Finding Your Purpose at Any Age with Dr. Christine Whelan


Whether you’re at the start of the career or see retirement on the horizon, Dr. Christine Whelan’s work on finding and acting upon your purpose can be valuable. Christine spent years studying the self-help industry to understand what really supports people to develop and change. I discovered her work when I met he directors of  AARP’s groundbreaking program “Life Reimagined” – a program that helped adults, mid-life and beyond, to reinvent their lives. Christine was one of their key thought leaders designing innovative programs for self-improvement. But as I learned more about her background, I discovered that Christine is gifted in working with the college and millennial age generation as well – a generation she calls WTF – wise, tenacious, and fearless.

And perhaps we all have more in common than we know!

Part of Christine’s mission is to make information and research from academic social sciences become accessible, real and relevant to people. She calls this Public Sociology and uses her extensive background as a journalist to turn research into compelling stories.  Boy is this needed!

She’s discussed her work on Good Morning America and given public lectures on Generation WTF andLove in the Time of Hookups.  She’s outspoken about why Success is Sexy.

Currently she directs  MORE program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  MORE stands for  Money, Relationships and Equality.


Highlights from the show

The work of purpose formation: how it differs across generations from millennials to boomers and beyond.

The three key questions: What’s important, why it’s important and how to make it happen.

How to identify your strengths, core values and the people you want to impact.

What Christine discovered studying the self-help industry in the United States.

Why quick-fix books don’t work and what does.

“Self-improvement is a shared language that people want to grasp on to because they want to change their lives in some ways– they want control over their futures. Self help books are manuals of self-control that we seek when we feel out of control with the rest of our lives.”



Click here to listen to episodes 59 in iTunes


Please subscribe in iTunes- and, if you like the show, leave a rating and review!  Thank you!

About my guest

Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She is the author of The Big Picture: A Guide to Finding Your Purpose in Life (Templeton Press, 2016), Generation WTF: From “What the &%#$?” to a Wise, Tenacious and Fearless You (Templeton Press, 2011), Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love (Simon & Schuster, 2009) and Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women (Simon & Schuster, 2006).

She writes:

“As an interdisciplinary scholar and public sociologist, my job is to shape national dialogue to establish equality for women and men in relationships, family life and financial decision making, while embracing central questions of self-worth, purpose and meaning for both individuals and couples throughout the life course.”

Christine is a clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and director of MORE: Money, Relationships and Equality. She earned a masters and doctorate from the University of Oxford and has held teaching positions at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Iowa and Princeton University. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times, among other national outlets. She has appeared live on television programs and radio programs across the nation.

She’s a thought leader at the Life Reimagined Institute, where she serves as chief curator, advising on self-improvement strategies for life’s transitions. She is on the board of SEEK Safely, and an outspoken advocate for the dissemination of research-based advice.

Christine graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Princetonian and was awarded the Daniel M. Sachs Scholarship to attend Worcester College at the University of Oxford. She and her husband, Peter, live and work in Madison, Wisconsin with their three young children, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purrron.

The Show Notes

Check this out and enter your purpose to possible win this contest.


Improvising your Third Act with Christine McHugh

spring-2012-headshots-037-683x1024I met Christine in the Santa Fe airport, when I was returning from a performance workshop, and she was flying off to San Francisco.  I was fascinated – and delighted to be able to learn more about what’s she’s up to in this interview. 

Christine’s been a theatre director, film director, training and development professional, and story performance coach as well as a life coach.  She’s trained people in the work of Byron Katie.

In this interview, we’ll talk about what Christine is up to as she’s inventing a great Third Act for herself. Her new motto:  “Working hard at working less.”

We’ll talk about her films and her latest project: an inspired video-story service in which she captures the stories of elders in her community on video.

A gem from the show:

“For the first time in my life [as I went into my Third Act of Life], I stopped planning and controlling how my life was going to go….as a life coach, I’d been thinking it was really important to have goals and give year plans”…

But her career was soon to take off in another direction!

And hear the episode:

Click here to listen to episodes 57 in iTunes


Please subscribe in iTunes- and, if you like the show, leave a rating and review!  Thank you!

About my guest

Christine McHugh is a Theatre and Film Director now living in Santa Fe after 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a Theatre Director, Christine has directed over 60 shows from regional theatres and colleges to middle schools with a recent concentration on solo-performance pieces. She has combined her background in theatre with her training as a life-coach to help facilitate people’s personal transformation through spoken memoir. A few recent credits include The Solo–Mio Festival in San Francisco – “Beautifulness” by Doni Tamblyn and “Taxi Karma” and “The Dissident” by Canyon Sam. “In Dog Year’s I’m Dead” and “Made of Cotton” with Akasha Halsey at Noh Space in San Francisco and “If You Really Knew Me” with Beth St. Clair at the Indianapolis Fringe Festival.

As a film director she co-wrote and directed the short comedy film, “On The Nature Of Hotness” which one the 2013 New York City International Film Festival for Best Short Comedy and was the official selection at ten film festivals in 2013 and 2014 including Cannes Court Metrage and the Starz Denver and Santa Fe Film Festivals. In 2014 she directed DonnaLou Stevens in her music video, “Older Ladies” that has over 50 million million views on YouTube and other internet sites. It was featured on The Today Show, Anderson Cooper 360 and the Fox Country Round Up. She is the President of New Mexico Women in Film and is currently creating legacy videos of matriarchs and patriarchs of families to capture the unique histories, memories and stories that reside in the elders to capture them for posterity.

The Show Notes

Christine’s website:

Watch if I Were Enlightened



Watch her legacy video about The Dewie Effect.

Keith Carlson: The New Story about Nurses

Keith.HiResKeith Carlson is helping shape the conversation today about nurses and the nursing profession for tens of thousands of his listeners and readers.

A nurse for over twenty years, he reaches his audiences through his two podcasts for nurses, as well as his regular blogs, writings, presentations, and ebook.

A gem from the interview:

“You’ll hear nurses say, ‘I’m just a nurse…this word  just comes up in the conversation so often, and I really have tried to remove it from many people’s vocabulary when they are talking about their careers.'”

Listen to these reflections on the show:

How it was for Keith to enter nurse as a man and how men in nursing are gaining more acceptance and recognition.

How Ms. Colorado stirred a huge controversy (and sparked a movement!) when she appeared in scrubs with a stethoscope at the Miss America pageant.

How nurses are the most trusted profession in America – but still not understood.

How the role of nurses is changing – especially as advanced practice nurses take on more and more work that used to be done exclusively by doctors.  Plus, there are a lot nurses working outside of the hospital and traditional venues, including many nurse entrepreneurs.

Why Ken Burns missed the boat when he didn’t feature nurses in his documentary on cancer treatment.

How nurses can talk with more authority and self-empowerment.

How Keith has made the journey into social media, and is helping others to do the same.

Some thoughts about the future of nursing.


And the full episode:



Or listen to episode 55 in ITunes (and please leave a rating and review!)

About my guest

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist for

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms—including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at


The Show Notes

Book Keith recommended on the show:  From Silence to Voice what nurses know and must communicate to the public.

Keith’s website:

Keith’s podcast at RN/FM radio

Nurses savvy career coaching podcast for nurses:

Keith’s book:

Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century



Chris Farrell: Creating a new story about un-retirement

screen-shot-2016-04-22-at-9-19-59-amWe live within stories, some personal, some cultural.  One of those stories is about retirement – that supposedly magical time of life when one crosses over a threshold and leaves the work world forever. Yet for increasing numbers of us, that story doesn’t work at all.

Maybe we want to keep working because it offers us a way to stay creative and contributing. Maybe we need to work to finance our later years. Or maybe we want to pursue an interest we’ve always had, or pursue a new volunteer or service opportunity.

Maybe what we need is just a break.

Chris Farrell is creating a new story about working past sixty which he calls “unretirement,” the subject of his book by the same  name.

Drawing from his background as a journalist and an economist, Chris systematically busts up the prevailing gloom and doom thinking about what’s going to happen as baby boomers hit the social security age.  With persuasive statistics he debunks the idea that the boomers will bleed the economy dry and bankrupt social security.  Instead, he argues that working just a little longer (whether paid or unpaid) is good for individuals and good for the economy as well.

In this interview, Chris shares his informed and optimistic view of the future for baby boomers and what they can contribute to the economy.

A gem from the interview:

“If the majority of boomers can continue to work a couple of extra years…part time, halft time, t has a dramatic impact on the economy, it has a dramatic impact on the health of our communities and I think it has a dramatic impact on the health of the individual and the household, both financially and  physically and mentally.”

Listen to these reflections on the show:

How the fact that people are working longer is changing the economy.

Why so many people come back from retirement.

Where the unretirement conversation is taking off on a grassroots level.

What millenials and boomers share in common – and how expanding the economy for older adults expands it for all of us.


And the full episode:



Or listen to episode 52 in ITunes (and please leave a rating and review!)

About my guest

Chris Farrell

Chris has spent much of his professional life reporting and writing on economics and helping people make the most of their money. He’s currently senior economics contributor at Marketplace, American Public Media’s nationally syndicated public radio business and personal finance programs. He’s also economics commentator for Minnesota Public Radio. He writes regular columns on economics and public policy for Bloomberg Businessweek and on personal finance for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Chris is economics editor of Marketplace Money, a nationally syndicated one-hour weekly personal finance show produced by American Public Media.

He’s is the author of three books: Right on the Money: Taking Control of Your Personal Finances, and Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall and Unretirement.

Chris is a graduate of Stanford and the London School of Economics.

After Stanford, he worked for four years as a merchant seaman working in the engine room, going through the Suez and Panama canals, steaming past the Rock of Gibraltar under a full moon at midnight, saving money to finance his graduate degree from the London School of Economics.


The Show Notes

Read Chris’ book

Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life

or website:



Rethinking our thinking with Nancy Kline

nk-high-res-e1463058332573Nancy Kline is a woman on a mission to prevent what she believes is one of the greatest crimes today: the waste of a single human mind. Through her books, coaching, trainings, and workshops, she has committed herself to helping people think independently for themselves.

Nancy has spent most of her adult life asking the question: ” How do we help people to think for themselves, with rigor, imagination, and grace?*

Through a process of inquiry that has spanned decades she has discovered:

“The most important factor, in whether or not people can think for themselves, is how they are being treated by the people with them.”*

* from Nancy Kline’s book More Time to Think

Some gems from the interview:

“Attention [is] the fundamental, most important force for independent thinking….

“At its best coaching is the setting up of the conditions for independent thinking for the client.”

Listen to these reflections on the show:

On the show, Nancy describes the ten components she has identified that contribute to what she calls a thinking environment, one that encourages people to think productively for themselves.

  1.  Attention
  2. Equality
  3. Ease
  4. Appreciation
  5. Encouragement
  6. Information
  7. Feelings
  8. Diversity
  9. Incisive questions
  10. Place

The listening that supports thinking is open, appreciative, and undivided.  It requires the kind of focused attention for which many of us are starving – an attention that helps us to uncover our own thinking.

Nancy and I talked about the risk of letting others think for us (like demagogues and bullies), the importance of creating ease and attention in a high stress-high distraction climate and much more.

In part two of the interview, Nancy challenges those of us in the coaching profession who, without intending it, begin to do the thinking for our clients.  She chides coaches who think they are helping people by trying to ask just the right “killer questions” to provoke insights.  Better, she argues, is to slow down and pay more attention to being present and exquisitely listening so that clients may discover their own insights for themselves.

And the two part episode:

Part one of the interview outlines her general theory. She describes the ten components and why she feels fostering a thinking environment is so critical to our times.

Part one:

Part two focuses more directly on the application of the thinking principles to the practice of coaching.

Part two:




Or click here to listen to episodes 50 and 51 in ITunes

(and thanks so much for leaving a rating and review!)

 About my guest

Nancy Kline is President of Time To Think, an international coaching and leadership development Company. Time To Think has offices in the UK, South Africa, the USA and Australia. Nancy teaches coaches and leaders to become experts in creating Thinking Environments with their clients and their teams.

Nancy began piecing together the Thinking Environment in 1973 when she co-founded Thornton Friends School near Washington DC. She and her colleagues set out to answer the question: What does it take for people to think for themselves – with rigour, imagination, courage and grace?

The answers, pointing ultimately to the behaviours known now as the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment®, eventually led to an understanding of the sequence of questions the human mind seems naturally to ask itself when it is breaking through. This process is now called The Thinking Partnership Session® and is regarded by many as essential Coaching expertise.

Nancy continues, in collaboration with the Time To Think Coaches globally, to discover this breakthrough process, and to work with coaches to refine its use in executive coaching and team coaching.

As a coach herself, Nancy values most the journey the client takes to their own, independent thinking. As a teacher of coaches she finds that creating these conditions for thinking are among the most challenging aspects of professional coaching, and the most rewarding.

Nancy is author of several books including the best-seller Time To Think: Listening To Ignite The Human Mind, More Time To Think: A Way Of Being In The World and the recently published Living With Time To Think: The God Daughter Letters.


The Show Notes

Read more about her on her website:  Time to

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