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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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!

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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?

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YOUR people... and how you know.

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In interviews, I’m often asked what my most fundamental belief is.

I have many... as do you.

My mama’s mantra: “Don’t postpone joy," is ever a chart-topper.

But the one that I tend to find myself saying is most often:

“YOUR people want you to succeed.”

It may seem pat, but when I feel into what it is that folx listening need to hear and know? It’s that.

“YOUR people want you to succeed.”

Hear this though:

NOT EVERYONE.
But YOUR people do.

In my household, we have been reciting Maya Angelou’s axiom “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” since my Kid was old enough to have her heart broken by her peers.

But who are YOUR people?

It’s a question I try to answer as best as I can.

I say things like:

They are the ones committed to you knowing what you are HERE for.
They are the ones committed to you showing up in your PRESENCE.
The ones who are not afraid of your power.
The ones who encourage you to know your self.
The ones who encourage you to show yourself reverence.

But Nayyirah Waheed says it so much more clearly. Like she does.

This is NOW what we ask in our household when we are trying to discern our people:

Are they expanders?
Are they contractors?
Or are they neutral?

This IS how you know.

This is how you know who to COUNT on.
This is how you know who to RELEASE.
And this is how you know who can stick around... at least for the time being.

This is how you know who YOUR people are.

And trust me.
YOUR people want you to succeed.
That’s just true. (They told me so.)

How do you know who YOUR people are? Comment below and let me know.


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I wanted to take some time to make sure you know about some of the fantastic things MY business friends are up to. The ones whose stories make ME expand. In the hopes that they will do the same for you.

My pal Theresa Reed is some kind of magic. That’s just truth. And every Sunday I receive her Astro-Biz digest. And it’s how I map out my week. Now you know. And now you can too. (Unrelated...we share a love of noodles.)

Tara McMullin has been one of my most trusted business besties for close to a decade. I am lucky that way. And she is convening her next Venture Mastermind/Montana retreat right now.It’s not going to be for everyone... but it’s for some big thinking business folx ready to VENTURE. Maybe it’s for you?

Jo Casey is running a free class on Saturday the 20th of October (replays available for those who register and can’t make it) called How To Create An Unstoppable Business where she’ll go through her (BRILLIANT) methodology and provide a framework for building an authentic and profitable coaching or healing business. You can sign up here. She’s a marvel.

You know how people talk about creating Patreon page but don’t know how to go about doing so... or even if it’s the right thing? Monica Herald is offering a brainstorming/ exploratory call for those considering Patreon as a creative playground that offers sustainability and community. Cost? $100. You can read more here.

Stay tuned for some pretty boss things happening in MY business.
Expanding and deepening.
My favourite energies.

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Two words no one EVER wants to see on a feedback form...

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The two words no one EVER wants to see on a feedback form?

“VERY POOR.”

And yet, I did.

It was just this past June. I mean, I survived, ‘n all, but still. Settle in.

I had been speaking at a conference in Florida. It felt fantastic. I was connecting with the audience and could even feel the naysayers coming around. There was laughter and tears of recognition and relief and a huge line of well-wishers after the fact. All signs pointed to #stellar.

So when the email came in with the results of the feedback form a couple of weeks later, I ignored my own rule about reading emails on the weekend as I was eagerly anticipating the sweet nectar of glorious praise. Because yum, right?

My eyes scanned the results, passed the rows of “excellent” and landed on the one “very poor.” I stared so hard it burned my retina.

I felt sick and I immediately thought of the pitch proposal ready to go out the next morning for another gig. My only thought was: Nope. Not gonna do this again.

Okay. Let’s pause here.

I’ve been at this speaking business long enough to know better and yet, I was hooked. 
I’ve been at this Impostor Complex work long enough to know better and yet, I was hooked.

Lie #3 of the Impostor Complex is that we are “all or nothing,” remember? So although this is my work, I keep coming around and around and around to it.

Clearly, I am sharing this moment of abject human-being because I know you get hooked too. It’s what we do. We want praise. And we want to avoid criticism. That’s just true. I've heard Oprah say that every single guest on her show (Gloria Steinem! Sidney Poitier!) over the years asked her how they did when the cameras stopped rolling.

So I got hooked, but I didn’t get stopped. Because that’s what the Impostor Complex would have me do. Stay out of action. Feel alone and isolated. Doubt my capacity.

Here’s what I did instead:

  1. I allowed myself to feel it all. The petulance. The snark. The nastiness. The shame. The disappointment. Then I tore my eyes away from those two words, closed them, and required myself to take in the truth as I felt it on that stage as well as the emails I’d received in the days that followed the gig. Sense of capacity restored.

  2. I reached out to a dear friend who facilitates a LOT. She had some wise counsel and plenty of compassion. She helped me to dig into the balance of the feedback and get to the honey of the evaluation. No one needs to do any of this alone. 

  3. And I made the pitch for the next gig. (Which I won.) Action for the win.

Happily ever after, yes?

It was. But still.

With all of that said? I’ll confess that it wasn’t until yesterday when I spoke with that client again who shared that I was, in the end, the top-rated speaker of the conference that I could fully receive the praise and glowing comments living in that feedback form:

  • amazing job

  • very entertaining

  • content was powerful

  • thought-provoking

  • SO IMPRESSED!!!

  • lively presentation style with great charisma

  • The content was INCREDIBLY relevant

  • This is probably my biggest takeaway of the whole conference

  • Tanya is a great speaker

  • LOVED her, the topic, the messages

So, yeah. I know better. But still so much for me to know much MUCH better.

In love and all humanness,

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This interview with Michelle and Nicole of The Sparkle Hour was pure delight. We talked about joy and grief and activation and sparkles and it was exquisite. (And they even said so!)

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I’m celebrating YOU. You made my birthday last week some kind of wonderful. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.


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Happy Birthday to us, TG!

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Hey, You -

You did it, boo. You really did it. Another cycle around the sun.

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See those fabulous lines around your mouth and eyes?
Let’s talk about them.

You didn’t sleep, move and hydrate enough.
It’s okay.
You’ve had your hands full.
Let’s recap.

You lost your Dad and found the ground still firm beneath you.
You’re deepening into the analysis of your work with the Impostor Complex. And it is LIFE.
The Kid is rocking high school.
You made good on your promises to others...and even kept many to yourself.
Your clients are kicking ass and taking names.
Your near-health scare and a near-car accident reminded you twice in three weeks that life is precious and not to be taken lightly.
And.
You’ve taken life lightly and that was good too.
You’ve loved your man big and wide and deep and true.
Your speaking is on fire.
You felt the mountain rain.
You spread Dad’s ashes everywhere in France that he requested, and found laughter and tears in all the spots.
You launched a super useful quiz that helps folx unpack the impact of the Impostor Complex.
You let some people go who didn’t value your love and time and affections. With ease.
You welcomed in many more. Your people. Your really REAL people.
You beautified your home with a new backyard.
You journeyed with thirty women in the Starring Role Academy and you will never ever ever be the same. (In the words of one of your truest loves, “give thanks”.)
You tried to get along with Instagram.
You spent precious time with the family you were given and spent sacred time with the family you chose. (Like this one who just knows.)
You said hard things. And you held back on saying a couple of hard things too. (Let’s not do that any longer, okay?)
You gave and received.
You wrote good words and your beloved readers told you that they were so. And you hope that you have managed to convey your deepest gratitude for them.
You celebrated the micro steps. You learned from the missed steps. You integrated the meaningful steps. And you stepped up.

And so today, you will celebrate. You will do the thing you have said for the last ten years that you would like to do. No work, just rest in celebration. This is one more promise you have made to yourself that you will keep today. You can celebrate that too.

Tomorrow is a new day. And what a day filled with surprises for some. Maybe even for you.

And the year ahead?
Still so bright, you’re gonna needs shades. And to roll up your sleeves. There’s work to be done.
And I’m here for it.

Love love,
Me

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Three truths.

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I swear that I WILL give you a rest from hearing about my Kid entering into high school... soon. But for the moment, it’s still a grade-A biggie for me.

As her parent, for sure. I shared why this was so significant over on Instagram this week.

But also, as a student of the Impostor Complex. You see, my daughter is now of the age that I was when I started to notice the Impostor Complex in myself

Or rather, she is the age I was when I started to exhibit the behavioural traits that we run to to avoid feeling like the Impostor... or to cope with feeling like an Impostor.

The people-pleasing.
The leaky boundaries.
The comparison.
The diminishment.
The perfectionism.
The procrastination (okay... that may have begun pre-high school).

I didn’t know that’s what it was, mind you. And it’s taken me most of my teen years, 20s, 30s, and 40s to understand why I would try to run and hide in those behaviours that were doing me more harm than good. Because you can run, but you cannot hide.

That much has always been clear.

But it’s ALSO clear that in spite of the false starts and insecurities and disconnections and miseries endured from not doing what I’ve claimed I’ve wanted to do, I can see that all along I have ACTUALLY known three truths, and they have guided me up every hill I’ve ever desired to climb:

  1. I don’t have to go this alone. I CAN. But I don’t have to.
  2. I’ve done hard things before. And I can look to those accomplishments as proof of my capacity.
  3. And when the desire is greater than my fear, those fears will not - cannot - stop me.

That’s what I want to remember.
That’s what I want my daughter to remember.
And that’s what I want YOU to remember.

Today.
Every day.

PS - If you want to know which of the behavioural traits of the Impostor Complex is in YOUR way, be sure to take my quiz!


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We’ve been cooking up a beta for a six-week coaching program on Unshakeable Confidence that is limited to 20 people. We’re announcing it next week to the public AND we’ve already sold close to half the spots just by opening our big mouths about it on Instagram (more reason to follow me there!). If you want more info, hit reply and we’ll give you the goods.

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COOKIES. Because first day of high school means we make cookies with pals, doesn’t it? With sprinkles and all the chocolate chips in the cupboard and all the cinnamon? Isn’t THAT how we hang onto to the moments by our fingernails? Probably not, but it was a delicious attempt in any case.

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Jen Louden is a love and a friend and has been a client, but mostly what I want you to know is she does a fantastic job supporting creatives to stay committed to their voices and to be resilient.

She recently wrote, "Fear camouflages itself as confusion and keeps brilliant creative women from the pleasures and successes of a fully expressed life. And fear’s number one choice when trying to trip you up? Your inability to choose. Your refusal to take a seat at the table of desire. To say, 'I want this! And I am willing to work for it!’” Can you relate?!

Jen is working to turn fear of choosing into clarity and ACTION. She’s offering a free challenge to guide you to choose your next creative project with love and in a spirit of enoughness. It starts September 10 for one week ONLY and you can sign up here - so go sign up!

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If you just don’t feel like yourself...

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Every day this week - one full week before the official school year begins - we’ve watched our daughter head off to her new high school (!!!), backpack and high ponytail bouncing off behind her.

Her new school has offered what they call “transition week." We haven’t really known what that was, so have been calling it “boozeless frosh week." But we’ve discovered it’s largely a settling in of taking subways, finding lockers, getting student ID pics, and getting the kids acclimatized for what they keep threatening will be the fast pace of grade 9. And if I’m guessing, I’d say also designed to settle the butterflies of overprotective parents (ahem).

She’s been asking me a ton about high school. We’ve been sharing our highs and lows. Mostly the highs for me. I came ALIVE in high school.

At some point in an epic basement cleanout over the summer, I came across alllllll of my yearbooks. Every last one that I thought I had lost over several moves. Starting from grade 8 all the way through to grade 13 (and if you didn’t know how old I was before and you live in Ontario, NOW you have a sense.)

Stay with me for this next boring point about Ontario’s public school system. Some middle schools went from grade 7-9 and the corresponding high school started in grade 10. That was the track I was on. Other high schools started in grade 9... like my kid’s school.

My middle school years were unpleasant. And so I left the stream after grade 9 and made a fresh start at a new and different high school where I knew no one but two cool guys I coached tennis with. (Which was my version of cool back in the day. Yep.)

But when asked why I left years later, I couldn’t ever really put my finger on it. It wasn’t like I was BULLIED in middle school. I wasn’t in TROUBLE. History is a funny thing and time can either harden or soften the edges. All I recall in my retelling of why I chose to leave the track I was on was that “I just didn’t feel myself.”

My daughter has been curious about that language: “I just didn’t feel like myself.”

And then we opened up my grade 9 yearbook. And she SAW. And I SAW. 
 

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That was the picture my peers chose of me. That was the pose they put me in. They said I looked like Micky Dolenz from the Monkees (never mind the misspelling on my t-shirt). And something about having smelly feet. Okay. Ouch, but okay.

And I, of course, was not the only one poked fun of. The kid who struggled with her weight was put in a sumo suit. The boy who, well... I won’t say more. Let’s just say each of our insecurities were amplified and caricaturized. And far worse. Homophobic, ableist, and racist visual “jokes” on every page. “Hey, lighten up”,right? “It’s just kid’s stuff back in the mid-80’s!”

My daughter was horrified to see the drawings. Wondered who the staff advisor was who allowed for such cruelty.

And thennnnnnnnn we got to the yearbook comments and signatures. Yikes. All but a few were mean-spirited, snarky, thinly-veiled insults. I kept seeing her watch me out of the corner of her eye, wondering how I turned out so well. Feeling her 14-year-old self wanting to reach my 14-year-old self.

We couldn’t get through them all together, my daughter and I. She even proposed we burn the book.

I said: “I told you I didn’t feel like myself there."

Because you know what I see in those eyes of mine? Not a kid who didn’t like herself. Naw. She liked herself juuuuuust fine. But a kid who wasn’t liked. Who wasn’t celebrated. And she couldn’t quite figure out why.

So she decided to leave and go where she might find her people.

And she did.

She started fresh at an entirely new high school. It meant leaving the classmates that she had been with for ten years and going to an entirely different area of the city. It meant disobeying her parents in her first real act of rebellion by sneaking out of the house to enrol herself in said out-of-district school. It meant big fights and lots of tears. It meant uncertainty and lonely lunches for the first month. But she needed to do it.

And she found her people. Many of whom are in her inner circle to this day. Her greatest champions, advocates, and challengers. Her chosen extended family.

It’s not easy to make another choice.

They are often not celebrated.
They are often uncertain and unsure.
But if you have choices available and staying the course is threatening to cause harm to your spirit, you must make it. You must take it.

Especially if on this current track, you don’t feel like yourself.

What is the BEST choice you ever made?


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Speaking of changing what must be changed, we are juuuuuuuuuust about ready to share with you the NEW DIRECTION of my podcast “In the Spotlight Live w/ Tanya Geisler." I am madly in love with all the conversations we had last year (you can find those conversations here), and am ready to go even DEEPER into my exploration of the Impostor Complex... uncollapsing when the barriers to leadership are INTERNAL... and when they are EXTERNAL. It’s TIME for these conversations. They may not be easy. They may be uncertain. They may be messy. And they are ESSENTIAL.

In the Spotlight Podcast with Tanya Geisler
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The business world (especially online) is constantly evolving and this can lead to excitement, opportunity, and at times, overwhelm. We’re told to work longer hours, hustle harder, follow blueprints, "crush it," and "reach six figures" at all costs.

But what if that’s leaving us exhausted, burnt out, disillusioned, and lonely?

Jo Casey is a coach for meaningful business owners and specialises in helping women overcome their feminine conditioning (the messages society gives about how to be a "good" woman) and build businesses that allow us all to thrive.

She’s put together a online, 5-day event focused on conversations about how we can create businesses and lives that are TRULY sustainable. Businesses that are sustainable ethically, emotionally, energetically, and financially.

She’s brought together some of the wisest, funniest, warmest, and most insightful women she knows to share their experiences and expertise in building their own meaningful businesses. And I’m one of them.

Join us here.

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Savouring this exquisitely bittersweet moment of the year. The space between summer and fall here in the northern hemisphere. I’m savouring these last sips of summer. The last of the peaches and the tomatoes and the hot days and thinking of apples and sweaters and fires.

One of our end-of-summer traditions, 40-some years in the making, is to go to the end of summer fair called the CNE. I’ve been taking my daughter and her bestie every year. This may be the last year they’ll let me tag along and buy them crap, but this was the first year my kid got on THAT crazy-assed ride.


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Given that, what now?

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We’ve picked up our daughter from her two-week stint at summer camp (there may have been a tear or two) and we have been reconnecting up at our in-law’s gorgeous cottage for the week.

We are enjoying books, hammock time, s’mores, Monopoly, tennis, and the rain day which saw us baking cookies and devouring lasagna.

As I type this, I hear the two of them on the lake. He’s in the canoe and she’s chasing him on the SUP. She is laughing hysterically as she splashes him with her paddle. She is fully clothed and I suspect will end up in the water soon. (Updated to add: I was correct.)

The days are still hot with a little bite of fall when the wind blows from the east.

The air is clean and the water is cleaner. This is no small thing.

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We give thanks a thousand times a day and it is still insufficient.

All of this grace led to a very complicated and necessary conversation over Monopoly around power, colonialism, white privilege, “the tax,” and generational wealth. (Everything is an opportunity for discussion if you decide to make it so.)

As ever, there were more questions raised than answers given, which has had to be fine. For the moment. Because this moment, you know? It’s truth. It’s what we have. It’s what we know. But THIS time I followed it up with the question my friend Jenn McCabe raises: “Given that, what now?”

This is a question that can cut to the quick... and the true. It won’t quit me.

The game of Monopoly will never be the same for any of us.

Giving thanks for that. And for the good questions. And for the clean water.


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Clearly, I’m savouring much these days. Including:
These intersectional feminist podcasts.
Staci Jordan Shelton’s new digital digs and her new offering ALCHEMY is SUBLIME.
The lake.
This piece from Bari Tessler on firing her CFO.

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Loved my interview with Colleen Gratzer over on Creative Boost. Alllll about the Impostor Complex. She wasn’t afraid to ask the stumpers.

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Have a podcast and want me to speak to your listeners about the Impostor Complex or Unshakeable Confidence? Email me and let's talk.


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Do the work.

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It’s DO THE WORK month in the Starring Role Academy.

There will be products launched.
Self-care regimens implemented.
Sites revealed.

Podcasts RElaunched (*raises hand*).

And a whole host of other things I will hold in sacred confidence.

But the point is... work will be done.

Hey. I know. Oh, how I know. Steve Pressfield said it best and it’s a drum we ALLL bang on.

Why? Because nothing happens without actually doing the work.

Like... nothing.

In the Academy, we’ve set ourselves up pretty well by claiming the goals, meeting our internal critics (and the Impostor Complex... daily), bolstering our sense of capacity, and gathering our cast.


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So now there’s nothing to it but to do it.

This is where the rubber meets the road.
The undeniable precipice of the DOING.

We’ve been here plenty of times, haven’t we?
Hired the personal trainer.
Signed up for the course.
Bought the book.

But if we don’t show up to the work, or lift the weights, or engage with the community, or crack the spine, we don’t get where we say we want to go. 
And boy oh boy...that’s precisely what our Impostor Complex was counting on.

Action, Loves. It’s only action that counts.

Because the work doesn’t work unless you do it.

And like I shared on Instagram: there is still plenty of time.
AND? Not all the time in the world. Get going.

PS - Speaking of “doing the work”, I have signed up for Rachel Cargle’s #dothework challenge. I’m not excited to face my own privilege and white supremacy. Which means it’s time to do so. Stay tuned.


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Grateful for this big ol’ shout out from the one and only Michelle Mazur. Listen in as she talks about the three key things she’s done to completely transform her mindset (and her results) in 2017.

And Casey Erin Wood shares how she is getting the second draft of her book done this month in the Academy, which is to say with planning, tracking, and accountability. DOING THE WORK. GORGEOUS.

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Did I tell you about the best pad thai I’ve ever had? Had some friends over Saturday night and we were shown how to do it. WAYYYY easier than I had thought. (But it’s pretty involved shopping to be certain.) Trick I’ve learned is to SOAK the noodles...not boil them. Game-changer.

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Have a podcast and want me to speak to your listeners about the Impostor Complex or Unshakeable Confidence? Hit reply and let's talk.


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Laziness or angels. And what now?

“My family is safe... but you know, we were very verrrrrry close to having gone to that area for dinner last night. Laziness kept us home. My heart breaks for everyone who was there, everyone affected... in truth, my heart's kind of breaking for EVERYONE these days.”

This was the message I wrote to my sisterfriend Staci Jordan Shelton when she asked if I was safe the day after the shooting on the Danforth here in Toronto. (As a subscriber, you may have noticed that my mailing address is a PO Box on the Danforth.)

The exchange continued:

Staci Jordan Shelton: Laziness or intuition. Either way I'm grateful you weren't anywhere near there. I'm so heartbroken for the people there.

Me: Thank you.

SJS: One day I'll tell you how being lazy kept that tree from falling on me. Thank the angels for lazy days and the willingness to listen to the pull to be lazy sometimes.

Me: Yes.Yes, you are so very, very right. I wonder just how often that happens... and then remember the grace is in the noticing... not the needing to understand.

SJS: Yes indeed... and in the heeding that small voice that tells us to slow down, be still, or "not today."

I wrote earlier this week that it doesn’t matter what took you so long.


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That there may be a hundred factors at play. Including angels nudging you back onto the couch under the guise of “laziness."

But I’m here to remind you, as I feel I do every week (and could probably do every hour): You’re here now. And what you do NOW is what matters.

The same day as 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were shot dead for being alive in Toronto, 18-year-old Nia Wilson was shot dead for being Black in San Francisco.

Unacceptable. The shooting the stabbing the hatred the disease. Totally and entirely unacceptable.

AND.

How long can we wring our hands and bemoan how it is all so unacceptable? I don’t have the answer, but I’m going to keep asking the questions of myself. Questions I ought to have been asking all along. About mental health and gun control and oppressive systems and marginalized communities and white supremacy.

Because if angels or laziness has afforded me the good grace to be alive, then I have things to do.

And what I do NOW is what matters.

Stay tuned.

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A few years back, I attended Anne Lamott’s book reading here in Toronto. Wrote about it here. Her special guest was musician Steve Bell. He sang this song called Mercy Now and it was haaaaaaaaunting.I must have heard it hundreds of times in my heart as my father was dying. And I’m thinking about it a lot a lot a LOT this week. We could all use some mercy now.

Savouring deep and nourishing conversations with my loves this week including Jamie Ridler in The Living Room and sweet and quiet mercy-counting walks with my man and the sunrise.

This bit of levity and righteous resistance was welcome respite that I’m savouring thanks to Desiree Adaway.

And you? What grace and mercies are you savouring this week?


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