Your Work and Your Soul: The Big Payoff Podcast

Are you “being good” or just trying to “be good at”?

  • By Suzanne Muchin, The Big Payoff
  • January 17, 2017

Ikram Goldman is a force of nature.

She is one of the most influential players in the fashion world, and owner of the Chicago boutique-on-steroids that carries her name. She is a stylist, a muse, an artist and a curator. It came as a surprise to no one that Ikram was tapped to dress Michelle Obama for her first inauguration.

Yup. She’s influential like that.

In late October, a message arrived on my phone that said, I need to talk as soon as possible.

Ikram was just back from the Paris fashion shows. There was clearly something up with her, and when there’s something up with Ikram, there’s the potential that some kind of tectonic plate shift is about to occur in the universe.

I called right back.

What I heard struck a chord so deep that it became my mission to get her into the podcast studio as soon as possible. I knew the conversation we were about to have needed to be shared.

As many papers have already reported, Ikram recently started performing with Pink Martini, the eclectic musical group with a cult-like following. During Paris Fashion Week, she had stepped up to the mic at L’Olympia, where she performed a song by the Lebanese star Fairuz.

But what the papers didn’t capture, and what Ikram wanted to share on our podcast, was the way the experience of publicly performing a song from her Arabic childhood had awakened something in her soul. And while her passion for what she does every day — at her store, and in the world of fashion — remains as strong as ever, she realized that something new had opened up inside her. This was an awakening that brought her in closer contact with her deepest self, and created a new capacity to connect to others.

On the podcast, Ikram talks about how important it is to push ourselves to be kinder to others, and more empathetic than you ever thought was possible. That’s not just a personal goal — Ikram feels it must be embedded in and fuel our professional aspirations as well.

As Ikram says on the podcast, striving to be a good person is at the heart of what makes her good at what she does.

Our conversation with Ikram raises a few questions that we hope you’ll reflect on as you listen (and afterwards). Are you “being good” or just trying to “be good at?” Does your work feed your soul? Are you living your life as passionately as possible, and if not, can you find outlets that will lead you in that direction?

The podcast taping required a lot of Kleenex all around. Thankfully, the music of Pink Martini, and the full recording of Ikram’s performance of Fairuz’s “Girl from Shallabiya,” also created moments of joy that we hope will inspire you, and touch your soul.

Listen to the podcast:

About The Big Payoff

The BigPayoff@DailyWorth is a podcast produced each month on topics chosen specifically for the audience of DailyWorth subscribers. It offers career advice “served straight up, with a twist,” by longtime best friends and business partners, Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin. Taped in Chicago and New York, episodes are posted biweekly on the ACast platform, and can be found on iTunes, on your podcast app, on Stitcher,, and


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