Emily Moyer, Purpose Alignment Coach
👋🏼 I’m Emily.
I scuba dive, I yoga, I meditate, I hike. I ask a million questions and cherish deep conversations. I’m in love with vegetables and cooking in outdoor kitchens. I travel most of the year and work from my laptop.
Most importantly, I love creating space for people to grow.
My very first part-time job was teaching cooking classes to kids. Mostly mud cups with gummy bears - I wasn’t qualified for teaching knife skills - but that was my first experience with the magic of creating space for learning, exploration, and delight.
My first post-college job was teaching low-income and mostly underachieving fifth graders in Houston, Texas. My love for these student and my deep frustration with the education system in the US pushed me to figure out how to make ten-year-olds fall in love with books - and grow two grade levels in reading.
I later found myself managing a small sales team for a travel start-up. That small sales team grew to nearly 30 people and quickly transformed into learning how to manage managers. Eventually, I had the opportunity to craft a team of beautiful humans into a successful marketing team.
More coaching. More inspiring people to do great work. More of me in my element.
Now, it’s time for the next step - starting my own business.
I hope you’ll join me on my entrepreneurial journey, as I take my love of helping people grow to the next level.
We spend two-thirds of our lives working.
Imagine if that two-thirds of your life felt truly meaningful.
Imagine that instead of feeling like work was an obligation, a grind, a thing you just have to do to pay the bills, the two-thirds filled you up, energized you, made you excited to get out of bed in the morning.
Some people find their purpose early in life. If that’s you - that’s great. I personally didn’t have any idea what I really wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up. I still don’t 😉 But the first step in my journey to figuring out what ‘purpose’ even meant, began with my first job out of college.
When I was deciding what job to take when I graduated, I was lucky enough to have two options. I had gotten hired to work for a high up VP at Boeing and was set to begin a customized rotational program on the defense lobbyist side. At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant. I was just excited someone wanted to give me a job. I was also recruited pretty intensely by Teach for America (TFA) and wound up interviewing for that around the same time. TFA is a non-profit that trains teachers to teach in low-income communities around the US to help solve educational inequity.
In my interview for TFA, I found myself speaking with so much fire, so much intensity about the issues low-income students were facing. I’d never heard myself speak so passionately about anything. I felt so energized by the idea of working to solve this problem.
That was the first time I clearly remember paying attention to what lit me up. Noticing the passion and excitement that stemmed from somewhere deep…unlike the idea of working for a defense lobbyist.
I joined TFA.
Right out of college, I spent two years teaching low-income students in Texas.
As kids, we all have dreams of what we want to be when we grow up. But if you come from one of the communities in the US where the educational system has been failing for generations, your dreams hinge on your ability to challenge the status quo. Simply, you’ve got to work much, much harder than your more affluent counterparts to get to the same place.
As a first year teacher, I was immediately challenged with figuring out how to get my students to work as hard as they needed to - as hard as I wanted them to - so that they could break free from this broken system and achieve their ‘big why’.
But it turned out that the challenge was really the same challenge any leader has: How do you motivate people to perform at their best? How do you inspire people to go above and beyond?
Everyone wants to feel that the work they're doing matters. Even if that work is a standardized test that determines whether you pass onto the next grade.
At 22, I learned that in order for my students to achieve those ambitious dreams, I needed to connect their dreams right back to the hours of homework, the extra lunchtime book club, and all the tests they took.
I needed to show them that the work they did mattered.
My students grew two grade levels in reading and all of them passed their standardized test.
It’s still one of my proudest accomplishments to date.
Two years in the classroom was enough for me. The pressure of “changing my students lives" weighed on me so heavily that it started affecting my own well-being.
As passionate as I was about combating educational inequity - and I definitely still was - I had to leave the classroom. I spent the next two years working on the non-profit side of education and ended up back on the ‘corporate’ side of TFA working on the fundraising team.
There are pivotal moments we all have that alter the direction of our lives. One of mine came in the form of a conversation with my boss.
“Emily, what’s your cause?"
At the time, it sent me into a tail spin. What do you mean, ‘what’s my cause’? EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY! Duh!
But this question unlocked something. After sitting on it, I realized that while my cause had been educational inequity for quite some time at this point, my fire wasn’t burning as strongly as it used to. It wasn’t that I didn’t think the work we were doing wasn’t wildly important, but I didn’t feel the burn the same way anymore.
There was something missing.
I wasn’t sure what was missing. But slowly, one foot crept out the door.
I was 25. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew something needed to change.
I wanted the spark back.
There’s a side component to this story that we haven’t gotten to yet. The only other thing in my life that I had always had a burning love for was travel.
I spent my first summer abroad when I was 15 - traveling around Israel and tasting my first texperience of the pure joy of entering into a new country. At 16 it was Hungary, 18 took me to Spain, and at 19 I moved to Argentina for my junior year abroad. But, at 25, I hadn’t spent significant time abroad in five years and I aches to be back on foreign ground.
While I didn’t know what to do with my life career-wise, I was ready to go abroad again. I’d do anything - just to have a slice of that freedom back.
I had also newly discovered the concept of ‘working remotely’ after reading The Four Hour Workweek by @timferris. Uncertain of exactly what that would look like for me, I was entranced by the idea of being able to have a legitimate career and travel the world.
At the time, working remotely and traveling was not mainstream.
“Digital Nomad” wasn’t a thing.
Hopeful that I could find my spark through travel and keep my job, I asked my boss if I could take my fundraising role abroad.
He (shockingly) said no.
Looking back, it’s all so clear. Why every step happens the way it does. But at the time, it just felt messy.
Working remotely for TFA while in Thailand was a no-go. But, I wasn’t ready to give up on the travel plan just yet. Alas, initiate Plan B.
I knew that business schools had study abroad programs and, even better, I could spend six months traveling before I began.
In my applications, there was a question that stood out (read: tortured) me.
“What impact do you want to have on the world?"
That damn question again.
This time, I did some serious soul searching. I worked through all different types of self-reflective exercises and went deep into the crevices of my history looking for clues.
I came to realize that the most influential parts of my life had been my travels and teaching. I learned radical empathy from my first trip abroad, experiencing from a young age how different - yet connected - we all are as humans. As a teacher, I found the power of creating meaningful educational experiences. Linking those two things - travel and education - were the key.
After months agonizing about my “impact”, I finally settled on something that felt kind of right: develop transformational experiences that connect people abroad.
The more people who travel - on an intentional, talk to locals, learn some of the language, truly immersive level, the more empathy there would be in the world.
And to tie it back to my students - there would be more people who cared about broken systems and more people making decisions that would make the world better.
How would I do this? I didn’t know.
But, finding a way to do this was the spark I had been missing.
I was back on my path.
And then came the second big LISTEN 👏🏻 TO 👏🏻 YOUR 👏🏻 GUT moment.
I was living with my boyfriend at the time in a beautiful apartment in my favorite neighborhood in Chicago.
My boss had just offered to promote me if I didn’t quit to travel before business school.
Life on the outside was pretty damn good.
But when you know there’s something else calling you, when you let yourself listen to that inner voice that’s telling you to ‘go’…eventually it doesn’t even feel like a choice. It feels like something you have to do.
So, I booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok.
Two months in Thailand (and many papaya salads later) and I finally admitted to myself that it wasn’t business school I wanted. I wanted to keep traveling. I knew I would figure out how to live out that purpose - the one about creating transformational travel experiences to connect people - later. For now, I just wanted to find away to stay on the road.
Goodbye b-school. Hello travel-school.
Seven months after I hopped aboard that plane to Thailand (and might have gotten stuck on a little island called Koh Tao for most of that trip scuba diving every day), the next chapter of my life began.
An email from an old friend from high school turned into a job offer - to work for a baby travel start-up that was taking people who worked remotely on trips around the world for a year.
Remember that ‘impact’ I had defined back in my business school application? I’ll refresh you: I wanted to create transformational travel experiences to connect people and build empathy in the world.
Cue the ding ding ding.
Now, I don’t know how down I am with the whole ‘manifesting’ thing. I’m quite spiritual, but that’s a word that for some reason still doesn’t quite sit right with me. On my woo woo scale, it’s wayyyyy up there. #toowoowoo
But, if I’ve manifested anything in my life, it was my job with Remote Year.
I was hired to help people who work remotely make the decision to travel with a group of other professionals around the world for a year.
I was actually going to get paid to talk to people about making one of the biggest life decisions they’d ever make - asking them about their dreams and hopes and goals. On top of it, I would help create the experience that would allow them to connect deeply to each other, to the places we would call home each month and most importantly, to themselves.
I knew immediately that at that moment in time, working for Remote Year aligned with exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I had found my right-now, core purpose.
But as one of my favorite buddhist concepts anitya reminds us, everything is temporary.
That’s what comes to mind when I think about my nearly four years working for Remote Year.
I had found work that fit me perfectly. Both feet were planted firmly on the Remote Year ground.
I was fully, fully in it.
Passion barely touches the level of excitement I had about my work.
As our first full-time ‘Recruitment Director’, I got to talk to people every day about making one of the biggest life decisions they’d ever make.
A life decision that would push them out of their comfort zone.
One that would get them traveling and connecting with people all over the world, while keeping their day jobs.
And on top of it, I got to do it while working remotely and traveling the world.
I woke up every day knowing that my work mattered. I felt inspired and excited and motivated beyond what I knew I had in me.
As we grew, I grew my team from 4, to 6 to 10 to almost 30 people at our largest.
Spending eight to ten hours on sales calls all day is exhausting, regardless of what cool country and coworking space you’re working from.
Even though I was crazy passionate about the work we were doing, we were growing very fast and I needed to figure out how to keep my team inspired.
After launching our first in-person company retreat and experimenting with professional development sessions for years, I finally landed on one that stuck.
“Finding Your Ikigai” became a cornerstone of my staff training, a session built around finding your personal purpose and connecting it back to our company mission.
Ikigai, the Japanese term for one’s “reason for being”, became a household word for my teams - one we used constantly to keep ourselves motivated every day.
Even after so many years out of the classroom, I kept coming back to that core lesson I learned early on in my career as a teacher: people want to know how the work they do matters.
As magical as much of my time was at Remote Year, it was equally wildly challenging. Spending multiple years building a company, particularly a high-growth, venture-backed start-up, can truly take it out of you. All that love and passion turns into fifteen hour days and not enough taking care of oneself.
Unsurprisingly, I burned out hard and found myself depressed for the first time in my life. It terrified me. I felt like I’d lost complete control of my emotions. Like there was someone else driving and they definitely didn’t have their license.
They say that the Universe will force you to make a change even if you don’t take the right steps for yourself. The Universe most certainly forced me.
Forced me to slow down.
Forced me to discover the concept of self-care.
Forced me onto a spiritual journey.
Forced me into the next chapter.
And that’s how we find ourselves here. I’ve always known that coaching, teaching, creating space for people to grow, is what I’m meant to be doing. It’s what I’ve always done.
Now, it’s time for me to do it on my own.
My first professional chapter was about helping my students define their dreams to achieve great things in the classroom.
My second chapter was about serving my sales and marketing team members, teaching them to ‘find their Ikigai’ in order to achieve great things in building our company.
My third chapter, this chapter, is about bringing these same concepts to the broader world: helping people who are looking for more meaning find their purpose to achieve great things in life.
It lights me up.
It excites me.
It gets me so ready to hop out of the bed in the morning.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pulling a repeated tarot card from my favorite deck. The six of wands. It depicts a green and blue butterfly above a set of "mangled wands engulfed in darkness and chaos.”
It’s a card of transformation leaving the reader with the question:
“What will you do with your new set of wings?"