Being “the best” is overrated.

Become an everyday joy finder, self-acceptance granter, and kindness advocate instead.

You want to make a difference. Change the world. Raise amazing kids. Make a comfortable living. Invent something amazing. Have the perfect marriage, or life partnership.

The thing is, no matter how hard you try to create the perfect life, unbidden surprises come knocking on the door. A loved one gets a chronic illness. The job market does a switch-a-roo. Friendships break. And with the current state of the world, well, it’s easy to feel discouraged and disempowered.

Maybe the problem is not our life, but our expectations of our life and of ourselves that make us miserable.

I’m here to tell you that spending your precious life trying to be perfect is a waste of your personal power. The pursuit of perfection will never bring you long-lasting happiness.

What will? The three practices of Beacon & Joy:

These three practices will lift your spirits and empower you to make a difference in other people’s lives.


I used to be an achievement-driven perfectionist who planned on making a big splash in the world by becoming the first female President. When I was in high school, I created a 20-year plan that would lead to my election in 2012.

To get there, I decided I would become a lawyer like Bobby Kennedy or Mahatma Gandhi who fought for the rights of people who society deemed an “other.” I got my BA in Government at Georgetown University, went straight into law school, and quickly realized: 1. Not all lawyers wanted to change the world, and 2. I’d have so much educational debt I wouldn’t be able to afford to do the kind of work I wanted to do, like work with the NAACP or NOW.

I practiced law, rather miserably, for 5 years until I decided to go back to school to get my PhD and become a Women’s Studies professor. When we discovered that my daughter Gabby had special needs, I left the program to take care of her.

Being Gabby’s mom retrained my focus away from achievement and towards finding joy in the everyday, loving myself as I am, and radiating kindness.

I also quickly realized that if I judged myself as not being enough because I wasn’t “perfect” or making a huge mark on the world with an impressive job, then I would be judging my daughter by the same standard. And if I didn’t love myself as I am and accept my imperfections, how could I teach her to do the same?

Try out a new way of being.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve learned that changing your focus from a relentless pursuit of success to everyday joys, self-love, and kindness will help you

  • Notice what is bright and good in a difficult world
  • Feel happier during challenging times
  • Access greater compassion for others who are suffering
  • Feel empowered to make a difference

I hope you’ll join me and the members of the Beacon & Joy community as we practice radiating a new state of kind together.


One of my favorite ways to notice joy in the everyday is to take photos and post them on Instagram. From rainbows to sunsets to my family to fashion, I can always find joy emanating from someone, some place, or something. If you tag your everyday joy photos with #beaconandjoy, I’ll be sure to say hello!


Ali Purdy is a former lawyer and overachiever. After her daughter was born with special needs, her life path shifted from the pursuit of perfection, to a quest to find joy in the everyday, love herself as she is, and radiate kindness. Before starting Beacon & Joy, she created and wrote for the parenting blog, Conscious Moms, and the fashion blog, In Jackie’s Shoes. When she’s not writing, Ali loves to read memoirs about rad women, go on hikes in Northern California with her family and three “doodle” dogs, put together fab outfits (that maybe only she appreciates), volunteer at her children’s school, and take photos of sunsets.

She constantly challenged me to look at things a different way.

“Being a stay-at-home mother of two, the everyday can feel monotonous at times. This year was particularly challenging for many reasons. Ali helped me to find light and joy in the small things when I needed it the most. Whether it was a new book, inspiring podcast, or offering ideas on how she finds joy in her daily life, she constantly challenged me to look at things a different way.”


A Rainbow Just for You

Are you exhausted with trying to do more and be more? I get it. I used to feel that way too. That’s why I created The Overachiever’s Guide to a Meaningful Life: 16 Ways to Find Joy, Love Yourself, and Radiate Kindness. I hope the practices in it help you be kinder to yourself and share that kindness with others.