"Everyone has a calling. And your real job is to figure out as soon as possible what it is" - Oprah Winfrey. Imagine waking up every morning filled with clarity and excitement around what you can do, create, and contribute? That's the promise of purpose. Each episode, host Alexandra Cole sits down with ordinary people living extraordinary lives because they learned to listen to the little voice inside their head, overcome their fears, and design their life around what matters most. She shares inspirational stories and tons of actionable tips on how to stop settling for "fine" and start living ON PURPOSE.
Combining Purpose & Profit with Yunus Social Business CEO Saskia Bruysten
I met Saskia a little under 10 years ago at a conference focused on social entrepreneurship and social business in London. She is one of those people you don’t forget in a hurry, and I’ve been following and admiring her work ever since. She is the co-founder of Yunus Social Business, a philanthropic venture fund that turns donations into investments in sustainable social businesses that provide employment, education, healthcare, clean water, and clean energy to over 9 million people around the world.
Saskia describes her purpose as “changing the powerful animal that is capitalism for the better.” The problems she is solving are big, messy and complicated, but her infectious passion for these issues is what carries her through.
In this episode, we talk about how Saskia came to work with Professor Yunus; and the thoughtful, type-A process she created to get there. We talk about the importance of combining profit and purpose in business, as well as advice she has for those who are interested in pursuing a similar path.
#PurposePlays from this episode: Revisit your Purpose Statement annually. Once a year, remind yourself of your purpose and evaluate how you are or are not living up to it, and how you can recommit to this statement in the year ahead.
Don’t underestimate passion. If you choose to dedicate your career to a social cause, choose something you are very passionate about because it’s the passion that will help you stay focused and committed when the going gets tough (because it will).
Surround yourself with people who share your purpose. Whether it’s colleagues, employees, a mastermind, or a group of likeminded changemakers, these individuals can help re-energize and re-inspire you in moments you are struggling.
Make conscious choices. Once every few months, do the research to determine if there is a more sustainable alternative to the products you are using or buying. You don’t have to do this for every purchase, but focus on the items you buy a lot of.
Links: Yunus Social Business
For intrapreneurs: Business As Unusual
COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs
The Good Guide by Marieke Eyskoot
Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus
How to practice purposeful money management with Financial Planner Natalie Taylor
Natalie Taylor is a Financial Planner and Public Speaker. Her personal purpose is to help people cultivate a plan for their finances based on their values and goals. In other words, Natalie helps individuals, couples, and families invest their available funds in what provides the greatest amount of fulfillment, not just financial return.
She has been a financial planner for over 15 years and a lot of her work is dedicated to making professional financial advice more accessible and relevant to a broader audience. She spent 7 years working for FinTech startup, LearnVest, and recently opened her own financial planning practice to work with individual clients.
In this episode, we talk about Natalie’s earliest money memories, how she fell into financial planning, the values she and her husband optimize for, and the advice she has for people who are navigating the tricky but fulfilling balancing act of parenthood, entrepreneurship, relationships, and life in general. What I love about Natalie is that she walks the talk, which makes her such an incredible and relatable example of the power of purposeful financial planning.
#PurposePlays from this episode:
Align your money management strategy with your values. Identify your values: 1) what is most important to you, and 2) how you live your life. Use your values as a filter when determining how to prioritize your spending and saving, what to invest in, how to make trade-offs in your budget, etc. I recommend using Natalie’s Values Guide for this process (available on her site). Create margin in your life. Build in time and space so you are not scheduled back to back to back. Sometimes you have to grow at a slower pace than you want to, so you can continue to make intentional decisions and show up as your full self. It may require you to detach self worth to productivity, but it will ultimately help you live in greater alignment with your purpose. Create margin in your budget. This gives you the flexibility to make spontaneous decisions and enjoy life in the moment instead of living for “some day”.
Natalie’s website (be sure to wait for the pop-up to receive the Values Worksheet)
Article on Teaching Kids About Money
How to become happier at work with Claire Lew
Hands down, the #1 question we get is “How can I find more purpose at work?” Many people spend the majority of their waking hours working, so it’s no surprise that feeling miserable or disengaged at work can have a tremendous impact on your broader wellbeing. This is exactly why I am so thrilled to introduce you to Claire Lew. She is the CEO of Know Your Team, a software tool that helps business owners and managers build happier, more productive companies. Claire’s personal mission is to help people become happier at work and she has partnered with organizations in over 24 countries, including household names like Airbnb, Kickstarter, and Medium.
In this episode, we talk about Claire’s personal story--of how an introvert became a leadership expert. We talk about big broad topics like overcoming fear around career decisions, as well as tactical tips like how to approach a tough conversation with your manager. Claire draws on personal experience as well as all the incredible data she has collected through Know Your Team, and I personally walked away with so many insightful takeaways from our conversation.
#PurposePlays from this episode:
If you’re looking to experience more happiness and purpose at work, start by asking yourself the question: What conditions in a work environment do I need to do my best work? Once you have a clear answer to this question, it will be a lot easier for you to ask for what you need. When going into the conversation with your manager, always be mindful about sharing context. The number one reason managers may get defensive is because they are misreading your intention, so be as CLEAR as possible about why you’re asking for something or why you’re sharing certain feedback. Find an outlet for processing emotions that is embodied vs. cerebral. Make time for this activity, even (rather, especially) when you don’t feel like it. If you have trouble with this consider doing it for others instead of yourself: if you give yourself time to indulge in this activity, you will become a better person/mother/colleague/employee/etc.
Know Your Team Website
The Heartbeat Podcast
Favorite book: The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
Knowing when it's time to quit your day job with Freckled Foodie Cameron Rogers
Cameron Rogers is a certified health coach and content creator on a mission to make healthy living approachable through her Freckled Foodie brand. She’s been named one of Forbes’ top 5 entrepreneurs changing the New York wellness scene and this is no surprise given the passion and enthusiasm she brings to her work.
Cameron started her career on the Sales & Trading desk at JP Morgan, but after an accident (she *literally* got hit by a bus) forced her to slow down, she made the brave decision to pursue what truly lights her up. (Something that she had previously never considered as a dream career, mind you.)
In this episode, we talk about what it was like to quit her job in banking and the steps she took to prepare for this moment, we talk about the early days of launching a personal brand and how she crafted her elevator pitch, and how the Freckled Foodie has given her a platform to make an impact.
#PurposePlays Test the waters with a side hustle before leaving your full time job. This will not only allow you to make sure the passion isn’t a “phase”, but it will also help you establish a track record (case studies, testimonials, client relationships, content, etc.) so the transition is less scary.
TIP: Cameron actually kept her colleagues in the loop about Freckled Foodie when she first started it as a side hustle, which gave her a built-in support system at work.
Crowdsource your elevator pitch. If you’re struggling to articulate what you do and why you do it, ask your friends/family/followers to describe what you do and how they see you creating value. It not only gives you good material for your pitch, but it will be a confidence booster as well!
Identify the opinions that matter. If you are letting other peoples’ opinions prevent you from following your dream, take the time to write down exactly who “they” are. Now write down the names of the people whose opinions you actually value most (this should be a short list) and ask yourself: What will these individuals think/feel/say if I do this? You may find that you’re wasting a lot of time considering opinions that ultimately don’t matter to you.
Links Freckled Foodie Instagram
Freckled Foodie Blog
The Freckled Foodies & Friends Podcast
Investing in the people that matter most with Aurate founder Sophie Kahn
Sophie Kahn is a trailblazer. She’s brilliant, beautiful (inside and out), and one of the kindest, most thoughtful lady bosses I have met. We both went to the same High School in The Netherlands, but only became friends years later when our paths crossed again at Princeton University when Sophie was studying for her masters degree in finance.
After finishing up her degree, Sophie took a job at the Boston Consulting Group BCG in New York City. She has always had an affinity for the fashion world, however, and it was only a matter of time before she ended up there. It was during her tenure at Marc Jacobs that she and college friend Bouchra had the idea for Aurate, a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand that is taking the world by storm.
In this episode, we talk about Sophie’s personal journey and her thoughtful approach to building the Aurate brand and team. While I could have easily spent the entire episode learning from her business prowess, I had asked her on the podcast to speak about relationships. In the book, I discuss the importance of having a “Purpose Pack” and Sophie is someone who has intentionally invested in her inner circle of women (and men!). Research shows that quality relationships are the most important predictor of long-term happiness and health, and Sophie eloquently shares her wisdom on this important topic.
#PurposePlay Write down a list of the people who are in your “purpose pack”. Then make a commitment to show up for these people, for the highs (birthdays, weddings, baby showers) and the lows (breakups, bad days at work, financial trouble). Go above and beyond to invest in these relationships and give yourself permission to say “no” to other commitments or requests that don’t involve the individuals on your list.
Links Personal Instagram
Building momentum one step at a time with ultra-marathoner Kris Brown
Earlier this year, I was on a trip with some friends and mentioned that I was going to interview an ultramarathon runner for the podcast. One of the men on the trip immediately piped in to ask who, as he’s an avid runner himself. When I mentioned this week’s guest, Kris Brown, I observed a major fanboy moment and I have to admit that I felt pretty cool to have snagged an interview with this guy.
Fortunately, Kris Brown turned out to live up to the hype. Beyond an impressive track record, Kris boasts a great sense of humor and humility (which I imagine is rare in the world of professional athletes). Not only is he a professional ultramarathon runner but he is also the co-owner of a popular Cuban restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA. I still don’t know how he juggles these two all-consuming careers, but he seems to take it all in his stride.
In this episode, we talk about how Kris “fell into” long-distance running and why he still works in hospitality, even though he’s threatened to quit the industry countless times. We talk about what he’s learned from managing kitchen crises (both big and small), the difference between structure and discipline, and how Kris builds momentum when he’s been out of the game for a little while. Kris describes purpose as “the balancing act between things that bring you enjoyment while also fulfilling the desire to serve”, and it was such a pleasure to chat about how he’s navigating this balancing act personally.
#PurposePlay from this episode
Build momentum one step at a time. Instead of setting your sights on a big, farfetched goal, create a slow build. Start with a smaller goal and keep increasing your output or your goal by a little every day. This will allow you to build confidence and improve at a rate that is more sustainable until you eventually uplevel to where you want to be.
The most purpose driven podcast out there!
Not only does Alex find the BEST people to interview, she guides them in the most unique and meaningful way. Love this podcast!
Very inspiring and wonderful podcast! Had a great listen and I hope that more episodes are released soon!
Can’t wait for the next episode.
This podcast is a breath of fresh air when it comes to purpose and personal development for the modern lady. Alexandras inspirational work ethic and the ability for her to share vulnerability and know that burnout is a real thing... it is helpful to know that when listening to her and her guests on this podcast that I truly am not alone and these women are going through very similar things as I am.
Looking forward to hearing more amazing women sharing their stories and nerding our about everything purposeful. 💕