Hey, hey, bold leaders. Welcome to The Bold Leadership Revolution podcast. I’m Tara Newman and I’m the host of this fine podcast and the founder and CEO of The Bold Leadership Revolution.
The Bold Leadership Revolution is a global leadership development and coaching company that helps weary and worn out leaders have the endurance to make an impact. We help you navigate and operate more efficiently in three areas of your business. One, optimizing you, the leader, two, optimizing your business operations, and three, optimizing your team.
I’m an entrepreneur, mom, wife, daughter, coffee lover, and CrossFit enthusiast. I’m also a New Yorker, if you couldn’t tell by the accent. I’ve spent my entire working life dedicated to helping everyday people perform in extraordinary ways all while busting most of the myths and BS fed to us by corporate America, internet marketers, our society as a whole, our families and ourselves.
If you have ever had that sneaking suspicion that you are the only thing standing in the way of your success, you my friend are in the right place. In case you’re wondering why you should listen to me and what makes me credible, I can share with you that I’ve owned and operated multiple businesses in my lifetime, not all of them successful and this is where my greatest lessons have come from, not actually from grad school. I absolutely love sharing stories and strategies to help you become a better leader and live a high performance lifestyle. I have my master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology and over 20 years developing leaders to build businesses that last even in a fast pace, an ever changing landscape. Now let’s get on with the show.
On New Year’s Eve day, my daughter Avery, she is 11… Avery said that she was sad to say goodbye to 2019 and tears started to well up in her eyes. It was a good year for her. She transitioned to middle school, she found her confidence as a student, and stretched herself way outside her comfort zone by going to sleep-away camp for an entire month. Now going to camp last year was her goal. She made the ask, found the camp, interviewed the director and made the decision. She even enrolled her reluctant brother into going with her.
As we chatted, I asked if she was open to another perspective on closing out the year and open mindedly, she said yes. I shared that we get to keep and document the memories and lessons from each year that they’re like steps where one year of growth leads to the next year of growth. If we are good stewards of our history, each year gets better and better. We learn how to cultivate more of the things that we want and let go of the things that we didn’t enjoy.
We get to keep and document the memories and lessons from each year that they’re like steps where one year of growth leads to the next year of growth. If we are good stewards of our history, each year gets better and better.
I boldly stated, “I can sum up every year.” And then she tested me. She went back as far as 1995 which was an easy year because that was the year that I met my husband and we started dating and it was my first full year of college. Also, holy smokes, that was 25 years ago. And also, holy smokes, I fell in love and made a lifelong commitment to someone before my frontal lobe was fully formed. Yikes. Then I decided that if I let Avery keep testing me, it might get dicey and I might embarrass myself cause maybe I won’t remember a year. So I decided to test myself and I went back and reflected on a decade. I thought it would be fun to share with you here on a more personal note and invite you into my journey. Story is important. Sharing a personal journey is important for lots of reasons, but I’m a big believer in borrowing from other people’s experiences to help us create new, more supportive beliefs.
Sometimes those old beliefs that don’t always serve us today are hard to shake because we lack evidence of what’s possible. This is where sharing story and past experiences can be helpful to others. So let’s take a walk down my memory lane.
2010: I call that year the reckoning. After five years of financial struggle, we closed out our first business and declared bankruptcy.
2011: The grieving. After declaring bankruptcy, we had a lot of processing to do. Lots of shame, regret, anger, introspection, healing our relationship with money, healing our relationship with ourselves, and for sure healing our relationship with each other. We had to learn how to live with no credit and on an all cash basis.
2012: The transitioning. John went back to work full time for someone else and we committed to restoring our faith and our finances. Our mantra was work, wellness, and wealth. Our focus was on being grateful for our work that was allowing us to finally prosper, focus on our work so we can hone our skills, and master ones that would lead to promotions and more prosperity so we could rebuild our wealth. At this point, we were on that cash basis with no credit and we needed every dollar. Cashflow was a thing. I know sometimes we think of only cashflow being a thing in business, but it is not. It’s a thing in real life too.
2013: Healing and new beginnings. John found triathlon this year, which completely changed our lives. It gave us a shared goal and purpose and allowed John opportunities for redemption, which he very much needed at this point to restore his own confidence and to be an outlet for him to process the past eight years. We started a blog called “Family, Sport, Life” and my love for writing became an obsession. Wanting people to read more of my writing, which by the way is my deepest desire is that people just show up and read my words or hear my words on this podcast and it has a positive impact on them, that is my biggest desire and dream beyond anything else. So I became obsessed with social media because I wanted more people to find my writing and read it. I started learning and understanding how to market myself digitally. I met new people through my blog, through other people’s blogs, through Facebook groups, and this was a huge year of beginning again with a renewed sense of direction and more importantly, community.
2014: The year that changed everything. For 18 months, John trained for Iron Man, Lake Placid. He hired a coach and trained for up to 20 hours a week. He studied ways to improve his performance. I blogged about it from the perspective of human performance, motivation, goal setting, mindset, and when he stood in the finishing circle after 18 months of training and 140.6 miles, I was so happy for him. We had done it. And at the same time I’d never felt so small in my life as I stood in what felt like the shadows of his greatest accomplishment.
By this time, my health was at an all time low after suffering from pneumonia and being diagnosed with end stage adrenal fatigue and Epstein-barr. I knew something had to change. I was tired, bored, worn out, frustrated, depressed, and man, when I’m frustrated I cry. So there was a lot of crying at this time in my life. I was also suffering from post race depression, which shocked me because it wasn’t my race, but as it was typical of me back then, I threw everything into John’s success. All my effort, all my attention, all my energy because I felt like if he was successful then I would be successful, then I would feel successful. If he made all the money, I would feel rich. If I sacrificed my career for his, I would feel fulfilled.
I threw everything into John’s success. All my effort, all my attention, all my energy because I felt like if he was successful then I would be successful, then I would feel successful.
I didn’t realize this at the time, of course. It wasn’t until a few years into my own business that I had to look at how these fairytales were showing up for me and holding me back from my potential and what I really wanted. Aside from feeling burned out, because I actually was burned out, I was tired of showing up three times a week with new content on the blog and not getting paid for all the helpful posts I was putting out. I know I didn’t want to have ads on my blog and I didn’t want to write sponsored posts. I didn’t know how I was going to monetize the work that mattered the most to me, but I knew one thing.
In August, 2014 I called my friend Jason. He’s a pretty bad ass triathlete, ultra runner, sales and marketing guy and he’s a great sounding board. I told him I was starting my own business and it was going to be my Iron Man, which at the time I remembered thinking was so foolish and silly because how could anything I do ever compete with my husband completing Iron Man, Lake Placid. Can you hear the mindset there? Yikes! So I hired a coach to help me work through all of the thoughts and beliefs that were holding me back and all the fear.
Oh my goodness. There was so much fear. There was so much fear, I couldn’t even label what I was afraid of. My coach would be like, “What are you afraid of?” And I’d be like, “I don’t know. All the fear.” Like a character from that Disney movie Inside Out. By December, I was in business and charging $10 an hour because I just didn’t know how to charge and appropriately monetize my time, but I also wasn’t willing to let that stop me. One of my dad’s favorite moments is sitting with me in his condo in Vermont the week between Christmas and New Year’s where I decided to really go for it by sending a market research type email to my very small list of about 150 people. That one email got a huge response and was responsible for probably my first $10,000 to $15,000 worth of income in my business. Every year, my dad and I look back at that memory with so much love for the girl who had the courage to just say, “Hey, let’s see what happens.”
2015: The end of an era. In 2015 I spent eight months building my business while I worked full time, felt more exhausted than I thought possible, coached from every corner, car, conference room that I could find, and I was class mom. While I wasn’t making anywhere near the money I was making in corporate, my business was validated and I did something I’d wanted to do for 10 years. I quit my almost 20 year corporate career. I ended the year signing my first five figure contract with a much larger client and I felt like I was really crushing it.
Enter 2016: The dismantling. First and foremost, a huge shout out to friends and coaches who supported me this year because it was a mother fucker.
Jo Gifford deserves a medal. My coach at the time, Sarah Kaler, had patience beyond measure as we navigated some of the worst resistance I’ve ever experienced. The women who are in my mastermind and supported me held the most beautiful space. Lisa Carpenter swooped in to help me finally start to heal my body and my health. If I learned nothing else in 2016, I learned how to receive and how strong my marriage was because boy did I test it. Somehow I managed to double my revenue even though I needed to take a month off to get my shit together and fired the big client. Oh, the lessons.
If you take nothing else away from this entire episode, please know that you do not have to be perfect to make money.
Never be afraid to turn away a paying client if they are a poor fit. Working with non-ideal clients creates a huge money and energy leak which costs you more than you are charging. Trust me on this one. If you take nothing else away from this entire episode, please know that you do not have to be perfect to make money. You don’t have to have it perfectly figured out. You don’t have to have the perfect marriage. You don’t have to have credit, because I didn’t. I had a single personal credit card with about a $1,500 limit. Have you ever thought about how you would fund business growth in the absence of a credit card? It’s a fun challenge to take on mentally. One that I’m grateful for that I had personally.
You don’t even have to have a lot of financial literacy to make money, because I certainly didn’t. Remember all those fairytales I had? Well, here’s my big confession. From before I was even married until I started my business, I handed every paycheck, every dollar I earned over to my husband because I thought I was irresponsible with money. I was told by my family that I would miss payments and make errors in the checkbook.
This is when I realized it’s hard to have conversations on female empowerment without talking about financial and economic empowerment. 2016 was the first time in my adult working life that I wasn’t able to support myself or my family if needed and I felt so disempowered. It was also at this time that I decided I needed to not only work on my money mindset, something I had been doing since 2006 when we were in dire straits financially, but I needed to increase my knowledge of how money works, actually works, not magically works. Both are important, but we really as women need to understand how money actually works.
2017: A year of building my strength. As we entered 2017, I was emotionally exhausted from my year of dismantling who I was. My beliefs, stories, relationships to everyone in my life, breaking down my marriage. At this point, I really just wanted to not feel like I was in it every day. I wanted the self-awareness to stop so I could have a break and not think about all the ways that I needed to improve myself.
Some years it’s like turning the fire hydrant of awareness on and you’re flooding yourself with so many “Aha!” moments that you can barely breathe.
That’s the thing about growth. Some years it’s like turning the fire hydrant of awareness on and you’re flooding yourself with so many “Aha!” moments that you can barely breathe. Everything is so sensitive, important and deeply feeling. At least that’s how it felt for me. I would describe myself as a highly sensitive, intuitive empath with a dash of introvert. In March of 2017 I joined a CrossFit gym at my husband’s insistence and it was a huge catalyst for change mentally, emotionally, physically, and if you’ve never done CrossFit, impacted me on a spiritual level as well. This year I also completed my Reiki master certification. I continued to build momentum in my business and it was the first year we started testing our mastermind experience.
We doubled revenue again and we started to see patterns emerging from the data that we have collected as a business. It was the year I decided to do more local marketing. Again, my husband’s insistence. I remember him saying to me, “You know what, Tara? I know all this online stuff sounds good and you’re so great in person and I just don’t think that’s coming across in your Facebook Lives or in your social media posts. I think you really just need to get out there locally around people and see what happens.” I truly believe getting out from behind my laptop and being in person with people is what contributed to me doubling my business. I also shut down my free Facebook group that year and replaced it with a podcast. This podcast. At this point I was realizing how draining social media was on my already exhausted system and I was craving deeper and more meaningful connection with people.
I continued to put my health first with CrossFit, closing my free Facebook group, and creating opportunities to connect with people that fueled me instead of drained me. If you take anything away from this year, know that you can have your health and a business.
2018: A year of integration. “Discipline” was my word for 2018 mainly because I had a fickle relationship with discipline. As a hard driving over achiever and then my crash and burn in 2016, I hadn’t yet found a way to integrate my ambition back into my life. I feared over work and didn’t quite trust myself to know when I needed to take a break and ease off. So 2018 was the year I started to test my capacity for work, creating better boundaries and getting curious about systems and structures for my work, my rest and my growth. In comparison, it was a chill year to the past few and a welcome break from the extreme highs and lows of my own energy.
I burned my team down to the ground, not because they were bad people or not doing their jobs, but because I needed to go it alone for a while to understand what I needed to get the work done that I wanted to get done. What needed to get deleted so that we could delegate more efficiently? By summer, I was ready to welcome in new team members and I clearly saw where our direction was headed as a company. We launched The BRAVE Society in August of 2018 and it’s still going strong today, and we took this podcast weekly and we grew the business by almost 70%.
2019: A year of contradictions. This past year was a year of crazy momentum as we closed out our fifth year in business, another year of high growth and probably the most organized and systematized we have ever been. Thanks very much to Lane and Stacey, I can finally see what I’ve been envisioning all these years and it’s glorious.
We did things differently this year. We focused on different things.
We were busy. We added two retreats, one being international. We were getting on and gelling as a new team and added a new CFO and someone to help with content research and writing. We did things differently this year. We focused on different things. For example, we focused more on team communication than ever before and this will continue to be a trend. We had our first team planning session. We focused more on what generates revenue and took a lot of things off our plate. While things were humming along on the business front, we had a tough year, personally. Illness, unexpected repairs on the house. Me trying to navigate life with a partner who was experiencing a year like I did in 2016, a real dismantling. I got into 2019 in way more detail in our first annual CEO debrief, which you can find over in the show notes.
I guide you through what’s working, what didn’t work, how we integrated our team as well as my personal challenges and how they impacted the in 2019 so head on over to the show notes to download our first annual CEO debrief.
I often share lessons learned on this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to do and I’m able to do this because of a strong commitment I have to radical self reflection. This commitment means that every week I’m looking at what’s happening in my business and in my life. The good, the bad and yes, occasionally the ugly. Doing this work allows me to look at my months and even my years with real data, even for the less tangible parts of my business and life. I call these weekly meetings ‘CEO Debriefs’, and I do them twice per month inside The BRAVE Society. We do them together.
I have pulled together some of the highlights from CEO debriefs that I’ve done inside of BRAVE and I’m sharing the best of the best with you. You might’ve heard a couple of these on the podcast, but I want you to take it a step further and feel what it’s like to do these with us inside of The BRAVE Society. So head on over to my show notes and sign up now to receive 10 CEO Debrief questions you will want to ask yourself.
Plus, listen in on some of the most popular shares that I’ve made. Listening to someone else’s debrief is a great way to find the language for what you’re experiencing, get a concrete example of radical self reflection and learn how to grow your business, because it’s oftentimes not what we think.
If you found this podcast valuable, help us develop more bold leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other bold leaders. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcasts currency, and it’s the one thing you can do to help us out here at The Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it.
Special thanks goes to Stacy Harris from Uncommonly More, who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.
Thank you for tuning in to The Bold Leadership Revolution podcast. This episode has ended, but our work continues online. Head over to theboldleadershiprevolution.com where you’ll find links to any resources mentioned in today’s episode, along with other valuable tips and information that will help you lead bold. That’s theboldleadershiprevolution.com.
Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.
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