How They Did It: Harper Spero and Stephanie Kruse
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Each month we feature inspirational women who've made it to the other side of career reinvention. Learn how they did it and take away usable tips from their professional journeys!
We're excited to introduce a dynamic duo! Harper Spero and Stephanie Kruse are co-hosts of Good Enough For Now, a podcast that shares stories of transition, false starts, unexpected U-turns, and other moments of reinvention that happen as we move through life phases.
We had such a hopeful conversation with Stephanie and Harper - and we can't wait for you to get to know them! Check out our podcast interview with them HERE!
Harper and Stephanie are serial reinventors, motivated not by success or failure alone (they’ve had plenty of both) but by their ability to constantly adapt while also staying true to their inner compasses. Frustrated by outdated definitions of success, they launched Good Enough For Now to explore the idea that veering off the expected path is not only normal, it’s sometimes the best way.
What is your personal mantra, mission or manifesto? Stephanie: Why not me? I think it’s always great to start with curiosity about what’s possible in life, instead of what is missing. That approach has always led me to a better option than I imagined.
What inspired you to reinvent your careers? Harper: In 2012, I was working a very high-stress job in beauty PR and ended up having to go on medical leave for several months to have surgery to remove ¼ of my right lung due to my rare immunodeficiency.
When I returned to work part-time, it was clear that making an impact was a priority for me. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn’t know what the business would be until I was exposed to life coaches that I realized that I’d been doing it informally for friends and acquaintances for years so it was natural that I’d enjoy doing it professionally. Eight years later, two podcasts, writing classes and consulting, I’m still figuring it all out and constantly reinventing myself.
Stephanie: After falling out of a corporate marketing and market research career and consulting for clients for 10+ years, I reconnected to a creative practice through group classes in memoir writing. I rekindled a love for narrative that I had in my early life and out of conversations with friends and former colleagues I sensed a need to make connections through storytelling to a wider audience.
Podcasting seemed like an immediate way to make meaning for others and flex all of my business and creative skills in one project; research and inquiry, networking, strategy and branding, writing and narrative. The entrepreneurship piece grew into a partnership with Harper, my co-host which made it less intimidating to know I had someone to bounce ideas off of and to take on some of the risks.
What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities? Stephanie: I think what’s unique, and ultimately a gift, in pivoting in mid-life is the sense that you have the confidence and the competence of skills you’ve already built over the years of whatever career you began.
I think of it like the layers of soil you cultivate to grow your knowledge and experience. You use some of them to steady yourself, and you add more where you need it, where your knowledge is bereft. Ultimately you’ve always been building up to whatever next step you’re taking. Sometimes it’s just harder to see until you get there.
Having experience on your side not only helps you to know you’ve overcome obstacles, but also that you likely have resources to draw from, be they colleagues, friends, family, or community members.
What’s one intention you have for your work this year? Harper & Stephanie: We’re all about building Good Enough For Now through partnerships and sponsorship, interviewing guests who are inspiring storytellers, and helping our listeners feel less alone as they go through their own pivots and transitions.
What are you most passionate about right now? Harper: I am most passionate about sharing stories. Whether those stories are of people who have chosen to take the untraditional path in life or stories of people living with invisible illnesses. Giving light to those stories whether through Good Enough For Now, or with the Made Visible community helps people feel more seen and heard, and less alone.
Additionally, I am very passionate about helping people, especially those with invisible illnesses, feel more seen and heard. I am doing this through my Made Visible monthly writing classes, working with companies to support their employees, and by being a member of the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
What does a typical day look like for you? Harper: I am not a morning person, especially as I don’t sleep so well most of the time. I often linger in my bed reading emails and scrolling through Instagram before getting up, making a matcha latte, and sitting down at my computer to respond to emails that came in overnight.
In living in Tel Aviv yet mainly working with people on EST, I have a full day before anyone wakes up. I often walk to the beach, see friends for lunch or a visit, wander the city, and have uninterrupted work time. By 4pm, I am on calls with clients, recording the podcast, facilitating writing class, and connecting with people. As many days a week, I try to catch the sunset on the beach. I will often break for dinner at home or out with friends.
Stephanie: Raising two teenagers, working, and trying to be healthy means that no day is quite typical. In general, though, I try to get outside, play tennis or visit a sweaty gym class most days of the week. I live in the suburbs so in between driving, I block my schedule in the morning and early afternoon for recording podcast interviews, meetings and prep for the show, and the daily to-do of running a household and quality time with my husband and kids.
I love live music, a museum visit, or a weekend walk with a friend to catch up on life. I used to feel like I “had to” to do all the things to work and parent, and now I realize I “get to” have all the pieces of both in a day, and I choose when and how that happens, most of the time (or at least until my son forgets his soccer cleats and I have to run them to school!)
What’s the one thing that has advanced your career in the last year?
Harper & Stephanie: After being solopreneurs, teaming up together to launch our podcast, Good Enough For Now. After running our respective solo projects, we are learning from each other about boundaries, commitment, time management, prioritizing, and collaboration. We are more together than the sum of our parts, and that is a relief after carrying our own companies alone.
Who’s your “tribe” when it comes to professional inspiration or support? Harper: Over the years, I have connected with women who have similar businesses to mine or are solopreneurs and have similar values, and we learn from one another. I have a handful of people I know I can rely on to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of. I have also had numerous business coaches who have supported me in decision-making and strategy.
Favorite book, app, or podcast? Stephanie: Claire Dederer’s Love and Trouble is such a smart mid-life reckoning tale filled with nostalgia. I listen to NYTimes, The Daily podcast every day. Since I can’t seem to unsubscribe from email lists as hard as I try, I use the Spark mail app, which organizes all marketing emails into one bucket I can click on to get them out of my inbox. Genius.
You’re granted an extra hour in the day, how do you spend it? Harper: I’d love to spend 30 minutes reading a memoir and 30 minutes writing – ideally on the beach.
Stephanie: My honest answer is playing tennis.
The advice I wish I'd given my 20-year-old self is… Harper: Everything will be okay – stop stressing so much. Climbing the ladder isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be. Prioritize your health, happiness, and doing work that you feel good about.
Stephanie: This may sound funny given the name of our show. But I wish I had known that I didn’t have to feel like my decisions about education, career, relationships, and living situation were just for the present, for now instead of feeling like they were for “forever”. They don’t have to be forever and often, they are only one step to the next right “for now” ahead.
The advice that I want to give to my 75-year-old self is... Harper: Spend time doing what you love with the people you love. You’ve accomplished so much - celebrate and enjoy the life you’ve built.
Stephanie: Keep learning, you’ve still got a ways to go.
Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be? Stephanie: This one is tough but I would like to say “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police, danceable and positive.
Best career advice for other women? Stephanie: Lift up others, and you can change the world. I truly feel like if women can find ways to increase the number of female seats at the career table, instead of feeling like they have to compete for the few that exist, we can make permanent change to the gender equity equation.
When did you feel you got “you” back? Stephanie: When I accepted that there were systems out of my control that set me on a path off my expected trajectory in career and that I was laying tracks the whole time for what was to come next enabled by the privilege of a spouse whose income sustained our family. I stopped wondering why and started wondering, what if?
What’s up next? Harper& Stephanie: We’re focused on building our Good Enough For Now audience, creating partnerships, and having conversations with amazing guests. Right now, the sky is the limit, and we’re filled with excitement about what else we can share with our brand platform. We’re just getting started!
Want to learn more about the Good Enough For Now Podcast? Head to the links below!
Good Enough For Now on Apple Podcasts