I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of The Well Supported Woman and life coach Laura Weldy. She is credentialed by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Laura helps creative women with personal development, teaching them how to become better advocates for themselves, their team and their greater work in the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I feel like becoming a coach was a natural “coming home” to my unique strengths. I had spent so many years in school and in the workplace feeling like I was constantly striving to be someone else — to create new skills, to tamper my responses and to exude confidence. It wasn’t until I had burnt myself out in the process that I was willing to consider new avenues. After years of job juggling, I answered an ad on Indeed for an assistant to a life coach out of pure desperation and desire to give up the reins of control in my life. I thought maybe she could tell me what I was meant to be doing!
Ironically, she ended up teaching me how to tune back into my own voice and practice intentional creation instead of the exhaustion and overwhelm I had been accustomed to. Once I learned to see my own strengths and values, it was obvious that coaching was a tool to facilitate the expression of those gifts in a way that benefitted others. I haven’t looked back since.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
To me, living on purpose is all about an alignment of clear intention and action. I don’t want anyone to float along in life reactively, just waiting to be noticed. I want to empower them to chase what lights them up and be willing to learn hard lessons during their pursuit. Living on purpose is about being actively engaged in the day to day and rejecting the allure of distraction.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
I am able to speak about reactivity so easily because that was me, 100%. When I left the world of nonprofit and hopped from job to job, I felt exhausted to my core. I didn’t want to have to think about what my purpose was — I just wanted someone to choose for me. I was so separated from my own intuition and confidence that I had no idea where to start when it came to identifying what made me unique.
What I’ve learned since then is that burnout and breakdown are common — and that they’re often part of a cycle that repeats itself. So while circumstances can be really challenging and unhealthy, we also need to take a look at why we’d rather burn ourselves out in pursuit of a goal that isn’t ours than in pursuit of our purpose. What are we afraid to find? Our dreams?
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
I’m sure that there are lots of sociological and economic factors influencing this ranking. I truly believe that the way our society glamorizes exhaustive work without adequate reward is a huge part of the problem. Work-life boundaries have all but disappeared. We’re teaching generation after generation that work comes before their own life experience — as if people are always replaceable. It makes employees feel invisible, exhausted and robs us of the ability to be present to our friends, family, and self in our off-the-clock time.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This is a great question and challenge! My goal with my work is always to teach what I know is working. I share insights into coaching trends and client work every week for free so that everyone has access to actionable tools that help them, whether they can afford a one-on-one coach or not.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
· Always be learning: I’m reading, listening to or journaling on ideas every single idea. It keeps my mind young and challenges me so that I don’t fall into a complacent state.
· Cultivate your five: We’ve all heard that the five people we spend the most time with impact who we become. I believe in intentionally cultivating your five people — reach out, create genuine friendships, support them and invite them to share their experiences with you. The flip side of that?
· The flip side is cutting out the energy drainers. This applies to people, situations and any imagined expectations that are hanging out in your head. Learn to let go of anything that is pulling away from your valuable energy and redirects that energy toward things you love.
· Consume beautiful things. Poetry, art, prose, passionate conversation, love. These are the things that make life wonderful to experience.
· Start the day by designing the type of experience you want to have. Craving a day of inspiration? How can you set yourself up to experience that? If you’re looking for freedom, what unnecessary things can you release?
· Prioritize play — be open to new adventures, make new friends, climb a tree. Let play be more important than worrying.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
My favorite resources are my clients — hearing them talk about their “waking up” process as they realized their own power and autonomy never fails to energize me. I love to read fiction and poetry for inspiration, and I listen to comedy and news podcasts. I believe it’s important for us to look outside of our line of work to find inspiration, so we aren’t just recycling the same ideas.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite policy when it comes to having a Joie De Vivre is to never take yourself too seriously. This has been enormously helpful for me over the years, because it keeps me laughing, seeking out joy and being flexible in all my pursuits. It keeps me from focusing too much on my goal to the point that I am miserable during the entire process.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am! Something I’ve noticed in the coaching and self-help world lately is that much of the content is geared toward entrepreneurs — leaving lots of individuals in more traditional work positions out of the conversation. I’m working on an intimate workshop experience that brings the self-determination experience directly to them and helps them learn how to better their self-awareness, freedom, and joy. Being your own boss isn’t the only path to happiness and fulfillment.
This workshop will help women, specifically, to learn how to bring their personal and professional values and strengths into alignment. It’s asking us to show up and advocate for ourselves in a way that we may never have before.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I want to inspire an understanding that leadership development is all about personal development. We owe it to ourselves and the people around us to become the most self-aware, joyful and fulfilled version of ourselves. Through doing that deep getting-to-know-yourself work, your development becomes a radical source of inspiration to others. We become powerful when we step into our own power, not when someone else deems us so.