It was an Instagram message from a stranger.

But by the time I read her name at the end of it, I felt like I’d known her forever.  It was something about the way she owned her “writing-like-I’ve-known-you-for-years” but professional communication … and the joy seemingly bouncing off the words as she talked about her next business venture.  

There was a particular set of words that were the lifeline I needed in a season where I felt like I was drowning.

A season of life where I had considered multiple times to just pack it all in.  Dropping the photography, the writing, the blog, the speaking gigs… and just throwing my hands in the air and saying, “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.”

I was seeing a therapist in the hopes of having someone help me figure out why I had been taking all of my passion, energy and ability that I KNEW was capable of catapulting me to my biggest dreams — and instead burying myself in self-sabotage — over. and over. and over again.

Someone to help me figure out why I had all of these directions I could go with my career … but constantly found myself frozen at the crossroads.

Why it looked to everyone else like I had accomplished so much, but yet I had never felt more defeated in my life.

Her message flickered in my darkness.

It was a note that asked me to potentially be a speaker in her upcoming local conference that was going to be aimed toward helping people uncover and live their purpose.  It was FINALLY someone seeing my message and saying, “Yes, this is needed!”  and someone who wanted to build a conference that was aiming to serve people the way I want to serve them.

As I drove to meet her for coffee at Panera, I couldn’t help but feel it.

 “Maybe this is the boost I needed to remind me to keep going.”

I saw her walk in with her baby’s car seat looped over her arm. Her babysitter had fallen through so she had to bring her precious baby girl along – something at which I didn’t blink as a fellow working mom of three always trying to find that balance between my work commitments and my family ones.  

We shared stories over soup and sandwiches. We connected on our similar successes and struggles as I shared my own path.  I stood and bounced her baby to sleep as she shared her impressive career resume. As I heard the passion in her voice as she shared her vision and mission with the conference and her excitement to have me be a part of it, I knew she was my people.  

We eventually both teared up.

I think we both felt seen. We both validated each other. We both knew we could support the other one in our career and personal journeys. We both knew that this first-time meeting over coffee would turn into a friendship. 

A couple days later we connected on the phone.

I was standing at my kitchen sink looking out over the trees just outside the giant windows in my morning room while my husband worked in our home office a few steps away.

“I’’m just going to throw this out there,” she said.

“What do you think about partnering with me on this summit?”

I felt God all over the moment.

My shoulders relaxed. My heart felt light. I looked straight to the skies outside my window and just KNEW this was the moment He knew was coming all along.

This was the moment he knew I’d get to after having to fail. Having to question. Having to struggle. Having to fall apart.

The moment He knew I’d get to when I followed my “gut” and left a dream job in professional sports to start my own photography business.

The moment He knew I’d get to when I followed my instincts that I needed to start a blog.

The moment He knew I’d get to when I decided to do speaking engagements when my inner voice wouldn’t let me “not” do them.

The moment He knew I’d get to when I broken-heartedly left a role with an online publication that I loved and a founder I loved more… because my gut said I needed to.

The moment He knew I’d get to as I sat in that therapist’s office wondering why I couldn’t just figure it out.

The moment He knew I’d get to…if I just embraced every part of the journey, and believed that “gut” feeling was the thing pushing me toward my ultimate purpose.


I know my commitment to uncovering mine and living it is what led me to co-found The Purposeful Life Summit with Nicole.  I know that if I didn’t take the time throughout my journey over the last 10+ years to slow down and pay attention to my inner voice… that I would have let outside influences and expectations take my hand and move me in a direction that I wasn’t meant to go.

The journey to uncovering purpose is complicated. There are parts that make no sense — like leaving a dream job while five months pregnant and “hoping” entrepreneurship worked out for me… or putting a pause on a successful photography business with clients that had become like family… because my heart was calling me to grow The Thinking Branch. 

But when you trust your inner voice — the one that purpose is using to deliver its message to you — sometimes you end up right where you were meant to be.

I can’t wait to live my purpose in October of next year — linking arms with Nicole to create a space where people can come together and let their purpose finally be heard over the regular noise of busy life.  My heart can barely handle thinking about the ripple effects of that … having attendees walk out of that conference and impact their families, their workplaces and the world …

… while letting their purpose lead the way.


Learn more about The Purposeful Life Summit coming to Seven Springs Mountain Resort October 1-3, 2020.

Brea Schmidt and Nicole Saville – Co-Founders of The Purposeful Life Summit
Written by Brea Schmidt

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