I am privileged to have my first interview on what interests you with the wonderful Beth Kempton. Beth has inspired me through doing her online course, ‘Do What You Love’ to chase my own dreams on What Interests You. I cannot recommend this course enough. Her compassion towards helping others do what they love is felt the whole way through the course. Beth has also just had her first book, ‘Freedom Seeker’ published by Hay House, which is available for pre-order on Amazon now (out April 4, 2017).
1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, how you got started in the business of helping people do what they love and the first steps that you took towards doing this?
It’s a long and winding tale, but the catalyst was a creative awakening I had 5000 miles from home. I had been working in the male-dominated money-oriented sports world, when found myself on an all-women art retreat in California. There was something about the environment, the energy, the connection between the women, and the sheer joy that came from immersing ourselves in creativity, that made me realise I wanted to feel differently in my work. At the same time I knew that so many of those women, who had come alive on that retreat, would go back home, go back to work and carry on as before. If only there was a way they could turn their passion into a career, they’d be able to do what the love day in, day out. That’s when I had the a-ha moment of bringing together all that I had learnt in my corporate career with my adventurous outlook on life, to inspire creative women to choose the path that would make them happier. That’s when Do What You Love was born.
The first thing I did was buy the URL, register the company and open a business bank account. That made it feel real. The rest came after that.
2. Could you give an insight into what drew you towards helping others do what they love? Was there a particular feeling or event?
Helping others achieve their full potential has been a career thread for me. This was particularly apparent during the years at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is on a mission to help every child fulfil their potential. I was so inspired by that work, and it gave me a deeper understanding of the real challenges our world faces, as well as the opportunities created when children (and women in particular) are supported to flourish
3. For anyone that would love to get involved in helping people do what they love, could you recommend 3 action steps they could take over the next week or so that would get them closer to doing this?
- Why are you drawn to helping others do what they love? What particular aspect of it is appealing to you?
- Can you identify one particular person (real or imagined) who embodies the kind of person you would like to support? What exactly is it that they need?
- What can you draw on (your experiences, knowledge, characteristics etc) that will help you offer what they need? And then be sure to ask yourself whether the thought of offering that inspires YOU!
4. What are your favourite books or courses that guided you on your journey to help others do what they love?
I eat books, so there are so many, but some of my favourites include:
- Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M Pirsig
- The way of the peaceful warrior by Dan Millman
- Let my people go surfing by Yvon Chouinard
5. From your personal experience of helping people, do what they love. Do you regularly see a connection between what people loved doing as a child and what they eventually realise, they would love to do as an adult? Can you see this connection in yourself with what you loved as a child and the way you live your life now?
Interesting question! Our childhood memories are a great place to search for clues – either about what we did love, or what we didn’t. I don’t actually know that many people who have found joy in doing they actual job they dreamt of as a child (e.g. “I want to be a pilot when I grow up”), but the way we behaved in childhood, in terms of our friendships, the things that we would obsess about, what we collected, what we filled our summer days with etc, can be great clues to what makes us happy.
For me, one of the most inspiring things I have done lately is researching and write my book ‘Freedom Seeker’. When I look back at my early childhood, I can see myself on an old typewriter creating playscripts, with my friend Kirsty making our own magazine, keeping a secret diary and making project scrapbooks, so there is a definite connection there.
6. Which mentors do you feel you have learnt the most from and what have they taught you?
When I worked at UNICEF I was privileged to work closely with Oscar-winning film producer Lord David Puttnam, who has since become one of my most valued mentors. He’s one of those people who makes you think anything is possible, every time you talk to him.
David is an impressive man on so many levels – before his work in education and international development, he spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. He also has more honorary degrees than I can keep track of.
But the thing that made him such a shining light for me wasn’t actually any of that. It was his deep-rooted commitment to furthering human potential. We worked together on one huge project which brought sporting opportunities to over 12 million children across the world. We then spent several years building a complex partnership to make it happen, and its legacy lives on.
Time and again in the process we came up against brick walls, but instead of banging his head against them, Lord Puttnam always kept the end in mind, and found a way round or over, or reconstructed the wall completely.
What I learned from him was this: Keep your eye on the prize. Fight for what you believe in. Don’t let bureaucracy stand in the way of big, brilliant ideas.
7. For anyone interested in making a living helping people do what they love. Would you be able to share different ways they could help others and create financial wealth at the same time?
Start any soulful business! Truly – if you create your own business from a place of service, and provide things that will really help others live fuller, happier lives, there is huge potential for prosperity as well as purpose.
8. What are you most grateful for each day when it comes to helping people do what they love?
The chance to be responsible for manifesting my own happiness. I don’t always make the right choices, and I often take on too much, but at the end of the day I know it’s up to me. There’s a joy in that, a vast well of possibility, and a flexibility which I am immensely grateful for as a mother of two children under three!
9. What is the toughest thing you feel you had to overcome in the beginning, when first setting up a business to help people do what they love?
A complete lack of knowledge of technology, which is pretty crucial for a digital business! Less than a year before starting Do What You Love I didn’t even know what a blog was. When we published our first online course six years, I didn’t realise we were actually being pioneers, because back then there were hardly any online personal development courses available. It’s also the case that back then people didn’t really go online to find that source of support, so although we made a lot of mistakes, we did it in front of a much smaller audience!
10. Prior to helping people do what they love, did you ever work in an environment that you didn’t enjoy? If so how did you stay motivated and inspired?
To be honest, no. The male-dominated sports industry was tough in many ways – hugely competitive, very money-driven and fast-paced – but it was also exciting, glamorous even, and I had some fascinating conversations with fascinating people. I had some crazy experiences, like flying on Manchester United’s private jet, standing on the pitch at Old Trafford talking to 75,000 people, attending the World Cup Final and several Olympics etc. The real soul-enhancing work is what I am doing now, but nothing is wasted, because it was the path that brought me here, that got me here.
11. You write amazing blog posts and interviews. When starting out how did you learn to write and interview people? Would be great to hear Mr K’s response to this one as well if possible?
I can’t take credit for the blog interviews – we have a brilliant web editor called Rachel Kempton (who happens to be my sister-in-law), a professional journalist with a knack for asking great questions! In terms of blog posts, I spend a lot of time thinking about the person reading them, wondering where they are at and what I can share that will have some kind of impact, whether that be inspiration, an a-ha moment, or simply a sense of someone getting what they are going through.
12. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
There are two, both from my mother. Firstly, “Don’t rely on a man for money” – this inspired me early on in my life to make my own way. And secondly “Moisturise your neck” – I’ve been doing that every day since I was 15 and it’s a good trick for looking younger than you are!
13. Do you recall the best question you have ever been asked and what the answer was to it?
Will you marry me?
14. How do you juggle family life and business life with two kids and Mr K?
With a lot of planning, prioritising and forgiveness! We try to be at work when we’re at work, and with the girls when we’re with the girls, although we don’t always get it right! We also try not to go online after teatime.
15. And lastly, what do you love most about helping people do what they love?
The virtuous cycle of inspiration. It’s amazing to see people take what you have taught and run with it, but it’s even better to then be inspired by them in your own life.
Find out more:
You can access hundreds of inspiring interviews and a ton of free resources at www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com.
Beth’s book ‘Freedom Seeker: Live more. Worry less. Do what you love.’ is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all good bookstores now.