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Step into starring role

When good enough is good enough. And when it’s not.

There are some roles in my life that I’d LIKE to master. And I likely won’t.

Y’know: Hallowe’en costume sewer, flat tire fixer, origami folder, rock climber, devoted skin care regimen follower (or, at a minimum expert makeup applier), igloo-builder, runner, speller (writing “regimen” right first time around would be cool), painter (of walls), reverse parallel-parker, Wordpress wrangler, gardener, paella-maker, photographer, designer (of like, everything), and so on.

It’s possible that my life would be fitter, simpler, more playful and less expensive if I mastered all the above.


But frankly, I’m “good enough” in all of those roles. And that’s good enough.

And there are some roles in my life that I’d really like to master. And as such, I invest time and energy in deepening into practice.

Yogini. Painter (of art). Teacher.

But when I roll out my mat, survey the blank canvas, approach the flipchart, I recognize how long the road to mastery is, AND I imagine how delightful the pursuit will be.

I know these are important to me…and I also know they’re not the calling of my soul. Besides, I’m good enough and working towards great.

The roles that are REALLY important to me? The ones I really REALLY want to master?

Mother. Coach. Writer. Partner. Speaker. Leader.

Yeah…THOSE are the roles that matter to me.


And in the shadows of those roles, the Impostor Complex lies in wait. When someone projects “fabulous mother” or “great partner” onto me, it takes effort to find Thank You. My mind scans to all the places where that’s simply not felt true.

(In honesty, Speaker, Leader and Coach aren’t quite as springloaded these days, as I’ve been doing some pretty deep work in all of these roles. I hear the lies of the Impostor Complex and I can move along.)

But Writer? Oh how Writer haunts me. Not with shoulds and musts and oughttas. But with deep yearning. Heart-pounding, soul-shuddering desire. And the no-holds-barred assault of the Impostor Complex.

Nothing quite like telling, like, EVERYONE you’re writing a book to bring on the Impostor Complex in all of its ferocious glory. Seemingly impassible.

But most insightful. Reminds you just how close something lives to your heart. JUST how much it matters.

Every time I run my Step into Your Starring Role Coaching program, I pick the next role I ALSO want to step into. When I heard the words of a former participant, I knew in an instant which role it needed to be:

“There are plenty of places in our lives where we feel like Impostors. But it’s the role that we want the MOST that has us feeling the MOST like an Impostor. And that’s why we need Step into your Starring Role.”

This time, the role I’m stepping into is capital-W ‘Writer’.

Because it’s the scariest place for me to look. And it’s where “good enough” simply isn’t good enough.

Your soul knows when “good enough” is true AND when it’s an excuse. Ask for discernment. (Tweet this)

How to deliver a boffo program – a metaphor, but not really

Want a lesson in humility? Write a sales page for a program that you’ve created and deeply love. Try to find the right words to charm, entrance and invite your people without grossing them (or yourself) out. And when you find yourself falling short, playing small, go find the words of the previous participants and feel your chest rise with the knowledge that you done good. Try to stay with that and not allow yourself to shrink back into the smallness of self-consciousness. And then share it with your world.

Done. Halle-flippin-lujah. You can see it here, with massive thanks to my beloved Tara Gentile for sherpa-ing me through the process (again).

Know what some previous Step Into Your Starring Role participants said about the last run of the program?

"I’ve done a lot of programs, but few have had the kind of lasting impact that yours had."

"I feel humbled by my 'starring role' because I now know what only I can do in the world."

"Tanya, you fully delivered (over-delivered actually) on everything you promised."

"I continue to use the knowledge that I gathered in this program long after the curtain closed."


So I’m excited about this program and entirely excited to launch it again (in September…get on the list for early notice and treats). But what I’m hoping to share here is more about how to run a program that elicits that kind of loving enthusiasm. 

And, as ever, this applies to life.

In life and in my program, I’ve learned to::

1) Show up fully. Whether you are running a program or simply want to be a decent human being on this good, sweet earth (and you do), show up. Let us know who you are and what we can count on you for.

2) Invite in the best. Surround yourself with quality people. You only have so much space…in your program and in your life. I felt like our calls were in my dining room, with crystal goblets and the plentiful, nourishing, hearty fare. And I WANTED that because I loved them all. Which brings me to…

3) Love the shit out of your people. Fully and completely.  You are being graced by their presence. THEY CHOSE YOU. Don’t lose your sense of awe in the wonder of THAT.

4) Be transparent. Your humanness is enrolling, captivating and magnetic.  But be mindful of lapsing into an emotional striptease. No one needs to see that.

5) Check in. See how people are receiving you, your words, your work. What’s the impact you’re having? How else can you be useful?

6) It’s about you, and not really. Sure, people are here because of you. But ultimately, they’re here because of themSELVES. Give them plenty of room and space to get what they desire out of the experience.

7) Get help. If you’re in over your head (and there will be days like this) lean into your friends and the genius people who know about stuff you don't. The people you love with a full heart who want you to succeed. It’s the only way for me.

8) Over-deliver in quality. Period.  (But not in quantity…see: “Keep it simple” below).

And, as ever, I learned about some blind spots. Places I need to dig into in my desire for and pursuit of excellence.

In life and in my program, I’m still learning to::

1) Stay late. This is actually a growth edge for me. I’ve heard legends told of Marie Forleo’s B-School Q+A calls. So the story goes, she would stay on the call until every last question was answered. Like, hours. Respect. I aspire to do better with this, as I was usually pretty quick to hop off at the end of the hour, thinking I was being respectful of others’ time. But I see now, people will stay if they want to stay. I ought to as well.  In my program and in my life.


2) Set expectations around availability. In my desire to over-deliver to those selfsame women I love the shit out of, I wasn’t excessively clear about when I wasn’t available to them. (But really, it was with myself that I wasn’t clear). And as such, I really wanted them to feel tended to and heard. At all times.  This meant that I was answering questions on my iPhone in bed and crafting responses and curating resources on Sundays. Which ultimately, isn’t sustainable. This program will get big. Very big. As will my life. Boundaries create spaciousness and cohesion. I’ll do a bit better next time.

3) Keep it simple. ARRRRGH. This one continues to dog me. I know what it is…it’s the handiwork of the Impostor Complex. In my programs, I keep throwing reams of content at ‘em to "prove" In my life, I talk fast and say a lot. When I write, I need to pare back about a third of the words to be more concise. I’m working, working, working on this.

To teach this lesson, I called in the big guns of teaching, my beloved Jen Louden.

One of the biggest take-aways every year from TeachNow students is good teaching is not about drowning students in information or sharing unique insights, but about offering the right ideas in small bites with plenty of spacious time for integration. We call it "appropriate dosing" in TeachNow. Think about your own best learning experiences. Was it all about a cascade of facts or a connection to your heart & mind - through story, reflection, small group discussion or your relationship with your teacher? 

We over-stuff our students because we don't trust ourselves. Teaching - which is what you are doing - happens in the mysterious messy juncture between student and teacher. Go there and trust the alchemy that will happen if there is room, if there is space.

In programs and in life…how you do one thing is how you do everything.


The red carpet is about to be rolled out for the next run of the 12-week Step into Your Starring Role program. Sign up to become a VIP and get ready for your close-up.