Better together. That’s just the truth of it.

shared earlier this week that I was in a Mastermind some years back with this week’s podcast guest, Andrea Owen.

And simultaneously, we have opened the doors to the Mastermind that I’m hosting (though we’re calling it an Immersion, because...that’s what we’re going to be doing. GOING IN DEEP.)

So it’s not surprising that I’m getting comments and Q’s from my readers and social media folx (canNOT call them followers, any more than “venti” rolls off the tongue) about Masterminds and what I call “assembling the cast” and why that matters. In life and business.

No one is ever supposed to go any of this alone.

Which runs perpendicular to our fierce values of independence, I know.

Because I firmly and truly and wholly believe that the best of us comes out when we gather with the best. It just stands to reason.

I am clear without a shadow of a doubt that I am wherever I am because I stepped into circle with some strong-hearted brilliant folx...which had me step truer into myself.

The Mastermind I was in with Andrea helped me to step into Coach.

The Mastermind I was in with Rach, Jamie, Kate, Bridget helped me step into Entrepreneur.

The Mastermind I was in with Ronna, Julie, and Amy helped me to step into Writer.

The Mastermind I was in with Tara, Kathleen, Sarah, and Brigitte helped me to step into CEO.

And the Mastermind I’m currently in with Michelle, Molly, Tiffany, and Laura is helping me step into the Tanya that is currently unfolding in ways still too tender to share yet. With their care and precision and championing and fierce love and strategy...and an upcoming weekend in the Poconos because there’s a hot tub calling our name.

So yes, I meet my work with tenacity and I swing out and make hard decisions and second-guess and hedge sometimes but for the most part? Anything you see me doing well in my business is a direct result of some strong and loving hands directing me there. Who are/were able to hold up the sides for me as I navigate the tricky terrains of a life fully lived.

I give the deepest and the greatest thanks to these sisters, teachers, and guides. Every one throughout the years.

My invitation to you: find your people and circle up.

They might not be your forever circle and that will be okay. But their wisdom will live on within you...as will yours live on within them.

We are, always always, better together.


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Calling my Entrepreneurial friends! For two weeks only, Starring Role Academy Community Coach and participant, Helen Tremethick, is opening access to her 3-month copywriting program, Copy Courage and... if you sign up before July 5th, you’ll also get free access to her jumpstart program “F*ck Your Elevator Pitch”. Copy Courage starts this September.

You can enjoy your summer and make sure your website copy is re-branded and ready for launch by the end of the year.

This is Helen’s zone of genius and watching her shine brings me great joy. As does great copy.

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The newest episode of Ready Enough podcast with Andrea Owen on Alcohol Misuse and the Imposter Complex has been quietly received but I’m hearing from listeners that it’s moving through them. And that’s good. That’s the hope. Take what serves you and release the rest. Trust your knowing. I do.

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If the idea of a Mastermind as described in my letter above appeals, but the idea of having to gather people yourself and facilitate it does not? The Unshakeable Confidence Immersion may be your next right place. Get all the info here. It’s the only way to work with me for a longer period of time in Q4 of 2019 (unless you wanted the one-time immersion of a Star Tipping Intensive or Spotlight Sessions). And if you want ONLY community but just a LITTLE bit of me, the next cohort of the Starring Role Academy may be the right spot for you.


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Something for everyone...but especially y’all in Denver and Seattle

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I was making my kid’s lunch this morning and observed a funny thing.

My mother was excellent at many things.

MANY.

But sandwich-making was not her thing.

Bread, butter, and the protein. That was it.

No cheese, mustard, lettuce, and most certainly NOT avocado. (I know, right? However did I survive such a miserable existence.)

But my kid prefers my mother’s variety of sandwich. Go figure.

So there I was, assembling two slices of rye, a little butter, salami, and a couple of sprigs of basil. Making a mom sandwich, while sipping my coffee black like my Dad drank it.

And I found myself humming Cowboy Junkies ‘A Horse in the Country’.

In particular, this verse:

And all my friends have settled down
become their mothers and their fathers
without a sound
Except for Cathy,
she bought a one-way subway ticket
and left us all behind

I was all set to explore the places I have become my mother and my father without a sound...and also, the places where I have not. There are plenty of line items under each column.

My love of peonies, exquisite linens, Leon Redbone, justice, family, cooking and all of the deliciousness of gathering folks around the table, travel, are places of agreement. For starters.

My business, prioritizing self-care, writing, politics are places of difference. For starters.

As I was running through them in my mind, it hit me. Again.

My folks are both gone. And that is hard.

But I am so glad I had them when I did. Our relationships were imperfect but they weren’t difficult. And that ISN’T necessarily true for all of you. For that, I am sorry.

So I wanted to share the book my friend and colleague Karen CL Anderson wrote called Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters. May it serve you in the highest.

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My friend, coach, and mentor Desiree Adaway lives and works at the intersections of race, class, and gender. I want you to know her and her work. So much so that she was the first guest in my new podcast, Ready Enough.

But if you happen to be in Seattle or Boulder/Denver, I encourage you to attend her newest workshop: Praxis of Liberation.

You’ll be exploring:

  • The Praxis of Liberation

  • Supremacist vs Liberatory Power

  • Organizational culture/identity

  • Dominant culture in the workplace

  • Having difficult conversations with colleagues: identity, difference, and power

  • Why call out culture is killing us

  • Forgiveness and Reconciliation as core leadership competencies

This workshop is for you if:

Dealing with systemic oppression seems overwhelming but you are committed to action

Want to ground your work in some foundational frameworks and a deeper analysis of race, class, gender, and power

You want to better understand how to have productive conversations across identities

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We are starting to gather behind the scenes for the Unshakeable Confidence Immersion. Six and a half months of coaching, connection and collective wisdom. Six and a half months of strategy, activation and accountability. Six and a half months of personalized coaching and community to expand your vision of what’s possible for your business and life. The Unshakeable Confidence Immersion is the place where the goals you desire and the activation you’ve been craving come together, rooted in Integrity, Presence, and Action.

We open up on July 15th, start to gather in August and run through January 31, 2019. We’re keeping it intimate at just ten spots.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A half day Intensive with me scheduled for July/August/September (based on our schedules) to map out the six month plan… and beyond.

  • Biweekly group coaching calls (they will consist of check-ins, rotating “Spotlights” and groups discussion). We will be meeting (mostly) biweekly on Wednesdays at 1p EST on Zoom.

  • Co-working call(s) — one to start and to be determined based on group’s needs and desires

  • Mid-point individual Spotlight Session call with me to make sure the momentum stays high.

  • Full-day group planning session in January to set up the balance of 2020 with great success.

  • Six and a half months in our private, on-line space, Mighty Networks.

  • A teaching library filled with resources.

  • Invitation to join the Alumni Stellar Space after the Immersion ends.

  • Complimentary tickets to the Starring Role Gala Dinner September 2020.

Allll the details are here...and those ten spots are filling up. Quickly.

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Thank you thank you thank you for your support of the launch of the Ready Enough podcast! Your emails and shares and recommendations to friends and five star ratings and reviews have been such a blessing and are so deeply appreciated. They help ease the sting of that two-star rating on Canadian iTunes (I mean, c’mon, eh?) If you haven’t had the chance to listen please do...and subscribe so your first to know when a new episode drops...like, this Wednesday!

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I am still plenty stalled on the proposal writing (launching a podcast, designing a new program, and a full client roster will do that to a person) BUT I am heading to France in two weeks to speak and write at a retreat and I have some big big goals for myself there. And I cannot WAIT.


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To be considered: "Resilience is not a DIY Endeavor"?

First of all, thank you, oh thank you to all who took me up on my invitation last week to reach out to your Models of Possibility.

I heard from you about your Models of Grace, and Boundaries, and Generosity, and Balance, and Activism, and Justice, and Poise.

Hearing from you reminds me of one of my top value - and one of your top values I suspect as well - CONNECTION.

And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how it’s more than a value, isn’t it?

I mean… it’s a NEED.

We’ve heard this before: "Connection is why we're here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering." –Brene Brown

Brene Brown talks about how we are hardwired for connection. Rooted in neuroscience.

It goes like this.

Neuroscience is confirming that our nervous systems want us to connect with other human beings. A good example of this is mirror neurons, which are located throughout the brain and help us read other people's feelings and actions. They may be the neurological underpinnings of empathy — when two people are in conversation they are stimulating each other's mirror neuron system. Not only will this lead to movement in similar muscles of the face (so the expressions are similar) but it also allows each to feel what the other is feeling. This is an automatic, moment to moment resonance that connects us. There have been studies that look at emotions in human beings such as disgust, shame, happiness, where the exact same areas of the brain light up in the listener who is reading the feelings of the person talking. We are, literally, hardwired to connect.

So, yeah. A value… and also a need.

And I’ve also been thinking on resilience.

When I talk about the Unshakeable Confidence, the ever and all-important ACTION sits on top of a willingness to fail, tenacity and resilience. #simplenoteasy

Resilience for me has always been a/the way that we bounce back in the face of adversity. A muscle to be flexed and a practice to be cultivated.

And I think I’m right about that… but only to an extent.

I picked up the (ACTUAL!) newspaper in the garden last Sunday afternoon. A sweet moment of peace and harmony and BBQ smells and sprinkler sounds and ice cream trucks. It was a moment that I did not feel like reading anything overly taxing. You know, Sunday afternoon sweetness only, please.

But of course, I had no choice but to read an Opinion piece on Resilience by Michael Ungar. A few sentences in, I could feel myself blanch.

It was an exacting read of the self-development field. And it was excellent.

An excerpt:

“We have been giving people the wrong message. Resilience is not a DIY endeavour. Self-help fails because the stresses that put our lives in jeopardy in the first place remain in the world around us even after we’ve taken the “cures.” The fact is that people who can find the resources they require for success in their environments are far more likely to succeed than individuals with positive thoughts and the latest power poses.”

Of course.

So much of what happens in the mind-over-matter spaces can bypass privilege, oppression, and can even shift into victim-blaming.

The article goes on to talk about the single biggest predictor of adjustment after a crisis has nothing to do with mindset, but rather the resources and services available. And then speaks into the importance of community.

“Improve the functioning of the family, peer group or work team, and individuals are more likely to show resilience, even if their larger world is seeming to become more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.”

Which I interpret as resilience being less about what’s on the inside (mindset) and more about what’s on the outside (resources and community). Accessed through connection… for which we are hardwired.

I’m still working through this.

Maybe you are too. Read the article when you have time and space and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.

And if you happen to have access to the author of the piece, Michael Ungar, can you connect me? I think this conversation is RIPE for the upcoming Ready Enough Podcast. (Stay tuned… next week!)

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I can barely keep on top of the brilliant nuggets of collective wisdom that crop up in the Starring Role Academy, but these Spotlight Soundbites are my attempt to scoop them up.

When Michelle Currie, Mentor and truly a Mage said these words in the Academy, oh how we felt their truth and deep resonance.

Because the Imposter Complex loves making the simple very complicated. And it loves to have us discount effort.

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I’m stuck. And that’s just true. Beam me some proposal writing lovin’, will you Loves?


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Who is your Model of Possibility?

Hiya hi!

Welcome to the new folx around these parts! Maybe you came from my interview on the Imposter Complex with Tiffany Han on her Raise Your Hand Say Yes podcast.

It was a great interview, wasn’t it? Tiffany asks SUCH fabulous questions, really tracks the answers and wants deeply and truly on behalf of her listeners. Plus she’s hilarious, deep, kind and ever working her edge and though she is seasoned, has really only just begun the kind of stratospheric rise that I can see for her clear as day.

She is one to watch, if you aren’t already.

And as I get ready to (re)launch my OWN podcast (two weeks and counting!) I am looking to her as a Model of Possibility. How to be generous, useful, kind, ask tough questions with grace, compassion, finesse, but without being overly tethered to the punitive leash of perfectionism.

There’s no way I will be able to hit Tiffany’s level of excellence right out the gate when we launch. Nor should I even try. But when I think of Tiff as my “Model of Possibility”, well I just feel my whole being relax, even as I lean into the challenges that lie ahead.

“Model of Possibility” is a term my pal Lauren Bacon turned me onto when we were doing deep analysis of comparison some time ago.

She read Laverne Cox say: “I would never be so arrogant to think that someone should model their lives after me but the idea of possibility. The idea that I get to live my dreams out in public hopefully will show other folks that that is possible. And so I prefer the term possibility model to role model.”

This really dials down the stickiness of comparison, doesn’t it? When we think about people we admire, and consider them through the lens of "possibility models" (rather than role models, heroes, gurus, etc.), it really shifts things, doesn’t it?

So...who’s YOUR Model of Possibility?

And why?

Tell me.

But then, and this is SUPER important, tell THEM. I guarantee they need to hear it at that precise moment. Because, just like you, they question their own magnificence. No one gets a pass on that.

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One of the many things you don’t know about my mother was that she was an avid, and I mean, AVID reader of obituaries. I’m fascinated by fascinating people living well. And how they are recognized...and not.

So it’s not surprising that on my mind is this very cool project by NYT obit editor Amy Padnani called “Overlooked Obituaries”, a series telling the stories of remarkable women and folx of colour who never received a New York Times obit. And this talk...excellent. Book and TV series coming soon.

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If you haven’t had a chance to check out my interview with Tiffany Han, do check it out here. Because in Tiffany’s words, “[Imposter Complex] IS A REAL THING THAT WE GRAPPLE WITH AND THAT BECOMES ESPECIALLY BIG AND POWERFUL WHEN WE'RE RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF SOMETHING DEEPLY MEANINGFUL AND IMPORTANT. (Yes. I'm screaming because oh my goodness, doesn't this just explain so much?!)” She’s fun, that one.

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I’m super excited to debut the brand new Unshakeable Confidence Immersion (really, a Mastermind) for a very small group of folx that will run from mid-August to mid-January. So new, in fact, we don’t even have the sales page up for it. But we’ve already had a couple spots grabbed, so if you think the latter half of 2019 is the right time to up your visibility, confidence and game? We’ve got you.

We will start with 1:1 3 hour intensives in August (just you and me and the limitless summer sky) and start our group sessions in September. I’m offering first dibs on the remaining spots to you, readers of my newsletter (because...hey, THANKS!) before we open it up to the public. Let’s hop on a call May 28th to discern fit. Click here to set it up.

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Should I just freaking do the work?

I get emails like this all the time.

Most days, in fact.

Hey TG,

I'm in a challenge at the gym and we are supposed to be sharing images of our meals in the facebook group. And I've only posted once, because I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME.

Over and over I've joined online communities, FB groups, masterminds, etc. And I don't show up. I'm there, reading, perusing, commenting. But I can't make posts myself.

And I think it's because I don't want to take up space. I don't know what it is around that. Fear of not being liked or accepted? Maybe a little. Fear of making a typo and looking like an idiot, yeah a little. Not wanting to be vulnerable ever... Is this all the impostor complex? Even when it's about posting pictures of my meals?

Any insights here? Should I just freaking do the work?

You know how I responded, right?

OF COURSE YOU SHOULD JUST DO THE FREAKING WORK!

Nah. You know didn’t. Not my style.

What I did respond was this.

“There’s nothing wrong with you.

And yes, it's the Impostor Complex.

Not wanting to get it wrong, or maybe it's not about getting it wrong, but rather, not getting it "right".

And yes. It's the not wanting to take up space. Because, and here's me swinging out on a limb...you think you "already have it too good."

Your piece of the joy pie is too good. Too much. The family, the gorgeousness, the heart, the courage. You're the everything.

And on some level, that has been hard. You have maybe experienced the Tall Poppy Syndrome. People may have projected onto you, or told you how "easy" it is for you because (fill in the blanks) so you stay quiet.

You diminish.

Know what?

You deserve a bigger piece of the pie. The whole damned pie.

Let them see your plate.

Be true, be you.

It is, you are, EVERYTHING.

BELIEVE ME.

Yes?”

If you tend to diminish, I wrote this for you. Pie ‘n all.

And if you tend to be a people-pleaser, I wrote this for you. (And me.)

If you compare, have leaky boundaries, procrastinate or are a perfectionist, hold tight. Your articles are coming up in the next couple of weeks.

I believe in us. And the work we’re here to do.

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And speaking of diminishment, I contributed to this article about confidence and body language. Once again, I challenged the notion of “fake it ‘til you make it” as an enduring strategy. Because it isn’t. Know what is? Rooting in and embodying what is real and authentic about your talents, skills and excellence. You don’t need to fake a THING. I’m right about this.

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My beloved friend and cherished teacher, Desiree Adaway, will be hosting the Whiteness at Work Webinar on Thursday, May 23rd 2pm ET.

I’ll be joining this free call as we look at how white supremacy culture manifest in our work places.

We’ll be diving into (in her words):

  • Organizational characteristics that mimic and reinforce white supremacy culture and how those impact everything from hiring, to flex work policies to culture at-large.

  • How resistance to new ways of thinking and equity and inclusion work further underpin and perpetuate toxic norms.

  • How to begin naming these characteristics and norms and ways to mitigate them.

I don’t work in an organization...but this is some pretty vital information for all of us who take our whiteness with us wherever we go. And for me, I want to start as I mean to go and BUILD my business with integrity into the organization I’ve been dreaming of.

Join me. 

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Last week, I did a photo shoot in my home with two of my dearest friends. Victoria Dixon has been a beloved of mine since our kids were toddlers. She also makes me look pretty spectacular as she is a leading makeup artist here in Canada. Aggie Armstrong is a brilliant photographer, artist and is my Creative Director. So it was a spectacular time. With more days like that to come. But one of the millions of things I loved about this day, truly one of my favourites, was knowing that my kid was upstairs snoozing while sick, and listening to us sing and hoot and laugh and even cry a little. She was reminded, again, what it means to be like in a relationship with other powerful women, what it means to lift each other up, what it means to have a hell of a lot of fun doing work you love, and what it looks like to not be even a little bit “ladylike”. And that to me is something worth celebrating.

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How will YOU not postpone joy today?

Hey HEY friends -

There are a host of new folx on my list this month so I wanted to welcome y’all in.

WELCOME! I’m so glad you’re here!

And reconnect with those of you who have been around for a while and maybe can’t recall why.

THANKS FOR BEING HERE!

I write about a two things specifically.

#1 I mostly write about the Impostor Complex.

I endeavour to share with you what I know and have been learning about the Impostor Complex over the past 12 years. Well, the Impostor Complex, Unshakeable Confidence, and Stepping into your Starring Roles, that is. And friends? There are days when I feel like I’ve only just BEGUN.

Most recently, I wrote a post about People-Pleasing and the Impostor Complex.

Before that, I wrote about how I invite nuance when considering the Impostor Complex and the coping mechanisms that can exacerbate the experience.

And right before that, I wrote articles on how the Impostor Complex tries to shut us down by having us stay out of actiondoubt our capacity, and have us feel alone and isolated.

#2 I also write about life.

I confused the HELL out of many of you new readers who came for the Impostor Complex teachings when I wrote a love letter to my fifteen-year-old for her birthday and started with “Dear L” (especially the Lauries, Laceys, Lindas, Lydia, Lavettas in the room!) But that’s what I do (not the confusing you, mind...but rather the writing). I write about life. My life. And maybe your life too.

And MY life includes my body of work which IS the Impostor Complex.

Also?

The grief. The joys. The heartaches. The disappointments. The undulations. The shame. The ice cream. The injustices. The shattering sorrow of light. The grace. The liminal spaces. The legacies. The arcs. The brilliant revelations of shadows.

I write to iron out the edges of my thinking, such that it may be of service to us both.

Does my Impostor Complex LIKE that I write about my life? Oh hellllllll no. But, Honey? It doesn’t even like it when I write about the IMPOSTOR COMPLEX.

Because for me to be able to live my life IN my Starring Role, with Unshakeable Confidence, I am required to embrace the #bothand (and then some) of who I am.

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My Mama had a mantra, you know. It was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I’ve written about her hereherehere, and here...with my grandmother too.

Since she died, I have prioritized understanding joy. And then, activating from it.

And in truth, what gives me joy is writing what I am compelled to write. Teaching what I am compelled to teach. Honouring the call that has been made of me.

Today’s my Mama’s birthday. So in her honour, let me know how YOU won’t postpone joy today?

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You are a Star — no matter what Role that takes.

My brilliant friend Tara McMullin said this upon reading my latest article this week.

Sidebar: did you read it? Did you see that picture of six-year old me in my drug store barrette and Bert + Ernie inspired turtleneck with my splayed front teeth from sucking my thumb? Yeah. I think she pretty fabulous too. Onward.

Tara said this:

“I don’t think you/your work are for the people who don’t want to be Stars. What I love about this story is that the Angel probably ISN’T the star of the pageant to everyone, right? Some people think the star is Mary. Others Joseph. Others the baby. Hell, I’m sure someone thinks the wise man who brings myrrh is the star. You had your eye on the role you wanted and saw as the most important cog in the wheel.

You’re not here to help people be more confident as an extra or the 3rd shepherd. You’re here for the people who choose to be a Star, no matter what role that takes.”

(You know that feeling that angels — heh — are singing because someone has articulated the thing that is too close for you to be able to see, much less articulate? THAT. And that IS the gift of Tara.)

She is right about my work.

The Star of the show for you, in fact may be the Director.

Or Joseph.
Or Craft Services.
Or the Ticket Taker.
Or the Star (you know...the Star of Bethlehem).
Or the Casting Director who pulls the peeing child off the stage (you’ll just have to read it.)

That IS the point.

And the question then is… will you step in?

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Thank you Tammy Martin for pointing me towards this fabulous TED talk on understanding privilege and how abstract math can help us discern contexts.

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I’m excited to be a part of Jo Casey’s The Messy Meaningful Business Project this April.

Jo takes a strong stand for building beautiful and sustainable businesses that do not necessarily look like the highly curated IG feeds we see. She is all about building businesses that get loved into being NOT through burnout and resentment, but rather meaningfully, sustainably, and non-manipulatively. That are about helping… not hustling. And I’m HERE for it.

I’m excited to learn from the folx she has gathered… and will be sharing my own (winding) path to creating a business I love that loves me back. And we’d love for you to join us.

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Thank you Lacy Boggs and Sarah for making sure I saw this bite of shining brilliance.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using the Impostor Complex to roast the preposterous Sen Mike Lee was giving me LIFE this week. More here.

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Less writing and more sweating this week, it would seem. I’m landing the plane on my book title. Writing 100,000+ words was easy. Writing three for a title, seven for a subtitle and ten for a reading line? Excruciating. Send help. Or a deep breath.

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I am celebrating this article that my pal Deb Nicholson shared about Julia Child’s kitchen. It has been a sweet reminder of the many sweet (and savoury) debates I had with my father about kitchen organization. Form vs function (he was a peg-board man too), the marble pastry board, the work triangle, task lighting, the magic of the multi-use Cuisinart (we still have theirs from the ‘80s) AND the appreciation of single-use gadgets (asparagus peeler! ravioli press!). Appreciation...yes. That’s it. And so, I’m reminded that it’s time to pull out the family copper pots and to not only display them, but to USE them. Because, LIFE… right? So I’ll be paging my friend and award-winning designer, Melissa Peretti, for help with the displaying. (MP has made my office gorgeousstyles my events with great flair, and is about to embark on my bedroom facelift. She does online design so… hire her.)

AND

I’m STILL celebrating being RIGHT about you all. When I asked if you would fill out a quick survey to make my nerdiest dream come true — which is to have a data model of my Impostor Complex work created — you showed UP! Thank you beyond thank you.

Hootsuite now has THREE TIMES the data sets needed to create the model. Cannot wait to share what they come up with.

The Patinaed Path...a Poem...and a Way

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A million years—or perhaps it was only a hot second ago—I wrote this poem over at Bentlily.

It’s calling me home again, so I figured it was time to share it with you.

THE PATINAED PATH

Beneath layers of patina,
There is a path.
Waiting to be revealed.
To you.

Unspoiled soil
Latent with grace.
Patiently,
It waits.

Yearning to yawn,
For you alone.

As you confer with stars, maps and seers,
It waits.

Willing you to heed the wisdom of your heart.
The only cartographer that matters.
Desiring to gift you with glories untold.
Ever loving, ever bountiful.

In your time.
On your way.
For you alone.
It waits.


Yes indeed.

For you alone. It waits.

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There are six Star Tipping Intensive spots left for April, May and June...with the prices going up in June. If you are keen to really, REALLY get into and under why the traction you yearn for just isn’t happening, then consider a Star Tipping Intensive with me. These are day-long luxe events. We move the mountains that need moving. We make the plans that need to be made. And yes, we even create the map...directed by your heart. Want details? Get in touch here.

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Nic Strack is some kind of human. The best kind of human. Empathetic. Hilarious. WIIIIIIIIIIISE. Badass. Deep. Compassionate. Tender. Fierce.

It was my supreme joy to watch their (continued!) unfolding last year in the Starring Role Academy.

And watching them shine in their most glorious truth is WHEW. Fire.

Nic has just created and released a new resource over at NicStrack.com called 10 Motherhood Truths Nobody Talks about… and Why They Matter.

I may be well-past the days of new parenthood, but the overarching theme of their work continues to reign supreme in my realm:

"The relationship you have with your Self defines the relationship you have with your child."

Check out their body of work at NicStrack.com. You’re welcome.

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I was right last week when I said that I was celebrating the way you, MY PEOPLE have risen to my invitation to fill out this suuuuuper short survey. You did. You really did. And we have one more week before I’m submitting the results to Hootsuite. (Honestly, I cannot wait.) So if you haven’t had the chance to do so yet, I would deeply and dearly appreciate it if you could fill it out. Thank you thank you thank you.

Help me make my nerdiest dreams come true?

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“Your people want you to succeed, let them help you,” is one of my most foundational beliefs.

As ever, not EVERYONE wants you to succeed. But YOUR people do.

And when YOUR people say they want to help, for sure and for real, you best let them help you.

Because another one of my most foundational beliefs is this: THIS is bigger than you.

You can feel that, right?
You can feel that in trying to contain the BIGNESS of what you are here to do you may well, and I say this with great love, be containing it.

And we don’t want that.

There are far too many people containing far too many things.

So.

(I’m going somewhere here.)

Last November, I had the pleasure of speaking with a group of folx at Hootsuite about the Impostor Complex. Specifically around helping them to hunt it down so they can deepen into their commitment of diversity and inclusion across all levels of the organization.

Their questions were fabulous and quite in-depth. That’s what these sessions do...bring out the in-depth.

(Reason #7684 I adore speaking as much as I do.)

Specifically, they wanted to understand the STRUCTURE of the Impostor Complex. Like, how specific behavioural traits related to specific lies which related to the Unshakeable Confidence model.

In truth, I almost cried.

You see, I am not a visual person and the fact that I’ve managed to get as far as I have describing the complexities of the IC in 2D is something to be proud of...but there is an entire UNIVERSE of intricacies and interconnections that I see and cannot articulate.

So, I said as much.

And just like that, they offered to help me with data modeling.

ME.

Hootsuite has offer to help ME with data modeling.

Why?

Because...this is bigger than me.

And Hootsuite knows it.

So I am IN.

And I need you.

Will you please fill out this suuuuper short survey for me? Entirely anonymous, to be certain.

It will help craft and create the model that I’ve been dreaming of, A Beautiful Mind style, for coming up on a decade.

I’m excited.

I’m honoured.

It feels like my nerdiest dream come true.

You are my people. Will you help me?

Thank you in advance.

Thank you thank you.

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I went ahead and made myself a whole host of new friends last week when I went to Madison, Wisconsin (including someone who I THINK is an angel named Dwight...but more on him at a later date.)

But one of my newest favourite people is Dina Nina Martinez, a comedian who led a workshop on Humour and the Impostor Complex.

She is as hilarious as she is wise and I am excited to be taking her class today on Trans & Gender Identity 101 (which is the first in a series of four workshops).

In her words: “Maneuvering an ever changing world full of gender and identity politics can be difficult and confusing. This workshop will provide you with the information you need to esteem those who are transgender and gender non-conforming in your life and your organization.”

Join me today at 2p EST. (These are not affiliate links.)

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Absolutely LOVED my interview with Thais Sky.

Discernment is my love language and Thais is FLUENT in it. We had plenty of depths to explore as we unpacked the lies of the Impostor Complex, as well as starting to unravel the narrative inside of us telling us we cannot step into our starring role. We explored intimacy, integrity, relationships and practicing discernment. It was...glorious. You can catch it here.

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A client said this to me a couple of weeks ago and it really landed in smack dab into my heart. "If I'm the only person who really and truly gets the full complement and intricacies of my inner workings and power, then I guess I better start listening to myself."

Does it land with you? Does it have you get closer to the middle of your being? To the centre of your essence? Hit reply and let me know.

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I’m optimistically celebrating the fact that YOU, MY PEOPLE, have risen to my invitation to fill out this suuuuuper short survey. (heh heh)

White Women Facing their Racism

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Hello to all of you cherished readers.

I have a super quick note for those of you on my list who identify as white women.

I had intended to share with you an invitation to a conversation I’ll be having next week in Madison, Wisconsin with my friend and colleague Sara Alvarado.

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In Sara’s words: “it’s an evening of truth-telling and a brave space to explore the impact of our whiteness and challenge the ways in which we were raised and continue to be part of the problem. This affinity group is for women who identify as white and who are ready to get honest, face their racism, and put their privilege into action in the service of justice. #RealTalk”

But since she announced the event last week, the tickets are already sold out.

Clearly, there is a need. As if there was any doubt. (And there wasn’t.)

AND, I am still sharing it because Sara has done a brilliant job articulating why we’re doing it, and though you won’t be able to join us, she lays out some thoughts on what you can do as part of your anti-racism efforts and commitments. Because, as my friend and coach Desiree Adaway teaches, awareness without analysis, action, and accountability is not enough.

Sara writes:

Why an event for white women only?

Because white women need to be doing their work and this is a place to face whiteness with vulnerability and honesty. No holding back. People of color know whiteness better than most white people and it can be harmful for people of color to have to listen to white people examine their white privilege, their white savior complex, and learn to see how white supremacy is alive within. We want to create less harm. This is not a space where we will learn about black and brown people in their absence. This is not a space where we will teach cultural competency or history. There are teachers of color that we recommend for that. This is where white women can speak without worrying if what they say will be wrong or hurtful. This is how we learn to be better and do better. Not on our own, but with people who are willing to hold each other accountable and challenge each other.

Why are you charging for this event?

Because white people need to invest in their anti-racism work. I don't believe it should be free. I also don't feel comfortable benefiting financially. This is my work in the world and people's lives are at stake. Silence is killing people. Communities of color face horrific injustices. Inaction, ignorance, and fear of doing it wrong is delaying the progress for racial equity. I learned I was part of the problem and realized the only way to be part of the solution was to make it a priority in my life. Yes, tickets are $25, but the money goes to paying the hard costs only, not to the white women involved. Any additional money earned will be donated to Freedom Inc.

If I can't come to this event, what can I do?

Commit to educating yourself about whiteness based on where you are at on your own racial justice journey. Ideas to consider: read Robin DiAngelo's book, White Fragility or So You Want To Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo. Find a class online or a seminar or a conference to attend. Push past your comfort zone. Check with your local YWCA or the White Privilege Conference in March. Download Layla Saad's Me and White Supremacy Workbook (for free) and gather some friends together to go through the workbook together. Sign up for my free email series, Conversations about Race. Tune into the podcast Code Switch by NPR.

Read more.

Educate yourself.

Listen.

Discuss.

Journal.

Make it a priority.

Always be conscious of the people you are following, the music you are buying, the podcasts you are listening to, the books you are reading, the conversations you are having, the articles you are sharing, the beliefs you aren't challenging, the advice you are accepting, the words you are using, the professionals you are hiring, the clothes you are wearing, the thoughts you are thinking, the stereotypes you are speaking, the implicit biases you are influenced by, and the love in your heart.

Like Desiree says, we only get free together.

PS - If you’re in or around Madison, you can catch me at The Social Change Forum on February 28. The conversations will be rich, propulsive, and remarkable and I would LOVE to see you there! 

This isn’t about a bikini. But also? It’s kind of about a bikini.

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On Monday, I came across an image in my new pal Elizabeth Dialto’s Instagram feed. (You can hear us really MEET, heart to heart, here for the very first time late last year.) She snapped it on a beach in Condado, Puerto Rico and I’m sharing with her permission.

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"::GOALS::
I want to be rocking a juicy, bronze, leathery ass, swimming in the ocean and enjoying beaches with the love of my life when I’m old. Thank you and Amen 🙌🏼🧡🍑👵🏽👴🏽✨👏🏽👏🏽"

So good, right?

I had actually just finished up my woo-woo practice of setting intentions for the month to come.

Note to my readers who are not well-versed in the language of the woo: Monday was a new moon which is a super powerful time to plant the seeds of your desires. Like farmers used to (still?) do as the moon’s gravitational pull is strongest so the moisture comes up to the top of the soil... making it easier to plant said seeds. (Luscious metaphor, right?)

In any case, my intentions and desires had been cast, or, erm, planted. They were pretty work/business-specific interspersed with wishes for my family and beloveds and for my activism and learning. Which is all well and good. Of course.

But this image, E’s words, really stopped me. And I kept coming back to them. Over and over and over again.

Because yes.

That confidence.

That sense of play.

When all is said and done, that’s what I want. A life well-lived, enjoyed, and relished.

That’s a lot of meaning in that there Brazilian bikini.

And I noticed as I went about my evening, roasted the chicken, went to the gym with my family, then flopped out on the couch to continue our Parks and Recreation marathon that I kept having this one thought:

How old would I need to be to have the confidence to strut in that bikini?

(Like I said. This isn’t about a bikini. But also? It’s kind of about a bikini.)

Interestingly, in the nine-month program I am leading (The Starring Role Academy), we are currently trying on the different ROLES that we want to step into... the ones that will really rankle the Impostor Complex so that we can learn the process to overcome it time and time again. And the metaphor we use is that we are “trying ON the Roles." You know… like a gown or a suit or an armour. Feeling where it’s a stretch. Or too tight. Or just right.

So that’s what I’ve been speaking into as folx are struggling with the hems of “Leader” or the cut of “CEO." We want things to fit immediately, but we need to move around in them some to see how they’ll work with our actual lives.

And I found myself saying these words:

“I can try on a bodycon dress and not be ready to walk out the door and stop traffic in it. YET. But if I like how it fits and like how it feels, even though it won't work with me when I am on stage or visiting a sick friend on her farm, I can imagine a time that I know that I am CAPABLE of wearing said bodycon dress that stops traffic... and that may be enough for the moment. Because in time, it ceases being about the dress, and becomes only about the confidence to wear whatever the hell we damned well please.”

And that’s it, right?

The confidence to wear whatever we damned well please.

End metaphor.

Because it’s also about having the confidence to step into, eat, create, ask for, name, claim, lobby for whatever we damned well please.

Is it going to feel weird the first time the sun hits your butt cheeks? Or the first time you say no to her? Or the first time you bring social activism into your classroom?

Of course it is.

But I guarantee there is no magical age that unlocks that confidence.

Buy the bikini.

Ask for the work.

Tell the truth.

NOW.

And then strut like you mean it.

I know I will.


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Don’t you love learning how things work? I do too.

Which is why I broke down HOW the Impostor Complex works.

How it tried to keep us alone and isolatedHow it tries to have us doubt our capacity. And how it tries to keep us out of action. I also wrote about how Following Through is inextricably linked to Integrity. (Which is inextricably linked to Unshakeable Confidence. See how this all works?)

AND... I want you to know that my brilliant friend Vanessa Mentor’s new digital home is alive and well and is an exquisite offering to Living Unrestrained. And so is she. In her words: “The feminine code of conduct is a set of predefined cultural and societal rules, demands, and expectations (rooted in Patriarchy and Colonialism) on what’s appropriate and good for women.” Find her work here.

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I had a blast talking with Brittany on the Classy on the Outside podcast. This conversation was really all about gathering your people.

And Naomi of The Lifestyle Edit and I got deep into the lies of the Impostor Complex.

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Did you know that Dolly Parton turned down Elvis Presley’s ask to record "I Will Always Love You" because he insisted on 50% of the publishing rights? *swoon*

Dolly is my model of shining bright in her badassery. Then as now. (I wonder if she wears a bikini.)

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Flowers. I am celebrating all the flowers.

And friends who remind me that I have them on speed dial.

The beauty astounds.

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142,000 words on January 22.

Today’s count?
181,833

But the best words I wrote this week were these:
“Stop hoarding your good shit.”

Just...stop. Commit. Follow through. We are waiting.

Something's old, something's new in this Friday Finale

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Tired of all the New Year hype and energy yet? Me too. AND me neither.

Both, and.

Just the way we roll around here.

Tired of it because as we say in French, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Oui. Certes.

But there is a way in which things get a little sharper after the softness of the holiday season. An ascetic quality that strips things back to their essentials that I find both bracing and entirely welcome. For ME. This year.

Both, and.

I’m taking a hard look at numbers. All of them - knowing that they do not define me.

I’m taking a hard look at what works. (A lot.) And getting honest about what doesn’t. (A lot.) Calibrating from there.

I could tell you about the clearing and deepening and softening into more devotional spaces in my life, business, relationships, body, and body of work that I’m doing, but I’m not ready to do so yet because I haven’t shown myself yet the full complement of what I’m capable of. At least, not for what I’ve got my eye on.

But I will. As I do.

In doing some of the tinkering that January has asked of me, I am revamping, ever so slightly, this Friday Finale.

You can continue to expect a letter from me. But the subsections will be shifting some.

Debuting will contain new and noteworthy things that I have created or others have created that I think you ought to know about.

Starring will let you know where I’ve been and what stages you might find me on. INCLUDING weekly Facebook Lives happening on Wednesdays at noon EST. (Make sure you’re connected with me there to hop in and get your Q’s A’d.)

Celebration continues to be celebration. Pure, simple, unadulterated celebration. Of life, of a good tomato, of a win, or of a life-shifting conversation. All if it.

In the Spotlight will shine the light on folx I feel are the embodiment of having stepped into their Starring Roles. Whether I know them or not. Because honestly... don’t we all need a little more of that kind of inspiration?

And finally, because so many of you have been asking for this, I give you:

Backstage which will be all about the progress that I’m making on my book. Snippets for those of you who have wanted to get your eyes on the words that are slowly but surely finding their way into book form this year... THIS YEAR. You heard me? I know I did. It’s ON.

Whether you adhere to January’s austerity or bow to your own process, I sense that you are doing your own clearing, clarifying, and calibration.

Go gently and go strong.

Both, and.


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I heard from a LOT of people after the launch of the 2019 Starring Role Academy that they were interested in the deep work, but NOT in the group/community aspect that the program offers. Here’s to knowing what works best for YOU! If you fall in that camp and really want to work with me on your leadership plans for 2019, or your business mapping, or, or, or, then consider a Star Tipping Intensive with me. Due to the “intensive” (heh) nature, I can only offer a limited number per quarter and I have only three left in February. Annnnnnnd, the price is going up in June. Want details? Hit me up here.

This week, I broke down how the Impostor Complex wants us to go alone(If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s the upshot: don’t let it. Because it is an illusion that any of us need to go any of this alone.) Next week, I’ll be shining the light on the second objective of the Impostor Complex. The one that has you doubt your capacity. Like, when you downplay your successes and chalk them up to luck, fluke, or timing… you know the drill. Please forward this email to your friends to be sure to have them sign up to my list here.

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I am super excited to be speaking at the 2019 Social Change Forum hosted by Project Kinect in Madison, WI in February. The heart and thought and energy that Gregg Potter is pouring into this is palpable and I intend to BRING IT. Raise your hands up high where I can see them, my Wisconsin friends!

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I think a lot about Caroline McHugh’s quote in an exquisite and well-circulated article about the collective grief around Prince's death a couple of years back.

“[There] are individuals who managed to figure out the unique gift that the universe gave them when they incarnated, and they put that in the service of their goals…

And when we see these people, we invariably call them larger than life. Life is large, but most of us don’t take up nearly the space the universe intended for us. We take up this wee space ‘round our toes, which is why when you see somebody in the full flow of their humanity, it’s remarkable. They’re at least a foot bigger in every direction than normal human beings, and they shine, they gleam, they glow. It’s like they swallowed the moon.”

So this new section is devoted to the folx who look like they have swallowed the moon. Whether they have fully stepped into their Starring Roles, are living out their Brand of Joy, are staring down their Impostor Complex, or are embodying Unshakeable Confidence.

Here’s some level setting:

Oprah at the 2018 Golden Globes.

And Beyoncé at the MVA Awards.

Fare thee well, Mary Oliver. Thank you for your heart and your words and your brutal and exquisite honesty.

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” - Mary Oliver, 9/10/1935 - 1/17/2019

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This is a passage of my book that I completed this week. It will be a dedication to someone who has influenced me and inspired me in the most quiet and powerful way.

On a long drive home from the east coast one August day not so very long ago, we were in that sweet and comfortable wordless space that comes from plenty of time spent together. Nothing needed to be said. Natalie Merchant crooned softly about River Phoenix as we coasted through the White Mountains in Vermont on our way back home to Canada.

Present to my current joy but with an eye on the year to come, my mind kept playing out what’s next in my business, turning over options and vetting my excitement level. Wondering when I’d FINALLY make time to write my book. This book.

We pulled into the teensiest border outpost I’ve ever seen. Out came the border guard from her hut that was on the passengers’ side. My side. A tiny black woman with close-cropped hair, and dancing eyes. She asked my husband, Greg the requisite questions about alcohol and purchases. He answered. She nodded, then tilted her head towards me and looked me straight in the eye. Something new appeared in her face. An unforgettable blend of curiosity and deep knowing. She asked me when my book would finally get written.

Dumbfounded, I sputtered that I hoped soon.

She said, I hope so too, Honey. The world needs it.

She then shook her head as if to break the spell, and waved us through.

Over the past years, as I wrote and fretted and sweated and edited, I’ve never forgotten that look on her face. Divinely guided. She knew. She just knew.

So, thank you, Vermont Border Guard. Thank you for listening to the Angels that whispered the words I needed to hear. I’m coming for you, this very book in my hand. I hope you’re a hugger.

Checking in on those Grief Strategies (Video)

In last week’s Friday Finale, I shared that this is a tricky number of days on the calendar.

And I’ve heard from scores of you that this has been true for you as well.

You’ve also shared the beautiful ways you have dealt with your griefs and I have been truly grateful. In fact, some of your ideas have found their way into MY ways of navigating the grief.

I’ve been stress-testing the strategies I mentioned in last week’s Friday Finale:

  • Forging new traditions.

  • Plans to review investment and philanthropic strategies.

  • Assembling the Cast.

  • Asking for what I need.

  • Focusing on more of more and less on less.

As I type this, it’s December 27. The day my Mom passed in 2004. And the day my father signed over Power of Attorney to me in 2017.

Tricky, to be sure.

Also physically tricky as I’ve sprained my middle finger (metaphor for much of 2018, perhaps.)

So I’ve opted to shoot you a video for my accountability check-in (run time: approximately 15 minutes).

As you release that which needs to be released from 2018 and welcome in the new of 2019, I wish you more of what you wish more of and less of what you wish less of. And invite you to pay attention to what is receiving the gift of said precious and finite attention.

I've got some big plans for 2019 that I can’t wait to share with you, so I’ll see you on the other side of 2018, mmkay?

I find it helpful…

I find it helpful to know somebody I think the world of somewhere is trying to get rid of an earworm.

I also find it helpful...

...to remember that most everyone is in denial about their current age.

...to listen to stories of barriers people that don’t look like me face so I can dial down my judgment and ramp up my resolve.

...to know that everyone gets interrupted by someone. And it is annoying, but it doesn’t mean as much as we make it out to mean.

...to remember that everyone needs comfort.

...to remember that the patriarchy wins when we spend time tearing ourselves and each other down...instead of the patriarchy. (Distinction ahoy: I’m not talking about calling in. I’m talking about tearing down.)

...to be reminded that there are no actual experts in anything but our own lives.

...to see that sometimes even when it feels right, it is still technically wrong. (Fifth clap in the Friends theme song, anyone?)

...to know that no matter how long I live, I will still find out stuff that I can’t believe I didn’t know. It’s true: You know more than you think and you will never know it all. Me too.

...to appreciate that there will be moments of grace found in the way the sun bathes an object with golden light so startling that you will be brought to your knees. No matter what thought preceded the moment.

...to remember that we are all cool kids in someone else’s eyes.

...to see that I have done incredible things. And I will continue to do so. As long as I keep showing up. And learning. And recalibrating. And staying open. And receiving the help. Because I sure as shit didn’t do any of it entirely alone.

...to keep coming back to the fact that our teachers and ancestors must to be acknowledged. Give thanks.

...to remember that I will not remember the worry in my heart that I was holding when I was on the couch and her feet were tucking into my knees...but I will remember the feeling of her feet in my knees.

...to remember there is a big difference between getting noticed and being seen.

...to know, really know, that self love is when we love ourselves...but self care is when we prove it.

...to see that We all assume the worst the best we can.

...to remember that I am not my thoughts. I am not my thoughts. I am not my thoughts. AND YET. Sometimes those thoughts are rooted in very real fears. So...both. And.

...to always keep in mind that no matter who they are, from Maya Angelou to John Lennon. From Lupita Nyong'o to Albert Einstein...if you’re up to amazing things, you WILL experience the Impostor Complex. And the only way through is some magical combination that only you can conjure of rooting into your capacity, meeting the critics, gathering your people and hours lived.

Not the helpful post on navigating grief over the holidays I THOUGHT I would write...

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Earlier this week, I shared on Insta Stories that I was intent on writing out some tips to how to navigate grief over the holidays.

I had grand plans to give you the Solid Top Five That Really Work™. That would be most useful and helpful to you. Now and always.

These are MY ways of managing my own grief this holiday season.

  • Forging new traditions.

  • Plans to review investment and philanthropic strategies.

  • Assembling the Cast.

  • Asking for what I need.

  • Focusing on more of more and less on less.

And they DO work.

Or at least, they have held so far.

But the truth is, we are just now on top of the dates that are and will be the hardest for me to be with. So I’m still in the messy middle of it all.

Backing up.

My mother died December 27, 2004.

Backing up.

She went into cardiac arrest on December 18, 2004.

Backing up.

She was on “day release” from the hospital. It was supposed to be the day she would be well enough to do the shopping she had missed out on and other Christmas things (Christmas is our tradition). But since it had become clear that she was going to spend Christmas in the hospital and likely for a spell longer than we had anticipated, she asked us to come by the house and tend to the things she wanted tending to that she was concerned weren’t happening while she was “away." (Away sounds so much lovelier, doesn’t it? Like she was at a spa in Arizona, rather than stuck in a stale hospital room while her team of care tried to figure out which one of her failing organs needed to be addressed next.)

My sister and I spent the day ironing linens and fussing about her. I lotioned her frail and thin-skinned feet. She was swathed in the fuchsia mohair afghan I had knitted. Dad served her the oysters my brother-in-law had ordered in from a friend in Nova Scotia. She smiled wanly as we scolded her when she smoked her cigarettes. I think I want to feel badly about this, but I don’t. My sister and I left before my husband Greg did. He stayed behind to help Dad get Mom into the car when it was time for her to go “back”. I don’t remember the last words I said to her. Nor hers to me. Probably “I love you. I love you very much.” I may have even sung her our song. Maybe she sang it back.

Greg told me later that when he was helping her down the stairs, she looked very frightened. I can’t recall if she actually told him that or not. I’ll ask him later tonight.

My sister and I were back at my house, talking but not really. Greg came home and poured us all drinks. He and I would be heading to a holiday party shortly. My sister was going to stay over and take care of our 8-month old. I was putting on some sparkly brown eyeliner - the kind I would only ever wear to a holiday party - when the call came in. From my Dad.

She had gone into cardiac arrest on the car ride back to the hospital.

At that moment, our friends arrived to walk us over to the party. I don’t remember what I said. I’ll ask them tomorrow night.

There’s not much more to say about that horrific night.

She went into a coma.

The next week was spent... there’s not much more to say about that horrific week.

But it became clearer and clearer she wasn’t coming “back." No matter what plans my Dad had for making the house more accessible. No matter what deals he tried to make with his God. No matter... anything.

The doctors wanted her to get through Christmas. Meaning, they didn’t want her to die on Christmas because they knew that grief would be inextricably linked with that celebration.

So, she died on the 27th. The irony, of course, is that my sister and I took up smoking that week. We were all outside with our rediscovered habit when she died. We came back to her room to see a nurse covering her with a sheet. The nurse had tears in her eyes. She had just lost family to the tsunami in Indonesia. She and my father hugged.

I don’t recall if I told my brother-in-law that those oysters were the last thing she ate. I’ll ask him on Christmas Day.

Going forward.

My dying father finally signed the Power of Attorney over to me on December 27, 2017. There’s not much more to say about that horrific day.

He died on January 3, 2018. I do remember his last words: “I love you. I love you very much.”

Here now.

So yes.

  • Forging new traditions.

  • Plans to review investment and philanthropic strategies.

  • Assembling the Cast.

  • Asking for what I need.

  • Focusing on more of more and less on less.

So far, they are holding strong.

I’m allowing for the grief when she shows up. Pouring her a tea when I can, and pushing her away when I can’t.

And we’ll see how said strategies hold for the days to come.

But here’s what I promise: I’ll keep working on the strategies to help me with my grief and I’ll let you know how it goes next Friday.

Do we have a deal?

In the meantime, please know this:

I am profoundly grateful to you. For your time and attention. For your thoughtfulness and kindness. For your ideas and comments and questions. For letting me know how my work and life and business helps you in your work and life and business. It’s everything.

And I want deeply on your behalf. I am wishing you love, joy, and peace. And for you to navigate any and all of the grief that you hold in your heart with care. Any and ALL.

This may be the last time we offer the Starring Role Academy.

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Happy Friday, All!

I’m dead-smack in the middle of the launch of my 2019 Starring Role Academy which begins in January and, Honey? I am tiiiiiiiiiired. I’m excited and delighted by who has shown up and cannot wait to see who is yet to step in and UP in 2019.

But I’m tired, so I’ve taken a mid-week break and a stretch to rest and allow something to come to light that was only a shadow in the periphery before.

2019 will be the final cohort of the Starring Role Academy exactly as it is. It will be different in 2020 IF we rerun it. Not because it isn't the best thing (next to co-creating my Kid) that I've ever created, but rather, it's telling me it wants to shift.

And I pay impeccable attention to my vision.

My vision scares me, to be certain. It’s asking me to leave behind something that I know like the back of my hand. It’s asking more of me than I ever (thought I) have had to give. It’s demanding and relentless and unyielding. And I am obedient to her. Like I have been all along. That’s what Integrity looks like, for me.

It’s uncomfortable.

Two inextricably linked and irrevocably certain truths:

I can’t afford to allow the Impostor Complex to have me whittle back on my vision any more than you can.

To lose myself in people-pleasing.
To allow my boundaries to bend to the will of others.
To be shut down by comparison.
To dim my light for fear of hitting up against anyone else’s limits for me. (Naw. I’ll be tending to my light, thankyouverymuch.)
To avoid the potential risk in procrastination.
To stay locked in the confoundingly circular game of ready when perfect which really means perfect when ready.

So I’m doing what I beseech my clients, my readers, my friends, and everyone who has yet to fully step into their vision.

I’m coming back to all the times I’ve stood here before, on the discomfiting precipice. I’ve seen this vista before. I know the undulations of the landscape and remember the wind across my face.

Do you?

There is a time and a space between. It is an uncomfortable space to be certain.
This discomfort only lasts as long as you choose to stand here.

There are no launch codes to your life, your art, your movement. There is just the decision.

So, let’s jump.

If you are wanting to work with me in 2019, the Starring Role Academy is the only way to do so longer-term, as I am going to be focused on giving my all to the glorious Lights in the Starring Role Academy, getting my book done, and committing to the In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler podcast which is already taking on a life of its own (and we haven’t even relaunched it). And bringing my vision’s wishes to life. Because... I can’t not.

What jump are you making in 2019? Tell me. I want to know.


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I’m not allowed to read Michelle Obama’s new book because there have been winks and head jerks and nudges every time I mention it that have me guessing that a certain 14-year-old in my house may have used her babysitting bucks to make sure it’s under the tree for me.

But. AND, you know I’m devouring everything about the book EXCEPT the book. And my inbox is full of folx sharing press tour articles about Queen MO talking about her Impostor Complex (she calls it “Syndrome," but okay) So far, this super quick Jezebel read has been my favourite. She straight up calls it: “That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”

Unless you come from great privilege.

Her crucial strategy to overcoming the Impostor Complex? "Finding support from people who believed in her after a high school guidance counselor told her she 'was not Princeton material.'"

Not everyone wants you to succeed. But YOUR PEOPLE do. Let them help you.

PLEASE.

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Curious to see how the Impostor Complex coping mechanisms of people-pleasing, leaky boundaries, comparison, diminishment, procrastination, and perfectionism uniquely work against you when it comes to self-development work LIKE the Starring Role Academy? I’ve been unpacking this on a mini series of Facebook Lives on my business page. Follow me on Facebook to find out when I’m tackling the one that’s most in YOUR way. Today at 10:30am EST, I’ll be talking about DIMINISHMENT.

Deb Nicholson on the Undeniable Call of Convergence

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Deb Nicholson is a fierce-hearted woman. A Domestic Violence Activist, Leader, and Facilitator for most of her life, she is an unstoppable force.

Except when it came to one teeeeensy part of her life. Which ended up being, like, EVERYTHING.

“I wanted to own myself as a writer. I wanted to do more speaking. And I wanted to integrate my career’s worth of experience in addressing violence against women. I wanted to converge all of these things in a meaningful way,” she says.

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So she reached out to me. I remember our first conversation like it was yesterday. The radiance around this woman was impossible to ignore. I heard the DV work as integral to who she was... but it was ONE PIECE of her purpose. In incredibly vital piece, to be certain. But her writer’s heart, the same fierce heart that sat and held and heard the most unthinkably horrific stories... undeniable.

“Tanya really understood my potential and really reinforced that I was already all the things I wanted to be,” Deb said. “It was that one conversation that made me decide to join the Academy.”

Once in the Academy, D immersed herself in the content and in the community. “The Academy offered me so many resources. Because the course was quite intensive and also nine months long, there was the opportunity to somewhat rewire and change my brain chemistry.

“Having someone there to kick me up the backside in recognizing when my impostor complex was creeping in — before I was able to recognize it for myself — has been some kind of miracle!”

This direction, and the reinforcement of her fellow Star Steppers, was, well... appreciated. “The kind of deep connection Tanya provided I think is really rare,” she said. “Having a group of women who can support each other and hold each other up in the way that we did was so valuable. It became a community and a sisterhood. It was far and away the greatest model of self-work I’ve ever done. There was accountability without pressure.”

In the end, the changes Deb experienced were palpable, and the results were unequivocal. “I’m taking my idea of convergence and leading it into integration. I’ve been able to make huge changes in my life, like realizing my dream of moving to France and focusing on my writing.

“The Academy provided all of the coaching that I needed to just go for it. The biggest win of all has been being able to see myself and my potential in the way that others have seen me throughout the program.”

And THAT, friends, is my EVERYTHING.

And guess what? She’s coming back to the Starring Role Academy in 2019.

I cannot WAIT to see what the next year is going to hold for this Warrior Woman. And to JOIN her at her June Volcano Writing Retreat. Check out her retreats here. What's not to love about an all inclusive retreat in a château in the French Pyrenees?

And your next year? What convergence will be leading to integration in 2019 for you? Hit reply. I’d love to know.

PS - You will get to meet Deb, JennNic, and Michelle as well as some of the other INCREDIBLE Lights of the previous Starring Role Academy cohorts when you join us for a FREE Open House Dec 12th at 7p EST. You can grab your spot here.


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The curtains to the 2019 Starring Role Academy are now OPEN and we are almost halfway sold out!

And if you are thinking about it but have some Q's, you can book a private call with me to discuss discuss this TODAY. This is the heart of my work. It's the all of what I do. It is my greatest joy and I already feel a pang as I say that this will be the last year that I run it exactly as it is.

So this year, I'm pouring even more of myself into it. New depths, new levels, all that I have.

Curious to see how the Impostor Complex coping mechanisms of people-pleasing, leaky boundaries, comparison, diminishment, procrastination, and perfectionism uniquely work against you when it comes to self-development work LIKE the Starring Role Academy? I’ll be unpacking this over the next six days on a mini series of Facebook Lives on my business page. Starting TODAY at 10:30am EST. Follow me on Facebook to find out when I’m tackling the one that’s most in YOUR way.I’m starting with a bang with PEOPLE-PLEASING. (My personal brand of IC.)

Jenn Sutkowski on sharing the music.

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I watched Jenn Sutkowski throughout 2019 with no small amount of awe.

A creative who is an intoxicating blend of radiance and boldness, alongside tenderness and kindness. Her heart is both fierce and soft. The ANDness you know so well.

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As a self-described “business of one,” she often found herself to be her own worst critic.“I don't have a whole team that's saying, ‘Oh yeah, it's great!’ so my inner critic can be very loud. The inner critic and the Imposter Complex like to work together to stop me from living my dreams.”

Which is no bueno given the amount of talent she has to share with the world through writing business, her work as a memoirist and, most recently, an album of songs.

And THAT is why she joined the Starring Role Academy this year. Lucky, lucky us.

She said this about the first time we spoke. “Tanya has an amazing gift to just see right into you. I felt known, very fast and in a super genuine way, which is quite rare.

“By the time our first call was over I could tell that being part of the Academy was going to be a very nourishing experience.”

She hit the ground running, focusing on her inner critics and the underlying values she knew they were holding fast. “[Knowing they were trying to protect me] flipped things around for me, and I now know to focus on excellence, deep connection, and innovation in my work. I learned to see that part of myself as an ally.”

So. I loved watching her do this work. Of course. Driven, smart, radiant, folx digging deep and in is my greatest thrill.

And there was another level to my connection with her too.

See, I lost my Dad in January. She lost her Dad in March. We had both already lost our mothers. It’s an odd and beautiful and precious thing to be able to see such a familiar ache in someone AS you watch them soar.

But it was the loss of her Dad, who had been a huge champion of her music, that made her realize that life was too short not to finally finish and share her first album. She quotes Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

She said: “Thanks to The Academy, I've done a lot of creative work that I don't think I would have completed otherwise. I realized I am super vulnerable around my music, and this work brought me to the decision that if I'm working on new music, I also need to release the stuff that I have been working on for years. I need to share my art as I create it.”

And getting the help to gather her team to produce this first album was BIIIIIIG Impostor Complex-busting stuff.

“I’m an artist who very much likes to be in my own cave,” she explains. “I don’t like to involve others in my work until absolutely necessary. Even when creating my music I was reluctant to involve an engineer as I worried that what I created at home wouldn’t be good enough."

But she did.

Again: lucky, lucky us.

She did the work. And the Academy was there to support her. And to CELEBRATE her.

“Women are so powerful, but we’re considered too big for our britches if we express joy in what we've created. The Academy really encouraged everyone to celebrate their own accomplishments and see that as the norm instead of the ‘good girls don't brag’ thing. There were so many amazing women in the Academy to share with.”

“The Academy is set up so well from beginning to end. The work is simple — not easy. It's just the right amount of work, and it's deep work too.”

Simple, not easy is our mantra, ‘round here.

But my favourite quote from her about the work we do in the Academy MUST be this: "It's like throwing the inner critic a valium tucked into a piece of cheese."

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Good, right? I’m sharing Jenn’s story with you today, November 23, because it’s the day her beloved Mama passed away and ALSO her parents’ wedding anniversary. (The first she is observing with neither parent alive... this is not easy to navigate, I can tell you, just having done this myself two weeks ago)Will you do me a solid and send her a big blast of love by going to check out her album today? It’s ethereal, unique, charming, brilliant, and powerful. Just like Jenn. (And that beauty on the cover? Her Mom. Who looks shockingly like my own.)

Life is short. What’s the music in you that needs to be expressed?

PS - If you think the Starring Role Academy is the place for you tame your Critics, overcome the Impostor Complex so your precious work can get out into the world and you could use the coaching, community and content to get you there, I’m hosting a week of open calls to discern fit next week. Grab your spot here.


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It’s endlessly fascinating to me where the Impostor Complex shows up. I mean, it usually shows on the precipice of something new...but when it shows up, it’s ALWAYS on the precipice of something important. Entrepreneurship, leadership, creativity, speaking, activism, and parenting... whatever MATTERS. This recent batch of podcast interviews spans the gamut of where and how it shows up:

Start-ups and Entrepreneurship - I really enjoyed getting to know Naomi Mdudu of The Lifestyle Edit.She is as delightful as she is no-nonsense. We talked about how the Impostor Complex shows up when you are starting up a business.

Relationships and Dating - Last week was the first time that I’ve been interviewed about how the Impostor Complex impacts dating and love. Because, like I told Sandy Weiner, my gracious host: “It keeps us from ourselves. When we’re kept from ourselves, we can’t connect deeply with others.” That’s just true.

Endurance Sports - I cherish any time with coach and author Jen Brown of Sparta Chicks. We spoke last year about the Impostor Complex and this year, we dove into Unshakeable Confidence. Fearlessly. Like we do.

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I am savouring making sourdough bread. Turns out, I really am becoming more like my father every day. It all started with drinking black coffee and running out of patience for ignorance, which has been curious to witness in myself. But I do believe I have just started to pick up the trail for his lifelong pursuit of the perfect sourdough recipe. I’m not sure this was it, but it was pretty good. And fun to make.

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On Monday morning, we are opening the doors to the 2019 Starring Role Academy. This may just be THE year to get the extra support in the form of content, coaching, and community to help you EXPAND into your own greatest desires. 

It’s not for everyone, but it MAY be for you, so I’ve opened up my schedule NEXT WEEK to book private 1:1 calls to see if it’s right for you.

You and me, heart to heart. Schedule our chat TODAY for time next week (from Nov 26th to 30th). I’m DEEPLY interested in what’s next for you.

Nic Strack on rooting into truth.

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Nic Strack has the kind of energy that enters the room before her. You know those magical people?

It’s fueled by a palpable radiance and a heart so pure and a hashtag game so strong and a laugh that transcends infectiousness. In this moment, I can actually hear it. And though I’m feeling seriously rotten with a cold brought on by this mid-November dreich, I can feel myself warming up from the inside just conjuring that laugh.

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So today’s Friday Finale shines the spotlight on her and the way she is in the world.

Like most entrepreneurs we love and admire, Nic Strack had both a mission and an unrelenting drive to bring that mission to the world.

She decided to start a business where she would support mamas in turning inward and using their own knowing as their guiding force, instead of constantly feeling insecure and looking outside of themselves for the “right” answers.

Big stuff.

But before launching, Nic realized that to be true to her dream, she had her own personal development to address.

For as long as should could remember, she didn’t experience complete alignment when being called a “tomboy,” because it didn’t accurately capture her whole experience of gender. She once danced on the surface of exploring genderqueerness, but quickly backed away for fear of how much her life would change should she continue down that road of exploration.

A few years later, after feeling like a part of her had been erased while being pregnant, giving birth, and experiencing her first year as a mom, she finally decided to courageously explore her own gender identity. As she spent more time discussing gender with her queer best friends, she also started to spend more time in queer spaces.

“For the first time in my life, I was in groups where I felt immediately accepted — no questions asked,” she shared. “It was then that I realized I’d lived my entire life without feeling that kind of deep unspoken belonging.”

Around the same time, a friend introduced Nic to the Unshakeable Confidence masterclass I taught last November (I just may re-run it, come to think of it!).

“When I watched that webinar, I knew Tanya’s offering was something I needed, not just in a business context, but for my whole life. I thought it would be incredible to start my business having such a strong foundation of my own sense of self.

“I had a half-hour discovery call with Tanya, and she named things I was already secretly thinking about. She really SAW me.” Nic joined the Starring Academy soon after, and well, she soared.

“The first four months of the program involved so much unraveling I needed to do, and the last four were about rebuilding a stronger, more solid sense of self,” Nic said. “In the group Tanya created, I felt safe asking the other members to hold anything and everything with me, and I was met with such beautiful witnessing and support and love. It bolstered me to want to explore my gender identity and my gender expression even more.”

She made the wildly courageous decision to come out to her family as genderqueer in early September.

“When I sat down to have that conversation with my parents, I was able to truly sit there in my grown-up self and not be asking them for validation. My attitude going in was ‘This is the truth of who I am, and I want you to know that.’ I could feel the love and the support of the people in The Academy because I had asked for it — literally... I asked the group that at 7:30pm, please send as much love and support as you can!

"I hadn’t imagined, even earlier this year, so definitely not a year ago, that by September 2018 I would have come out to my parents and would be ready to publicly be out in the world. I am clear that I tapped into my courage and congruence to do so because I was in The Academy.

"There are the two sides of work that were done [in the Academy]. It was the way that I showed up for the work, and the way that the work showed up for me.

“These last nine months have skyrocketed me.”

Yeah. She SHOWS UP. For herself, her husband, her daughter, and her life in the most authentic and fulfilling ways. With that laugh that skyrockets ME.

And honestly... where she’s headed next?

WHEW.

Nic and I both want to know... what part of your truth have you been hiding in order to appear more socially palatable?


PS - You will get to meet Nic and some of the other INCREDIBLE Lights of the previous Starring Role Academy cohorts if you join us for a FREE Open House Dec 12th at 7p EST. You can grab your spot here.  You’ll also meet Jo and Lacy whose stories we shared over on social media over the past two weeks!

Michelle Mazur is leading the Three-Word Rebellion.

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And she is STELLAR.

She also happened to be in the Starring Role Academy this past year and is one of the Lights I promised to tell you about.

She showed up to the Academy with a lot under her accomplishment belt.

With a Ph.D in Communication, she had already published two books and run courses for entrepreneurs looking to hone their unique message and find their audience. With her latest book - The Three-Word Rebellion - being readied for publication, she realized that the success she envisioned for her own business was juuuuuust out of reach.

“I was getting in my own way. I wasn't showing up consistently, wasn't telling people about the work that I was doing in the world. I wasn't playing a bigger game,” she shared. “I was kind of hiding out and flying under the radar.”

Sound familiar? That’s precisely what the Impostor Complex does. No matter what you’ve done before, it will have you discount it. And it will have you downplay the VERY THINGS you are intended to build upon. Sneaky bastard.

This realization led Michelle to the Starring Role Academy, and an even more profound “a-ha” moment.

“Before this year I thought I didn’t know what I wanted my business to be. The fact is that I did know, but it was easier to hide behind the excuse that I didn't because what I wanted was so big, so audacious, and so visibility-demanding that it would take a lot of transformation. The Academy finally helped me to say this out loud.”

Michelle started with the Starring Role Playbook, which set her on the right course from a content perspective, but really underscored her desire for much deeper support through enrollment in the Academy.

“The calls with Tanya and the one-on-one feedback that are incorporated into the Academy are definitely some of the best work that I've done,” she said, “as well as the community where you can share your ‘a-ha’ moments when you’ve figured out a pattern that you're currently trapped in.”

But the real value of the Academy for Michelle was realizing that the key to her success was not focusing on making money or the work of her perceived “competitors,” but rather the inherent value of what she was creating and delivering. Which is A LOT.

“Even when someone does something similar, I know how different it is, and so then I can still be supportive and celebrate them while knowing that I am badass and can do good work. My work is meaningful and there are clients who will want to work with me because of it. And I'll actually have a six-figure business this year because I'm well on track.”

With a newly-invigorated approach to her work through the Academy, Michelle has launched her Three-Word Rebellion and hundreds of entrepreneurs are creating their own unique rallying cry that’s growing their business and launching their movement.

“If you are feeling at that place where you're stuck and you're not getting where you want to go, no matter what you try, then it's time to look inward and see what's really going on, what's really holding you back, because it's most likely not your business or what you do or how much you know. It's going to be the stuff like the Impostor Complex and the Inner Critic, the patterns that you don't even know you foster, that have to be unearthed in order for you to move forward. And that’s where the Academy can help you.”

Like I said. She’s STELLAR.

In fact, listen for yourself. I had the sublime pleasure of being her guest on her Rebel Rising podcast. We talked all about Unshakeable Confidence and she shared her own experience with Diminishment and her journey back towards Presence. Thanks be.

Michelle sez my rebellion is around Unshakeable Confidence.

I’m curious. If you were leading your own Three Word Rebellion, what would you call it?