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What is a Good Life? #12 (Podcast)
Going Your Own Way with Alison Taylor
On the 12th episode of the What is a Good Life? podcast, I am joined by Alison Taylor, who is a Clinical Professor at NYU Stern School of Business, Executive Director at Ethical Systems, and is writing a book for the Harvard Business Review Press on how business can do the right thing in a turbulent world.
In this episode Alison describes how curiosity has been her main driving force in life, taking her on a journey from investigating corporate corruption on several continents to teaching at NYU. She talks about embracing adventure, playing to your strengths, loving your work, and the importance of contributing to what you care about to remain optimistic in the face of a tumultuous world.
Given both our proclivities for jumping continents and careers at various points in life, I took a lot of inspiration from her story, and success, of backing herself and going her own way - as I’m sure you will too.
The weekly clip from the podcast (2 mins), my weekly reflection (2 mins), the full podcast (48 mins), and the weekly questions all follow below.
1. Weekly Clip from the Podcast
2. My weekly reflection
It’s amazing to me the number of people I’ve interviewed, that have had an objective marker of success in terms of their careers (have published books, sold companies, reached the C-suite), that continually say that they had no plan to get to where they ended up specifically.
Sure they had created plans at different points, they had goals, some were conscientious in how they approached life, but they often say they could never have mapped out how it all played out.
It reminds me of a conversation I had when I started coaching a few years back, when I was suggesting we know exactly what we want to do, even if only subconsciously, and a friend of mine (who had sold a company and was figuring out what to do next) said that he believed it is more a case that it is revealed to us as we try different things in life.
While there is no hard and fast rule to this, I tend to agree more with my friend’s perspective. I see so many of us are waiting until we have a fully fleshed out plan or theory for what our purpose or mission is in life, and yet in reality this will alter and deviate quite significantly from what we initially plan.
As much as we want to protect ourselves from uncertainty or failure, while something remains on paper or in our heads, we can never fully know how it will feel or function until we try it. It takes a series of experiments / experiences for the path to emerge, and it is generally only in hindsight that we can see or make sense of the path we have just walked.
When I work with clients these days around purpose, it isn’t with the expectation that we can ever fully find out through a series of conversations or observations what it is, but that we open up the space and courage to test these theories in the real world, after which a co-creation between ourselves, our experiences, and our environment, shape the way.
3. Full Episode - Going Your Own Way with Alison Taylor - What is a Good Life? Ep. #12
4. This week’s Questions
In the short video above Alison says, “I do know who I am. I do know what I want” - where are you presently with these two statements?
Is there an opportunity you are resisting on account of not knowing exactly how it all plays out?
I am a Coach based in Berlin, via Dublin, Ireland. I left behind a 15-year career in Capital Markets after I became extremely curious around what life, myself, and existence are all about.
I create corporate programs for companies to foster Purpose, Psychological Safety and Trust (click here for reference). While I also work with high-performing, individual clients who have hit their material goals and are trying to understand what comes after performance.