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!
John Bardos

A Story of Human Trafficking

Today I’m glad to welcome to our community John Bardos, who you may know on the Internet as “Jet Set Citizen.” John has been living abroad for over fifteen years now; he’s an amazingly down-to-earth guy who is living an authentic life of simplicity and service. I’m really looking forward to sharing our wonderful conversation on the A Congruent Life podcast very soon!

John has been dedicating a ton of energy into raising awareness about human trafficking, and in the meantime I’m glad to yield the virtual ACL floor to him to share his thoughts about that important issue! Go for it, John:

A Story of Human Trafficking

Perhaps you’ve encountered a girl like her, maybe during your travels or maybe down the street from where you live. A teenage girl with disarming charm and wit whose future you know is bound to be bright. M, as we shall call her, wears her love for her friends and family in her perennial smile. She enjoys meeting the people who travel through her village.

A Hmong girl from a remote hill tribe in northern Vietnam, M works after school at the local market, trying to earn money to contribute toward her family’s expenses. Perhaps the girl you know is similarly precocious and independent, inspiring in you a strange mixture of both admiration and concern.

That was the M that filmmaker and photography, Ben Randall, befriended before she was kidnapped in 2011. After he left Vietnam, Ben learned that M accepted a ride on a motorcycle from a local man whom she knew. She has not been seen by her loved ones since.

human trafficking story

Though we don’t know precisely what happened to her, it’s likely she was sold as a wife or prostitute into China, just across the border. This is a common threat to the Hmong population, a marginalized group in Vietnam, making them easy targets.

M’s story is one case of a human trafficking pandemic. According to Havoc Scope, there are 20.9 million people who, like M, have become commodities in the $32 billion human trafficking industry. What chance does weak law enforcement have to investigate a case like M’s? How could her friends and family, speaking only Hmong and never having left their local area, search for her?

Ben Randall is filming a documentary about his search for M in order to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Watch this video to learn more about the project.

Help support this critical human trafficking awareness project by sharing this video with your friends and making a small contribution to the campaign.

Find out how you can help on ‘The Human, Earth Project’ crowdfunding page.

Please take a moment to share the project on your favorite social media sites.

Share this Human Trafficking Story on Facebook Share this Human Trafficking Story on Twitter Share this Human Trafficking Story onGoogle Share this Human Trafficking Story on Pinterest

Thanks for helping to make a difference.

Ben Robinson

ACL 040: Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson and a couple of his friends decided to go surfing in each of the Seven Seas over two years, while helping to reduce teen suicide in their native Australia. They later made an inspiring and humorous documentary of their journey called 3 Mates 7 Seas.

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

  • how a surfing expedition turned into a project raising awareness of teen suicide,
  • both the trials and the learning that came from the trio spending so much time together on the road,
  • how dreams might not turn out as expected, but can turn into something even better,
  • what he learned from the young people that were following their progress,
  • problem solving skills and authenticity,
  • making space in life for passion projects that are separate from one’s job, and
  • tapping into motivation and purpose for large projects like the documentary film.


Want to watch the 3 Mates 7 Seas documentary? Leave a comment below about what you found most inspiring about the 3 Mates 7 Seas story! I’ll randomly select a commenter after January 31, 2014 and mail that person a free DVD of the film.


Coming soon!
Heather Strang

ACL 039: Heather Strang

Heather Strang discovered that surgery didn’t solve her health issues; instead she found herself on an amazing journey of healing, self-discovery, and new directions. She shares some great insights she gained the hard way about poverty, abundance, and self-worth.

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

  • the wake-up call that came from finding herself crying during her lunch hour,
  • the observation that she was making more money than ever but still living paycheck to paycheck,
  • her long-held beliefs about poverty and lack, and her inner work around abundance,
  • realizing that our relationship with money is linked to our relationship with ourselves,
  • what she did when surgery didn’t heal the tumor she’d developed,
  • being willing to get out of her own way, and
  • allowing her life to be guided in a direction that she never expected.


Heather is about to begin a sexual healing series for women on January 22; check it out here.


Coming soon!
Wes Chapman

ACL 038: Wesley Chapman

Wesley Chapman tried to commit suicide when he was four, was abandoned by his mother when he was six, and doctors said that his life was a hopeless cause when he was seven. A shining example of love and support changed the course of his life for some amazing successes in the world of business and entrepreneurship, and more importantly, profound insights into legacy and the human spirit.

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

  • how he was forced to grow up quickly in the foster child system,
  • his grandmother providing an important counterbalance to the consistent messages that he was worthless,
  • crawling through a ditch as one of the most memorable acts of love in his life,
  • being inspired to control his own destiny at eight years old,
  • the importance of motivation and being aware of why we do what we do,
  • having faith in others as a testament to the human spirit,
  • investing our lives into things that really matter, and
  • moving beyond shame of his past to realizing that he has an important legacy to leave.



Coming soon!