Actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow recently sat down with Jay Shetty to talk about winning an Oscar at age twenty-six. When the fame, notoriety, and money went to her head, Paltrow had a conversation with her father that dramatically changed her life.
“When I was 27, I had won an Oscar the previous year,” Paltrow explained to Jay Shetty. “I was super successful. My dad, the love of my life, sat me down and said, ‘I need you to know something. You’re getting weird. You’re behaving weirdly, and I don't like what I’m seeing. I don't like where this is going. You’re buying into this whole thing.’”
This conversation led Paltrow to question why she had achieved so much fame and what she was destined to do with it. She started to explore her purpose and reconfigure how she wanted her life journey to look.
Unpacking the Reasons Why
After spiraling into a deep three-week depression, Paltrow had a realization that her work was the result of trying to fulfill the perception that others had of her. She was seeking something to validate her existence and prove she was worthy, yet she continued to carry all the baggage that was weighing her down emotionally.
“I don't think that we were brought up with a language for discomfort, pain, or embarrassment,” Paltrow tells Jay Shetty. “We were taught to sublimate those feelings. We were taught to hold your head up high. Don't be in a bad mood. It's so deep in us this tendency to override our true feelings with this dissonance of, ‘No, I'm fine.’”
We go through life being told that bad feelings feel terrible instead of understanding that even though it feels awful at the moment, it is temporary. We need to give ourselves permission to have days where we feel sad, angry, or confused. We need just to let those emotions do what we need them to do, then move on. Paltrow is a big believer in the theory of when you resist, it persists.
Once Paltrow grasped that winning an Oscar was not the end goal, she set her sights on the why behind winning. What drove her so hard to achieve? She discovered her drive was fueled by unhealed and unhealthy emotions she had been carrying around. This discovery opened up a path for Paltrow to begin healing.
“I think in my experience there's this amazing connection with something greater, then there's injury,” Paltrow shared with Jay Shetty. “That combination leads to this very driven person.”
Finding the purpose of her life happened in steps for Paltrow. Having success at an early age, winning an Oscar, and fighting through depression were the events that led Paltrow to seek her real purpose in life.
The first step was when her dad sat her down and had the difficult conversation about her behavior. Paltrow admitted to Jay Shetty that her feelings were hurt, but she realized that her father was right. The conversation planted the seed that pushed Paltrow to question her calling and the purpose behind her early fame.
Losing her father at age thirty, Paltrow found herself swallowed by grief and lost on her journey, fighting to cope and keep her head above water. She was blessed with her children in this same timeframe.
The second step that revealed more of her purpose took place when she realized that her marriage was ending. Dealing with the pain of that, she decided to redefine how she was going to deal with divorce.
“I started to realize how much I had lived my life to fulfill the expectations of other people,” Paltrow shared with Jay Shetty. “I think around the age of 40, something happens. I call it a software upgrade. It just happens, and you can utilize it and amplify it or choose not to. For me, it took the form of any misidentifications I had about myself and any way that I was holding myself in a way that was out of integrity just exploded. I thought, ‘I'm going to follow this path and see where it takes me.’”
Obstacles can hinder progress. Often, when faced with challenges and obstacles, a person has to search within themselves or enlist others’ help to find a solution.
“Everyone tries to make your life easier by removing all the obstacles, but your obstacles are what keep you closest to who you are,” Jay Shetty said. “It is so counterintuitive, but so true in the sense that we think when we remove obstacles from life, we are going in the right direction. But actually, we have to keep checking in with ourselves when things aren't working out or are going wrong.”
When you overcome obstacles, you become better at what you do and who you are, and obstacles can motivate you to go in a different direction.
Paltrow grew up in a home where her entrepreneurial parents exemplified work ethic, drive and pride. She was raised with the notion that you can be anything you want to be – you just have to do it yourself. Paltrow shared with Jay Shetty the inspiration and empowerment she felt when she saw her parents succeed in their endeavors.
“I saw my mother act and be so empowered,” Paltrow told Jay Shetty. “I'd watched my father be so driven and cultivate this amazing career in television and writing, and so I thought I’ll just be like my mother.”
“If you can truly believe in yourself and sort of see the bullseye and keep it in your sights, that's what I was raised to believe,” Paltrow told Jay Shetty. “It's a very exhilarating feeling. It's a very powerful feeling. I believe that anybody can channel that feeling and manifest it for themselves.”
Strangely enough, even after all of her success, Paltrow tells Jay Shetty that she didn’t feel as if that was her true calling.
Paltrow explains that she wanted to do something different in life. Being driven with the feeling of wanting to share, Paltrow took her entrepreneurial spirit and set out to live her real purpose.
After taking a few years off and having her children, Paltrow explained to Jay Shetty that she was motivated to reach people differently and create a platform where people could ask questions and pursue things in life that made them better or happy.
“I had no idea how I could start,” Paltrow shared with Jay Shetty. “Could I ever turn it into a business? But I was driven by that feeling of wanting to share. So it just sort of manifested from that place.”
Paltrow believes that if you can hear your calling and cultivate honesty and integrity within yourself and your words and actions are aligned, you can bring anything you want into the world. When you know that your intention is right for you, it does not matter what other people think.
Permitting yourself to fully embody the chapter of life you are in and allowing yourself to grow into the upcoming chapters of life is what Paltrow attributes to being a good, responsible woman.
Goop was born in Paltrow’s kitchen as a weekly newsletter. It has grown into an online community where you can read, shop, listen to a podcast, explore new recipes, or get travel information. It is a mecca for inquiring minds.
Core Values of Goop
At Goop, every approach centers around its core values. They believe that beauty is a holistic thing, not just about how a person feels on the outside.
Feeling good about yourself on the outside is something that Shetty and Paltrow agree people need. When you feel confident outside, it promotes change on the inside.
“It's also how you feel about yourself,” Paltrow explained to Shetty. “Are you hydrating? What is your exercise? What is your nutrition? What are you saying to yourself all day, are you stuck in a model of thinking that's harmful? At Goop, we strive to create content that helps a woman get closer to her true self. Then we create the product.”
Paltrow explained to Shetty that when COVID happened, it was a crazy time. She asked her team to find a way to get back to the company’s core values – being of service and sharing with the world the things that work for them. They went back to the drawing board and stripped everything down and came up with their current offerings. Paltrow feels it is a clear expression of what Goop is trying to be and how they are trying to show up in the world.
“You can cultivate a feeling of freedom by going inward and allowing yourself the possibility to explore areas within yourself that you might not have explored,” Paltrow shared with Jay Shetty. “Take the time to look at things in a completely different way. There's so much freedom inside us that we have not been taught to think about.”
Finding your entrepreneurial spirit starts with belief in yourself and the ability to go for it. When you unpack your emotional baggage, permit yourself to validate your feelings, and be your true self, the possibilities are endless. When your words and actions are aligned, and you’re coming from a place of integrity, the things you desire can manifest themselves in ways that you never thought possible.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Gwyneth Paltrow ON “How To No Longer Keep Emotions Buried Within & Never Looking Outside For Validation” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.