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Alissa Carpenter is a millennial career and leadership coach, Forbes contributor and co-host of the Millennial Playbook podcast. Today, Alissa will share her process for understanding your big why.

Successes at a glance:

Alissa’s big why:

  • For Alissa, this isn’t a static question. It’s something she asks herself all the time and it’s constantly changing and evolving. Though her business has changed from where it started, at the heart of it, Alissa’s big why is making a difference. The best way she can do that is by helping others discover their passion and purpose. In other words, her big why is helping others find theirs! The other side of this is helping companies and organizations understand the needs and mindset of millennials who compromise the newest entrants in the workforce.

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • One of the things that you first notice about Alissa is that she is completely open and honest. For Alissa, setbacks and roadblocks are a regular part of her journey. Even during our conversation, Alissa reveals that she has been facing a setback over the past couple of weeks. Recently, Alissa had been on what she calls a “workcation,” which was supposed to be time off with her family. But instead, the work part kept creeping up and Alissa realized “that’s not ok!” Alissa shares that entrepreneurship can often be a struggle to keep up while facing this pervasive feeling of falling behind, whether it be emails or other responsibilities. What Alissa takes out of this and shares with Moving Forward listeners is that 1) it’s ok “not to be ok” and 2) resilience is required if you want to take the good with the bad.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Like many entrepreneurs, Alissa started working as a career coach as part of a side hustle. Her day job was working for a large university and graduate school. Alissa loved her work but didn’t feel she was making the difference she wanted to; she wasn’t fulfilling her big why. As her side hustle started to grow, it was time for Alissa to make the decision to put her heart and soul into it. That’s when she left her job to pursue her side gig fulltime.

Knowledge bursts:

  • How Alissa balances family and entrepreneurship:
    • It’s hard but Alissa takes each day as it comes and puts her energy into prioritizing responsibilities. It all comes back to knowing your why.
    • Don’t be a big yes person. Say no to the things that don’t serve your big why.
  • Advice on making the first steps to make a change or move forward.
    • Take a step back and take a critical look at your day. What do you enjoy about it? What do you hate about it? Be specific and granular in evaluating your day.
      • Write it out with pen and paper.
    • Recognize that your passion and purpose may not come from one source. Your job or career is definitely a part of the equation but not the entire picture. Your happiness may come from a variety of sources (example: volunteer work or hobbies), in addition to your day job.
  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Alissa to move forward:
    • Brene Brown: Alissa admires her work on vulnerability and empathy.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Productivity hack: batch activities and block off dedicated time for those batches. Alissa recommends this approach as opposed to being a multitasker.
  • How Alissa recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Running: this gives Alissa the free space to clear her mind and reset.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Just give yourself permission to leave a job if you’re not happy. Consider, it’s not just about you. There is someone out there who would be happy to be in the job you’re in. Give yourself permission to find your big why so someone else can find theirs. Move forward!

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Find your inner happy.”

Connect with Alissa: