Elizabeth: Purpose can't just be the thing. You need community, you need connection, you need physical affection, you need emotional attention, you need spiritual alignment, and you need mental clarity. There are a lot of things that you need in order to make sure that your system is running pretty clean here.
Brendan: Welcome to The Culture of Leadership. We have conversations that help you develop and become a more confident leader.
Have you ever considered how your life purpose and work purpose aligned? Before spending time with our next guest, Elizabeth Rosenberg, I'd never distinguish between the two.
In today's episode, Elizabeth reframes the way we view our purpose for life and work. She believes most individuals are already living their purpose, even if they haven't fully recognized it. There is, however, misalignment for most people not living out their life purpose in their work. At around the 17-minute mark, Elizabeth does a live reading for me, and I can't believe one of the signs I missed. I'll share more about that in my takeaways at the end of the episode.
Elizabeth Rosenberg is the founder of The Good Advice Company, a marketing and communications consultancy. Stay tuned to learn about how her own defining moment helped align her life and work purpose. This is The Culture of Leadership Podcast. I'm Brendan Rogers. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Elizabeth.
This topic we're talking about today, this work purpose versus life purpose, I think the term purpose is maybe overused and maybe misunderstood in the whole leadership circles. But for you, why is this topic so relevant in the leadership space?
Elizabeth: I think right now, as a collective, we're all searching for purpose. As a leader, many of us are very good at what we do, but don't necessarily feel like there is reason behind what we do. A lot of the people that I work with are executives and C-suite leaders at large companies in the US. Many of them are a little bored in their job and really trying to find a way to impact the world in a positive way.
Also, when you have purpose, you want to be doing something that's bringing yourself joy. You want to go to work every day and you want to actually enjoy it. When I talk about work purpose versus life purpose, I really believe that your life purpose is big. It can be everything from, again, love, finding my joy. It can be making the world a better place. It can be helping children. It can be big. I think that our work purpose is how we actually actualize that life purpose in our day-to-day lives.
I've changed my answer to that question so much over the last few months, just because I think as I work with more clients and I talk to more people, I've changed how I think about purpose and how I think about how we live our purpose every day. The wild thing is, I think most people are living their purpose every day, they just don't know it. They need to be told it and then they go, oh, my God, I had no idea that I was doing that. Or they're thinking too small in terms of their purpose.
I also think that that can really stifle one's personal growth by really thinking that my purpose is this very, very specific thing, because if you don't get that done, you feel, again, purposeless. It's a meaty topic. It's something that I also think that I'm not an expert on.
I am a personal branding expert. I really do work with people on purpose, but I don't believe that anybody can be an expert on it, because I do believe that it is something that is so personal. However you decide to define it is the best way for you to actualize that in your world, too.
Brendan: What's driven your passion around this topic?
Elizabeth: This topic found me versus me finding it. I was very burned out in 2017. I was working for a very big company. I loved my job. I think there's this misconception that you can only burn out if you really hate your job, but I loved my job. I was working and doing things that I never thought I'd be able to do in my career.
I really thought that I had a lot of purpose too at the time, which has changed drastically since as well. I went to another job, and then I actually quit my job on March 2nd of 2020. All of a sudden, we're in the middle of a global pandemic. We are all home.
That was the time where everyone was really looking for purpose, everyone was looking for joy. Everyone's like, oh my God, if we're all going to die tomorrow from Covid, did I live a life that I was proud of? Did I make an impact? Did I do something that leaves a legacy?
I was doing PR for large brands, creative agencies, and people started finding me throughout my network. They're like, hey, would you be interested in helping me with my personal brand? I'm like, no, I don't know how to do that. I think I know how to do that, but I'm not totally sure I know how to do that.
I came up with a methodology. I "practice," but I had some clients very early on that I charged very little for. I was like, hey, we're going to beta test this and see if it works, and it totally worked. I found so much joy in being able to do that work with people and actually helping them find their north star and helping them find, again, some joy and some purpose in what they were doing every day. In the last 18 months, my business has gone from 20% personal branding, 80% corporate clients, to 90% personal branding, 10% corporate clients.
Brendan: That's very, very interesting. Maybe if we had this interview three or four months ago, you would have answered things differently. Your perspective has changed, which we spoke about off camera. It's the journey of life and what we're doing, and that's the exciting part. Is there one or two key points you could share with our audience, that if we had this conversation three or four months ago, what are those key differences for you around this topic compared to today?
Elizabeth: I think that, originally, I really thought about work purpose being so much more based on the job that you were doing every day, also the purpose of the company that you were working for, and the impact that they were making. Again, you're talking about how purpose is a loaded word right now.
Really, it's one of those, what does that actually mean, because I think in many ways, it was defined by corporate purpose for so long. Then Oprah came out and was like, everybody find your purpose, it's unbelievably important. But there's no handbook out there to be like, how do you find your purpose?
Again, there's how I choose to help my clients find their purpose, and how other executive coaches do, spiritual advisors, and of that stuff, of how the tools they use to point people in the right direction, who knows if we're doing it right? But I think that when you find your purpose, there's this light bulb that goes off and you're like, oh, this feels right to me.
I also really separated the two of life purpose and work purpose. Now I really find them intertwining in a much more natural way. I find that if you can think really big about what your life purpose is, what you're meant to do, what brings you joy, and find a work environment that can help you, again, actualize that purpose and your day to day life, you've hit the jackpot. Because if we're doing something that we enjoy, we're doing something where we make an impact, and we're coming together with community, that's why we're all meant to be here in the first place. I've also found that when my clients do that, they make a lot more money.
Brendan: How do you define then your personal definition of life purpose?
Elizabeth: Part of my personal branding methodology that I do with my clients is, side note, I am also an intuitive. That came out of my wellness journey. It was nothing I actually wanted to do. It's not something I seeked out. One day, I was like, oh, let's find classes to figure this out.
During the pandemic, word got out from some of my clients like, oh, I heard you did this, or I heard you do intuitive readings. I read over 100 C-suite leaders in Fortune 500 companies, because everybody was home in Zoom, and everyone was very bored. I needed to practice, and they somehow found me. It was all referral.
I really utilized the Akashic Records, which is how I tap in, which is very plainly stated as a library of the soul’s journey, past, present, future. It'd be like talking to guides. I can really tap into what your purpose is. They're always really, really big.
I know that part of my purpose is to help others find theirs, which I know sounds very cliche and a little silly. But the second I started doing that, it allowed me to do something that I genuinely love to do. I tell all my clients, for the first time in my life, I truly, truly love my job. I can't believe that this is my job and I get paid to do this. I would do this if I won a lottery and didn't have to pay the mortgage.
It is hard because again, I believe life purpose to be so big. It is about finding joy, it is about educating others, it is about making an impact. It can be everything from health equity to protecting those around you.
The purposes that we come up with are very vast, and they're huge. But then we have to think about the little everyday things that we're doing in your work life, in your personal life that are living that purpose on a daily basis.
Brendan: Is it practical for you to do some work on me as a real life example, like hey, tap into who I am and what I'm about potentially.
Elizabeth: Like do a reading for you? Like find your purpose? Like tap into me? I've never done that. I don't know if I could do that.
Brendan: Why don't we try something? If you've never done it, let's try something.
Elizabeth: Okay. I don't know if it'll work. We'll see. Let me try.
Brendan: I don't know either. Who knows? You might put me on a completely different path to what I think I'm on.
Brendan: When you say you've never done this before, you have done it before, but you mean from a remote situation or something like that?
Elizabeth: No. All of my readings and all of my work with my clients is done remotely.
Brendan: Never done it on a podcast?
Elizabeth: I have clients from all over the world. I've never done this on a podcast. I've done readings for podcast hosts, and then they've talked about their experience after the fact, but a lot of the work that we do is very personal. I can get in, and they may not tell me what you want to hear. Like your grandpa, my papa. Do you know what I mean? I have absolutely no idea.
Brendan: Let's try it. I'm game, are you game? What would you rather do before dinner?
Elizabeth: I know. It's funny because I normally don't read so late. Okay, what is your full name?
Brendan: Brendan John Rogers.
Elizabeth: Okay. I won't say the prayer on air because I can't.
Brendan: You do whatever you need to do. You're the expert.
Elizabeth: Okay, let's see what happens.
Brendan: This is exciting and nervous at the same time.
Elizabeth: I am sweating right now. Clearly, this is something that I don't do. All right, let's see what happens. I have no idea what will happen.
Brendan: Marc, are we allowed to do this on camera?
Elizabeth: I know. He's like, oh, my God. Hello. Something might come through from Marc.
Brendan: Who knows?
Elizabeth: Are your feet flat on the floor for me?
Elizabeth: Can you please put your feet flat on the floor just for a sec? Okay. Is your mom with us?
Brendan: She's not here, but she's still in this world. Yup.
Elizabeth: She's still alive, okay. Sorry, that was weird because the very first thing they said is, mum says, hi. I don't know who that is. I don't know who that's for. I don't know if that resonates for you at all. We're going to put that aside, because I don't have time to do a full reading for you. But things will come back. Something might resonate after the fact. I just want to throw that out there.
Brendan: I live in a different state that's 10 hours or so drive. And they're traveling a lot.
Elizabeth: No, it's not. It feels like someone who's not here.
Brendan: My wife's mother just passed not long ago.
Elizabeth: What did she call her?
Brendan: Her name was Maria, just mum. They didn't have a fantastic relationship.
Elizabeth: That doesn't really matter. They don't really care after the fact, I'm not going to lie. Sometimes they just come back to just be like, hi.
Brendan: I am hoping she doesn't come back to haunt me.
Elizabeth: No one's going to come back to haunt you. It's fine.
Brendan: Good, thank you.
Elizabeth: Let me just ask about your purpose really quickly and see if we can do that. You have an intentionality of everything that you do. The decisions you make are quite deliberate is what they're saying. They're saying, don't be so intentional with everything. Sometimes you need to just not question things so much, not overthink things so much, and just do them. That's the lead to unbelievably joyful, new adventures, and promising things.
Brendan: I can definitely relate to that.
Elizabeth: Stop questioning things so much. You look five steps ahead. You're like, okay, if I do this, and this, and this, this is what the outcome is going to be. They're like, you like checkboxes to make sure that you will get to the outcome that you have already self-determined. They're like, don't do that. See what the outcome is. That might be fun. Enjoy the journey. That could be cool. That's so funny because they're like, okay, well, what's his purpose?
Brendan: It sounds like I'm living that journey now. This was completely unscripted, Elizabeth. I'm enjoying the journey.
Elizabeth: In my sessions, I ask for soul purpose and life purpose. The way that I see soul purpose is if you believe in past lives, your soul leaves all these lives. It has dozens of purposes and all the lessons that it's supposed to learn. They give you one that they're like, we're just going to have you focus on this one.
Your life purpose is how you actualize that soul purpose in this specific lifetime. Again, I'm trying to ask, but they're derailing me on other things they want to tell you, so just hold on one sec. I'm going to look up one thing because they're saying something I don't totally understand. Sorry, this is such a weird podcast moment. Kind of fun.
Brendan: How cool is it?
Elizabeth: I know.
Brendan: I'm having fun.
Brendan: Mind you, it's not about me. Actually, you're the guest. It should be about you, but somehow you've turned this around.
Elizabeth: I'm really enjoying this, so it's okay. This isn't quite interesting that they said that that's your soul purpose. Okay, let me get to your life purpose. You've always been quite the advocate for others. They talked about storytelling and I'm like, yeah, but it's a podcast. And they're like, yeah, but...
You've spoken for others many times in your life because you fully understand what it is they want to say, and then you say it in a more clear, concise, and thoughtful manner. When I talked about your life purpose, that's part of your purpose. They said, translate complicated feelings into clarity and action. You're quite good at that. That is a strength of yours. That's not your purpose, though. That's not your life purpose.
Brendan: Before I relate it to...
Elizabeth: Do you want me to tell you your soul purpose?
Brendan: Yeah, please. Absolutely. You tell me when I should speak.
Elizabeth: Great. Again, we have so many. The lesson that you're supposed to be learning in this lifetime is to live life without abandon, complete freedom. Your soul wants to be so restrained. You want to live a life of restraint, but part of the lesson they want you to learn is to live without restraint.
Your restraints allow you to, again, translate these complicated feelings into clarity and action for others. It's funny. They're saying, amplify the freedom of others into the world, because it's something that you actually really value, understand, and are actually a little bit jealous of. Again, your soul wants to live without abandon, so part of how you actualize that is by telling everyone else's story of freedom, because it allows part of you to be free. Does that make sense?
Elizabeth: Sometimes it takes a while to think about.
Brendan: It's probably more if I share two things I start to think about. Maybe it will help make more sense for me and you. The work that I do with clients, I do a lot of facilitation type work as well, off-sites with leadership teams, and that sort of stuff. I've always received very good feedback over 20 odd years of that practice of being able to listen well, understand what's going on in the room irrespective of industry, but then put that in a way that sums up conversation really well, and we move forward with whatever we're focused on.
That's probably more a very practical and restrained approach that I have to my work. If I think about some of the work that myself and my wife have embarked on in the last couple of years, we're also foster carers. That's an unbelievably rewarding experience of advocating for young people in our care and helping them have a voice when they don't have a voice.
Elizabeth: In both forms, you are translating complicated feelings into clarity and action.
Brendan: I would say so.
Elizabeth: Congratulations. You are living your purpose. I'm very proud of you.
Brendan: It feels it, again, which is why I was so excited to talk to you today more so than any other guest I've had that we've touched around this topic. What comes first in your experience? I do exactly what you said. I feel like I'm there.
There's been this journey on the work side, which has taken me. The life side is the foster side that's coming, and my wife's driven that to start with. I've embodied and embraced that as much as her. Does it normally come in a certain pattern? You've got some work and then the life, or the life and then the work, or is it just a, hey, let's see how the journey takes us?
Elizabeth: I think it comes in so many ways. For a lot of us like you, we're living our purpose. We just need somebody to remind us that we're doing it in a beautiful way. For others, we feel purposeless until we actually come up with an idea of what purpose feels like, and then know immediately how to turn it into action.
A lot of it starts with some kind of personal development. That can be working with an executive coach like yourself that allows us to look at how we interact with others, look at our personal relationships, and look at how we deal with stressful situations.
I think a lot of it is also very deep personal work that you're doing with a therapist, you're doing with a doctor, or you're dealing with releasing childhood trauma. I think there's this farce that there are people who don't have childhood trauma. Everyone has childhood trauma. One trauma could be really, what we see as societally bad. It could be abuse, it could be abandonment.
Another person could have just gotten a really bad grade or had a really uncomfortable pediatrician appointment, where they were told that they needed to stop eating candy. That was the trauma that they were feeling in that moment that they held onto. That goes with us into adulthood. That also shapes, in many ways, how we respond and how we react to things, how we find joy, and then how we are actually living our purpose.
Again, I always go back to purpose just being the foundation of your personal brand. Your personal brand is simply being the definition of how you show up in the world. I think a lot of leaders think about personal branding as thought leadership, posting, and content, all of that stuff. That is just how you're expressing yourself as your personal brand. That is just a content strategy.
Your personal brand is if you are not in the room, everybody knows who you are, what you stand for, and potentially even what your legacy might be when you pass. My personal brand is really focused on kindness and giving. I don't really care about any work successes that I've had. They obviously help me pay my bills, they help me get new clients, and they help me do all that stuff. But when I die, all I care about is that people say that I was a kind human. That's really all I care about, so I really try to show up as a kind human every day in every situation.
There are moments where I'm not feeling all my best, and I say things that I probably shouldn't have said, and do things I shouldn't have done. But we're also human, and that happens. It is hard as a leader.
It's just hard as a leader to really try to bring so much of that person to the workplace. I also don't believe that you can bring your whole self to work because it's still work. You can bring as much as you possibly can and create an environment that's healthy and non-toxic for those around you.
Brendan: It's a great point. Is it more common in your world experience that somebody is maybe living their life purpose a little bit more outside of work, and they're in a completely different space in work, therefore there's this competing interest happening, and it's almost like they're wearing two hats day to day, one's a very sad hat, i.e., the work front, and one's a pretty happy hat and they can't wait for the weekends? Is that the common scenario that plays out?
Elizabeth: A thousand percent. But the problem is that people just can't figure out how to connect the dots between the two. Because if somebody says to me, this is what I love to do, I do this on my weekends, I do this outside of work, and then this is what my job entails, there's a reason why you're in that job.
You're really good at what you do, and something drove you to do that job. Something was interesting in it that you wanted to do it for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. It's so hard to see in front of you sometimes.
A lot of my clients come to me, again, because they can't write their own bio. It is impossible to know your own story. You need somebody to pull that out of you. My second favorite part of my job is being able to connect the dots and tell somebody that that story that they don't think is interesting is actually the story that everybody will love.
In so many ways, once you have an outside source and be able to tell you, you could bring that joy that you have on the weekend and that you have outside of work to the workplace. If you just tweaked this, this, this, and this, and just figured out a way to do this with your team, talk to the client this way, or offer this a little bit differently, it's a game changer.
The connecting of the dots is just the hard part. I think people are in the place to do it, most people are. If you're not, then switch jobs. Life is too short to stay in a job we hate.
Brendan: Isn't it? How do you start connecting the dots? What do people need to consider? What do you do to help them start connecting the dots?
Elizabeth: Step one is a reading that I do. Again, we'll talk about doing a full reading for you later, because I feel like there's so much they want to say. Step two is I do full data analytics. I truly believe that the intuitive stuff is hard for everybody to connect with sometimes. I think it's fun, but I think it can be a little hard, it's still out there. The data analytics and behavioral analytics about how you work, connecting with that is a game changer.
The third session I do is a story mining session. It's really just me interviewing somebody. I ask all these questions about all the things, everything from, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years, which I hate because we never know where we're going to be. If somebody said that I was doing this five years ago, I would have told them they were insane. If you had all the money in the world, what would you want to do? What would bring you joy? The thing that I do best is look at all these answers, connect the dots, and tell the stories.
The thing that I would tell people listening is we all have a story. We all have something that was a defining moment in our life that changed the trajectory of how we show up in the world. That story, while you might not think it's interesting, and you might not think that it is pertinent to your work and how you show up in the workplace, I can guarantee you it is, because I can guarantee you that telling that story will be relatable and will allow people to feel comfortable to tell their own story.
Examples of this. I did not want to tell my burnout story. I was mortified. I ended up in the hospital with a migraine where I lost all my motor skills. I thought I was having a stroke, they thought I had a drug overdose. It was embarrassing, and I thought that it made me seem very weak to other corporate people.
I wrote an op-ed that showed up in an international publication and Business Insider. Two years later, I still have emails and notes from people saying, thank you for telling this story, because I was able to show this to my boss to be able to share that I'm going through something similar.
Brendan: Was that your defining moment?
Elizabeth: That was my defining moment for me.
Brendan: That's 2020.
Elizabeth: The other defining moments for some of my clients, I have one client who wanted to talk about creativity, leadership, and equity. I'm like, no one cares what you have to say about any of those things. Everyone has already talked about those things, Nothing is new. Then she talked about her sobriety and how she's leading a creative agency as a sober leader. We ended up telling that story, and she had people calling her wanting to work for her, because she was creating an environment where sobriety was accepted and celebrated.
Just think that we have so much shame around stories that actually make us who we are. If we can de-stigmatize telling some of those stories in a more positive way and how it actually, in fact, has made us better business people, I think the world would actually be a better place
Brendan: Let's jump forward a little bit. How does Elizabeth impact lives with this work? What are you seeing as impact, i.e., benefits (I guess) you could say?
Elizabeth: I believe besides that strength of being able to connect the dots and finding your story, the biggest impact that I'm making in the world is giving people permission to tell it. It's really surprising to me, and it shouldn't be because I felt like I still need permission to do things that as adults we need permission to do things. When someone gives it to you, you, all of a sudden, think that it's okay.
Maybe that's part of our childhood trauma that we've all held onto and we just never let go of. I have one client who was diagnosed as neurodiverse and had fear and shame around telling that story. One of the things that I think was a defining moment for her was, I'm like, I give you permission to tell the story. It'll be okay. I will support you, we will support you. She's celebrated and then you're like, oh, Richard Branson's dyslexic. Sia has autism.
There are other people in the world that are also telling their story. Tina Turner just passed away this week, and we forget about the bravery that she had about telling her story about leaving an abusive relationship and how many women she saved by being able to tell that story. That was part of her brand, but it's not necessarily what defined her. But someone gave her permission to tell that story. Think about the ripple effect of impact that that has been able to make.
Brendan: On the other side of that coin, when there's not the alignment, they haven't worked with someone like yourself to start to connect the dots and get that alignment, what's the impact you're seeing in a person's life? It's probably more of what it looks like before they come to you.
Elizabeth: The beauty of where we are in the world right now is that the world is so heavy with so much going on in terms of divisiveness, climate issues, and again, a pandemic. Everyone is searching for answers in really beautiful ways. While I think there are a lot of people who are searching, I'm so excited because people are searching at all. They're looking for really interesting, cool, new innovative ways of finding answers that they might not have considered looking before.
Just like the 90s are back fashion-wise, all these really impactful and historically relevant ways of healing are all coming back into style again. Again, the beauty of living in Los Angeles.
Brendan: Everything comes back, doesn't it?
Elizabeth: Everything comes back. Half the people I know are on Chinese herbs, going to acupuncture, or going to sound baths. I live in a very spiritually accepted city. That's cool that we're living in a renaissance of new ways of looking for answers.
Brendan: It certainly is. One of the things that I reflect on a little bit, just in my head, it seems that the things that we talk about often in society are least understood. It's probably why we're talking about it. It makes a little bit of sense, I suppose.
Again, our topic today about purpose, and we're splitting it into work and life purpose, to me falls in that category in the space I play in anyway. It's so talked about, and people are like, ah, not purpose. They're probably listening and watching this and saying, well, God, not another leadership podcast on purpose. What do you think is least understood in this broad topic? Why does it make it so topical, therefore conversational but still misunderstood?
Elizabeth: Probably the million ways that we can define it and also, so many people who claim that they are experts on it. I just don't think that anyone's an expert on purpose. The other thing is that finding your purpose looks different for everyone. There are different times in your life where I think your purpose is going to evolve, and that's okay. That should be expected. We evolve as people, we grow. We should be able to lean into a purpose that evolves as well.
Again, there are so many books on this that a lot of people believe that purpose is just love or joy. That feels way too vast and way too big. Trying to define that by yourself, again, is just so difficult. Then you see other people that are over here being like, I'm living my purpose, I'm living my best life.
Brendan: On social media anyway.
Elizabeth: Yeah. That just makes other people feel shitty about themselves. I think that's the worst part of the world that we live in now. Social media perpetuates that constant need to compare yourself to others. Are you living a purpose that is enough? Are you living doing something that is making you enough money, giving you enough stature? It is so ego-driven in so many ways.
I'm also that spiritual person who's like, I don't believe that we should release all of our ego, because I believe that we need some of our ego to drive us forward in humanity in general. Again, there is no expert. There is no answer for purpose.
The best advice that I can give is define it how you want to define it and then live it how you want to live it, and just be okay with that. I feel like that's probably the hardest thing for all of us to do at all, is just accept that our answers are enough. Everyone listening, I give you permission that your answers are enough.
Brendan: To me, it's definitely a great point. It feels like that journey of purpose for people is maybe a little bit cultural certainly in the work that I do. It's almost like you tick the box and I've done it, but I'm still unhappy. I thought I found my purpose 12 months ago. And it's like, oh, that mustn't work because I'm still unhappy.
Going back to your point, do we have to split the difference between work and life purpose, where it's okay for both of them to change? Or is it okay that one may change more than the other one? What's your experience? What would you say to that?
Elizabeth: Again, it's so personal and I think it's so individual. If you feel innately the purpose that you're living is not right, change it. Do what feels right for you. Again, I really, though, feel that your work purpose should just be the actualized version of your life purpose.
While they are different, I think we need to think of them as much more of an infinity sign of working together in a really symbiotic and beautiful way than keeping them super, super separate. If you're keeping them super separate, eventually, one of them is not going to make you happy. One of them is not going to bring you joy, and they're both going to feel like jobs.
They shouldn't feel hard. It should feel like something that you're driving towards to make yourself a better person and to also leave the world a better place than we found it. But they don't have to be so crazy. They don't have to be so big.
Again, part of my purpose is just helping others find theirs. Another part of my purpose is helping people become more comfortable with alternative ways of thought. If I can do that by talking on a podcast, and having you open up and be like, yes, please go into a reading that I'm not really comfortable with, and go ahead and see what they say, purpose done. What a gift to be able to do that.
Brendan: Absolutely. Again, are we looking for that one best thing? Is that the problem? There's this one best outcome for purpose and therefore, this is what makes it hard or maybe too hard for people, let's face it, challenges for people today of people giving around challenges, so many people.
Again, it's this journey of trying and not feeling there, but not necessarily feeling I have got that perfect outcome, so I'm always searching. But maybe it comes back to what you said to me in my reading that I and everyone else, irrespective of what you're being told or shared, you just need to enjoy the journey of life, because you'll find things that you really love doing, you'll therefore spend more time doing things you really love doing, and you're likely going to spend far less time doing things that you really don't like doing. Is it that simple?
Elizabeth: I think so. How beautiful to be present and enjoying that journey. The other thing that I tell all of my clients is, everywhere you are in your journey is exactly where you're supposed to be. Even if it feels like something is hard, the lesson that you're learning from it will make you a better person in the end. It was a lesson you were meant to learn.
If you think about it, even if you're in a state of despair for three months, in the grand scheme of things, that's quite a fleeting moment. It doesn't feel like forever. Sitting those moments of happiness and sitting in those feelings of even despair, but actually feeling that and being able to move on from that, is also part of the journey.
One of the things that I think might actually be helpful if there are people on here that are really in search of a purpose, is make a list of the top three things that you really love. Is it kids? Is it the ocean? Is it nature? Is it helping others? And then dive into why you love that so much.
If you could just have all the money in the world and that could be the thing you do, what about it do you really, really love? Then try to just do that thing every day, do that thing a couple of times a week, or do that thing once a month. I can guarantee that out of that, a purpose will evolve. That's where I would start.
Brendan: I'm just thinking back. Again, sorry to put this back on my experience. I felt like I started to figure out my work purpose around that 2010–2011 period of time. I'm not sure I equated that to life purpose. I felt okay in life, a young family, wife, and things were good, but I didn't really relate it to that side of things.
Through that journey of moving myself out of the corporate space, because I felt that my work purpose was so different to the space that I was in at that time, and again, like I said recently, I've had a very happy and joyful, I'm very comfortable with my life overall, but it's this last few years, where we've gone through a process of, again, formalizing and being accepted as carers, and then having that opportunity to experience that a couple of times with some placements.
The work that I do with Marc, the producer and my business partner, is that I'm so driven and intentional about what I do each and every day, driving me to a place where actually, we can support more young people. My work gives me that. I'm living the purpose day to day, but then it's driving everything I do, the flexibility I try and create, and the time I need to spend in a business like this in order to drive that.
I don't know what the question out of that. I don't know what you want to say about that, but I just feel so aligned and so passionate about that journey. I'm 47. It's almost like the best years are ahead of me. That's how I feel about it, which is just absolutely amazing. It maybe took me 45 years to feel like the best years are still ahead of me.
Elizabeth: I think that people are going to laugh when they watch this. They're going to be like, oh my God, those people are in their 40s, because I too am in my 40s. I feel like I finally have a purpose. I know what I'm meant to do. I have such joy in the work that I do. I'm making an impact in the world. We look very silly and a little emotional, but when you get there, you're like, this is what it looks like.
Brendan: It's empowering.
Elizabeth: It's so empowering. But hearing your story, I want to say, what an evolution. That's really what I feel like my journey has been about. I have been in corporate PR for 25 years. I believed in my 20s, and I believe this is the truth. In my 20s, my story was to amplify the stories of those who couldn't tell them themselves. And I did that job really, really well.
Now, my purpose grew up. It just evolved in a way that felt more natural to me, that felt more important for the time that we are in right now. In 20 years, is that still going to be my purpose? I doubt it. I'm sure it'll evolve into something else that will look a little bit different. And I'll probably love my life even more at that point.
I don't want to have anybody in their 20s to feel like, oh, my God, I don't know my purpose, and what am I going to do with my life? It'll evolve as your journey evolves and as your life changes. I think the foundation doesn't change, but I think the execution and actualization of how you live does. When you're telling your story, to me, that feels very apparent with what your journey has looked like.
Brendan: Is work and life purpose, finding that, and aligning that the positive outcome of midlife crisis?
Elizabeth: We all have that defining moment. I don't feel like I had a midlife crisis either, but I do believe there's this defining moment that you're like, okay, something has to change. I hate that job, I got a divorce, or there was a loss of a parent. There's something that is a defining moment for you, that changes a bunch of ways of how you look at life.
I agree with you. I also haven't had a midlife crisis, but I love that idea, that that defining moment, is that connection of that work life purpose and how you live that on a daily basis. Thank you. I'm going to steal that. I love that very much.
Brendan: Absolute pleasure. You've bought it out of me. Given what we've talked about today so far, what do you hope for your beautiful nieces, nephews, and godchildren that you care so much for around this space?
Elizabeth: I think about this a lot, actually, that they get to a point, where they get to choose careers by the impact that they want to make in the world. I want to bring joy to kids. Great, you could be an educator, you could be an actor. What an amazing, rad opportunity that would be.
If it was like, here are the different impacts that you can make in the world. Now here are the jobs and how you can make that impact. I also hope that they have the freedom and the permission to live intentionally joyfully. That's the thing (I think) that is most important.
Brendan: Again, you can relate this to your clients and obviously those we've just spoken, about the young ones or even closer. How do you help encourage that? And you don't want to keep them shielded from the naysayers because again, that's character building stuff as well, and it does build things up. How do you embrace that, harness that, and encourage that in this world that we seem to be going in very opposite directions at times?
Elizabeth: That's a very hard question. I think a lot of it goes back to listening to your intuition and your knowing. When I first started telling people that I was an intuitive, I innately knew who I could tell and who I couldn't. I knew that that person was going to be like, oh, my God, that's so cool, tell me more, or that person is going to be like, no, I do not. I'm not feeling that at all.
I believe we all have that inside of us. I think you innately know the people that you're comfortable with telling your story and telling your truth. And there are other people that you're like, okay, we're not going to do that, we're not going to share that.
In a lovely world, in a perfect world, I would love for everybody to be authentically themselves and with everyone, and just show up who you are all the time. But the reality is that can't happen, and that's actually true. I really believe that if we listen to that knowing of who you feel comfortable with and who you don't feel comfortable with sharing your authentic self, is a start. It'll be very interesting to see how the world evolves as more people wake up and more people feel comfortable in their authentic, true self and how they present that to the world.
Brendan: I like it. What have we not spoken about today in this topic—work and life purpose—that we need to or you need to share?
Elizabeth: It's really important that if you don't feel like you have a work purpose, and you don't feel like you have any purpose at work, to find purpose elsewhere, start with the life purpose. It's always the easy one. It's always the one that you will find joy and fastest. Then you try to figure out how to incorporate that feeling into work in a way that we need to do.
The other thing, and I know we touched on it a little bit, is being very aware that work is still work. I so appreciate that every generation that we get into, every younger generation, really does a better job at bringing their full self to work. I think Gen Z is really pushing us in a way to think differently and to be more aware of mental and physical health, to be more mindful, to be more socially accepted, and to think differently about social issues. I love it so much, but I also think we have to remember that work is work.
There are times when we need to get things done, and there are times when you can be more authentically yourself. Again, I think that's just listening to your knowing. Read the room, when the right time is to bring that self and when the right time is to actually get the job done.
We haven't found this happy medium yet. In the US, we're still really trying to figure out how to go back to the office. Are we doing a hybrid? Are we doing remote? Where are people living? What is happening? And the future of work is still very unknown. I love in so many ways that we are trying to reimagine and innovate what that looks like, but we also have jobs to do.
Brendan: Just because people may have found or on a path in their current journey, found their life purpose and hopefully some alignment in the work purpose, does it mean they're always happy in life?
Elizabeth: They're not always happy in life. I don't even know how to say that. I believe if you're actually living your purpose and one that you genuinely believe, then you do find joy, but we are still humans. We do still have ebbs and flows. We have good good days, we've got bad days. I'm sure you can attest that you find so much joy in the work that you're doing, but there are rough days when you're being a caretaker and when you're being a coach.
We all need to just also be okay with that. We can have a bad day and move on. I also think that we can't put all of our happy coins into one bucket. Purpose can't just be the thing. You need community, you need connection, you need physical affection, you need emotional attention, you need spiritual alignment, and you need mental clarity.
There are a lot of things that you need in order to make sure that your system is running pretty clean here, and that takes a lot of work. I just think that purpose is one of those things that really can enhance, help you find joy, and make you happy, but it's not the only thing. If we put all of our attention on just that one thing and ignore all the rest, that's a recipe for disaster.
Brendan: I like what you've said just there. My logical mind and maybe it's this restrictive side, I'm starting to think about funneling it. All those inputs you mentioned about the opportunity, challenges, and experiences in life, all that sort of stuff, that's the stuff you need to chuck into the funnel.
At all times, you'll get some life purpose we're talking at the moment. You'll get an output of that. It doesn't mean to say that that's always going to be the output. That output might be like that for many years, but a different experience, a different entry, a different input comes into that funnel. And that can adjust things.
That can make things a little bit different and maybe age again in our 40s. Maybe we'll think differently in the 50s. I don't know, but maybe that age and that experience, that different lens that we have, and experiences we've seen, things changes that stuff. Like what you said to me in the reading, you just got to be okay with things. Just enjoy the journey as well. You don't have to be intentional all the time. Just go with the flow sometimes.
Elizabeth: Wouldn't it be great if we all do that sometimes? There are people who just go with the flow all the time.
Brendan: I can't agree with that. The world will just be too messy, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: It is so stressful for me. You have to have intentionality, some control, and deliberate action around something because this to me is chaos. But those people seem to be fine, too. Again, that's the beauty of humanity. We are all very different, and we're all here for a reason.
Brendan: Absolutely. Like anything in life, there's a happy medium, a happy balance. Sometimes the balance goes a bit out of kilter, but things have a funny way of working their way back to equilibrium, I think.
Elizabeth: That's the truth, yeah.
Brendan: Elizabeth, let me ask you what is generally our final question. What has helped you become a more confident leader?
Elizabeth: I've thought about this question a lot. Thank you for sending that over. This is probably a shocking answer. I have become a more confident leader by getting positive feedback and reinforcement from my clients, that then remind me that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
I know that sounds like a lot of ego. But when I know that something is working, and I know that it's making an impact, and I know I'm also being a kind, thoughtful, smart person, it fuels my fire to continue and do it better, more, and have a larger reach.
It's not about likes on a LinkedIn post. It's the, oh, my God, you said I could do this, and I did it. I've received emails from clients, and phone calls and texts, and I have put people to tears. I'm like, oh, my God, I can't believe I'm able to do this, and this totally works. Wow. You know it does, but sometimes you need that positive reinforcement to make you sure that what you're doing is right. That's such a gift for me to receive that back.
Brendan: Absolutely well done.
Elizabeth: My plans make me confident.
Brendan: I feel the same, those things. To me, that word feedback is such a powerful thing. Feedback doesn't always have to have that negative connotation that we seem to give it at times. It's a reinforcement. What a powerful statement from a leadership perspective, because you're getting feedback from your clients, you're getting feedback for various people all the time, and that's just helping you improve, or double down on what you do, giving the confidence to keep serving and making an impact on more people.
I'm really super pleased that we've had this conversation, Elizabeth. I've never had a reading done on the podcast. I'm so honored that it was the first time you've done some reading on a podcast as well. That's awesome. Thank you very much for being a fantastic guest.
Thank you. It's three minutes of a reading. If you'd like a full reading, you just need to let me know. But I'm so happy that some of what I did tell you did resonate. That means a lot.
Brendan: It absolutely did. There were times during the conversation where I did have to control some emotions. It obviously touched something.
Elizabeth: It's so interesting, because I think 70% of my clients have never had any intuitive reading before. I think part of the reason that they work with me is I don't look woo-wooey. I don't look like what you think a medium would look like.
I've had, again, 25 years in corporate America. I have a resume that backs up that I am of the echelon and caliber that they are, so they feel comfortable with me. I do a reading with them, and then someone's crying on the side, and their grandma’s coming through. There are all these things happening, and they're a little gobsmacked. But we do always land on that purpose.
There is so much fear around me tying these two worlds together, also being public with it, and telling people this is actually what I do. I wouldn't do this if I didn't think that it didn't work. I wouldn't put my reputation on the line to be like, hey, guys, during the pandemic, I became a medium, and this is what's happening now. Obviously, that's not the full story. I had so much fear around telling that story.
A coach that I work with said to me, how can you tell your clients to be their authentic versions of themselves if you are not telling your authentic story? I was like, oh, God, well, I got to do that. It took me a good 18 months to finally feel comfortable enough to tell a story.
I remember hitting a post on LinkedIn and thinking, oh, my God, I'm going to have to sell my stuff, move to Bali, and I'm never going to get a job again. I was inundated with new clients and people just saying, we totally knew this, you've always been really intuitive, or thank you for sharing your story. And my business has been just booming since. I get referrals.
I'm just so grateful that there are so many people right now who are willing to search for answers elsewhere, are actually willing to look at what their journey looks like, and willing to ask help to find what they need in order to be happy in their work and their life. That's where I think I have so much joy in what I do, because I'm tying together two worlds that I never ever, ever wanted to.
My family even warned me like, please don't do this. This may not go well. I'm like, but I can't hold it anymore. I got to tell people. Thank God, it ended up working, and it's something that I really love. It's a story that I can share with my clients because everything that I recommend and I advise them to do, I've done myself. I've been on that journey. I love being able to share that story with them, too.
Brendan: Yeah, it's brilliant. Again, it's the level of authenticity. You're attracting the right people for starters. It's an easy filter when you're telling the real story about yourself and how you've come to where you're at today. There's a lot to be learned from that process, isn't it?
Brendan: Once again, I really appreciate you being an awesome guest. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Again, continue to unpack this weird and wonderful, broad topic of purpose and splitting this down into life purpose and work purpose. I hope that people can really gather some insight to that and just enjoy the journey of finding what their purpose is and being okay that it can change over time. Once again, thank you.
Elizabeth: Exactly. Thank you.
Brendan: What did I miss in the reading? When Elizabeth said, mum says hi, and she felt it was from someone who passed, I can't believe I didn't pick up that it was my grandma who passed in 1992. We called her mama. These are my three key takeaways from my conversation with Elizabeth.
My first key takeaway, confident leaders align their life and work purpose. By weaving these together, they create flow. That seamlessly moves them toward a meaningful impact. This alignment of life and work purpose gives a sense of fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.
My second key takeaway, confident leaders embrace their stories. These stories can emerge from defining moments like burnout. They shape us and strengthen our leadership capabilities. Our story is part of our brand, but they don't define who we are. Giving yourself permission to embrace your story, and you will impact people's lives.
My third key takeaway, confident leaders are present in their journey. They enjoy their journey of life and use it as a driving force in their own personal growth. Wherever you are in the journey is exactly where you're supposed to be at that moment.
In summary, my three key takeaways were: confident leaders align their life and work purpose, confident leaders embrace their stories, and confident leaders are present in their journey. Let me know your key takeaway on YouTube or at thecultureofleadership.com. Thanks for joining me. Remember, the best outcome is on the other side of a genuine conversation.