to share it, please don't be afraid to do that. Like it is scary. And we all honestly, we all go through this and feel the same. You might think the most confident person that they never feel that way. But we do we're exactly the same in that sense. But despite the fact that we do feel that way, we still step into it anyway. And that's where that growth happens amazing things that go beyond yourself that you couldn't even imagine happens for you, but not only for you for those that you were seeking to help and that's where I'm very grateful for that. You might think it's only a small part or piece in the whole scenario, but it all makes a huge difference. So thank you very much for that, Lindsay.
I can see there's something that was big inside of you and that tends to be my gift I'm able to see us kind of oracle genius to understand what you're supposed to do or where that light is and that you're supposed to do something bigger, and really helping you take the pathway to get there. So I'm glad I could play a little part in this journey. I really think that I'm just a stepping stone I help people kind of take that next step up. And I'm so proud to call you my friend. So thank you so much for being on this episode. Destani.
Thank you very much for your time today, Lindsay. It's been a pleasure. And I just hope that this one message I can share before we round out the set. Please never underestimate the power of one message. Because one message can save a life
and one message can change a life. So that is such a powerful thing. Now somebody wants to learn more about the hope wall or the solitude project. Tell me about that. How can they find out more?
To find us is we've got a website www.solitudeproject.com, we're also on Instagram and Facebook @solitudeproject.2020.
Beautiful and amazing, Destani, thank you so much for sharing your story.