Laura Carney Didn’t Find Her Life Purpose – Instead, It Found Her!, Episode 99

What does it mean for a person to find their purpose? And how does a person go about doing that? In Laura Carney’s case, her life purpose found her – and in a situation where she was finally ready. 

Laura’s dad was killed by a female driver who was distractedly talking on her phone. 13 years later, Laura and her brother found their dad’s bucket list of 60 dreams he wrote at 29 that they didn’t even know existed. Today, Laura is living her purpose of finishing that list.

Do you want to know whether you are on the right track to fulfilling your personal life purpose? Might you already be living it? Or are you still waiting for it to find you? Hopefully, this episode will inspire you as you uncover key insights to help you gain some momentum around your own life purpose. Discover the kind of mindset she had to consciously bring to the table, how she pursued this list of 54 possible items (out of the original list of 60), and how the universe conspired with her to finish her dad’s list.

Also, as a mom with incomplete dreams, I’m very grateful to share with you how Laura sees her dad today – not as a failure, but as someone who had lived full out because he actually tried. 

If you’re at this point of your life where you want to feel alive again by living your own dream or going after the dreams of your lost loved one, then this is the perfect episode for you. Either of which takes courage. Hear Laura’s story and be inspired to go after your own dreams more bravely.

Now, I also have a free playbook to help boost your own courage in 7-days, which you can grab through this link: This is a flexible playbook that contains the exact courage design tools that have worked for both me and my clients. If this episode inspires you to start ticking off your own bucket list (or a loved one’s) then go ahead and use my playbook to help you tackle any of your own dreams in the next 7 days.

Share this episode with 3 friends who might also be seeking a refreshing take on pursuing their life purpose and on whether anything is truly possible including unlikely things like meeting a Pope or President (which both are on Laura’s Father’s List).

About Laura Carney

Laura Carney is a writer and magazine and book copy editor in New York. She’s been published by the Washington Post, the Associated Press, The Hill, Runner’s World, Good Housekeeping, The Fix and other places, and is writing a book about finishing the bucket list of her late father, who was killed by a distracted driver. She has worked to raise awareness as an advocate with the National Safety Council, End Distracted Driving, the Safe Roads Alliance, Families for Safe Streets NJ, Act to End Deadly Distractions, NCSR Road Safety Advocacy and the Road to Zero Coalition. These days, she raises awareness via her writing and as a marathon runner.


  • Creativity: Creating something as a painter or writer is a way to process things and to help you better understand how you really think about a situation, pick up different creative skills, and bring their respective strengths across media.
  • Courage: This is a mindset that you can train yourself to say yes to challenges.
  • Curiosity: Reassess your values because they change and you are changed by experiences, whether good and bad ones. There is always a good time to process your values and update them to help you focus on what you want and not be pulled into things that don’t authentically matter to you.
  • Grief: Having all this unresolved grief inside of her that she had been burying, Laura decided to celebrate his dad by doing the things he loved.
  • Change: As soon as Laura got them on paper, her life started changing even more, having more room for more abundance, more happiness, and new challenges coming forward.
  • Writing: When you do a memoir, you’re not just doing an essay for the first person anymore. It has to have a narrative at the same time. So you’re now also turning yourself into a character. 
  • Perspective: Turning herself into a character made her realize that the events that happened in her life do not own her.
  • Freedom: Try writing the scary traumatic memories in your own words, but also include happy memories and good events that have happened. There’s something about this that detaches you from what happened and helps you find acceptance.
  • Failure: Even if you know you’re going to fail, do it anyway. People get caught up in ‘what is’ the concrete result of it’s going to be. But when you make that choice, you permit yourself to follow the thing your heart wants, even if there’s no positive outcome forthcoming. That’s how you know that you’re doing the right thing.
  • Loss: Be willing to lose everything. Because it’s when you lose everything that you finally gain your actual path. You finally find where you want to go and where you’re supposed to go, because it just feels right.
  • Manifesting: When you go after your heart’s desire, the universe sets out to help you. Whether that’s true or not, it’s still so much more helpful to believe in something than to believe in nothing. 
  • Feeling Alive: That excitement about life because you have found something new that you love is what living truly means.
  • Love Over Fear: Your love matters more than your fear. So every time you reconnect with that feeling of fear, follow your heart and you will be okay.
  • Intention: Things are going to start working out for you if you permit them to. And if you’re doing everything as part of your journey of love, you’re now permitting yourself to be adventurous and you’re permitting yourself to have these experiences. 
  • Attachment: Many of us are attached to outcomes. But who is really judging us? We’re all essentially the same spiritually. 
  • Possibilities: When you realize anything is possible, anything truly is possible. The worst thing you could ever imagine also applies to good things. 
  • Being: The human part of you is the part that does things, but your soul is the part of you that can just be in those moments of flow. That’s the thing that makes you feel alive and fulfilled.
  • Vulnerability: If you let yourself be vulnerable, and put what you want out there into the world, it encourages other people to do that, too. When you shine your light, you encourage other people to shine their lights as well. 

Links to continue to learn from:


Want to grab your free copy of the Courage Makerspace (™) Playbook?

Download the Courage Makerspace(™) here  

Boost your courage in 7-days using the exact courage design tools that have worked for both me and my clients. Grab your free playbook instantly so that you can discover how to:  

  • Figure out what makes you tick
  • Be more accountable and not procrastinate
  • Overcome imposter syndrome
  • Stop caring about what others think
  • Progress despite self-doubt
  • Manage anxiety
  • Ask for help

You will have a step-by-step playbook to help you finally fulfill your life purpose! Do not miss out on this free opportunity as it will not be available for long.

Love An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast? You can now support my time in producing the show with Patreon. If you find that the podcast inspires you and you’d like to help support this labor of love, please consider supporting me on Patreon for a couple of dollars per month. You’ll get early access to my video recorded episodes featuring unreleased guest insights; your name and/or business will be mentioned during an episode. You’ll also see how I have connected with powerful world leaders so that you can network more effectively in any field or to help you pitch hard-to-reach guests on your own platform. Then if you are feeling extra generous for only $10/a month you’ll get everything previously mentioned plus be invited to my monthly LIVE 30-Minute “Ball Juggling” Group Calls where I’ll field your business or work-life questions, podcast/guest questions, and share with you courage hacks and imaginative tips so you can feel sane, level-headed, and stay on track pertaining to your upcoming goals.

Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @melissallarena

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Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I encourage every single podcast listener to connect with me.



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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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