In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler, featuring Molly Mahar, founder of Stratejoy

In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler is a weekly live show that shines a light on some of the biggest mindset challenges facing leaders and entrepreneurs today in their lives and in their work.

This week's guest is Molly Mahar. She is an entrepreneur, mama and adventurer obsessed with the intersection of joy, authenticity and community. As the founder of, she and her team provide thousands of women useful and inspiring strategies to practice joy through The Joy Equation Course, Stratejoy Summer Camp, and the high-level Elevate Mastermind. Molly’s superpowers? Telling the truth kindly, drinking copious amounts of bubbly and gathering awesome women together. You can access her library of free resources or connect with her (and her adorable tiny humans) via Instagram.

What we talked about:

  • What is Joy?
  • Happiness vs Joy
  • Defining the underpinning values of Joy for you
  • How to get to joy when you feel very far away from it.
  • Finding the shorthand to get to Joy
  • Why do we struggle with aiming for joy?
  • How to feel joy when things are tough.
  • Using your guiding words for joy to make things more sustainable
  • Staying present and being able to enjoy the things happening around you

Molly Said//

  • Joy is the lead. It makes everything better, juicier, deeper, more aligned with who I am.
  • If you look at our schedules, our grind, and what people are celebrated for, being happy isn’t something we celebrate in others.
  • How we interact with the world through our lens of JOY is totally in our control.
  • When I experience joy I am experiencing authenticity, gratitude, and presence.
  • Happiness is a reaction to an external event, joy is the lasting part.
  • Joy is a tool and happiness is a reward.
  • Joy doesn’t hold value in our patriarchal society like success does.
  • Things feel sustainable when birthed in my brand of joy.

Tanya Said//

  • When I experience joy I am experiencing connection, gratitude, and generosity.
  • Connection is at the base of all of our desires and fears.
  • It doesn’t feel safe to celebrate or be in joy, what if I’m standing here alone and no one else shows up. It feels like we might trigger others with our joy.
  • When you’re clear on how you can create joy, happiness has an easier time finding you.
  • If we aren’t able to stand in our truth when we know what is true, how can we change a damn thing?

Links + Things Mentioned:

Find Molly

Each week Tanya and a guest star (an expert in their zone of genius) take on a topic that is UP in their work, or in the work of their clients. (Can’t step into your starring role when perfectionism, procrastination, boundaries, comparison, people pleasing, diminishment, and overwhelm are in the way, right?) 

We’ll take your questions and bring our best answers. It’s part coaching, part exploration, part Q+A, all delicious.

It is hosted on Crowdcast and simulcast to Facebook Live.

Hard launches are...hard.

“It’s like someone streaked across the crowded field while a touchdown was in play.”

This is what my trusted advisor Theresa Reed saw in my cards when I asked her what in the hell happened after a coaching program launch flopped two years ago.

“Picture this,” she said. “The stadium is packed, the teams are at their best, the beer is ice cold and everyone’s super stoked. A touchdown’s about to happen. And then...out of the blue, some guy comes tearing out into the field, with something written on his chest and all eyes are on him. Not the spectacular feat of athletic agility.”

I’m sharing this story with you today, my entrepreneurial sisters and brothers, because I see you trying.
I see the struggles.

I see the shoulds and the musts and the have-tos that string you along, and then trip you flat out.

I’ve been tripped up by those tangled stories plenty myself.

So may my story serve you well. It’s a tender one to share.


Like that perfect day on the metaphorical football field, I know the desire to execute the  “perfect” launch.
I was clear about what I was doing and most importantly, WHY I was offering my beloved Step into Your Starring Role program in the way I was going to be offering it. And at the price point I was offering it. There was not a whiff of dissonance.
I was working with a launch coach to make sure all bases were covered.
The plan was sound.
The email sequence sang a song that was true and told the enrolling story.
I produced a series of super useful, helpful and engaging videos.
We shared consistently across multiple platforms.
We added in some early-bird bells and whistles...but not too many. Just the right amount of enticement.
My generous and big-hearted colleagues shared my offer with delight.
My former clients who had benefited from the work ALSO sang the work’s praises, organically because it was so meaningful to them.
I even timed it so that the stars were aligned. Literally. Yep. No Mercury Retrograde was gonna get up in my grill.

It was...beautiful. And I couldn’t wait to welcome in the twenty-five gorgeous souls who I could see entering into the work, as clear as day. ( start. With an eye on the next launch. And the next...)

For once, I had “done everything right.” (Can you hear at LEAST two inner critics going to town? Nice noticing. “For once” and “everything right”. Two not-so-lovely fairy tales.)

And so, with having every “i” dotted and “t” crossed and every box checked on the launch plan, I headed for a March Break junket with my family and friends to a Caribbean resort with spotty wifi. This was the most surefire way I could imagine to NOT obsess over the launch details already well-handled. My launch coach and VA were handling potential tech snafus and I was checking email once a day only should any questions come in from people wanting to register, but needing to hear something specific from me.

I came back to eight spots sold. That was it. EIGHT.

Now, please please PLEASE don’t get me wrong. The eight that stepped into the work were deeply cherished and appreciated.

But, if I would tell you the number of dollars and hours and amount of worry about if they’d show up and the counsel I sought  and the planning meetings I held and and and...well, you’d understand. This wasn’t just five months of effort. It was seven years in the making.

My very best content. At a really excellent price. With my heart and soul poured in.


I was...lost.

I rallied the team for a post-mortem. But before we could shake ourselves off enough to gather, I reached out to Theresa.

“It’s like someone streaked across the crowded field while a touchdown was in play.”

Yes. It was exactly like that.

When we finally could bring ourselves to look at the numbers, we saw a fascinating thing. We had hundreds of people click through to the sales page, then leave the shopping cart.

This told us that people thought the entire program was $300 (even though we were clear that $300 was the deposit but that the program price was $900).

If I’m being honest, that was a bit of a table flip moment for me. People wanted 12 weeks of content, videos, access, community engagement and management, group coaching calls AND private coaching calls for $300?

Umm no.

What I ALSO came back to was about 15 emails from mavens I respected saying that they wanted to do this work, MY work, but NOT with anyone else. Private with me.

We realized that the design of the group coaching offering was far too middle of the road.

I needed an 'accessible' option (which would become the Step into Your Starring Role Playbook) and more intimate offerings (which would become the Star Tipping Intensives).

I ended up working individually with those eight (not in group) and it was magnificent. They ARE magnificent.

The Starring Role Academy evolved from there. And it is everything I've ever wanted. Truly. This nine-month program and the brilliant lights I get to convene with every day in the Green Room fill my heart beyond anything I could have imagined. Dreamt of.

For real.

That failed launch was the best thing that ever happened in my business. Evolution is like that.

Even though I’ll never know exactly what streaked across the field that day.


Dearest L,

On your thirteenth birthday, I will tell you a story I’ve not really told you before. I didn’t share it on your eighth, your ninth, your tenth, your eleventh or your twelfth.

But given the mountain of books and writing implements you’ve asked for, it would seem that this is the birthday of reading, writing and revelling, and you do so love stories. So here we go.

You were born two weeks late. (That was the last time you were late for anything. You saw how worried it made us and learned well never to be late again. Thanks for that.)

As you lounged in my body for the extra two weeks, you got good and big. So good and big in fact, that when you were born and the doctor proclaimed “it’s a girl…and WHAT a girl” and I saw the look on your Dad’s and the nurses faces before I laid eyes on you, I will confess, I was worried.

And THEN I saw you.  All remarkable 11 pounds and 5 ounces of you. My heart just about exploded.

But you were turning purple and they took you away. Being born in the way you were, by C-section meant that you didn’t get all the liquid squeezed out of your lungs through the birth canal.

I found this über dramatic piece I wrote for my writing group and knew you would love to read it. You, the budding writer with a galaxy of wild thoughts in your gorgeous brain.

I don’t know about her first breath. Her second breath was laboured. Her third was worse. It was clear to the surgical team that there was something wrong. She was whisked away.

I passed out. His worried eyes were the last thing I saw before my eyelids closed. And the first thing I saw when they opened.

He brought me to her. She lay asleep in her isolette, worlds away, her grimace revealing her distress. I reached my hand in, navigating the probes and tubes and found a small patch of pink skin not covered by tape. Closing my eyes to the bright lights, I leaned my forehead against her plastic prison, breathed in the acrid smell of fresh tubing, and willed my breath to slow down. Willed hers to do the same. I prayed silently, while they whispered assurances that she would be okay.

After seven harrowing days and seven sleepless nights, she was.

I started a new job one year and one week after she came home. They gave me a new laptop. Worlds away, I sat at my desk, breathed in that familiar plastic smell, felt my breasts fill with milk and cried.

Holy gravitas, right? Yeah. I knew you’d love to read it. And I can’t wait to hear your critique of it. Because that, right there, is becoming one of my newest favourite things about you. Your budding confidence in your opinion.

And so I invite you to speak up. Even more.

Not everyone will agree with you. (And that’s good.)
Not everyone will appreciate you. (Creates clarity of focus. Also good.)
You will disappoint some people. (They will live.)
You will turn some people away. (All the more popcorn for us.)

But in speaking up, you will HEAR who you are.
What you stand in. What you stand for.

Don’t worry about acting older for your friends.
Don’t worry about acting younger for us.
Don’t worry about hitting our every last expectation of you. That’s on us.

Meet your own expectations of yourself.

And I know you know this:

Being who you are is more than enough.

Because, just as you are, you are:
You are surrounded by love.
You are of love.
You are love.


And now for something completely different..."Limned" for World Storytelling Day

For the past two years, I have been meeting with a writing group. Three women whose writing brings me to my knees with depth and wisdom and heart and soul. They are Ronna Detrick Julie M Daley and Amy Palko.

You can imagine how rampant my Impostor Complex railed when they invited me to join them. My Impostor Complex went batshit crazy, truth be told.

But I know how to overcome it, especially when something is deeply meaningful to me.

The purpose of the group was to come together to express pieces of writing that would not (necessarily) show up on our blogs. And the rules of engagement were stunningly simple but deceptively challenging:

Show up.
Tell the truth.
Be fierce for one another.

So I did.
Every week.
And sometimes the writing that I would share was egregious. (But it was the truth, so there was that.)

And other times I would share words that came from outside of me. (I liked those weeks.)

I would be heard. I would be seen. I would be fierce for them as they would be fierce for me. It’s been a lifeline of sorts and I give thanks every week. Every day, in fact.

Somewhere along the way, we discovered that we were writing the same things. From extremely different perspectives to be certain. Three different time zones, worlds of different experiences, values, beliefs and conditioning will do that. And yet, yet...there it was.

We decided to start to braid our pieces together. One would start, the next of us would pull a strand and stitch from there, then would the next, then would the next until it came back to the one who started the piece. And it would be complete. 

We have decided to share one such piece with you today, on World Storytelling Day. We recorded it so you could hear, REALLY HEAR our voices. (And, as I'm being honest, I had to apply some of my own Perfectionism hacks that I'll be teaching this Thursday on the Perfection Paradox webinar - you can register for that here.)

It is called “Limned”. It's just over 36 minutes long. As Amy suggests:

"My recommendation is that you go and grab yourself a mug of your favourite hot drink, curl up on the couch and listen as we tell you stories of transformation and promise, relationship and sovereignty, love and truth."

And with that, we invite you today, in your own way, to:

Show up.
Tell the truth.
Be fierce.

All love,

PS - Warning: NSFW (or for your kids!) We swear. Quite a fair bit. Click here.


Untying the Binds of the Impostor Complex

What do procrastination, perfectionism, comparison, leaky boundaries, diminishment and people-pleasing all have in common?

(Nope. This isn’t a joke. We’ve already established that I’m no masterful joke crafter.)

Well, of course they are each a massive pain in the ass and an impediment to getting your work out in the way you want, ammirite?

But digging in a little deeper, they are also common habits for people struggling with the Impostor Complex.

And while we don’t typically experience them all at once (oh LORD…can you imagine a worse fate?) we often experience one or two more acutely that the others. For me, my particular poison is people-pleasing. It’s still acute for me.

But what fascinates me the most about these behaviours is the way in which they are all double binds.

And it’s this fascination that has lead me to create the six-part webinar series called the Untying the Binds of the Impostor Complex.

Here’s why I can’t stop, won’t stop talking about the Impostor Complex. The richness staggers.

Each of the six behaviours actually feeds our confirmation bias. That tendency to find proof that our beliefs are right. And the belief with the Impostor Complex: You don’t belong. You are a fraud. It’s just a matter of time before they find out.

And so on.

For instance, last month, we untied the double binds of procrastination.

We saw how when we suffer from the Impostor Complex, and are about to start something we might feel wobbly about because we’ve never done it before, we might procrastinate in the beginning. We avoid getting to it for fear of imminent failure (or the magnitude of the job, or the difficulty level, or even success). And in the procrastination and putting the work off, we start to feel helpless, foolish, amateurish and beat ourselves up for succumbing (once again) to this habit or pattern of ours. When we finally dig ourselves out from under the mess, we may end up producing work that is sub-par.

And then we use that sub-par effort as PROOF that we are frauds and not worthy of the opportunity we were given. (Someone far more capable than us wouldn’t have procrastinated in the first place, we think.)

See? It can trip you up coming AND going. Like I said, fascinating. And entirely overcome-able.

That’s the fabulous news.

So, in the coming months, I will be diving deeper, much deeper into the inner workings of each of these behaviours in my free six-part webinar series.

Next week, we’ll be exploring the Perfection Paradox on March 23rd, 2pm EDT / 11a PDT (register here). It ALSO happens to be the first year anniversary of the Starring Role Playbook. Expect some special treats.

Email us with any questions you have about the Impostor Complex, perfectionism and I’ll do my best to get to them on the webinar.