News • February 25, 2022

Speaker encourages students to pair their gifts and values

Speaker encourages students to pair their gifts and values

Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2022) — Finding your purpose takes putting your gifts and values together in the service of others, Keri-Lyn Coleman told a California Baptist University audience on Feb. 24.

Coleman is the president and CEO of both Collaborative Planning Group and WellScreen Inc. The companies provide services to nonprofits and agencies to support the work of substance abuse prevention programs and behavioral health initiatives. Additionally, Coleman has served as the White House drug policy advisor and national substance abuse expert. She spoke to CBU students as part of the Culture and Justice Lecture Series hosted by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Coleman talked about her journey to discover her purpose and find happiness.

"I found that I was following this formula: hard work would lead to success, which leads to happiness," she said.

But Coleman discovered this did not result in happiness. She described research on happiness that found that 50% of happiness is genetic, 10% is circumstantial and 40% is up to the individual.

"Intentional activities can increase our happiness, so taking that 40% and doing some intentional activities on a daily basis can increase that happiness," Coleman said.

She described various activities that can increase happiness, such as practicing gratitude, meditation and mindfulness; building strong relationships; and doing acts of kindness.

"What we want to do is build that happiness first, which will lead to hard work and ultimately success," she said.

Aside from happiness, Coleman encouraged her audience to pursue the search for their purpose.

"It's taking your gifts and recognizing the things that you're good at, aligning them with your values, and finding a way to fuse both of those to serve others," said Coleman. "I do think that's the way a person can find their purpose."

She described her shifting career goals as she went through college. Coleman began as a criminal justice major, intending to become an attorney to fight for abused and neglected youth. She shifted to social work upon realizing that law school would not be a good environment for her. In the process of getting her Master of Social Work, she discovered that working with children directly was not her strong suit, but managing, writing, community outreach and communication were. In pursuing a career in these areas, she found her purpose. Others can do the same, she said.

"Think about, what are your values? And is the organization you're working for, the city you're living in, the people you're surrounded with—do they share your values? And if not, do you have the courage to find somewhere that does?" Coleman asked.

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