Redesigning Your Life With Purpose with Lara Buelow

In this week’s episode, we have the pleasure to interview Lara Buelow. Lara is a certified professional coach since 2017. She focuses on helping people with their career transition journey by allowing them to redesign their lives and pursue their true passion. Her younger self was exactly the kind of people she helps today. When she was about 14 years old, she was already working a couple of jobs mostly in the service industry. However, none of these gave her joy.

Lara is also certified by the Design Your Life and Gottman methodologies. These are self-help institutions focusing on behavioral changes leading to better and more informed life decision-making. When asked about her advice for people who are not happy with their current jobs, her advice was “Don’t resign, redesign.”. She believed in negotiations and that it allows for us to create a lot of your own reality.

Listen in and be inspired by what she has to say on everything business and transitions.

Lara’s website:




Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing today my guest is Laura Bulow. Asan. Bueller, Bueller, we went over it before I hit record here. But Laura, she helps people transition from where they are with their career to where they want to be. She’s a professional coach specializing in career transition. And she’s passionate about coaching because she knows exactly what it feels like to be stuck in a position that feels exhausting and feels meaningless. Laura, I’m so glad that you have come on the show today. Because I think that you’re going to provide a lot of great tips and advice for people, especially entrepreneurs, people who listen to this show who say, I wanted to follow my passion. I just don’t know where to start, or I don’t know if it feels right. So I know you’re going to have a lot of great tips for the listeners today. Welcome, welcome.

Lara Buelow 1:08

Thanks, Katie. I’m really excited to be here.

Katie Brinkley 1:10

Well, let’s start to back things up a little bit. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what life was like growing up for you.

Lara Buelow 1:17

Ooh, growing up. So my family’s from Germany. I was born in Germany. And then we moved over whenever

Katie Brinkley 1:26

I could. Ambition, boys.

Lara Buelow 1:29

Very nice. I’ve been meeting a lot of people who like, their German just like pops out. And I’m like, Whoa, good job.

Katie Brinkley 1:37

Well, I took German in high school because growing up I had an au pair and she was from Austria. And so she taught me basic German when I was when she was out here taking care of me when I was four and five. And so I always had a passion about German just so I could go out visit her and speak German with her one day. And I did do it. Oh gouged out a decade ago, but it was really cool. But sorry, yes. Back to coming over here from Germany. Sorry to derail the conversation. There was perfect. No have a ton of people that can say that. Germany originally.

Lara Buelow 2:06

Yeah, yeah. And it’s like, it’s just so funny, because I feel like a lot of times, you know, like Europeans, but Germans very much like they’re very, like quiet about being from Germany or whatever. And so I actually growing up in the US, I’m like, much more likely to call people out. But anyways, it’s just nice to find commonalities with folks. And yes, I do speak German. I grew up speaking German, it’s my mother tongue. My parents moved to California for my dad’s job, because biotech did not exist in Germany. Much at that point, though, he came over. And yeah, we never left.

Katie Brinkley 2:45

But yeah, well, I’m just say you’re here in Denver, you’re here in the Denver Metro area. So I love connecting and hearing the entrepreneur stories from fellow Denver, folks. So tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now. How, how did you end up starting your own business helping people with their career transitions?

Lara Buelow 3:06

I mean, very long. I’ve just been, like a serial Job Hopper for my life. I just, you know, I’ve been working since I was probably 12, or 14, I’ve had a lot of different jobs, most of them in the service industry, and just didn’t like most of my work. And, you know, I think it’s more common nowadays. But like, you know, you have one job for two, like, what, one to two years, and then you kind of move on. And it was not, I couldn’t really stand much of the work that I had done in the past for longer than about six months. And so I’m actually an artist, like, that’s just core to who I am. That’s like what I went to school for, it’s always been a part of my life always will be. And so, and I’ve also always had a passion for like self help and business like those are kind of my go to book categories. Just for fun. And so when I moved to Denver, I had already done a couple I had done two coaching certifications and was like, Well, I had been working as an artist and doing murals and painting for a couple years before that. And then I when I moved to Denver with my husband, I was like, well, the coaching staff is like my extroverted self and the art stuff is more of my introverted self and moving to a new city as an adult, very hard. And I decided that would be a good way to build community, while still fulfilling my interests in business and self help.

Katie Brinkley 4:30

You know, and it’s interesting, my my brother, I’m from Denver, I live maybe four miles from where I grew up. So I don’t really move out too far. But I think that that is one of the bigger problems like my brother in law, he moves has moved across the country and moved all over. And I asked him, I was like, that’d be the hardest thing. I think it’s like, how do you make friends when you move to a new city? But what you said you know, Laura was really interesting about not really finding a job that you really felt called to, you know, you said you’ve tried feels like 100 different trades, but nothing really felt right. And I think that that is one of the reasons why a lot of entrepreneurs start their own business is because nothing really seems to fit the mold. Nothing really seems to bring them the passion and light them up like they feel like they should be feeling now, in your opinion, do you think that that is just an entrepreneur thing of like not being able to? That’s why they start their own job? Or can you really be find your calling in the corporate world? Do you think that some people still feel like this is what I was meant to do?

Lara Buelow 5:41

Ooh, really good question. Yes and no. Well, so the way that I’m interpreting your question, right, like, I think that we’re in this era of, like, passion, be passionate about what you do, right? Hashtag blessed hashtag do what you love, which is a really beautiful message, but also often not particularly realistic. I really want to like own my place of privilege, I really drink the do what you love Kool Aid. And I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to explore so many different things that I do enjoy, you know, amongst those being, like trying to start my own hostel. And like my artwork, you know, and now coaching, which I’m really, really passionate about, I love the coaching work. But that being said, that now that I’m in the coaching world, I don’t want to advertise, or like try and get other people to drink the like, be passionate about what you do Kool Aid, because people’s relationship to work and to life is just so different, and really wanting to meet people where they are, and to understand their own values and priorities. And really like the consciousness choices that they’re making, right? Some people want to become business owners, because they’re passionate about business. And some people want to just keep doing the trade that they do.

Katie Brinkley 7:00

I think that makes a lot of sense. Because as somebody that was kind of thrown into entrepreneurship, I had my what I thought was my dream job. And when my company eliminated my position, and I was laid off, I was talking with my current supervisor in her office, and she just said, Katie, you’re so good at social media, I would just love to see that be all that you do. And so I was like, well just go ahead and give it a shot. I have always had a strong passion for it. I never really thought that it could be like it that would be your job. It was always a in addition to job doing social media. And I’ve made a job that I absolutely love doing and talking about and fulfilling every day. Now my husband, he has a corporate job. He loves what he does. He likes the routine of it. He likes his coworkers, he likes the steadiness of it. And I do think that there’s different things for everybody, whether it is the corporate world or the entrepreneurship world. What do you say to people when they’re coming to you? And they’re saying, I don’t know if this is it? Like is should I try and go for that, that management position? Should I try and be an entrepreneur? What do you say to them about designing a business or a job that built around what they’re most passionate about?

Lara Buelow 8:10

Yeah, you hit on so many important things there. Like I want to say, I love that you sort of like just ended up as an entrepreneur, right? And like, that wasn’t necessarily your goal, but you like love what you do. I also love to remind people that like entrepreneurship, and running your own business really isn’t as sexy as everyone makes it out to be like, for one thing, health insurance. Like Hello people, especially if you have a family, right or you’re you’re not like the young, the healthy, whatever health insurance is really big deal and like time off.

Katie Brinkley 8:44


Lara Buelow 8:45

So there’s a lot of pros and cons to everything. Yeah, like different strokes for different folks, right. And one of my favorite quotes is like it takes all kinds, right? The world needs all kinds of people. So what do I say to people who are looking to design, I’ve been obsessed with the designing your life content from the two professors at Stanford in the Design Lab for a very long time, like way before either one of my coaching certifications. It’s one of the self help books that I like, picked up and really like ran with. And that book is called Designing your life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. And I recently became certified in their content, because I’ve been using it and reading those books and sharing them with people for so long. And now I get to like lead groups and individuals through the work and like us all of the content ad nauseum. So what do I tell people? I tell people, like there is no one right way. Right? Like a lot of us feel very stuck and are asking like what’s next and we’re so overwhelmed by our options and or fear of taking that next step that we kind of freeze up right and there are ways to move forward and using a coach is just one way of having like a badass sidekick who’s going to be in your corner and To help you take those action steps to change things,

Katie Brinkley 10:02

I completely agree. And you know, one of the things that’s been huge for me is having accountability partners having somebody that I can talk to to share. Because no matter if you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re in the corporate world, having somebody that’s kind of in your corner that can listen to you and say, Yeah, I agree or celebrate the little wins with you, there are certain things. So just for me as an entrepreneur, I have my business bestie Kendra, and she gets the ups and the downs, the highs and the low, like how exciting it is to get that speaking opportunity. And how frustrating is to be like, I spent so much time on that darn reel, and it only got 1300 views. Are you kidding me? You know, so she gets the highs and the lows and is someone that I can go to talk to about this stuff that really gets it? What do you think about people having someone that’s in their corner, having that coach or having that accountability partner that’s there to just kind of guide them along and celebrate with them?

Lara Buelow 10:59

Yeah, I actually really liked that you bring up the celebration part of this because it’s something that you don’t hear that often and is actually a huge part of it, any sort of like habit book or habit technique. And so much of working with a coach is practicing to celebrate and exercising your celebration muscle, because if you’re not championing yourself or having and having somebody else champion you, you don’t build that reinforcement loop that is so essential in building good habits. And so that’s something I practice with people, right and like figure out ways for you to celebrate and celebrate you when you can’t celebrate your you know, like there to remind you like, okay, like, this is a happy moment. Like, I really hope you’re letting that sink in. So it’s really an it’s really not something I hear people talk about very often. So thank you for bringing that up. But the accountability part is just huge. Like, I like to tell people I’m a professional accountability buddy can feel my body. Yeah. And people love to ask me like, Well, how do I hold myself accountable? And I’m like, Well, you don’t you find your friend, right? Like, your cat’s not gonna do it. Like maybe you have that relationship with a parent or family member and but like having somebody so many of my clients say to me, like, Oh, my husband’s like, can’t discuss this with me anymore. Or like, you know, my partner’s sick of hearing about it. Like I need a fresh perspective, right? So getting somebody who’s maybe once or twice removed from your innermost circle can just be helpful from that perspective, because they’re going to lend a fresh perspective, they’re going to be like a fresh pair of ears. Yeah, be that person for you.

Katie Brinkley 12:33

Well, and it’s so true, too, because as I said before, my husband has a corporate job, and he works in finance. And there’s certain times where he I know is just looking for understanding or, you know, agreement or just someone to talk to about work that doesn’t actually work with him. And unfortunately, I don’t understand LRB, peas, and all that all the lingo and everything. And so I’m like, oh, yeah, that stinks. He’s like, no, no, it’s actually good. I’m like, Oh, that’s great. So I definitely feel and there’s times when I share something with him. And he’s like, cool. And it does make it really helpful to have somebody that’s in your corner, ready to share your, your celebrations, or share your frustrations with you that’s outside of your immediate family or outside of your friends circle. But I guess, what do you think that one of the biggest mistakes is for business owners when they’re trying to make the leap into entrepreneurship?

Lara Buelow 13:29

Well, I did find that very funny. Just to go back to what you were saying about your husband, because, you know, like, the reason we came to Denver is my husband got into medicine, and is now a doctor. And so yeah, like definitely that like crossover be like what? Like, stop talking to me and acronyms like I’ve no. Yeah, so there’s that. And then what do I tell people when they’re, what’s the biggest mistake? That’s a great question. I think like one until you’ve been there, right? Like that not being like, there’s so many non sexy aspects of entrepreneurship, I think a lot of people do not have the level of awareness around their values. Like they don’t actually know what it looks like in reality. And so you kind of have, you know, like you were saying, there are people who are really good at like, doing the thing, right? Like, maybe they’re a carpenter or a social media person or a coach, right. But then like, running a business is a totally different thing than any of those activities, right. And like, I’m talking about myself here to write to all of you. There’s a very steep learning curve as far as like, sales, marketing, being a business person networking. Yeah. And that’s, it’s hard. It’s really hard and coming to terms with that and like just knowing what your priorities and your values are, and can you stay true to those once you enter the business realm?

Katie Brinkley 14:59

Yeah, and I Fully agree that there’s something different about creating a business of something that you’re passionate about social media, and then actually running and growing and sustaining it, it definitely is an entire different learning curve. And sometimes, I found that I was doing parts of my business that didn’t necessarily light me up or weren’t necessarily my strong points. But once I started delegating different aspects of the business out to people, that that’s what they did best. That’s when my business really started growing and becoming even more successful so that I could focus in on the parts that that lit me up that I had the most fun doing at a day in and day out, like this podcast, for example. Yeah. Well, I wanted to ask you a little bit more about what you currently do right now with, with what you with the coaching that you offer, because transitioning from a career is scary. And you know, whether it’s going from one job to another another one corporate job to another corporate job, or corporate job to outdoor entrepreneur, back to corporate, it can be scary, hard and very confusing. So what are some of the different tips or tricks that you would guide someone who if they’re saying I think that I might not be 100% happy doing what I am now, I don’t know even the next step to take. So I would

Lara Buelow 16:22

say, from a designing your life standpoint, like pause, there’s just so many things, like there’s this big overarching concept that I go through with a lot of people, which is like, most folks need to be in quite a lot of pain, before they decide to make a change. And again, this comes back to the awareness piece about, you know, really paying attention to like when things are getting difficult. And when you think you might need to change and then getting the help and the support before you’re like ready to burn it all down. So that you can gracefully exit, if that’s the best way for you to go. And or, right now in the designing your life world with the the authors like to say, Dave is don’t resign, redesign, right? We’re in this like, Great resignation period, where people are opening their eyes to all the possibilities of work from home and like interesting combinations of work. Well, you can resign, but they’re you right now is also a point in time where you have way more leverage than you used to. So there are a lot of muscles, you can flex to redesign something that will work better for for you, and potentially your employer. So negotiating different ways of being. So I help people in all kinds of capacities in the sense that like, maybe you want to switch industries, maybe you just want to negotiate time off or sabbatical, maybe you want to negotiate your salary or working from home half the week, right? So there’s a lot of different ways that you can approach these things. And the big part of designing the transition your career is really thinking about all the possibilities that are available to you before cutting and running.

Katie Brinkley 18:17

Yes, well, like you said, right now there are more people leaving their jobs than ever before. It’s kind of scary, but I think it is eye opening for so many businesses, how much work life balance means to their employees. And there’s a lot of businesses that aren’t willing to change their thinking on this. So it’s causing them to lose a lot of valuable employees. And I definitely agree with, with taking that step back and listening to your employees and really setting out the list of what matters most to you. And with what you’re saying, will you be able to find that negotiate that with your current position? Or is it time to maybe move on?

Lara Buelow 19:02

Yeah, you were making a point about like how scary the changes can be and that sort of thing. So I really think that getting the necessary support is really essential. And considering what your options are. Oh, and I’m remembering something that triggered for me is, you know, there’s this whole movement that many people in the US don’t know about. Not surprisingly to me, I’m like, most corporations probably don’t want you to know about this, but like the future of work, right? Like they’re literal. Like there’s like a global organization called The Future of Work. And these think tanks that are talking about like, what are these big changes that are happening and not sure if any of you out there have ever thought to yourself like why do we work five days a week? Why is it 40 hours a week, right? Like, what are the systems where did they come from because they weren’t like born with them? Right? They were created and we were part of that creation. So the only reason we work five days a week today is because at some point the Labor population was like, we don’t want to work six days a week anymore. We’re tired and made that change happen. Right? So that quote about making change as an individual citizen. And like, indeed, that is like, that’s what real change takes right is for individual citizens to band together and say we’ve had enough. So the future work could very likely be a four day work week, right? And again, you have more negotiation power than you think you do. And so we all have to come together and agree, this is not the way life is meant to be. There’s no like, overarching, for lack of a better term, like God’s saying you must work five days. It’s up to us, like we can create a lot of our reality.

Katie Brinkley 20:45

Absolutely. And I think that leads me right into my next question. I mean, so many business owners and entrepreneurs have built a business around their lifestyle and not the other way around. How has that played out in your story and approach to the way that you run your business?

Lara Buelow 21:04

Yeah, you know, like, part of me, doesn’t totally agree with the initial statement, like thinking about it. You know, I think that people again, like there’s sort of this sexy aspect of entrepreneurship, where it says, like, build, it’s a lifestyle business. And then there’s like, all these great entrepreneurial memes that are like, I started my own business so that I could like work my own hours. Now. I just work all the time,

Katie Brinkley 21:27

right? No, seriously, Hillary? Full disclosure, I had my first laptop free vacation in over five years, just this last winter. I mean, yeah, that was a huge accomplishment. And like I said, like nobody, Kendra, my business bestie. She was like, that is so great. I’m so excited for you. So proud of you way to go. And she got what a big achievement that was. But for a lot of people, they’re like, Okay, cool. Why haven’t you taken my you I take your laptop with you just shut down.

Lara Buelow 21:58

There’s Yeah, no one else. Right. Right, exactly. So I think it’s definitely like this double edged sword of I think that if one again, you have to know your values, and you have to start putting into them into practice, like as soon as you can in your business, because nobody else is going to do it for you. Right. So there’s sort of this aspect of like working all the time in on whatever your business. And then, you know, I think that some people who stay committed to their values, and are making their business workout financially have the power to write like, really desire, like, continue building their business, but keeping that lifestyle aspect of it alive. So I think that, to your point, a lot of entrepreneurs do go that route. And I would like to do a special shout out to the mom per Newars. Because women are the rising tide, right? Like you pay a woman to do something, you give women power, you give women money, they bring the entire community up with them. And there are so many parents out there who are willing to do the hard things, so that they can spend more time with their kids while still providing for their families. And I will do a special shout out to Sarah Peck of the startup parents, you know, and that’s like a whole empire podcast, newsletter, website, group community, interviewing a lot of moms who started businesses while they were pregnant or had children. So I don’t think that starting your own business is like the way to create a lifestyle unless that’s part of your lifestyle dream, which is another conversation I have with so many clients because they’re like, it’s fine. I’ll just quit and start my own business. And I’m like, maybe. So not to squash anyone’s dreams out there. But again, like just building the awareness muscle before like taking the leap, right? Because it is also totally possible, if that’s part of your dream. And the flexibility piece really seems to come in the form of choosing which hours you’re working. Not necessarily how many?

Katie Brinkley 24:01

Yes, for sure. No, yeah, that we should just repeat that again, because I 1,000% agree. And that’s really good advice. I mean, so what is some of the best advice that you’ve received that you’ve been able to apply to your business?

Lara Buelow 24:17

Oh, man, one of the designing your life mindsets, and like major pillars is ask for help. Like the radical collaboration pillar. Nobody is an island. Nobody does anything alone. You know, anybody who claims that they did do it alone is lying. I’m willing to have people challenge me on that. But basically, you know, like we humans are communal animals. And we need help, love and support from the people around us. So go out, find your people, get them to help you and in whatever form you need. really like I am learning so much from other entrepreneurs, my networking groups are awesome, and go out and find the people who aren’t gonna, like hold their cards close to their chest like find the people who are who believe in abundance, and that sharing is caring.

Katie Brinkley 25:18

No, it is. So true sharing is caring. And that’s what got me to where I am today is, and that’s the basis for this podcast. It’s people who were willing to share their entrepreneurial journey with me. They weren’t afraid to share the mistakes they made, they weren’t afraid to share what they wish they would have done differently, what the best piece of advice was because one of my friends, Ryan, he came on this podcast, and I asked him what his biggest piece of advice would be. He said, hire people that do your job better than you. And I was like, What are you talking about? You’re saying this, and it’s recorded. But it was so true. When you surround yourself with people that are experts in what they do, they make the entire business better, and they take the weight off of doing things that you might be able to do, but you’re not so great at, and they knock it out of the park, and they can help elevate you and your business. So I definitely feel that when you are willing to put yourself out there, share, give it all the way, give it all the way share all the tips. I mean, there’s enough business to go around for all of us and share your journey and be there to listen to someone. I think it is a great piece of advice. Laura, this has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?

Lara Buelow 26:34

You can find me at my website, Laura By emails on there, you can schedule like zoom Hangouts. And then on Instagram at Laura Bulow is also a great way to kind of see what I’m up to and make contact and all that.

Katie Brinkley 26:52

Awesome. Well, Laura, thank you again, so much for coming on the show today. This has been an awesome conversation, and go check her out online, everyone. And with that, thanks again, I really appreciate it.

Lara Buelow 27:04

Thanks so much for having me, Katie.

Katie Brinkley 27:07

I can’t think Laura enough for coming on the show. And I think it’s so true. A lot of the times we just end up feeling stuck with where we are in our lives thinking that there could be something more and I love that she highlighted the fact of entrepreneurship, you will never work harder. It definitely is true for me. I never expected to be an entrepreneur. But when I decided to venture into the entrepreneur world, in setting up the time, for me would be with my family to time for me to focus in on just growing the business. But now that my kids are older now I have the time to actually spend growing the business and building out the clients. And I definitely when I first started as an entrepreneur, it was more 8020 80% at home 20 at work and it’s completely flip flop now, but I love what I do. And I think it’s a very important point that Laura made that don’t go into the world of entrepreneurship just so that you can work fewer hours. That was a big milestone for me this past year to go on a vacation a week long vacation, laptop free. But also I love the fact that Laura wants to make sure that you have a life built on meaning, what brings you passion. And as we all go through life and try to figure out what brings us passion. I think that she’s right on, surround yourself with that accountability partner, that coaching partner that can help lift you up, surround yourself with networking, peers that are willing to share their stories, their successes with you so that you can learn from them and continue growing your business. Because as we grow our business as we go through this thing called life, we need to be doing something that brings us joy, and whether you’re in the corporate world, whether you’re a business owner, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, I think it’s a great time to take a step back make that list. What are the things that you are most passionate about? What are the things that you aren’t? And if you’re a business owner, you can delegate those tasks out if you are in the corporate world, how can you change up some of your your current opportunities so that you are doing things that you are most passionate about? Take a step back and let’s live our life to the fullest. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.