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Pilates for the Soul: A simple process for aligning with your life with your vision (or where to begin with “being the change”)


caneel executive coach

I'm a social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

What do you value?

What do you stand for?

What are you committed to?

What is your purpose?

What do you believe in?

From childhood through adulthood, and all the way to our death beds, our attitude about these questions will probably change a lot. So will our appetites for answering them.

Many of us can comfortably answer those questions, and even feel a rush of heroic self-made chocolate pulsing through our veins envisioning how the world would be such a better place if only everyone else would get align with how much we cared. How passionate we are. How principled. How good we are!

YES! Keep the optimism, lose the fantasy.

What if we each made those visions a reality???

What if we aligned our dreams with our actions, our words, our spending, our lifestyle, our choices, our relationships, or big life decisions, our ways of being?

Then, we might be so powerful, we might combust.

Let’s give it a go.

Step 1.

Write down the 3–7 issues you care most deeply about — not just your values, which are evergreen, but the 3–7 biggest causes you want to impact in the world. This is your vision for change.

Here’s mine own vision for change:

1. reverse climate change
2. empower women and girls
3. democratize access to entrepreneurial and creative opportunity

Prongs #2 and #3 directly support #1. (If you’d like the evidence, check out this hope-inspiring-yet-urgency-creating talk on “The Drawdown.”)


Now, align your whole life to support, and never work against those issues.

You may realize that there is an order of priority to these issues, once you actually get started.

For instance, in my coaching practice I evaluate potential clients in part on the basis of their business model and likely net climate impact. This eliminates most but not all ad tech companies, banks, consumer goods, and online mega-retailers. However, filtering on industry category alone misses the net-positive industry disruptors, and those are exactly the clients I want to help shake. things. up.

I also sometimes favor working with a female founder simply because they are SO FREAKING RARE even if her company’s business model isn’t directly supporting climate change reversal. If you look at the data, you’ll find that empowering women is the most impactful way to reverse climate change reversal. So I’ll coach my ass off for a female ecommerce founder who is committed to leading consciously. Net impact: positive.

That’s what I mean by prioritizing.

Aligning with your vision also means looking at your car, your company’s business model including its social impact, your team’s diversity and its culture, your giving and political support, the foods you eat and products you buy, etc.

Go through each category and in each one, make a list of the ways you could align your life to better support your vision for the world.

It’s okay if it’s too much to take on or expect of yourself. In fact, it’s great.

You may find yourself choosing to pluck another item off the list next time you get antsy instead of doing something much less amazing.

And you may find, as my clients and I have, that merely writing down a vision helps bring it into our reality. Manifesting or law of attraction or goal-primed behavior or the Pygmalion effect, it doesn’t really matter what you call it… just write that dream down and then look at what moves you could make today, of all possible moves, to remove just one more barrier between you and the world you dream of.

This is how you be the change.

It’s actually quite practical.

Hi! I’m Caneel Joyce, PhD. I am a speaker and executive coach/culture advisor to mission-driven startup founders and executive teams.

I align everything that I do in my business (from client selection to how I serve my customers, to the specific mission I help each of them realize, to partnerships, to operations, to hiring and culture) with my three-prong mission.

1. reverse climate change
2. support women and girls
3. democratize access to entrepreneurial and creative opportunity

Prongs #2 and #3 directly support #1.

Starting today, I pledge to contribute 1% of my business to nonprofits who support these causes. I’d like to work with founders who want to do the same.

I am developing a program that helps founders, VCs, and influencers in identifying their core values and personal mission, and aligning their life impact in service of that vision. If you’re interested, let’s talk!


Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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