tara newman sitting on bench in front of a cafe

What Trade-offs Do You Need to Make?

Hey hey Bold Leaders. I recorded this episode two weeks ago and chose not to publish it last week.

Before we get into the content here today, I want to acknowledge the grief, pain, indignation, and trauma of the Black community. I want to say unequivocally, Black lives matter. My teachings and coaching are evidence-based as well as taken from my lived experiences and the results of my client’s experience.

My coaching is grounded in empathy and is trauma-informed. And yet, even in those statements, there are blind spots around the lived experiences of Black people and specifically racial and black trauma. While it is never my intention to do harm, I understand that harm might be done and that I am open to dialogue around where I can do better.


Hey, hey, there, Bold Leaders. Welcome to another episode of the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast, I am your host Tara Newman. And today we are doing one of my monthly CEO Debrief episodes and they are by far, I know a favorite of all of yours, I’ve been watching the statistics on it, you really enjoy these episodes and I’m excited to be delivering them to you. They’re fun for me to deliver as well.

Now, full transparency, this will be the last monthly Debrief that you receive through the podcast player. From here forward, we are moving this to be premium content. And what that means is that it will only be going out to my email subscribers. So if you want to continue following along on these monthly CEO Debriefs, all you need to do is to head on over to the show notes and sign up for my email list. Now, if you are already subscribed to my email list, one, you know how awesome it is, so many of you message me and let me know that they’re one of the few emails that you actually open and that you look forward to receiving each week, and I appreciate your feedback so much. So if you are already on my email list, you do not have to do anything else. You will just receive these debrief episodes as a normal piece of content that goes out to my email list.

Now I just want to talk a little bit about my email list, because this is a change that I have made in the last probably six to eight weeks, so it is important to note on the debrief. And I’ve come to some clarity on how I want to be addressing my email list.

So I think I mentioned on the last month’s debrief that I have been kind of migrating my personal time off of social media because it doesn’t feel as great for my energy. It feels a little more heavy on my energy, a little more draining on my energy. We’re still there. I personally am just not showing up on stories as much as I have been. I show up on stories a few times a week, but I am showing up more regularly in my email to my email list because a few reasons, one, it feels easy on my energy. And one of the main reasons why it feels easy on my energy is because there’s a fair, energetic exchange happening between me and the people there. They’ve already given me their email address. They didn’t have to pay me any money, but they’re letting me know that they are interested in what I have to say, that they’re taking actions and that they’re implementing and that they want to hear from me. So it feels really good for me to deliver some really high-value content in that way, and not to be giving it for free, free. For free, free yes, still have a couple of things for me over on Instagram stories, and on my social media, you still have podcast episodes coming out from me, but this monthly debrief is going to be just for my email list.

The other way I’ve been looking at my email list is if I were to have a free Facebook group. I haven’t had a free Facebook group since 2017. I actually closed it and started this podcast because I don’t like Facebook, people. It drains my energy so much, but I do like the connection you get with people on Facebook. And I miss that. So what I’ve been doing is really looking at my email list as if it were my free Facebook group and how do I want to be driving engagement there? I’m actually getting a lot more one on one engagement from my email list where I am personally responding to your emails, I’m personally emailing you back, I’m personally reaching out because that feels really good to me.

I’m very high touch. I want to know people. I want to feel connected to people. 

It’s very rare that somebody comes into one of my programs and I don’t know them at all, or I don’t know someone who knows them. And I understand that that makes my platforms a little smaller, but that’s a trade-off that I am happy to make. I enjoy having that high touch relationship. So if you’re not on my email list, head on over to the show notes, sign up. I email about three times a week and it’s always really good quality, behind the scenes type content, things that are on my mind, valuable insights, and quick actions that you can implement immediately. So if you just want more of that type of content, then head on over to my email list.

Now let’s dive into this month’s CEO Debrief. May came with tough business decisions, pivoting our retreat, our mastermind retreat that was supposed to be in Tulum, Mexico to a virtual treat and working the SLOW model to help me make strategic decisions in the business going forward. And that’s about what we’re going to chat about today. So tough decisions and even tougher conversations.

If there is one thing that’s marking my 2020, it’s this having to make decisions and subsequently advocate for my boundaries like I have never had to do before. And I think so many of you are probably in the same boat. So on the home front, this looks like asking for help from my husband and letting him lead in areas where I’ve always led, for example, with the kids and this distance learning. And I was trying to do it all myself. My husband owns a business and he’s still going into the office every day. And I finally had to say, “Look, I get that this is the way it’s supposed to be done. You have a brick and mortar business and you’re going into the office, but we are now under extraordinary circumstances. It’s now week nine,” I think is when I had this conversation with him, “And I think we need to look at how this can look different at this point.”

And he was great. He had lots of different suggestions and he’s even taken the lead on some of the distance learning, which I had been working with the kids on for the prior nine weeks, and he’s doing a great job. And now my job is to just get out of his way and let him lead and not try and control it or make it look my way or have it done a certain way, and to let him implement his own process behind it, he’s an engineer so he is really good with process and procedure, to just acknowledge that he’s actually doing a better job than I was doing in this area. So I’m grateful for his help.

In business, this means making big, uncomfortable money decisions. And perhaps the hardest has been around where to place my time and attention and then watching the mental chatter and judgment and fear creep in around deciding where I’m placing my time and attention.

So my biggest lesson this month has been around the concept that I am not my business. And I know that we intellectually know this. I intellectually have known this. And this month, I feel like it has fully landed and I am starting to embody it. And I say starting to embody it because it is just finally making its way from something being logical in my head and in my brain, to where I feel it in my body, that this is true, that I am not my business, and now I can start making decisions from this place to continue to embody this belief, this truth, and continue to work on having this be an embodied belief. But I would not say it’s embodied 100% yet, and I just really want everybody to hear that, that these things don’t happen overnight. I’ve been running this business for almost six years. 

Sometimes it’s not until we have difficult situations that really challenge us to accept a different way of looking at something, that these things start to land and then we can start to make them habits, more of that word belief that this is the person and this is where I operate from. So I am not my business or what I call separating the identity, me, the identity, the person, from the entity, the entity is the business.

“My business has a purpose that is independent of my feelings, emotions, and thoughts.”

And I have feelings. I have emotions. I have thoughts. Those are mine. My business does not have emotions. My business does not have feelings. My business has a purpose that is independent of my feelings, emotions, and thoughts. And I guess the best example that I can give without going into too much detail because I want to respect my privacy and respect the confidentiality in my business, but let’s look at the example of contracts. My business has legally binding contracts to protect its intellectual property, its assets, its income. And when I hold firm on contractual obligations, I Tara, the identity, I feel uncomfortable with that. I feel uncomfortable asserting my contract. I tell myself a story about people who uphold legal contracts. It might be hard for me to process my emotions around the reasons for being in a position where I need to uphold that contract, but my business requires me to uphold that contract. My business requires the protections my attorney has put in place. My business has people that require payment from me, no matter what my personal feelings are, this is not about me. It’s about my role and responsibilities as a CEO to abide by my contracts.

And this is hard. Making decisions that I’ve made this month was hard and they didn’t happen in a vacuum. And I really want you to hear that. When I needed to make these decisions and I was overwhelmed by emotion about the decisions that I had to make because that’s normal and I want to normalize that for everybody because I don’t think that that gets portrayed enough when we look at people running businesses online. And I want to share that I was supported by three coaches, not one, not two but three, three coaches. Lean, my operations manager, Josh, my CFO, Jasmin, my attorney, my husband, and various friends. And I did not make those decisions in a vacuum. I had those people checking my blind spots. I had plenty of space and a reminder that I needed space to make those decisions. I had people who were very unattached because they’re not me and they’re not the owner of this business, but they are very unattached emotionally to the decisions that needed to be made, and they were there a reminder that these decisions needed to be made from a place that was emotionally neutral. And that was really helpful as well.

I had coaches, mentors who are able to give me their perspective, their experience when they might have gone through this. That was incredibly helpful as well.

It’s really important to me to be transparent about the ups and downs of ownership and what it truly takes to run a growing business because there’s way too much BS in the online space that gives an overly curated, fluffy perspective. In my opinion, that does harm to the mental health of entrepreneurs. And it’s too easy to look at the web celebs and think that these things don’t happen to them, that they never have to make hard decisions, that everything is perfect and shiny, and that because you might have to be making a hard decision or that you’re struggling, that you are wrong.

“So if you’re struggling and it feels hard, you’re doing it wrong.”

There’s a lot of messaging around ease and easy. So if you’re struggling and it feels hard, you’re doing it wrong. As a matter of fact, I believe that when we do the hard thing, that’s when we find ease. So by making this round of hard decisions, I know the next time we’ll have a little more context, we’ll have a little more experience to pull from, and then there will experience a little more ease.

So the second thing that happened this month was that we moved forward with our retreat that was supposed to be in Tulum, Mexico, and we turned it into a virtual retreat for our mastermind. And I’m not going to lie to any of you, this decision and making these changes created a good six weeks of stress for me. And when I say stress, I mean sleepless nights. And you might be thinking, geez, Tara, this is strange. Why would something like that cause you sleepless nights? Or maybe you’re nodding your head and you understand how this could cause sleepless nights, but the reality is, is I care. I care about the experience my clients have. As far as I’m concerned, I have to do one thing in my business and it’s not funnels or social or email or webinars it’s to serve my clients powerfully and show up for their vision and their results. It’s my job to hold my client’s vision, believe in them, give them tools and resources, meet them where they’re at with heaps of grace, and the occasional kick in the pants.

And so I care and that’s why I was stressed. And it’s not a matter of don’t stress. It’s not a matter of that stress is a problem. That stress is a natural trade-off that I face because I care and I am actively looking at how I can make some separations and navigate that stress in healthier ways, but to not expect stress, to be like, “I’m never going to be stressed,” is a false expectation in my perspective.

Now, moving this retreat online was a big deal. And here’s what I really want everyone to take away from this point. I’ve never done this before. I never got faced with a global crisis where I was running a retreat, an in-person retreat, and I needed to move it into a virtual situation. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know how it would turn out. I certainly couldn’t recreate a beach in Mexico through a zoom room. I get that they have the cute backgrounds. So what did I do?

“…clarity comes when we take action, and confidence comes when we have that clarity.”

Well, the first thing I did was I didn’t allow myself to go into the space of, “I don’t know, I don’t know what to do, but I don’t know what to do, but I don’t know what to do.” I didn’t let that happen. I trusted my intuition. I allowed myself to be pulled by my mission and it became a fantastic opportunity for me to tap into my network and bring some business owners in to support our masterminders in addition to my facilitation. And clarity, once again, we know we’ve heard this before, this isn’t a Tara-ism, clarity comes when we take action. And it is true. Over and over and over again, clarity comes when we take action, and confidence comes when we have that clarity.

And so there are many of us facing things that we’ve never faced before, having to make decisions that we’ve never had to make before. And I really want everyone to ask themselves, how can you create more space in your day so that you can do things that help you connect with your intuition so you can start to build trust that you will always find the answer within yourself.

And finally, let’s talk about how the SLOW model, because many of you are reaching out and sharing how this model is helping, so I’m committed to giving as many examples as possible. So let’s talk about how this SLOW model has been guiding many of my decisions lately. So S stands for step back and reflect. And you can do this, depending on where you’re at. Maybe if you’re using the SLOW model to debrief your year, you’re going to spend a little more time and step back and reflect. But maybe if you’re looking to use the SLOW model in some upcoming decisions or strategic direction, you don’t have to spend as much time. 

And you can just ask yourself a couple of quick questions. I like to just take a page, draw a line down the middle and go with two questions that give you some contrast. So what’s working, what’s not working, what’s working on one side of the page, what’s not working on the other side of the page. And that gives you some contrast.

“If I had to put a process in place before I took action every time, I would never take the action.”

Or this one, I asked myself a lot because I am someone who craves order and organization and structure and process and system. And for anybody who thinks that the process comes before the action, that’s not always how it works, especially not for me. If I had to put a process in place before I took action every time, I would never take the action. And I’m an eight quick start on the Colby. So that might have a little to do with it, but I’m also a five fact-finder so I do need some information, but I take action and I put a process in later. So it’s not uncommon for my business to feel messy, for things to feel a little disorganized and that really makes me itchy. It makes me feel itchy. So a question that I like to ask is what feels organized? What feels messy or chaotic? And use those as my contrasting questions for our quick check-in. And those are good for me because they help me guide my next steps.

Now, the L, lower pressure, what would take the pressure off? And for me, one of the things… This was a huge question to ask anybody right now, this is a primary question that you should be asking yourself and ask it daily if you need to. What would take the pressure off? There is so much going on right now for all of us. So for me, what would take the pressure off was pausing podcast production. So we were moving to having a newer podcast out every other week. We will get back into probably having a weekly podcast because that is ultimately what works best for my flow, or it’ll be three times a month and then you’ll have the one monthly debrief that goes directly to your email for email subscribers. So if you want to be getting these monthly debriefs, head on over to the show notes and be sure you sign up for my email list.

So taking a break from podcast production, repurposing old podcast episodes, focusing on my email instead of social media, that felt like it took the pressure off. Reminding myself that the only thing I need to do in my business is to focus on serving my current clients and being radically intentional about every undertaking, really thinking it through, around what that would put on my plate, what that would put on my calendar, what would take the pressure off, making sure that I schedule and calendar things for my energy management, things for my mindset, things for taking care of my family, and then work gets filled in around those things. And that’s the time I have for the projects that we will take on. So what would lower pressure and expectations?

Now, this is not easy because let’s just take this example of the podcast and not really putting out a lot of new episodes right now. So when I go in to review my metrics for the week, and I look at my podcast stats, they are down, my podcast stats are down. There’s not growth there, there’s retraction there. But of course, because I’m making a conscious, intentional choice right now at this season in my life and business to not be putting out new content every week. So that makes sense. I’m not having an emotional reaction. You shouldn’t have an emotional reaction to your numbers anyway, that’s maybe a podcast for another day, but I’m not making that mean something about me. That is again, a trade-off that I’m making, and I think maybe the title of this podcast should be something about trade-offs right now. It’s not a sacrifice because to me, sacrifices are things that…

I think for me, trade-offs are about intentionality, and sacrifices are about default. 

So I am intentionally choosing something else and something other than this at the moment. And I think that’s also important to point out because sometimes when we do lower that pressure and expectations, we’re making a trade-off, but we’re doing it intentionally with a lot of choice and a lot of agency behind it.

Okay. O is own the now. And I’m a mom with two kids home while both my husband and I are running a business, and every ounce of our energy is being measured. And again, every trade-off is being analyzed right now between the two of us. Goals are being adjusted, not because I can’t hit them, but because how I feel when I hit them is more important than hitting them. So, yes, I’m adjusting my goals because I’m not blindly racing to achievement. That’s not what feels good to me. What feels good to me is finding joy and freedom and wholeness in the process of achieving that goal. So re-evaluating my goals, some of them may have to get tabled. Maybe different goals need to be set. Maybe they need to be more project-based. That feels really good right now that feels really good to sink into.

And then W, what’s next? Well, what’s going to be next is we are going to add back podcast production and start creating a content log. The real big issue right now is we don’t have a content backlog, and so we’re repurposing. Usually I batch and with everything that has happened, we have gotten off our batching schedule and that’s fine. This is me offering myself grace. 

And so as you debrief your months and capture your lessons learned you too can follow the SLOW model of stepping back and reflecting, lowering pressure and expectations, owning the now, and then what’s next. And that’s how you can in the moment, start making better strategic decisions for your business. But don’t skip the L. Spend time there right now to help you determine how you could be lowering pressure and expectations so that you can be making better decisions for yourself and for your business. And hey, don’t forget to head on over to the show notes and sign up, subscribe to our email list.

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 have 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 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.

Important links to share:

Listen in on CEO Debriefs and Get 10 BOLD Questions for your own debrief.

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