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Tips for Finding Your Purpose, Passion, and ‘Pajamas’

In a recent event at the Lincoln Center campus, Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro encouraged Fordham alumni and students to search for their true purpose in life—and embrace it.

In 2001, after years working in television marketing, Genevieve Piturro, FCRH ’83, listened to her “heart voice” and went all-in on her newfound purpose: She founded Pajama Program, a national nonprofit that provides children with books and pajamas to promote a bedtime routine and healthy sleep hygiene, all in hopes of offering kids a bit of comfort at night and helping them thrive.

One of four kids in an Italian American family with limited finances but “a lot of love,” Piturro grew up loving bedtime for its cozy, comfortable routine; it was so ingrained that she took for granted that everyone had access to the same stable, dream-time sendoff. She learned the harsh truth years later while volunteering at a children’s shelter. One young girl’s question—“What are pajamas?”—changed everything.

Now, Piturro is a speaker and consultant, helping others listen to their own “heart voice.” During an event with students and alumni at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus on November 18, she used the acronym PAJAMAS to describe her seven-step plan for finding and following your true purpose. She also shared highlights from her book, Purpose, Passion, and Pajamas: How to Transform Your Life, Embrace the Human Connection, and Lead with Meaning (River Grove Books, 2020).

POSSIBILITIES: Listen to your heart. There are so many possibilities.

ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS: Ask yourself what you love to do, what makes your heart sing.

JUMP OR SLIDE: A jump is what I did; I’m wired that way. But you can slide. There are ways to do that. If you slide into whatever your purpose is, even for an hour a week, it will change you.

ACTION: Take the first steps.

MAKE THE DECISION AND COMMIT: Sometimes you just have to do it afraid. Feel the fear and do it anyway. When you make your decision and you commit, it might be scary, and that’s OK.

ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOURSELF—AND THE UNIVERSE: When you are on purpose—when you’re doing what you’re supposed to do and there’s no friction between what your head and heart are telling you—the craziest things will happen. The universe will align, people will show up, and you’ll get what you need.

SPEAK TO EVERYONE: It might be somebody great who’s going to call you up and help you, it might be someone down the street who you didn’t know could help you, but if you talk to everyone, you will be amazed at how people will rally to support you.

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