046. Becoming a Person of Purpose with Tanur Badgley

Tanur Badgley is a school teacher, blogger, and host of the People of Purpose podcast. He is fascinated with understanding the unique gifts he has been given and how he is shaped into a higher purpose when he chooses to live with full appreciation of those gifts. He believes we all have these gifts and can use them to unlock our infinite potential through pursuing our purpose. Tanur started his own path to purpose after a near-death experience falling at Yosemite National Park at the age of 19. Three years later he finished out college without a plan or a purpose to pursue. He found himself working a soulless corporate sales job, battling with depression from a devastating breakup, and eventually lying a dark room in the cold Minnesota winter after suffering his second major concussion. After three weeks of healing in the dark and two months of rehabilitation, Tanur was able to learn how to truly listen to from  his heart. During his work disability, he put in motion everything he needed to move to Thailand. and become a teacher.  In September of 2015 Tanur moved Phrae, Thailand where he taught and tutored English to 400 local 5th and 6th grade students from surrounding villages. He wrote nearly everyday in Thailand regularly publishing themes of his learning in his widely read Student Of the World Blog. He infused his blog with what he learned about himself and the world through teaching in Thailand, volunteering on an organic farm in Cambodia, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, sitting for a 5-day silent meditation course, and his month-long yoga teacher training certification course in Rishikesh, India.

Just over one year after moving Tanur found himself much happier and whole. He decided not to renew his teaching contract opting instead to choose an indefinite period of vagabonding and couch-surfing Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Canada through family, friends, and followers from the U.S. and Canada. This period lasted for 15 months. It was in this period that Tanur created, launched, and began hosting his People of Purpose podcast in October of 2017.  He felt compelled to go beyond himself to begin a project that shares the stories and wisdom of all the wonderful purposeful people he had met throughout his personal journey into purpose. People of Purpose features guests who live with a high degree of intentionality, are leading communities for positive change, and are treading a path that is very authentic to their passions and purpose. The podcast constantly inspires him and those listening to better align intentions with actions to live a more fulfilling and inspired life. In its first year the podcast has featured 30+ guests and 40+ total episodes. People of Purpose (PoP) has expanded to now include a regular newsletter where Tanur shares what takeaways on what he’s been experiencing and thinking about to grow in his purpose and how they can be applied to your life too. The podcast has now added a private coaching practice called Path to Purpose. Tanur expects a fully-interactive, comprehensive online course will be made available in 2019 that draws from the practices he’s learned from his guests and his personal path of purpose.

In July of 2018 after 15 months of traveling, teaching online, and finding odd jobs Tanur moved to San Francisco, California. He is completing an accelerated one-year Master’s of Education program and teaching credential as a full-time student and 7th grade social studies co-teacher at an urban, public- charter school in San Francisco. He is driven by the purpose he can express through through each of his endeavors and projects and the consistency of learning and challenge that helps him grow in his purpose which is “to be a conduit of God’s love by accepting everything he is, opening himself to learning challenges through difference, and using his gifts to live purposefully in order to help others find their purpose and fulfill their potential.”

Key Points from the Episode with Tanur Badgley:

  • Intentionality and purpose are the key themes to both this interview and Tanur’s life journey.
  • Tanur talks about decisions to experience via immersion so you get full-in rather than dipping your toes into things is how you can really grow. We talked about the intersection of immersion and introspection.
  • When Tanur was 19, he, his younger brother and father spent part of their summer hiking and climbing in Yosemite National Park.
  • His brother took a route off the path, which landed him stuck unable to get down from where he had gotten as many of the rocks he used to climb up had loosened and fallen out. Tanur went to try to help him, and ended up stranded on a small ledge with his brother. He tried to go for a ledge above them, grabbed hold and started to make it up until rocks let go under his hand as he was one grab from the top, sending him spinning head over heals over and over again as he tumbled down over 100 feet. He landed on his butt, but had hit his head multiple times, and finally stopped in the waterfall they were climbing by.
  • While the wiser choice would have been to stay on the ledge and wait for search and rescue, he chose a bolder path which ended up being the foolish path.
  • Tanur soon passed out from his injuries and head trauma while his brother was still stuck on the ledge. Their father finally made it to the top via a safer route and then saw what happened and quickly went to get help, which took seven hours and took them into night time.
  • He remembers moments of consciousness where he was frustrated that the help was focused on him while he brother was still in danger. Tanur saw himself as being as hurt as he could possibly be while his brother could fall off the ledge.
  • He had whiplash, a concussion and fractures in his cervical spine as well as deep tissue injuries to his butt – all of which he still deals with today. Somehow, in the moments after the fall, he felt a lot of peace. He made it, he was still there, and he was overall ok, which gave him a sense of not squandering his opportunity in life.
  • To get to a point of not squandering opportunity, he needed to know his purpose in life, and sought to learn more. Of course, that needed to wait slightly while he recovered from the damage to his body and brain, and was totally reliant on his father to care for him for several weeks and even more as he worked on the injury to his brain.
  • Three years later, Tanur found himself in a similar situation – he got another concussion while playing basketball. He was angry and it was impacting his decisions and behavior, so it wasn’t surprising to him that he ended up in a situation where he would get hurt. He had lost his grandmother, broken up with his girlfriend, and was in a sales job he did not like, which just meant things were boiling up inside of him, and because his life wasn’t aligned with what he cares about, he wasn’t making progress in dealing with everything.
  • With the space from all of it that his doctor’s note excusing him from work for a month due to his concussion, he dug into the self-work to face the pain and anger. Through his work, he focused on how to live a life that wasn’t for someone else but was for his own interests.
  • He dropped everything and decided to move to Thailand to become an English teacher, meditate and live in a more peaceful way.
  • He also used the time to finally move forward from his last relationship. We hit on the irony of how bad relationships can be harder to get over than the good ones.
  • He is clear that he wouldn’t be where he is today if not for the travel but even for the concussions. He finds himself thankful for both of those experiences.
  • His work as a teacher showed him how it is the most proactive force for good. It’s about saving lives before they go down a bad path, if you see it that way. He sees it as requiring you to be a role model and a constant life-long learner who builds up themself to keep growing. It’s about connecting with people as more than just a transaction but a true relationship.
  • Tanur talked about a very interesting struggle to fit in the box of society enough to actually fit into the world while also being removed from the game of it enough to be able to be fine if it all goes away or trouble befalls you.


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