Heather Thorkleson

ACL 050: Heather Thorkelson

Heather Thorkelson calls herself an Architect of Freedom, working with others to carve their own path, conquer “comparisonitis,” and create successful, meaningful businesses that support their lives.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Heather shares stories about:

  • developing resilience from living abroad at an early age,
  • the danger of comparing ourselves to others, and strategies for addressing that,
  • tapping into our personal “genius work” that gives us energy and meaning,
  • the critical distinction between self esteem and self worth,
  • finding courage to change situations that are not congruent with our values,
  • acknowledging that years in a corporate job had dulled her senses, and being patient to rediscover a sense of aliveness,
  • constructing a business to support her life, rather than the other way around, and
  • walking her talk by being willing to pause her business to pursue an adventure in Antarctica.

Links from the Show


Coming soon!
Emilie Cortes

ACL 049: Emilie Cortes

Emilie Cortes discovered that outdoor physical challenge provided an unexpected boost in her own self-confidence, and a balance to the stress of her high-powered career in the Bay Area. She ended up leaving her finance job to empower other women by leading them on outdoor adventure trips.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Emilie shares stories about:

  • being very successful in her career, “but not feeding my soul,”
  • the unexpected lesson she learned from hiking Half Dome: “nothing at the office is going to seem scary any more.”
  • how a physical injury created an extended opportunity for reevaluation of her life,
  • the value of a coach in developing clarity, and in catalyzing change,
  • the challenge – and benefit – of being willing to ask for help,
  • the restorative impact of being disconnected and immersing oneself in the natural world,
  • surprising herself with the power of visualization, even at a subconscious level, and
  • sharing the wisdom she’s learned about breaking down boundaries and not holding ourselves back.

Links from the Show

Emilie is offering a 10% discount on Call of the Wild’s Everest Base Camp trip for listeners that sign up before August 1; just mention A Congruent Life in the comments field when registering. And follow Call of the Wild on Facebook to learn about free local outings in Central Oregon.


Coming soon!
Danea Horn

ACL 048: Danea Horn

Danea Horn has had significant health challenges since birth, and has let illness become her teacher in profound ways. She wrote a book called Chronic Resilience to support others in being more self-compassionate during the stress of illness, and in a stunning act of love, recently received a kidney transplant from her husband on their 11th wedding anniversary.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Danea shares profound insights from her life journey, including:

  • learning at an early age that her chronic illness was not a burden,
  • changing her expectations about what her family would look like,
  • learning to be willing to truly grieve the things that she needed to let go of,
  • her direct experience with the power – and limitations – of positive thinking,
  • embarking on a book project to share her journey and the stories of other inspiring women,
  • receiving news of her kidney failure on the day of her book release,
  • the amazing gift she received from her husband, and her reflections on that experience, and
  • ultimately being compassionate about our own humanity.

Links from the Show


Coming soon!
John Bardos

ACL 047: John Bardos

John Bardos and his wife sold or gave away all their possessions in order to live a nomadic travelling lifestyle focused on contribution and connection.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, John shares about:

  • gradually questioning common lifestyle beliefs in his own life,
  • how a “short trip” to Japan ended up lasting 13 years,
  • creating a clear intention with his wife, and setting a one-year plan to accomplish it,
  • his strong focus on contribution and connection in his travels,
  • the perspective he has gained on abundance, lack, and simplification,
  • the self-imposed stress that we create by worrying about money,
  • how awareness of the balance between giving and taking has made him more conscious of his environmental footprint,
  • discovering ways to be of service even without particular expertise in a given area, and
  • reducing suffering by being present in the moment.

Links from the Show

John recently shared a guest post on A Congruent Life: A Story of Human Trafficking. Learn more about The Human, Earth Project on documentary filmmaker Ben Randall’s website.


Coming soon!
Lydia Smith

ACL 046: Lydia Smith

Lydia Smith walked the Camino de Santiago at a pivotal time in her life, and felt called to create a documentary film called Walking the Camino in order to inspire people to follow their own path of discovery and transformation.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Lydia shares about:

  • deciding to walk the Camino de Santiago during a crossroads in her life,
  • her insight that everyone has their own pilgrimage to take, and that the “real Camino” starts at home,
  • taking a leap outside her comfort zone to direct her first feature-length film,
  • inspiration from the people that she chose to feature in the documentary,
  • persistence to stick with the multi-year film project, from filming to production to now promoting and sharing it,
  • dealing with the illusion that aligned work will be easy,
  • the importance of self-care,
  • letting go of judgement, and realizing that she was capable of so much more than she thought.

Links from the Show

Related Episodes


Coming soon!
Justin Cooke

ACL 045: Justin Cooke

Justin Cooke reinvented his own life in a way that basically amounted to convincing his boss to fire him, and then moving both his personal and professional life halfway around the world to the Philippines. He now is a partner in a successful business called Empire Flippers.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Justin shares his perspectives about the role of authenticity in business, including:

  • taking a risk to jump from his comfortable job in order to move to the Philippines,
  • questioning the wisdom he received about missing opportunities by being away from the United States,
  • leaning into his desire to explore and see the world,
  • the responsibility that he felt to his team as a business owner when times got tough,
  • seeing a business partnership as similar to a marriage, and the better decisions that can come as a result,
  • the challenge of going through “the dip,”
  • the congruence between business and personal relationships, and how personal integrity has a tangible business impact,
  • discovering that the most resonant creativity comes on the edge of discomfort.

Links from the Show

Justin is offering the A Congruent Life community a free copy of Justin and Joe Magnotti’s e-book, Building a Niche Site Empire – thanks Justin!

Related Episodes


Coming soon!
Berni Xiong

ACL 044: Berni Xiong

Depressed and unfulfilled by her job as a sales executive, Berni Xiong was asked a simple question that changed her world: “So what do you want to do when you grow up?” Berni decided to start living life on her own terms, and became “The Shin Kicking Life Spark.”

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Berni shares about:

  • feeling empty when everything seemed ideal with her career, relationship, and son,
  • the simple question that caused her to re-evaluate her life, and a followup challenge that rocked her perspective,
  • learning to break away from limiting beliefs and become emotionally strong,
  • her experience of how life transitions can come at us sideways, and sometimes we only connect the dots in retrospect,
  • learning not to overcomplicate coaching, but simply trusting our learned lessons,
  • growing up without a sense of place, and the amazement that came with discovering the roots of her name,
  • leaning on the sum of our experiences to live an authentic life.

Links from the Show

Bernie is offering the A Congruent Life community $50 off select products at her store – thanks Berni!

Related Episodes


Coming soon!
Richie Norton

ACL 043: Richie Norton

The tragic deaths of his 10-week-old son and his brother-in-law shook Richie Norton and his family to their core, but their conscious response enabled them to turn tragedy into triumph. Richie wrote a compelling book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, and helps people lean into their fears, make a difference, and live without regret.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Richie shares about:

  • the unthinkable experience of losing his son only 76 days into his life, and how his family responded to that experience,
  • learning to articulate what he calls “Gavin’s Law,”
  • being conscious about what he wants life to look like, and more importantly, asking “Why aren’t I doing that?”
  • the power behind “stupid,” and the three Ts of stupidity,
  • becoming more scared of not doing something than actually doing it,
  • wanting to live life to be like a worn-out pair of jeans,
  • learning to operationalize authenticity,
  • embracing our authentic self as a vision of what we can be.



Coming soon!
Tyson Adams

ACL 042: Tyson Adams

Tyson Adams left a well-paid sales job in Seattle, bought a one-way ticket to Asia, and had a “crazy” dream about importing coffee to finance community efforts in Laos. He has now built a successful social business called Jhai Coffeehouse that not only supports local coffee farmers, but also finances essential wells for clean water in Laos.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Tyson shares about:

  • deciding to leave his sales job and buy a one-way ticket to travel,
  • the spiritual awakening and subsequent dream that he had about using import proceeds for education in Laos,
  • learning about the wellness benefits of meditation and seeking out teachers in Asia,
  • the insight about being less afraid of the unknown than having the known come to an end,
  • learning to listen to his intuition to step outside his comfort zone and trust his internal compass,
  • some of the setbacks he experienced getting into the coffee business and doing business in an unfamiliar culture,
  • the experience of starting a nonprofit and seeking a sustainable source of funds,
  • embracing a “social business” model, in which the business is operated for profit, but the profits are dedicated to philanthropic goals.



Coming soon!
Farnoosh Brock

ACL 041: Farnoosh Brock

Farnoosh Brock had a very successful technical career with everything that she thought that she wanted, but yet she came to understand that it really wasn’t fulfilling in the way that she wanted, and she had the wherewithal to make changes that really did work better for her. She now works with her husband in her own company called Prolific Living.

In this episode of A Congruent Life, Farnoosh shares about:

  • how growing up in Tehran and then emigrating taught her important lessons that she continues to apply to her life,
  • realizing that her Fortune 100 career with “everything right” didn’t truly provide the fulfillment that she was seeking,
  • learning to see her previous experience not as a waste, but making up the sum of who she is today,
  • recasting risk and fear as an adventure to be embraced,
  • the importance of rewiring her brain to think “the right way,” and how she did that,
  • some of the practical tools that she used to get in touch with what she wanted in life,
  • the alignment of her vision of her personal contribution with that of her life partner.



Coming soon!