With the right mindset, will, and desire, anything is possible. Emmy-winning journalist Kristen Aldridge has worked all over the world as TV host, anchor, reporter, producer and content creator. As co-founder and CEO of Luminate, a digital media platform and global community connecting luminaries, leaders and influencers shining a light on the way we work, lead, live, and love, Kristen knows the challenges that come with building a business from the ground up. With a passion for capturing compelling stories that ignite inspiration and create powerful change, Aldridge created the original web series Project Luminary to explore the power of the human spirit and what it takes to achieve the extraordinary one big bold dream at a time. Kristen shares her backstory and talks about following our purpose and passion and bouncing back every time life throws us lemons.
Listen to the podcast here:
Exploring The Power Of The Human Spirit with Kristen Aldridge
I am so excited about us connecting with Kristen Aldridge. This girl knows how to make it happen in business and in life. Let me just give you a little bit of a rundown on her bio. This lady boss has worked all over the world as a journalist, TV host, anchor, producer and content creator for the likes of ABC, CBS, Yahoo, CNN, E! News, Shape Magazine and ESPN to name a few. With years of experience in live TV covering a wide variety of genres such as news, business, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and social media, she has been awarded an Emmy, a Davey and five Tally Awards. She’s also covered just about every star-studded event including the Golden Globes, the Grammys, the Emmys and the Oscars where she had the honor of being the co-host for the National Red Carpet preshow on ABC.
If someone can get there by the age of 80, they’re doing well but she did that before she hit 40. She’s still a young lady boss. What’s so neat is with a passion for capturing compelling stories that ignite inspiration and create a powerful change, Kristen is currently co-founder and CEO of Luminate, a digital media platform and global community of luminaries, leaders, and influencers shining a light on the way we work, lead and live and love. She’s also the creator, director and producer and host of Project Luminary, a new original series in partnership with Entrepreneur.com and Facebook Watch. It explores the power of the human spirit and what it takes to achieve the extraordinary. The first part of what I just shared with you is through the roof mind blowing but she doesn’t stop there. She keeps building on the successes that she’s had. The thing that resonates the most with me is her backstory and her bounce back. Her grit to power forward when life has handed her some stuff.
Kristen, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have you be a part of this. Thank you for jumping on.
Thank you. It’s such an honor to be on with you. I absolutely love and adore all the positivity and amazingness you are putting out into the world. It’s funny because with all these years in broadcasting and as a journalist, I’m used to telling other people’s stories. I’m very much a newbie to being on this side of the mic but I’m so grateful for you because it’s really given me an opportunity to do some serious self-reflecting on the journey.
I’m excited to dig into your story. I might not be the pro like you but I’m working on it. I’ve been thinking about inviting you on the podcast for the longest time. The thing that broke the camel’s back was the last post that you posted on Instagram of sharing your backstory. The way that I’ve heard it said before is people are inspired by your success but they are impacted by your failures. You’ve got to share your story. I can’t hold this thing anymore.
I 1,000% agree with you and social media can be a whole another topic but I’ve really been trying to put out more of that raw and vulnerable stuff because that’s what people need to hear. That’s what connects us and we all go through it as humans in search of our purpose and our destiny. Thank you for saying that. I’m seriously so grateful that it resonated with you. I always had that entrepreneurial spirit really early on. My parents are entrepreneurs. They’ve been married for 45 years. When I was little, I watched my dad leave his full-time job to start his own dream of starting his own plumbing company and my mom joined him. I think secretly they wanted me to eventually take over the plumbing company but I had other dreams on my mind.
Since I was twelve years old, I just had this love for pop culture. I loved movies and film and television, art and fashion. Ultimately, what it came down to is storytelling, creativity. One day, I saw Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight and I was like, “That seems so amazing and so glamorous. I want to be an entertainment journalist.” It’s all I had on my mind growing up. Embarrassingly enough to admit, I used to use a hairbrush as a microphone and pretend like there were celebrities in my living room. Hoping that one day I could one time be at the Oscars. I ended up majoring in broadcast journalism at a local school in Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas. It’s an amazing school but it’s also really expensive. I was working three jobs just to afford it.
When you’re taking college, you have to take all these years of generals before you can even touch the classes you really want to take, which for me was broadcast journalism. When I was twenty, I said, “I’m ready to go to Hollywood. I’m going to do it.” I told my mom and dad. Thank God that they are so cool and they let me go. I grab my dad’s pickup truck and at twenty years old, I made the move out there. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any connections. I had no money and nothing on my resume. I just knew that I really wanted to try to make this dream happen. I did what every starving artist does when they get to Hollywood. I got a waitressing job. I worked at the Elephant Bar in Burbank while I tried to go on auditions during the day.
What I quickly learned is that as an aspiring TV host, in order to go on auditions, you really need an agent. The catch-22 was in order to get an agent, you had to have booked a few jobs. How can I get an agent if I haven’t booked any jobs? Ignorance is total bliss at the time. I used to send my materials to all the biggest agencies anyways because I thought why not. I quickly learned that the three big agencies were CAA, ICM and William Morris. They were the ones that represented the who’s who of Hollywood. It’s so embarrassing. I had two credits. It was a foot scrub infomercial and a Ducktails & Bobbysox high school extra on my resume. I send that in and of course, I’d get these little generic photocopied letters back in the mail saying, “Thanks but no thanks, we’re not looking for clients at this time,” which means your submission is in the trash.
The reason I’m telling you this is because a remarkable thing happened later in my story that will all make sense. Essentially, it was just countless years of rejection. There were so many noes and so much rejection. I did a ton of stuff for free just trying to really learn about how the business worked and how I could get better. I had very little progress at that time in my career and then personally I was really going through some tough stuff. A relationship that I had at the time that started out as very loving just ended badly. It was one of those relationships that it was so hard to leave but you knew you had to. I won’t say too much about it because I’m really healed from it, but essentially it ended with two cops in the doorway helping me get my things out. I had to go back to Minnesota and I found myself living with my parents at 28 years old with $100,000 in debt because I was essentially living off my credit cards.
It was total rock bottom wondering what am I going to do with my life and how did I get here? The beauty of being at rock bottom is knowing that the only way you can go is up. It was a really dark time but it also was a really beautiful time because I knew that I had nothing to lose at that point. If there’s one thing my parents taught me it’s really the value of hard work. After months of soul-searching and really trying to get back on my feet, I threw myself into work. I decided all those years out trying Hollywood for the first time in my twenties, no one ever really gave me a chance at my dreams so I’m going to create it myself.
With whatever little money I have left out my credit cards, which was basically nothing, I started a website called Positively Celebrity. It was essentially a positive take on celebrity news. I branded it really big and I got all these contributors that could write for me and on the outside, it looked like this really amazing big brand. No one knew that its very founder was at home living with her parents literally dying inside every day because I was depressed and didn’t know how I was going to make ends meet. I’ll never forget the site yet hadn’t monetized. I was now barely able to make my minimum payments on the credit cards anymore and debt collectors were calling every day. I’ll never forget the phone rang. I’m thinking it’s another debt collector and it was a 3310 number. I was like, “That’s Los Angeles. How can this be?”
I picked it up and that’s when you know that you are always divinely guided. It was an agent from one of the biggest agencies that I’ve sent a package to more than probably two years before. He said, “I’ve held onto your package all this time. I’ve seen what you created with Positively Celebrity. I sent all of your things into Yahoo. They want to build a show around you. Can you come out and meet with us on Monday?” It’s something that I had sent so long ago that someone held onto for that long time. When I was literally in my darkest time and needed someone to help lift me out of it, it could not have come at a better time.
I didn’t have a car at the time so I had to rent some crappy car. Pulling into this agency, it was no surprise. I’m pulling in and super embarrassed. How do I even get here? P. Diddy or Puff Daddy, whatever his name is, was pulling up his entourage at the same time. He has some crazy awesome car parked beside this beat-up rental. It just was this magical lesson to always just trust the faith and never give up. The long story short, I essentially met with the agents. Yahoo loved everything we were doing and I ended up hosting a show for Yahoo. It became eventually the most watched show on the Web.
We had over 700 million streams. I was able to pay off my debt. That relationship lasted four amazing years. Then from there, I was able to just work for a lot of other national networks. I covered the Oscars multiple times, which is a childhood dream. It was one really hard right but an incredible journey and a huge reminder that you are always where you need to be even though sometimes it’s really hard to accept that. I look back at my journey and I’m super thankful for it all because it led me where I am now and taught me so many lessons.
I had no idea of your backstory. I just read your Instagram post. There are so many things that I want to cover in that story. I think one of the things that I really pulled out of that is you are always being divinely guided. It’s never ever happening to you, but for you. I think the thing that really just struck a chord is you kept planting all these seeds and you’re like, “What gives. I’m living with my parents in their basement.” God was preparing you step by step. Every time you kept sending something out, it was preparing you. If you wouldn’t have had that rock-bottom moment, you wouldn’t have had all that time to prepare, would you have had the success that you did once you got your break? I don’t know.
The biggest thing that resonates with me too is I think it’s really magical when you finally choose yourself. It was so many years of just waiting for someone else to pick me and to prove, “Am I talented enough? Am I good enough? Am I worthy enough?” It was this big evolution when I finally decided to stop waiting for everyone else and just do it. If I had to do it myself, then that’s what I was going to do. It’s amazing what happens when you just put your destiny into your own hands and just create whatever it is that you want to create without waiting for anyone else.
To really grab that pen, write your own story give yourself your own permission slip and that’s what you did. I think what’s really neat is you decided to jump out in faith maybe not even knowing exactly what you were doing but you took the resources that you had in your hand and you gave it everything you got. I think that’s a huge testament of put one foot in front of the other, walking by faith and not by sight and just what can happen with that. Then once you started that company and then things exploded on another level and you just start to get success on so many different levels and you got to LA. You really start to hit big and you start to have success, what made you even transition over into starting a media company? You are at a pretty sweet spot right there. Let’s call a spade a spade.
That’s such a loaded but important question. It really revolves around this concept of what you do doesn’t define who you are. What I mean by that is I always found throughout my journey that when I had a job, I was okay. I was like, “I got this. I worked for so-and-so and I’m feeling good.” There was a lot of months between projects where I wasn’t working. That was when all of a sudden, all this anxiety would hit and it would be like here’s every night wondering, “Am I good enough? They’re going to find out I’m really not that talented. Is that the last job I’m going to ever get?” It’s just crippling anxiety and fear and feelings of not worthy. It literally took me twenty years to realize it and it’s still a struggle. What we touched on earlier is as humans, at the end of the day, we are all connected and we want to feel loved and we want to feel we’re worthy of love. Unfortunately, with our society, our job title is often what makes us feel like we are worthy. We’re accomplished. We’ve achieved all of these things, so therefore I should be seen and I should be accepted.
I just really had a dial back and look at the fact that we are all powerful without all of that stuff. We’re powerful just as we are. It was trying to remember who I really was rather than this identity I had created of only when I was working for this big network was I worthy. I was talented with or without that validation. It’s like always validation. If I get this person to fund my company or if I have this many followers on social media or if I’m working for this person, that means that I’m worthy of love and I’m talented. Honestly, it came to a point where I had almost stripped myself out of all those titles to really do the deep work. Essentially what happened is all of the jobs I’m so grateful for and it had been a great journey, I always just felt this little nagging thing that I wasn’t fully following my purpose and then I had a lot more to contribute. You know what happened even with entertainment. Eventually, it seemed super glamorous at first but talking about Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, when you get past the age of 30, it’s like, “What am I doing? There is more to life than this.”
I went in the hard news because I thought talking about all the politics and these big issues would really fulfill me. What I soon learned with that is that it’s a lot of negative news and there is no more of a divisive time in media and the climate out there than right now. That was really a struggle. One thing that I always loved is just telling more positive stories. I realized that waiting for someone to give me the opportunity to tell more positive stories just wasn’t going to happen. I was one year into a three-year contract at a huge network. I loved everyone there and I recognized it was an unbelievable opportunity. My soul was really just bringing out that I had work to do. I left that network. When you’re facing a period of reinvention, it’s really freaking hard because before you can reinvent yourself into the next iteration, not only does it take a lot of work but you go through periods where you’re not that good at it yet. Sometimes you feel like imposter syndrome. It’s like you’re a little bit of a fraud because it’s like how can I claim that I’m this new expert at something when I really have no idea what I’m doing?
With that, I was really reminded of the Chinese proverb that I love so much, “Be not afraid of going slowly. Be only afraid of standing still.” I knew that even if it was going to take a year and a half to figure out what my true purpose was and then go and build that, that’s okay. At least I was moving forward. Essentially, what happened is my husband that I had met when I was living back in Minnesota after the bad breakup, which again is another lesson and divinely guided, I was exactly where I needed to be. He is amazing, Seth Mattison. He is a speaker and he speaks a lot on leadership and the future of work and speaks to thousands of people every week. He was looking to start a community where he could bring all of these amazing people that he speaks to into an online community.
Me with my background in journalism and content creation and producing and writing and all that good stuff, I knew that I wanted to tell positive stories. That’s when this media platform Luminate was born. Luminate, our logo is a flame, which is also an L for Luminate but our tagline is, “Ignite the light within.” Initially, it was so hard for me building the site as one of the founders because the site is mostly an inspirational media platform where we’ve got articles on how to live a luminated life. Here I was as the founder behind the scenes still figuring all that out and I was needing the articles just as much as I thought our readers would need them.
In the process of building this platform, I really found my own light, which is such a beautiful thing of this transformation and reinventing. We launched our beta, which is a lot to get it out there. We’ve got all sorts of written content around just really ideals of business and branding and teamwork and time-management. We also touch on a lot of well-being topics like mindfulness and meditation and spirituality. We’ve got over 50 contributors. We’ve got Mel Robbins, Adam Grant and Marshall Goldsmith, which I’m huge fans of that are contributing articles. We have video content. It really is just inspirational content that we hope that if we’re even impacting one person, we know that what we’re doing is what we should be doing. That’s what I’ve tried to focus on in the journey. We’re super excited to have it out but it’s been a really hard process. Any entrepreneur knows you’re in a constant state of beta and you’re always iterating and sometimes you’re like, “This is awesome,” but most times you’re thinking, “I just want to quit.”
I have to say, I absolutely love your transparency and your authenticity through the journey. Like you said like on social media, it looks like daisies and rainbows and unicorns but you peel back the layers and see it’s hard work. It’s not always as it appears. I think it’s so courageous that you said, “I love what I do in the space of media but I know that there’s something else that’s knocking on the door of my heart. If I don’t answer that, it’s going to continue to get louder.” I know even for me there was a time in my career where on paper everything looked absolutely phenomenal. Financially, I was in a great place. My business was exploding. There were so many great things going in an incredible direction and I loved it.
I didn’t want to throw it away by any means but I knew that was a piece to my puzzle. It wasn’t the whole puzzle. My soul was calling to up-level and to do different things that would make an impact in the community on another level. It was so hard to shift into that place and pivot. To continually keep that thing going, but I will tell you when you listen to that still small voice, even that slow progress is way better than no progress. It’s amazing how when you keep being consistent in that zone of genius even when it doesn’t feel like that zone of genius, things start to come together.
Thank you for stepping up to the plate. I know that startups are not easy but you already know this but you won’t even know the lives that you’re touching that are watching those things. There are so many times in media where you’re so right. It’s so negative and it’s always pulled in that type of direction. The more that we can have that positive outlook and putting that inspiration into the world, that has a ripple effect and you have no idea the lives that you are changing, Kristen. Thank you for answering the call.
What I think is amazing about your story is it’s one thing to reinvent yourself and pull yourself towards something when you’re at rock bottom. It’s like you’re only forced to do that, but to leave something that is going really well and you’re rocking it, that’s even harder. I feel like it really speaks to getting out of your comfort zone. When you feel safe and good, that’s when you know it’s time to shake things up. That’s when it’s also hard because you know being uncomfortable really sucks but that’s the only way we grow.
I even remember having a conversation in the car with my brother and I’m like, “Ben, I have been in a success coma for three years and I am in a really good place. I’m not in that great place where I know God wants me to be.” As much as I’m scared to up-level, I know that you know God is not going to say, “Well done my good and faithful servant on the things that you did.” He’s going to keep you accountable for what he called you to do. You have to get to that point of, “I don’t want to just do what the mainstream tells me to do. I need to do what God wants me to do.” I think we’re in a very similar spot of you just have to push yourself out of that comfort zone no matter if you’re at rock bottom or if you’re in an amazing place. Otherwise, I don’t want to get to the pearly gates and be like, “This is what I wanted you to do. You were a great doctor but I didn’t ask you to be a doctor.”
I think that fear of having regret is one of the biggest drivers to it. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and say, “I wish I would have done things differently.”
I am so excited about checking out your side and tell me what the long-term vision of this media platform looks like for you. Is that something that’s expanding as you go along?
We’re in beta so we’re constantly just iterating. Right now are really doing some deep work on focusing what is our overall brand messaging and where we’re going and who are we talking to. It’s funny because you think like, “Shouldn’t you have figured that out before you launched?” For us, it really was more like starting and putting it out before you’re ready. The idea of publishing over perfection is hard for me because I am the worst perfectionist ever. Even to launch something and inside I’m dying because I’m like, “It’s not ready,” but that’s the beauty because once it’s out there, now you’re holding yourself accountable and knowing that you have to make it better. It’s a really beautiful time. We have hundreds of really inspirational articles and then we also have a video, which I’m super excited about. We want to bring in more live events courses, products, assessments and really building the community. First, we’re mainly focused on building the tribe because you can’t have a live event without a tribe. We’re doing the good work to build that.
I will tell you that is something that I still struggle with now. Even my speaking coach says, “Done is better than perfect.” Put out the 1.0 version and then you can put the 2.0 version out but you can’t put out the 2.0 if you don’t have the 1.0.
It is the hardest thing to do but it’s the most important thing to do.
I think so often a lot of entrepreneurs, we’re a type A. We get it done. We are like, “Make it happen like yesterday.” I know even at the beginning of my career, I went nowhere superfast for the first six months because I just thought I have to have everything done perfectly. It’s like what Darren Hardy talks about, plan-do-review. You just have to keep one foot in front of the other.
That’s something that actually resonates with me so much and to pick up on that point too. Not only do you have to publish over perfection, but I think one of the biggest lessons I learned, and this I learned from interviewing Alli Webb, the founder of Drybar. That is to focus on one thing and be the best at it. As entrepreneurs, it is really hard to focus on one thing because oftentimes we don’t have the funding to be able to hire any help. We have to be everything. We have to be the branding, the marketing, the outreach and the accountant. We have to be everything.
What I’ve really learned is to trust that there are other people a lot better than I am at so many things and to just stay in my lane. Alli, she has a really beautiful story. She always knew that she wanted to be a hairdresser and she stuck to that. She got her brother to do the branding and her husband to do the accounting because she knew that she wasn’t good at those things. Eventually, it’s being able to trust that others are just as passionate as you are and to really finding that team who can help you and hiring people smarter than you.
I’ve said it this way and I’ve heard this so many times that it goes right hand-in-hand with that, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” If you would go back in time, Kristen, and tell yourself one piece of advice as an entrepreneur, what would it be and why?
The biggest thing ringing out in my soul right now is to enjoy the moment and to celebrate little victories. I think the biggest thing I could be guilty of is I’ve always been one to set really big goals. I tend to just only focus on the goal and nothing in between. What happens is you end up wishing your life away because you’re like, “I’ll be happy when I get here. I’ll celebrate when I do this.” Number one, what happens if you actually never get there? Number two, even worse what happens when you got there and you realize that that thing actually didn’t make you happy, because usually, it doesn’t?
As humans, we’re just naturally progressive, especially, as entrepreneurs, we’re highly motivated. We were constantly goal-crushing. As soon as you get to that goal then you’re like, “This isn’t good enough. I need to set this goal.” You look back on your life and you say, “I wish I would have stayed in the present moment,” and realize that it’s such a cliché but so true but it’s not about the destination. It’s all about the journey. It’s not about that big goal you’re trying to reach. It’s about growing and evolving as humans and becoming the best versions of ourselves. I think it’s really important to have grace and be kind to yourself and know that even little progress, like one day you got up and you didn’t feel like working but you cleared out your email inbox.
If you’re only focusing on that one big thing and you don’t reach it, you’re going to feel really crappy all the time. We really make it a point at Luminate to celebrate little victories as much as possible on the way to the goal. That just helps you enjoy the present moment and stay in the present and not worry so much about the future because like we discussed, we’re always exactly where we need to be. We’re divinely guided. We need to have the faith and trust that it doesn’t always work on our timetable and as fast as we want it to, but are going exactly where we need to be. It’s just trusting that and staying in the present and really having gratitude for that.
That is something that I still struggle with. I have to get myself into a place of gratitude and I do that every single morning and start really focusing on that. Whatever you focus on expands and sometimes when you want to scale and up-level, it’s like, “When does that end?” It’s to be able to have those victories every single step of the way and be thankful for what God has given you. I think that’s a huge component too when you can get yourself in gratitude, it’s magnetic. Tell me what is the best advice you have ever received?
This one actually I think was probably the most transformational. I do a series that I called Project Luminary. Through it, I interview these really inspiring entrepreneurs and we talk about not the successes but the setbacks of how they became who they are. I was dying to interview Cal Fussman who is a world-renowned interviewer. He was the only person that Tim Ferriss has had four times on his podcast. He is known for doing a column on Esquire magazine, which is called What I’ve Learned. He’s interviewed so many legends throughout his career. I was freaking out before this interview because I was like, “How am I supposed to interview the world’s greatest interviewer?” What a wonderful opportunity and what his whole concept is basically asking better questions to get better results. If you want a better answer, you should ask a better question.
It speaks to our mindset and how we go about things. He gave this example of this woman that came up to him after an event and she said, “Cal, I love what you’re doing. I’ve always wanted to speak but I can’t speak in front of an audience. I’m terrified.” Cal says, “What if you change your questions?” She said, “I don’t understand. What do you mean?” He said, “Let me change the question. Can you speak in front of a mirror?” She said, “I guess I could.” He said, “If you spoke in front of a mirror and practice and practice, could you eventually speak in front of a camera?” She was like, “If I practice, I think I could do that.” Then he said, “Do you think after you practice, you could get up in front of a group of people and just pretend like you’re talking to a mirror?” She’s like, “That is so brilliant. I’m going to try that.” She ended up doing that and three weeks later she stopped Cal and she was just like, “Cal, you changed my life. I did exactly what you said and now I can speak in front of an audience.” It just simplifying things. I think we may get all these big huge problems that we can’t answer but if we change our questions, it’s amazing what better results we can get by doing something simple like that.
I love the mind shift. Those little paradigm shifts can literally change the trajectory of your life. I think that’s fabulous. With all the different people that you have interviewed, out of all the people that you know and what we do here at the Boss Life, who is one person that I should know or I should study and get to know their backstory for that inspiration?
Alli Webb is definitely one that I’m a huge fan of. She has a beautiful story of being a stay-at-home mom. She really didn’t hit success until later in life. One person that I think a lot of people don’t know yet, his name is Sebastian Terry. What I love about his story is he was someone that didn’t grow up with a lot of purpose and he was in trouble in high school and just didn’t really have a good chance of doing something amazing because he just wasn’t in it. Eventually what happened is his friend died and it really made him look at what he was doing with his life. He put together this incredible bucket list of 100 Things To Do Before I Die, and some of the things on the list were just crazy. It was like getting married to a stranger in Vegas, ridiculous things that he ended up doing. One of them was to help a stranger. He had all these things that he was doing but it wasn’t how he helped the stranger did he realized what his true purpose was.
The beautiful thing about that is the stranger that he helped was this amazing person that ended up getting bit by a tick and had Lyme disease and was paralyzed for most of his body. He had always wanted to run the marathon. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen. Sebastian pushed him for the marathon. You can’t ever replace the feeling now what it’s like when you’re truly giving. The moral of the story is really just as humans, life is about following our purpose and passion. When you can really get back to the mindset of giving without receiving, that’s really what it’s all about. His story and listening to his story and now he’s created this huge platform where people actually sign up to be able to help other people. Some of those are little things just like helping an elderly lady bring in the groceries. Other things are like really big things. We need this big donation to someone with cancer but essentially as humans, it’s just all about being of service and having that service mindset. Not worrying about what we’re always getting and who’s giving to us but actually giving and being of service. It’s a really beautiful lesson and a beautiful reminder.
That’s super powerful and I will tell you even in times in my life where I’ve been in my “rock bottom” moments when things aren’t going in a good direction or I’m almost in a state of being really sad or feeling frustrated or flat-lined or any of the above. When you can just think outside yourself and say, “I’m not feeling great now, but how can I give back to someone else? How can I make their day better?” It’s amazing how the ripple effect happens back at you. Then it pays forward so many generations. It’s just crazy what one act of kindness can do. That’s really cool, Kristen. Thank you. It’s our next actual piece about our lightning round with the lady boss. Question number one, when you aren’t crushing it in business, what do you love to do?
The first answer, drinking wine and eating snacks.
If you wouldn’t have started with what you’re doing with Luminate and even working within the celebrity space, what would you have done if you didn’t go into broadcast journalism?
I’m probably a veterinarian because I love animals.
People would be surprised that I spend so much time doing?
Probably just worrying and trying to silence the little voices in your head that give you the negative self-talk and limiting beliefs.
I love that even someone as successful as you has to dominate those doubts. It shows to us that the best of the best have to put them in their place. What’s your favorite way to spend downtime?
I love just being outside in nature and working out. I’m a big Pilates fan. Anything that gets me a good sweat. SoulCycle is one of my favorites as well.
What are you reading right now?
I am rereading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It’s one of my favorites.
What are you absolutely addicted to?
Red wine and snacks. I have two glasses and I’m like, “That’s enough.” It’s my favorite thing to relax. It makes everything better. Bread and olive oil and chocolate.
Your most embarrassing moment.
I’ve had so many. Probably when I was working for ABC and I was working on a breaking news story in the newsroom and not realizing what time it was. I had a hit on air for twenty seconds so I sprinted across the newsroom. I was struggling to put on my IFP and get my position. The anchors tossed to me and I was so out of breath I could not do my segment and I had no package to toss to. I should have just said something but I think it was like, “No one will notice,” but as I heard myself speak it was like, “And then the next thing. Then the next thing.” I was so embarrassed and it was a three-minute segment. I sounded like I was dying or having a heart attack. I’m sure everyone watching was like, “What is this girl doing?”
That’s called being human and I’m sure they appreciated it. Who inspires you? Who do you aspire to be like?
My husband inspires me. It’s been amazing working together and also really challenging. He is one of those people that literally is so positive every single day. I’m so lucky because I call him my personal Tony Robbins. He is just someone that really knows how to keep the faith and staying in that zone, that mindset, knowing that he’s divinely guided. He’s amazing. Every single day, I’m just like, “I want to be more like Seth.”
Coffee or chocolate?
I would say both but probably chocolate.
Describe yourself in one word.
Thank you, Kristen. That lightning round with the lady boss was amazing. I have three last questions. Number one, if someone met you and said, “Kristen, I want to become the boss of my own life and call the shots. What’s my first step?”
What’s ringing out right now is belief. Believe that you can.
What is your definition of a boss?
I think someone who is unapologetic and who they really are that is authentic. Is someone who is vulnerable and raw and is willing to do whatever it takes but also is the most compassionate and kind human being on that journey. Someone who doesn’t forget where they came from and forget who they are and focuses on their dream while still focusing on the bigger picture.
I have to say you are so down to Earth. You care so deeply about people and you are that word that you said. You are so driven and making it happen in business and life. I want to say thank you so much for showing us how it’s done and taking the higher road and going all into that.
Thank you. I’m so grateful to be on your podcast. I’m so in awe of all the amazing things you’re creating in the world. I’m just really grateful for being able to not only share my story but it’s been an incredible morning of self-reflecting and remembering why we’re doing what we’re doing.
I am so excited about my audience to connect with you and your media company with Luminate and everything that you have going on. Tell us how we can connect with you.
I have an official website at KristenAldridge.com and you can find our media company at JustLuminate.com, on social media is @JustLuminate and myself for social media is mostly Kristen Aldridge except for Instagram, it’s @Kristen.Aldridge.
Kristen, thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for this whole Boss Life community. You are what makes this happen. If you loved this episode, make sure to share it with a friend. I want to encourage you like Kristen had said at the beginning of this interview. We want you to fire your fear, build your faith and become the boss of your own life. Take what you learned here and implement it into your life. You are created for greatness. Let’s get after it, Boss.
@JustLuminate on Facebook
Kristen Aldridge on Twitter
@Kristen.Aldridge on Instagram
About Kristen Aldridge
Kristen Aldridge has worked all over the world as a journalist, TV host, anchor, producer and content creator for the likes of ABC, CBS, Yahoo!, CNN, E!, SHAPE Magazine and ESPN, to name a few. With years of experience in live TV covering a wide variety of genres such as news, business, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and social media, she has been awarded an Emmy, a Davey, and five Tellys. She’s also covered just about every star-studded event, including the Golden Globes, the Grammys, the Emmys and the Oscars, where she had the honor of being co-host for the national red carpet pre-show on ABC.
With a passion for capturing compelling stories that ignite inspiration and create powerful change, Kristen is currently Co-Founder and CEO of Luminate, a digital media platform and global community of luminaries, leaders and influencers shining a light on the way we work, lead, live and love. She is also the creator, director, producer and host of Project Luminary, a new original series in partnership with Entrepreneur.com and Facebook Watch that explores the power of the human spirit and what it takes to achieve the extraordinary.
As a road-tested warrior in entrepreneurship, her mission is to educate, empower, and enrich the lives of future founders as they pursue their biggest, boldest dreams -- because with the right mindset, will and desire, anything is possible.
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