What is your life’s purpose?
To create win-win-win scenarios that allow us all to live fulfilled lives.
How are you living your purpose?
Through my business Mac & Cheese Productions℠ and through how I live life overall, I encourage individuals and groups to embrace a Life of Yes℠ —positivity, self-efficacy, playfulness, & community. I motivate individuals and organizations to stretch themselves and do their best thinking, and support people in finding fulfillment and groups in creating a positive culture. Think adult summer camp.
One day, I take your phone, pile you into a van with strangers, and kidnap you to an undisclosed location for Life of Yes℠ Sleepaway Camp. The next, I come into your workplace to lead interactive team-bonding and skills-building professional development sessions. Or I’ll lead you in a sales and self-promotion Bootcamp or teach you productivity or travel hack tips or be your storytelling teacher or keynote a conference or consult with you on dating, networking, or entrepreneurism or be your personal Chicago Tour Guide or clean your home.
Or, or, or. Many hats, one goal: to help you create and lead a fulfilled life while doing the same for myself.
How did you find your purpose?
I was fired in 2004.
I then founded Mac & Cheese Productions℠ where “productions” referred to video production. But I quickly discovered, through my personal frustration with adulthood, that areas I thought should be easy — finding friends, romance, opportunities for personal growth, fun ways to explore and “get out there” — were in fact sources of stress, discomfort, and dissatisfaction, and my desire to solve these frustrations was where my passion lay and my skills shone.
“Productions” transformed from video to event and I began curating experiences to help people connect through low-key, comfortably challenging, “be yourself” methods.
I’ve been blissfully self-employed since the firing and discovered that quality of life is what’s most important to me: being able to go to Trader Joe’s and yoga at 10AM on a Tuesday, commute from my bedroom to my home office, take random naps and days off, travel spontaneously and copiously, and do 99% of my work in comfy clothes….
Starting and running my own business helped me find my purpose and now I help others find theirs.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
Stop trying to find your purpose. Find your purpose by getting out there, doing things that make you happy, that make your wheels turn, that make you feel alive. Your purpose will be revealed as you’re your authentic, vulnerable, participatory self.
The Perfect Time Unicorn, and his cousins, More Time and Better Time, don’t exist. Stop waiting for the perfect time, more time, or a better time to take that trip, quit your job, move to another city, ask that cute barista out. You will never win that game. All your ducks will never line up. Your future self will not have more time than your current self. There will always be an excuse not to jump. Just jump. Nike the bejeezus out of life and just do it. Whatever it is. You can always change course, you can always come back.
Figuring out your superpowers—what comes easily to you, what others ask you for help with, what others admire in you—is a great first step in gaining direction in life. Make a list of your superpowers—skills, personality traits, interests. Ask others what they think your superpowers are. Make the list a “running list,” one that you’re always updating.
What resources do you recommend?
Every year I create a Life of Yes℠ Holiday Gift Guide; here’s the 2017 edition. Good to use for gifting others but also for gifting yourself! Don’t forget self-care. And while it’s billed as a holiday gift guide, it’s good for any time of year.
I also have a list of tech tools I love on my FAQ page.
Connect with Saya Hillman
Called “the accessible Oprah,” Saya Hillman is an Evanston, Illinois native, Boston College graduate, and Chicago resident. Since 2004, when she was fired, she’s been blissfully self-employed via her lifestyle business, Mac & Cheese Productions℠.
Saya was one of Brazen Careerist’s Top Twenty Young Professionals to Watch, has been featured in Forbes, SELF, and the New York Times, and is a TEDx speaker. She’s married to someone she met at one of her own events and they pulled off an almost 100% bartered wedding, as featured in the Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post.
Based in Chicago, she travels everywhere.