Jordan Daly wants you to focus on the whole.
The strategist and consultant, who spent much of her career guiding companies from startups to Fortune 500s to optimum growth, realized that despite her success, she was missing a piece of the puzzle. It was when she stripped away the trappings of her life that she realized she was on a quest to look honestly at each project—and life itself—in its entirety.
That’s when she began to approach work differently, helping brands from a more holistic perspective and thinking about people rather than businesses. She has worked with brands from Burberry, Marchesa and Kate Spade to numerous private equity firms, and was chosen by Harvard Business School as a thesis subject for the MBA Class of 2012.
After time spent do-gooding around the world, she found herself in LA, where she became a yoga teacher, bringing the same philosophy and skill set to the studio as she did to a boardroom.
Today, individuals across many disciplines—life and health coaches, midwives, nutritionists, entrepreneurs and more—hire Daly to help them tap into their authentic voices, so they can be the strongest guides for others.
Here, she describes her journey to finding her true calling:
Live The Process: How did you come to make a career of building and optimizing companies holistically? What exactly does that mean?
Jordan Daly: “Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.”
That’s one of my favorite lines of all time, from Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer.
I didn’t have the awareness or toolset to consult myself from that vantage point until I was about 29 years old. I had already been through a 10-year career in New York and a marriage and was on the precipice of forgoing everything comfortable I had come to know, when I finally looked around and took responsibility for my life.
I approached this gift—life—very unconsciously for a long time. It’s very simple, really. It wasn’t about the title, the salary, the company I was building or the things that I was acquiring, all of which I had been leaning on for my identity. When I stepped away from all of that, I could finally recognize myself. And then—after much darkness, stillness, unpacking, un-layering and reprogramming—I dropped into a deep knowing that I (we) am here to be of service—to share and teach what I have learned. With my whole entire self. And enjoy it to the fullest. That is pretty much it.
I think throughout my career building companies, I was always trying to make things whole. Creating alignment throughout an organization, or building a company up to its potential, was a constant quest for completeness. So, the trendy term being thrown around, “holistic,” basically means we have decided to look at something in its entirety. The actual meaning of the term is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
My work now focuses on people. There is a sweet spot where my own self-inquiry work meets my corporate skill set; and I work in the role of organizational therapist and operational architect. I go into companies and work with executives and teams on how they run their lives, their days and, essentially, their companies. It’s my job to uncover the habitual patterns that are getting in the way of allowing growth and expansion within an organization.
This requires a questioning of individual belief systems, which can be a really challenging road to start down for some people. It was for me. So, I now hold space and facilitate the opportunity for others to start to develop the capacity to bear witness.
LTP: What was your experience in Nicaragua and how did that shift your perspective?
JD: I wound up in Nicaragua because I was searching for someone to tell me what to do. Nicaragua came up in conversation three days in a row, so I booked a flight.
There were two beautiful guys who had moved down there and built a hotel on the coast. It was like an international We Work-meets-Assemblage (but many years prior) three hours from civilization, where epic humans were landing for periods of time.
The mind-blowing part for me was that the blueprint included further developing the local resources, job potential and economic viability while they did this.
It opened up my world and allowed me to see that this skill set I had acquired building companies could be translated to building viability within underserved communities.
The Idealist by Nina Monk came out shortly thereafter. I took a course that Jeffrey Sachs was teaching at Columbia and I was compelled to try my own version of economic development.
After two years being on the ground in Nicaragua, Haiti and The Philippines, my biggest lesson was that this was yet another version of searching outside myself for validation and fulfillment.
LTP: How does teaching yoga tie into your other work and overall belief system?
JD: I started practicing yoga in 2003. I did it off and on, along with the treadmill, and whatever else they were offering at Equinox. It wasn’t until 2011 that I did a teacher training. It was during my humanitarian phase, and I initially wanted to be able to go and teach in conflict zones.
Life unfolded differently and, instead, I moved to Los Angeles. Everything is intertwined at this point. What I talk about and teach in my yoga classes is not much different than what I talk about at an intensive with the management team inside a financial firm.
LTP: Aside from practicing yoga, what rituals keep you feeling balanced and healthy?
JD: I wake up and sit mediation. Depending on where I am in my cycle, I sometimes will do a guided practice. When I am in my luteal phase, I am pretty flighty and need a voice to ground me. Tara Brach is my go-to. She is one of my biggest teachers.
I love to head outside afterward for a walk down to the beach, and then I’ll have a coffee and get on emails. I take a break from screens for an hour or two midday and will go lie in the grass and listen to Byron Katie talks. I am also into The RobCast at the moment. I have a notebook dedicated to talks and podcasts, and I always take pretty copious notes.
The trees are epic where I live, so I try to go sit under them as much as possible.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
JD: Now. And now. And now.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
JD: Releasing attachment to outcome.