Bonus. Creating with Purpose | Brett Kaufman at Conscious Capitalism

Does your work have purpose? Brett spent much of his early life doing things that had a superficial purpose, such as going into banking to impress his girlfriend’s parents. He spent the next 11 years in the corporate world not feeling inspired, and not really knowing that he could feel inspired, having never seen that modeled to him as a child.

At Kaufman Development, their mission is to build high design communities around impact, creative expression, and wellbeing—doing our part to change the world. Not only would his company fulfill his passion, it would create communities that made it easier for others to connect to their passion.

Gravity is the evolution of all of that. There are elements of Brett’s childhood—walking into the art room for the first time, discovering the smoker’s pit—that have informed the way it was built. It’s a residential space, an office space, and a coliving building where they will tackle affordability and community. It’s the experiential aspect of real estate pushed to tenfold.

It’s hard work to face your fears, to be courageous, and do something that’s inside of you. If it wasn’t, more people would do it. It’s the few who do that make it possible to ignore how much it costs to go after it. Seeing people’s lives change as a result of the work you put in makes everything worth it.

Topics discussed:

  • How do you define your purpose?
  • Doing our part to change the world
  • Brett early life doing things that “weren’t me at my essence” — e.g. going into banking to impress girlfriend’s parents
  • Didn’t have passion modeled from him as a kid
  • Impact, creative expression and wellbeing
  • Work-life integration
  • Integrating art into work
  • Being fully expressed as a human being
  • Meditation — one of the most interesting things in the business world
  • Brett’s cliche introduction to transcendental meditation
  • Does meditation make you a better leader? (not specifically, any self-improvement practice does)
  • Self-improvement — what is Brett working on right now?
  • What’s at Gravity: 90,000 sq feet of murals, digital forest, huge interactive component
  • “Everything is perfect for what it is and what it’s not.”
  • #noregret
  • People and partners that go into Gravity —  partnerships that allowed you to become what you are
  • “Our superpower is that we make shit work”
  • Investing in leadership, leadership development
  • “I want people to hold us accountable”

What Brett talks about:

  • [03:30] The role of meditation in the business world
  • [06:12] What Brett’s working to improve about himself
  • [07:25] Creating something that makes a difference in people’s lives
  • [11:00] Whether or not Brett has any regrets
  • [13:36] The challenges of talking about purpose beyond profit
  • [15:46] The role Kaufman Development will play in the next decade of Columbus’ development
  • [17:20] How Brett thinks of leadership development
  • [25:06] The partners who’ve resonated with him

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Finding passion in your work takes courage. It’s the road less traveled, and it’s risky. But seeing others do it makes it easier to think about the benefits than the costs, and the benefits far outweigh the cost.