Our lives are full of defining moments. We often don’t realise their significance until long after the event. We know they’re defining moments because we remember the exact details of where we were, who was there and what occurred. After that defining moment, something changes in us – something we can only fully comprehend much later.
One of those defining moments for me, and for Tahlia Sadler, was in 2016.
As a 13 year-old student at Templestowe College, Tahlia was one of 13 students ranging from 13 to 17 years of age who delivered a Talk on Purpose live on stage in their school auditorium. The audience was filled with excited friends, proud family members and supportive teachers all cheering the students on to greatness.
Over a celebratory cuppa and cakes afterwards, I still recall a mother approaching me with tears in her eyes. “Thank you so much for helping my son. I’ve never seen him deliver a talk like that before. I am so, so proud of him.”
Five years later, I managed to reconnect with five of the students to learn what’s transpired for them since that electric evening. It was so wonderful to hear their stories and learn they were each on their path to fulfilling their purpose.
One of those students was Tahlia who is now aged 18 and studying Wildlife and Conservation Biology at Latrobe University . She’s also considering adding on a Masters of Education.
“I loved that evening. I still have all the ‘love notes’ the audience wrote to me,” says Tahlia. “For a long time, I kept them pinned up above my desk to remind me to keep pursuing my passions.”
“I was raised by my parents who are both teachers, to consider not only what I want to do for a career but also what I want to contribute to society,” shares Tahlia. “They encouraged me to take every opportunity on offer to show leadership and that’s what my talk was all about.”
Tahlia has known her purpose from an early age.
“To defend and nurture the planet and educate and inspire people to care.”
When she was at Templestowe College, with her brother and another student, she started the Environmental Action Group. They put up posters, regularly picked up rubbish, organised beach clean-ups with students and delivered briefings to the 100+ staff.
“It was all about making people aware. The best activity was when I dressed up as a zoo keeper and my brother dressed up in a gorilla costume and we visited every class. We wanted to educate students about the companies who are mining gorilla habitats for the metals to put in phones and encourage them to recycle their phones.”
Recently, I ran a virtual class in partnership with New Economy Network to share ideas on how young people can discover their purpose. I explained the Ikigai Discover your Purpose model and invited Tahlia to share her own experiences and model (below).
NOTE: Fast-forward to 24.15 to hear Tahlia being interviewed about how the model helped.
Tahlia has a wide-range of career ideas that might fulfil her purpose. “Right now I’m focused on doing what I can to get experience and get my hands dirty – weeding, sampling, hiking, planting and doing things outdoors. Later I’ll move into working in the fields of conservation programs, research and education, environmental science, perhaps a park ranger or a lecturer at university.”
What I love about Tahlia’s story is that she knows her purpose but she’s not wedded to one single path to achieve it. She’s being open and curious and is willing to experiment. That’s what a clear purpose does. It gives you clarity of direction while allowing you to have fun and play with the options to test it. Pursuing your purpose is a practice. It’s not a set and forget activity. It’s something you connect to daily and build on.
When asked her advice to adults about how to help young people find their purpose she says “instead of focusing on all the doom and gloom in the world, focus on how you and your kids can combat that. Think of a couple of things you want to change in the world and apply your skills to it locally.”
Here’s what Tahlia had to say about her Talk on Purpose experience.
What was the experience of Talk on Purpose like?
If you’re interested in exploring how I help bring purpose to life for your students book a Conversation with Me.