Episode #1411 Hillary Peterson: True Botanicals Founder on Living With Purpose

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Hillary Peterson and Jenna discuss her inspiration to found True Botanicals to pioneer radical change in the beauty industry and how the team combines ancient wisdom and modern science to create best in class hair and skincare products. 

We then walk through the most impactful lessons Hillary’s learned on living the life you have versus the one you planned, trusting your creativity, and her commitment to avoiding stress.

*Editor's Note: Olivia Wilde is mentioned as Chief Brand Officer in the podcast. Her correct title is Chief Brand Activist. We apologize for the error. 


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Hillary Peterson

Founder and President of True Botanicals View Full Profile

Key Learnings and Highlights

  • On accessible and digestible education: “The best way to educate people on something is to get them to say: ‘Wow, I’ve never thought about it that way before’…What you eat and what you put on your body are much more connected than you realize. Toxins in skincare are just like junk food.” 
  • On risk: “There was a moment when I just had to believe and go!” 
  • On growing up in an entrepreneurial family: “My parents and grandparents instilled in me that anything is possible. My grandfather, Glyn, grew up as a coal miner in Port Talbot, Wales…He knew he wanted to have a different life, so he came to America with nothing and is the classic American story. He ended up with a home and family and sent his kids to college. He exemplified that with the right attitude and determination anything is possible.” 
  • On being Chief Problem Solver: “Growing up, our dinner conversations were about the hard days and great days of running a business. I think that was important because the hard days are real…If someone were to ask: What is your real role at True Botanicals? Chief Problem Solver would be very high on the list. Every day there is an opportunity to figure out a solution. Watching my dad do that with confidence and seeing him never give up was very helpful because it did work out. It wasn’t always easy, though so I don’t have the expectation that this is supposed to be easy…But, when it is hard, you have the drive to push through because it is bigger than just a job. It is a mission. We have a goal that I feel will not only impact our family but people’s health and the future of an industry that I think could serve consumers so much better.” 
  • On truly living in the moment: "My mom was very ill with a life-threatening illness. She knew she had limited time and we read this quote from Joseph Campbell together: ‘We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’ She really made an incredible shift in how she was looking at how she wanted to approach the remaining years of her life, which ended up being two years. She could either lament that it was just going to be two years or she could address that time as she did as her ‘Grace Period’ when she said: ‘I’m going to do just the things that I want to do with my family in the ways that I want to.’ She let go of the life that she had planned, which was going to her grandkids weddings, and just had this incredibly beautiful time with all of us. She was such an example to me of the power of Joseph Campbell’s quote. That was a really hard way to meet that truth but there are day to day examples of when you were planning to get somewhere in half an hour and it takes an hour and a half. That can be an incredibly stressful hour and a half or you can think: ‘Well, I’m not going to be there for an hour and a half, what podcasts am I going to listen to?’ Or who am I going to call who I haven’t in a long time?’ For me, I have tried to make it a daily practice to not cling to certain ideas of how things could be and to instead meet them as they are and make the most of it. I think what Joseph Campbell is really talking about is acceptance but also resilience. If you get too stuck on one story and you can’t bounce back from a change in that story, it’s a lot harder than if you learn to realize that ‘Well, I was planning on doing this. Now, what’s going to happen?’ It really is interesting how positive things can come from changes in the plan. But, we need to be willing to meet that change with acceptance.” 
  • On trusting your creativity and intuition: “It’s a leap of faith. Intuition and creativity in my case are very closely aligned. It’s both having done it and having it work out well but then also seeing the times that I didn’t initially listen to myself and realizing that I should have. It’s a mix. It goes back to staying open long enough. You don’t know what turn is around the corner so you have to stay loose through the process.” 
  • On patience: “My other favorite quote is that 'We must be willing to live the question until we are ready to live the answer.' Part of my creativity is that I am a results driven, creative person. I need to make sure that I never put the goal ahead of the process. Because if I allow the process to go whatever length it needs things work out so much better. Of all of the things that I have learned in my life and career so far it would be that: Don’t rush the answer…I have more trust than ever that the right answer will appear when it is meant to.” 
  • On living your truth: “It’s been very liberating for me but it’s been quite the process. I didn’t just set the intention and be able to live it right away. As a person, I don’t want to disappoint people. And, living your most authentic life and spending your time exactly how you want to might cause you to disappoint people sometimes. I had to get to a place where I was more willing to disappoint other people than myself. That was a big shift for me. To spend my time exactly like I want to. Whether it was from a professional perspective, or things I choose to do or not to do. I just really love that one concept: This is my one life and how do I want to live it? What really matters to me the most and how do I want to spend my time?”

  • On giving up stress: “Stress isn’t an option…This is something that is non-negotiable for me. I am not willing to live a stressful life in order to be successful. Nothing is worth stress from my perspective.”