July 18, 2022

Elizabeth Knight | On Defining Yourself and Your Mission

Elizabeth Knight | On Defining Yourself and Your Mission

Elizabeth Knight is the founder and director of Purposeful. She’s previously been a director at various startups and is now also co-founder of her no-code business, Next Revolution.

Her mission is to help young people find their place in the world.

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Content
00:00 Elizabeth Knight
00:28 Intro
01:13 Vision Boards
09:52 Challenges Young People Face Today
13:57 A New Education System
18:59 What do students undervalue?
26:13 The beginnings of Purposeful
29:50 The Purposeful Journey
34:55 Most Worthwhile Investments
40:47 What does success look like?
43:57 Advice for Graduates
46:18 Connect with Liz
47:01 Outro

Transcript
Elizabeth Knight:

I was jealous of people that had a passion. I didn't have a passion. And, um, yeah, that, that's the other thing. Now there's like this pressure to not just do a career, but you have to be passionate about that career. And it's like, oh my God, whole other layer added into that. So those, those expectations and ideas of success, um, whenever we're tempting one over another it's bad.

James Fricker:

Hello, and welcome to graduate theory. Today's guest is the founder and director of purposeful. She's previously been a director at various startups, and now is a co-founder of her no code business. Next revolution. Her mission is to help young people find their place in the world. Please welcome to the show. Elizabeth Knight Elizabeth. Welcome.

Elizabeth Knight:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to chat.

James Fricker:

Yeah, no, me too. It's uh, you are certainly very inspiring and it's really cool to see what you're doing in the lives of young people, uh, in Perth and right across Australia. Um, I wanna ask though about, uh, I was listening and researching you before the podcast, and I found, uh, that you have this particular interest in vision boards. Uh, I'd lovely. If you could kind of explain to us kind of the history in your life, vision boards, perhaps when you started. Using these and what benefits that you've had as a result of creating these

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, uh, nowadays you see a lot of vision boards in January on Instagram and, you know, there's sort of these like beautiful, like collage type things. And, um, and that's the only time when people talk about their goals, like with other people and especially on social media, but that was something that I'd been doing for quite a while now. Um, so I, I actually. Quite consciously make a vision board most, every year. And I sit down usually at the start of the year and literally spend like two or three weeks, um, really resetting and connecting with myself again and thinking about the goals that I have. Um, usually to begin with, I don't, it's not particularly structured. It's just like a process of trying to get created again and tap back into the things that I really enjoy. And that can be anything big or small. So I'll map out like, Full mind maps of, you know, all these different bucket list items and things I wanna achieve. Um, and then I spend time sort of refining those goals and figuring out which ones most align with by values and, uh, sort of most authentic or true to me. Right now in that moment, um, because there's lots of things you might wanna achieve, but they might not really be the most compelling or like resonant goal for you in, in the, you know, here and now. Um, and then I go sort of like scrapbook style and I actually create a physical vision board that has my top five to sort of eight goals, um, anchored around the values that are most important to me. And, and that sits above my bed usually. So it's the first thing that I see. Every day when I wake up and I love the idea of vision for people who haven't actually, um, been familiar with that process at all, the idea is really to trick your brain into thinking that you've already achieved these things. Um, so you could do it again. And it's a way of the, I guess, that idea of you seeing is believing and, and kind of trying to train yourself to think that these things that seem really lofty and ambitious that possible and within reach and. Hard to forget, because most of us write down our goals at the start of the year and then like, maybe don't look at them again until next year when we start that process again. So yeah, that's like a really creative process for me as well. And, um, a really grounding sort of way of. Coming back to myself. And I, I sort of find that every like six to seven months, I have like a mini life crisis where I'm like, what's my vision. What am I doing? And, and that actually really helps me to refocus and yeah. So that's vision.

James Fricker:

yeah. Cool.

Elizabeth Knight:

what all about.

James Fricker:

nah, that's so good. Yeah, I think that's really cool. I've. I've done some in the past. Um, but I've just done like a, sort of a word document where I just like find, even if it's like certain people that I wanna be like, and just like put a photo of them there or like, um, you know, things like that. That, yeah, I think it'd be so helpful there. Like you said, it'd be seeing it every day. It even just like reminds you that, oh yeah. These are the things that I'm like pursuing, uh, you know, or because like often it's like, you know, start of the year you like write down like, oh, I'm gonna like run like three times a week, like for the rest of the year or whatever. And then it's like, you might do it. And then you, you go off and then you just kind of forget like that you even like decided to do that. And I think that's a big part of it too.

Elizabeth Knight:

Absolutely. And what I always am amazed by is that I'll start with like a list of, you know, Probably like 50 to a hundred goals and they're all different sizes of, of goals. And, um, I'll only pick like five O to eight that I'm working on right. Consciously. But then when you look back every year, I've always actually achieved so many more of those goals than what I, what I had, you know, in my vision and what I was focusing on. Um, because so many of them. Sort of like next steps or, or follow ons from each other. And, um, that process of just consciously carving out time to set goals and dream. I think that that's something we don't really talk about much with goal setting, but dreaming is so important. Um, like actually really letting yourself go, okay, like what would I do here if I couldn't fail? Or if, um, time and money were no object, right. Or. If, whatever the barrier is for you, if it's like confidence or skills or connections or, um, courage or whatever, like what would you do if that was no longer a barrier and giving yourself permission to think about things that aren't, you know, necessarily necessarily realistic or that other people would approve of. That's such an important part of that process, not just having like goals that seem cool. That look cool to achieve. Um, you need to do that first part as.

James Fricker:

Yeah, absolutely. I, I love that. And I'm interested to hear, like what sort of artifacts and things you actually put in here, like is, do you have a certain way that you go about doing it?

Elizabeth Knight:

Creating a vision itself, like,

James Fricker:

Yeah. Or, or like, if you go on a let's say, yeah, like we can use the example. Yeah. Let's say I wanna run like three times a week. Like what would you put on the vision board?

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah, sure.

James Fricker:

Are there any like particular things that you use, like to sort of articulate the

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah, absolutely. So it's, uh, you have to almost get really silly with it, right? If, if you kind of cringe at, at what you create, that's a good thing because it means it's, it's struck a nerve with you. It means it's like actually resonant. I always say it should feel like you're showing someone your diary when you show them your vision. Um, because it should be that personal to you. Um, so the, the types of things you could put, like once upon a time, one of my big goals was to meet Taylor swift. And I did achieve that goal, which was huge for my, uh, nine year old self. And I, for ages, you know, had like this, like really. Cheesy photoshopped kind of thing of like me with tele swift and I wanted to move to Sydney at the time. So like the background was like the Sydney Harbor bridge and, and so it it doesn't have to be realistic. And I think that's what people miss often it's supposed to be about. Really getting yourself in the zone of what would it feel like, look like, um, be like to actually achieve that goal. So who would be around you, you know, where, how would you be getting to, if you were, you know, going to the concert to me, tell us if, like, how are you getting there? Like, do you have this dream car that you're driving or who's in the passenger seat next to you? You know, that's coming on that journey with you and, and doing all these exercises to really flesh out what that moment could be like. Um, which seems really silly, but makes it all the more. To you, which is a really critical part. So yeah, lots of cheesy kind of photoshopped, um, uh, things go on my vision board and that's okay. Cuz it's, it's supposed to be fun as well.

James Fricker:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, that's really cool. And a nice segue here, but what is on your vision board for this year? Did you end up doing one?

Elizabeth Knight:

my, this year I have to admit is mine's a little bit broken up, but that's okay. I. Um, I I've sort of like unsubscribed to doing it every year, necessarily. It's when you need it. Um, my big vision for a long time now has to build, been to build a business that's purposeful, um, sustainable and, and scalable. So purposeful in that it. Actually creating an impact first and foremost. Um, and secondly, uh, sustainable in that it's sustainable financially, but also sustainable for me personally and my team and scalable, and that I want to create something that has a legacy and lives beyond my time here, um, on this planet, cuz we just have no idea how long. That is so where I'm concentrating most of my time is, is at purposeful, which is a startup, helping young people to find their place in the world and careers they're passionate about. And as part of that, I really, my goal has been to make my first. Full time, hire this year and to, um, do a fundraise that enables us to actually build, um, a scalable platform to support young people in, in finding the right pathway with them, uh, for their, their, their future. Um, so that's a huge vision item and it's sort of why my vision has like encroached on multiple years at the moment. Cuz obviously there's a lot to try and achieve in 12 months. um, but yeah, that's, that's one of the big ticket items this year.

James Fricker:

Cool. That is exciting, certainly. And I'd love to kind of dive into purposeful in a bit more detail. So my you, you're going into sort of schools and, and helping young people understand what it takes, uh, or you know, what, what skills they need to live a more purposeful life. I'd love to hear kind of, what are the challenges that you see, like heaps of like common challenges that young people today are really grappling.

Elizabeth Knight:

Absolutely. I think whatever you were facing when you were in high school, it's that, but times 10 already, um, the challenges that I faced when I was figuring out what I wanted to do have just become more and more amplified for this next kind of generation coming through. The number one question we get asked is always some variation of how do you find the right? You know, how do I make the right choice? Like how do I pick the right career pathway? And I'm always really interested by that wording because it assumes that there's like this wrong pathway that, you know, there's like this one dream job out there, sitting there waiting for you somewhere. Um, and it's your job. Work harder and study harder and try and get closer to actually finding that. Um, which I think is a big myth. We this idea of the future of work and that a lot of jobs don't exist yet, um, is not something that means, you know, there's these jobs that we just don't understand and, and aren't sort of tangible and we're not able to actually like conceptualize what they could look like. It, it means to me a lot more about actually being the curator of your own path and your own opportu. Actually identifying problems and creating employment opportunities potentially, um, around solving those problems that could be through a business, but also could be in your organization. And so I think that notion is what young people really struggle with. Um, because in school we're taught to conform and the way that we actually need to be thinking about our careers. The opposite we need to have so much more agency in, in designing our own path and, um, and being much more proactive about that. But students that sort of just expect you to like, tell them, like, this is the right career for you and it's here and you can do these 1, 2, 3 steps and you'll get there, but it just doesn't look like that. And I think that's. Both the biggest failing of that education system, but also it's a, it's a really like hard realization for a 15 year old, too, that you get to call the shots, um, which is exciting, but also really overwhelming as we go.

James Fricker:

Yeah. yeah, definitely. Yeah. I, yeah, I think that's cool. I think it's even sometimes hard for like someone that's at that age to be like, all right, like you're in charge of your, of your life. Like it's, you know, take responsibility for everything. Um, it's quite like. Be sort of wait, uh, to carry. Um, and it can be hard to think about, you know, like, especially when you probably get that station and even know like really what any of the options are, let alone like the best option

Elizabeth Knight:

Absolutely. And especially when you're in school at the same time, you know, the there's this tension I find in the work that we do in that we now have the privilege of being like the first interaction. A lot of young people have. In terms of thinking about their careers and their future. Um, not just careers, but like the path that they want to take when they leave, which is really exciting. But also we are the first ones to introduce that idea to them that careers exist. And this is a choice you're gonna have to make. So like we, you know, are trying to set them up with the best first step that they can, knowing that most young people don't have a great first experience in careers. Like, um, but that's a lot of pressure too, to make sure that that experience. Fun, but recognizing that careers are tough, it's not, it's not easy. It is kind of painful and there's gonna be struggle there. Like there's not a perfect way to do it. Absolutely.

James Fricker:

Yeah. Yeah. I definitely that's. Cool. Well, I, I guess like to touch on, you mentioned their like education system and all that sort of stuff. Is there anything that like, It, I feel like it's yeah, the education system, I guess, gets a lot of, uh, a lot of hate or whatever at the moment, but I guess if you had to like, make some tweaks or perhaps even, I don't know if you've really thought about this in much detail about like, what if we could just create a whole new, like education system that like did stuff completely different to school? Like, do you have any thoughts there on perhaps like what schools could do better or about what, like your ideal education system would look like?

Elizabeth Knight:

definitely. I think the number one change that I am passionate about is redefining what success looks like, um, in our system, because. We have this system now that, um, certainly in my experience, success looks like, you know, a certain ATAR or, um, and, and it prioritizes one version of success over another, which is so unhealthy and has like so many ripple effects, um, later on in life as well. When actually we need to shift towards. Why did individualized idea of success and, and what fulfillment looks like to each individual young person. And they have to be able to go through that self discovery process to work out what that looks like for them. Um, and the second shift is, is. Around that same notion, but it's about expectations. Um, I go into schools and often talk with teachers and educators about the challenges we see young people facing and, and what they can do about them. And there's often this sort of comeback that says, oh, you know, but like, don't, we have a responsibility to make sure student's like doing something that's realistic for them. You know? Like they're actually possible, like they're capable of. And I agree with that to some extent, but I think, you know, why is it such a bad thing to fail? Like why is it such a bad thing for someone to try that and then go, oh, that's actually not right for me, rather than like having to make all these decisions based on outside influences and factors. Like when you're 15, 16, 17, like the, it is about failing. It's about making mistakes. That's like what your whole young period of your life is about. Um, and we try and bubble. Kids from that. And so I think that's a big problem because it means that they don't know their own limitations. And it also doesn't account for passion and purpose in, in sort of building skills and, and talents. Like if you are motivated about something as any founder knows, you have to learn all of these skills that. well, most likely you were not good at back in year 10 or year 11. Right. And, um, I, I have a cousin who's about 16 years old. And when she was in year eight, I think it was year eight. She got like a letter home from the school basically saying, um, oh, like she's on a vet pathway. Like already like year eight based on her year, eight grades. And that happened. That sounds terrible. But like that happens in so many schools that we see and narrowing. And sort of like pigeonholing kids into these past and definitions of what they can and can't do. I just think so arbitrary and it, it limits people's potentials in, in so many ways when we

James Fricker:

Mm.

Elizabeth Knight:

like that.

James Fricker:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think it's yeah. yeah, I agree. And even like, I remember when I was in school, I almost felt like, like, I definitely wasn't someone that was like, oh yeah, I'm definitely gonna do like this particular thing, but almost you must, at least, I think I felt almost jealous of like, people that were like sitting there, like, oh, they know what they're gonna do. Like, oh, like, I don't know yet. Like that sucks.

Elizabeth Knight:

I was

James Fricker:

know what I mean?

Elizabeth Knight:

the same. I was jealous of people that had a passion. I didn't have a passion. And, um, yeah, that, that's the other thing. Now there's like this pressure to not just do a career, but you have to be passionate about that career. And it's like, oh my God, whole other layer added into that. So those, those expectations and ideas of success, um, whenever we're tempting one over another it's bad. Even if we're saying now more young people should be entrepreneurs. Like that's still bad in my opinion, because it again is like prioritizing one idea of success over another and not recognizing that not everybody's gonna be an entrepreneur. Like it's just not, that's not the way that's, it's not gonna happen ever. So we shouldn't do that. I don't think,

James Fricker:

yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, you're right. Cuz yeah. It's like, we're all sort of playing our role in the team. You know, it's like a sports team, you know, not everyone can be. The full forward that kicks all the goals in the footy game, you know, there's other people that play different just as important positions. Um, yeah, spot on. Uh, one question I have is around like, um, around young people as well. Is there anything that you think that. You kind of wish that that folks would just like, they would just, this one thing it would, it would really benefit them or perhaps things that they sort of underestimate the value of doing, um,

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah, definitely. I, I think a key, honestly, the biggest differentiator when I look at my journey and the things that I started doing early on, and it wasn't necessarily by choice, but it has paid off. In so many ways was spending time with myself. that sounds like quite an unlikely answer perhaps, but actually taking time to really get to know who you are and building that self-awareness and understanding of, um, not things that are super binary, like strengths and weaknesses, but just who you are. Like what, what drives you? What. You, what energizes you? What drains you? What, um, what are the goals that you have? Like, what things would you just really love to do and what, what things fire you up and frustrate you and building that self-awareness over time is something like building a muscle at the gym, right? Like we would love to go to the gym and have a six pack of abs. After 10 minutes, like amazing, but just it's impossible. Sadly. And the same thing applies to understanding what you want, who you are, like your direction. It, you can't do it based on just like 10 minutes thinking about it. And I think a lot of people put that pressure on themselves to go, oh, like I can't, you know, I can't do it in this already and now I'm gonna give up, like, there's no point. And if they looked back, they've probably spent, you know, a total of like an hour actually consciously trying to work out. Who they are and what they want. Um, so it takes time and, but it's so, so important because nowadays when you talk to any employers and. They don't all recognize this, but absolutely the biggest differentiator between candidates. Like if you're going for a job or just people who you meet and who you find interesting and compelling versus ones that you don't connect with is always this ability to be authentically yourself and to be confident in being authentically yourself. And if you are. If you're clever. And if you can sort of take that to the next level, actually create opportunities through being your authentic self. Um, for me, I did that through creating my own business. That's like an extension of who I am in so many ways, and that's now become a career pathway for me. Um, but there's so many ways you can do that too. Like starting a podcast or writing or something creative, or it absolutely doesn't even have to be creative, but that, um, notion of, of understanding your authentic self and practicing. It's so powerful. And it's a form of like what I would call career capital, um, which is the assets that you sort of build up early in your career. We usually think about like 30 experience and, you know, good things on your resume, but there's this other element of career capital, which is your personal career sort of capital, right? Like who you are. And, and can you actually tell a story that connects all. Experiences in a meaningful way. And if you can't then what they're not worth, they're not actually worth as much as what we think. So, yeah. Authenticity, understanding who you are and, and devoting, you know, conscious time to working that out and not beating yourself up about it either because they're not gonna work it out in 10 minutes, as much as you'd like to.

James Fricker:

Yeah. And I'd love to just like continue that thread. Cuz recently I've been reading and all this stuff about like digital minimalism and like getting off your phone and like all that kind of stuff. Cause I think that is like, that is something really huge that prevents a lot of people from doing things like that is like when does a young person ever actually. Sit down and just like, you know, it's like, you might go for a walk, there's a podcast in like, you go into the shops, like there's music playing in the car, like, whatever it is, there's just no, like, or at least like, perhaps like 20 years ago, there's like, there's now there's almost no time. That's like, there's, there's nothing like, you know what I mean? um, and it just prevents a whole lot of those questions where it's like, what do you, what do you like? Well, you know, I haven't spent much time thinking about it because.

Elizabeth Knight:

yeah. And.

James Fricker:

you know, I'm going from here and looking at this and this thing and whatever. Um,

Elizabeth Knight:

And ironically, um, the time when I first started spending a lot of time with myself was when I was like super burnt out up to year 12. And like my high school boyfriend had dumped me and like all these things were happening at once. And I remember, I, I also sort of by chance did this like internship over summer and it was kind of boring, but I was literally the only young person there and it was at the university. So I would. Sit and have lunch with myself like every day. And, and even just that act was, would've been really foreign to me, but over a period of sort of like three or four months, like all of these things happened that made me spend more time with myself. And, um, when we are like, we have this podcast and we've interviewed like lots of, you know, young people as well about that journey of finding purpose and almost all of them, um, found it after. Some sort of event that forced them to have take space basically. Um, and that, you know, might have been COVID more recently, which people can kind. Oh, yeah, that, that happened for me somewhat. Like I was forced to be at home and potentially alone, like for these extended periods of time. Um, if you can recognize that and create that space for yourself consciously, and you're a hundred percent, right. You have to, because you can be consuming content in different ways all the time and never stopping. And now that muscle and kind of awareness is in me. So I get really anxious and often overwhelmed. Don't do that. Like, and that's what being purposeful is to me is I need to like act on those feelings of like, you need to stop right now. You need to like tune back in with, with what's going on before you can just rush onto the next thing. Um, really, really challenging, cuz it's, it goes against the entire way that we live right now. But if you can do it, it will just pay off you. So, so, so much.

James Fricker:

yeah, yeah. I agree. I think there is a serious value in yeah. Whether it's like eating lunch without any. Any technology like nearby, like the TV is not on like there's no phones anywhere or like going for a walk, like just going for a walk and like, that's it. There's no podcast or audio book playing or like, you know, just taking like simple time out like that I think is yeah. Very helpful. Or just deal with all like the things that might be going on, um, you know, in your day to day and have some time to just like think and like reflect and stuff. Yeah. I think for myself, it's been like seriously beneficial. yeah. Cool. Well, let's talk about your sort of journey as a founder, cuz you are a founder like purposeful is, is, is your thing. And now you're off doing your second business, which is this no code, uh, adventure. Um, like what, what was the sort of story like for starting purposeful? Was there sort of a tipping point there where you, you went from, like, this is a cool idea to like, okay, we're actually doing this now.

Elizabeth Knight:

Yes, definitely. I, I like the idea of a tipping point because there's like you said, like there's lots of things that lead to starting a business, but what was the thing that actually made you do it like that made you kind of go and, and, um, I, I, I experienced this problem myself when I graduated and had like this shiny high ATAR and I had scholarship to university and had all of these traditional ideas of success ticked and done, and. I was so unhappy. Like I was so burnt out and so exhausted after high school finished, like burnout took a physical to on me and it doesn't, you know, it expresses itself differently for everybody. But like I said earlier, it forced that sort of period of like pause and reflection. And I realized that so many young people feel. Incredibly lost, but don't know how to talk about it. And don't have, there's not really any support once you leave school to actually like find a part that is right for you and fulfills you and drives you. So that was the problem that I wanted to solve. And I had this opportunity come up where someone asked me to run like a workshop on. Something totally different like that I had been involved in, it was something more about leadership. And I said, Hey, like, do you mind if I try this, um, sort of purpose idea, like I just, I wanna do this session, how to find your purpose. And it was a 90 minute workshop and there were like 50 year 10, an 11 students on this camp. It was like, first thing, Sunday morning, it was absolutely the graveyard shift. And. I didn't, I did this crash course of it was super raw and super like unpolished in so many ways, but it was, the impact was huge. Like I probably have never run a workshop or a session that was like, as powerful as that first workshop in all honesty. Um, I have, I still have the feedback forms that we printed out and every single kid. Filled out this double sided feedback form and were like raving about, you know, the experience. And it, that was the moment when I realized that there's a real need for this. And I, I can actually solve it. Like, I, I, I know what young people need and, and I can go on that journey to actually help them. Um, and still to this day, I have students that were in that session. And once afterwards, come up to me, you know, now, uh, I'm in the past at uni and say like, Hey, I remember you from that workshop, which is amazing to cuz it was the first really cool step, even though I didn't know it at the time.

James Fricker:

yeah. Wow. That's cool. that's really cool. I think it's yeah, having that impact is so special and it's great to see that you've been out at like, Have the courage and, and all the things like that to actually go through with it and, and, you know, do more of that great work with young people as. Super. Um, I have a question too. So you are like purposeful, you started when you were fairly young, right? So I think you were 19, if that's right. When you started that, which is fairly young for like someone starting their own company and kind of doing all this super stuff, um, like what has that journey been like for you as, you know, as someone that's really taking on a lot of responsibility, has that like, has it been really rewarding, I guess like really challenging, like, I guess your general thoughts on. What the journey has been like, probably quite crazy, but like yeah. Interested to hear like how you sort of evaluate the journey so far.

Elizabeth Knight:

It's a really interesting question right now, because I'm forced to confront the idea that it has been like four years, um, which is huge. Like since that first sort of session and opportunity, and I. In some ways I still like seem like, you know, in my head I'm like my 19 year old self that was on that journey, but I have to realize like all the ways that I'm so different and that things have changed so much and all that has been achieved since then. Um, so that's like a really good amount of time. And it's also such a huge amount of your. Life as a young person and really formative amount of time between 19 and 23. So I've grown so much personally through that process. I think the hardest thing, uh, I dealt with to begin with was my myself worth, ironically, because people would look at you and go, like, how did you have the confidence to start that? And I was confident, but when you're. Founding a company, especially when you're young, you don't know anything like that's the only given is that every day you're gonna learn at least one thing, because you know, nothing about, about that process. So it can be really disempowering at times because you're just every time you solve a problem, you're just getting onto a bigger problem that you still know nothing about. So. That, during that resilience and grit, I love that word. Grit is, has been the biggest takeaway, I think, um, from this journey that, um, no matter, you know, where I go next or, or how things eventually turn out, like that will always stick with me. Um, and I think additionally, Uh, when I began, I was really caught up about the idea of being a young person in this space and being a young female in this space and absolutely that, um, influenced like how I thought about things on what I thought I could do and what I couldn't do. Um, I think if I could change like anything from that process, it would just be to. Bold up, um, soon up in, in the journey and, and not wait for so much permission for things from people to go like, you're ready to ask for this now, or you're ready to, you know, set this goal now. And that's a bit more mainstream like that mindset. We sort of accept. Now. We don't really define people so much by their age, but absolutely it played a big part in my mindset at the beginning of going, am I allowed to do this? You know, Can I do this, will people, you know, think that I'm silly if I do this and you have to tackle that imposter syndrome, I guess that exists in, in the, when you're in a, a job and a journey that puts you at the, the bottom of the food chain every, every day. Yeah.

James Fricker:

yeah. Yeah. An interesting follow up is, you know, would you do all that again? If you could, if you could restart.

Elizabeth Knight:

Honestly. Yes. And that is key to living like a purposeful life is not actually having any regrets because if you are truly being like authentic, and doing your best to live by your values and make decisions that align with those values. Um, then you shouldn't really regret anything because you. You've given that you're all. And like you've committed to that process. Um, like an example would be, you know, there there's so many things that I've obviously like passed up to take this path, like one getting a normal job. like getting paid to. And now I laugh. Like when I'm, when I'm most stressed. I, I know I'm most stressed when I'm like craving a real job, a real job. Like, I wish I could just go somewhere to work where you just get paid for working eight hours and then you go home. Um, which is like funny, obviously that, that is most people's reality. Um, but I don't regret that. I still don't regret that. Like, I, you have to accept that with every choice you make, there are like thousands of things you're saying no to in that moment as well. That is. That is life. And, uh, yeah, I don't, I don't regret that journey, but I think there are definitely times, like I said, where I could have been more courageous or just like acted with even more conviction, especially when it came to like my values. Um, One thing that you could probably guess some of them, but purpose is, is really important to me. Um, authenticity is really important to me and as, as well, uh, as growth and, and wellbeing, and there are times when. Maybe I shied away from growth that, uh, actually would've been really helpful earlier on. Uh, but it always catches up with you eventually. you know, if we need to grow, then you have to like, you have to tune to that and actually run with it. Even if it's scary.

James Fricker:

Yeah. Hmm. Yeah, definitely. No, that's really cool. And yeah, I appreciate your, your authentic answer there. Definitely. One question I have for you is like through this journey, uh, you know, what has been something like your most valuable investment along the way? Like, whether it's something that you did like, uh, whether it's like a chance meeting with someone or, um, a course you signed up for, or perhaps you paid for something that is like, You know, being a huge impact on yourself. I wonder if there's anything like any worthwhile investments that come to mind?

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah, I love, I love that question. Um, and I'm awful at answering it. I think. Uh, to, to follow without repeating myself too much, like definitely that investment in myself. Right. And just that, that carving out conscious time, uh, invaluable, you know, that's priceless and, and has paid off in so many ways, um, for my future self. So doing that and, and continuing with that has been incredibly important. Um, I think any opportunity to shift your mindset is so powerful and, and that comes in so many different forms. One. This one kind of came during high school and my parents paid for it. But, um, that it was a worthwhile investment for them, I think was I did this, uh, leadership conference that. Was sort of like a Tony Robbs situation, but for high school students. So I was in Los Angeles and I'd never been to America at that point, um, in my life. So it was a very much a culture shock and we got there and they were, you know, they were like 500 other young people from all over the world. And like they were raving and dancing and it was super hyped and excited. And the guy that founded it, um, Dr. Bill Dorfman, he's like a celebrity dentist. He was on the doctors, like on those, you know, daytime TV shows that's him, right? He's the, he's the dentist. And so all his clients were not all necessarily celebrities, but they were the best at whatever that they did in their, in their fields, in the world, uh, most times. And he would bring them into this conference just to speak about like how they became successful and what, what their journeys were. And at the time, you know, as a 15 year old, you're like, yeah, that's, you know, we've heard this before now. Five people have said this already. Um, or it was like helpful, but you go, yeah, but you know, can I really do this? Like, how does this relate to me? And by the end of the week, it sort of clicked that, you know, they're all saying the same things, because all these incredibly successful people do the same things. and we should absolutely listen to them because they, they know how to achieve great success, whatever success looks like to them. So that, that experience. Literally paved the way for this growth mindset that I didn't realize I got, I was given at that time that I could do anything, um, that literally anything was possible that you were the creator of your own kind of path and, and gave that overwhelming sense of agency that you don't get in the classroom. Um, So I think ever since then I've craved any experience that kind of gives you that new, um, sense of, of purpose and just, uh, makes you feel small in a really, really good and healthy way and, and, uh, acknowledges that. Yeah. Anything is possible for you. Um, we all need that in our lives. so's so

James Fricker:

Yeah.

Elizabeth Knight:

much more, so that would be my

James Fricker:

absolutely. Oh, that's cool. Sounds like a very cool very cool experience. I mean, what, I don't know if you can remember, but like, what are some of the key things that you like, remember that they, those guys were saying when it came to like achieving like really cool stuff.

Elizabeth Knight:

Yeah. The one quote that instantly sits in my mind was by a guy's name. I don't even remember, but he. Uh, a horrific story of, um, like he'd been in, in a, in a fire in this, in this horrible accident and, and lost like multiple limbs and, and, um, had all these disabilities as a result of the, the accident. Um, and he told this story about, you know, How far are you willing to go alone? Um, on anything that you want to achieve? How, how far are you willing to go alone? And that's always stuck with me because in any like bold goal or like problem that you wanna solve or anything that you wanna achieve, like how far are you willing to go being the only person believes believing that that can happen. um, and really like letting that sink in because that's huge, you know, we, as, as human beings, like we are trained biologically to, you know, um, have the support and love and care of people around us. And, and it's not, it doesn't make evolutionary sense to go out on your own all the time. So you have to really find that instinct to. Do what other people are doing and listen to other people and get their approval first. Um, when you're founding a company. Yeah. How far are you willing to go and be the only person that believes in that thing? Um, that I think has been my biggest takeaway and, and is also the source of that, that grit to, to keep going. Um, and the other thing that he said quite humbly was, what more can I do? You know, we, we can live a. As smaller or as large as, as we choose in most instances and, um, you know, playing it safe and playing it small, it just is never going, fulfill you and realize the potential that you could have had, um, on the planet. So I really like that idea too, of what more can I do? How, what more can I do to serve and, and give back, um, for the opportunity we have to be alive and be here. And in this time, um, in history as.

James Fricker:

Yeah, that's super cool. Super cool. no, thanks so much for sharing that. Um, I'd love to ask too one. Another thing you mentioned when you were talking about your trip to LA was like, um, working towards like what success looks like. For you. Cause obviously that's different for everyone and it's important not to get sort of, uh, someone else's idea of success and, and kind of adopt it without thinking it through yourself. But I'd love to know for yourself, what does success look like for you?

Elizabeth Knight:

Uh, it, it's a, it's an evolving answer, um, at the moment and as, as it should be right, because it, um, we grow and changes people to, um, at, at its core. It's always been about fulfillment for me and, um, alignment with, again, my values, but, um, there's. Part of when you're trying to achieve success right. Of balancing where you are right now, and being able to like fully accept where you are right now and appreciate yourself and appreciate, you know, what you have and be grateful for. Now and balance that far off vision that you have in the future. And there's always that tension that's gonna be there. Right. But between balancing those two things, especially if you're founding a company, because you're pitching to this vision that's super far in the future, but you also have to recognize, Hey, we've done well to get where we are here today too, but we can always be better. So success is always about balancing those two ideas. I have lots of dreams and goals and ambitions for the future, but. It takes a lot of, a lot more work, I would say, actually, to be able to accept what you've achieved already. So that's not, um, you know, an explicit kind of goal or thing that I'm trying to achieve, but it's this thing that I'm trying to practice all the time in my life, because the reality is that we don't. None of us know, and this is really core to my thinking. If you know me well, is none of us know how much time we have on the planet. Like that's absolutely not guaranteed for anybody like forbid. This could be my last day. And can you sit with yourself and the decisions you've made in this moment and accept that today, if that was the case. But also, you know, you might have another 10, 20, 30, 40 years hopefully to be able to work harder. So you have to have both of those things, I think, to be really fulfilled. Um, that's what success looks like to me is trying to, yeah. Be inspired to keep creating and doing, but also to be able to like look around me and go, this is awesome. Like, this is amazing. All the pain and, and the good POS positive and negative parts of right now. I'm really grateful for yeah. That's success.

James Fricker:

Yeah. Amazing. that's really cool. Really cool. Yeah. I have to. Um, I'll have to reflect on that. I think, I think you've, yeah, you've been really, you're really great at sharing, um, in the last hour or so. So I really appreciate, uh, you being so vulnerable and sharing with us. Um, but to finish off the pod today, I just have one last question for you, Liz, and that is around, um, advice you'd give to. Someone that is, let's say they're finished high school and they're starting their journey, uh, out in the, in the big wide world. Uh, you know, thinking and reflecting on your own journey, kind of what advice would you give to someone that's going through that right now?

Elizabeth Knight:

The first thing that comes to mind is be emotional which is kind of strange. But when I was younger, I thought it was bad to be. Passionate in a way. I thought that, you know, uh, young people kind of get this bad rap of being like too angry and too fired up or, you know, all the opposite. They don't care enough. Like, uh, I think it's really important to not worry about perfection when you're young, because it's just impossible to achieve and just. Feel things and act like impulsively somewhat, and, um, really appreciate the good and the bad that comes with being a young person, um, that you have to, you have to go through all of that. Like it's all really positive thing. So that would be my first piece of advice. And, and secondly, to. Be be bold again, that idea of how far are you willing to go alone? You know, don't absolutely. Don't let anybody else define the path that's in front of you. If you don't want to. And you might, you know, have a family or, or parents and who want a certain thing for you and think that's what is best for you. And you might agree with some of those things. That's totally fine. But the key there is being able to ask yourself, you know, why am I doing this? Like what what's really driving. This goal, this step for me. Am I just going to university? Cuz I think I have to go to university or am I going because it's actually the, the most purposeful step for me. Um, so ask yourself why I'm really try and um, think about that when you're making choices and do your best to make those, um, decisions in alignment with like who you are, not, not the rest of the world around you, because honestly at the end of the day, who cares what they think you have to. You have to live with it. They, they don't

James Fricker:

Yeah,

Elizabeth Knight:

yep. That would be my.

James Fricker:

amazing. No, that's really fantastic. Thanks for sharing that with us. Um, thanks so much for coming on the show. It's been really insight to hear your experiences and, and everything to do with, you know, I guess everything that you've shared, it's super cool. And I think you're on an amazing journey. It's gonna be really exciting to see kind of where you end up in the next couple of years. So super keen to, to stay in touch, but the people who wanna find out more about yourself and really connect in with, with you, where is the best place for them to.

Elizabeth Knight:

Absolutely. Um, I'm pretty easy to find on LinkedIn and, and our website at purposefully. So send me a message. Make sure you let me know you had about. Me from here. Um, which is always nice to know and yeah, happy to, absolutely happy to, to chat to anybody. So thanks so much for this has been awesome. Really appreciate it.

James Fricker:

Amazing. Yeah. Well, we'll leave the links to, to all your social media and, uh, whatever down in the show notes. So if people can go and find you, um, but yeah, thanks so much for Coming on the show today, Liz so great having you

James:

Thanks for listening to this episode I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to get my takeaways, the things that I learned from this episode, please go to graduate theory.com/subscribe, where you can get my takeaways and all the information about each episode, straight to your inbox. Thanks so much for listening again today, and we're looking forward to seeing you next week.