Episode 29 of The Informed Life podcast features an interview with Maria Giudice, the founder of design agency Hot Studio. After selling Hot Studio to Facebook in 2013, Maria spent a couple of years as Director of Product Design at the social network. Then she moved to Autodesk, where she served as VP of Experience Design. Which is to say, she’s had lots of experience working in various design management roles, from startups to large corporations.

In this show, Maria reflects on her career, and — most importantly — how she found her purpose early on. Now she’s entered an exciting new phase of her career: helping others connect with their own values and purposes. This observation, which I found insightful, gives you a feel for the discussion:

There’s these two phases in life. David Brooks wrote a book called The Second Mountain, and he talks about this. And the first mountain is the mountain that you climb to establish your identity, build your career, generate wealth, create status, raise a family. You know, that’s the mountain. That’s the trajectory that we’re all climbing.

And then something happens to people in their 40s and 50s, when they start really questioning what’s next for them. They’re at the peak, and then they’re going to go down the mountain. Some of them retire, some of them get depressed, and some of them go into different careers. But what I’m finding is people in their 40s and 50s are staying in… are not retiring. They’re reinventing. And they’re reinventing through the context of purpose and meaning.

They’re starting to ask questions about what is worth doing in life? Why am I here on this earth? What can I do to support people, help people? You know, create a legacy that isn’t about wealth and title. And that’s the space that I’m sitting in right now. And it’s like going from the outer world to the inner world, and that’s been really satisfying.

I was inspired by this conversation with Maria, and enjoyed every minute of it. You’ll notice several chuckles throughout the interview — the joy should come through despite bad audio quality on my end. (My bad — I messed up a microphone setting. Apologies!) Don’t let that stop you — this conversation is worth your attention, regardless of where you are in your career.

The Informed Life Episode 29: Maria Giudice on Purpose