November 24, 2023

Claim and Lead Your Space with Tanya Puka

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Claim and Lead Your Space with Tanya Puka

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Tanya, I’m so excited that you’re here. I’m really excited to have this conversation. I, so for everyone listening, Tanya and I are very dear friends. We have known each other through multiple lifetimes at this point which we’ll talk more about, but I am going to have to continue to anchor myself back in, in this conversation to remind myself that there are other people listening.

Cause we’re just, this is basically just going to be, Like you’re getting a behind the scenes. Listen to what happens when Tanya and I hang out and we just nerd out on all the things like purpose, business, branding, vision, manifesting, feeling. So who knows where we’re going to go today? I literally have three questions written down and the rest.

We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be good.

Yeah, we got this. We’ll figure it out. So Tanya, I would love. In your words, if you could just share with these amazing humans listening today who are you? What do you do? lEt’s start with a small question, right? Why not kick us off? Thank you Mandy for having me at first off.

I’m really excited to be here and just always adore conversation with you. So it’s nice to bring others into the mix. Like you said, and yeah, they can hear all about how we do. Who am I? I am a she, her. I am located in Calgary, Alberta. I have my whole life. I. I’m starting to fit into a little bit more of a title as, I’m a sister.

I’m a partner. I’m a friend. I’m a dog mom. I’m a twin. I’m a five cent candy lover. Oh, yeah, you are. Always get snacks when I come to your house. I’m a don’t leave anywhere without my tarot deck kind of gal. I am a brand strategist. I’m an entrepreneur, serial entrepreneur. I love starting businesses. And many things, yeah, that’s just a few, we’re going to get to know maybe even more identities that you hold today.

It might come up, but what I love how you answered that question is you didn’t just dive right into. The amazing work you do and what your title is as an entrepreneur and a leader. And I love that you feel so rooted in your other identities as well, that you shared those parts of us. Cause I think so often it’s we’ve been conditioned that the elevator pitch is tell someone in 10, which we’re going to get to today. We’ll help you with that. I’m sure, but it’s we have these elevator pitches of let me sell you something within the next 10 seconds. And you just gave us an opportunity to get to know you.

Outside of Merrill and what you do and what you create in the world. So thank you for that. Oh, you’re welcome. That’s new. I would say I wouldn’t have started that off that way even a year ago. I would say it’s really new. Yeah, it’s really new. It’s I’ve been on a journey of thinking into other parts of my identity because it’s just been critical.

We’re so much more than what we do.

More than our titles that we, those things change. Oh yeah, they change all the time. Always in flux.

Yeah. So what would you say if you were to title a chapter of, okay, what’s the chapter that you just closed called, and what’s the chapter that you’re in right now or opening called?

Okay as you say, as you ask that prompt, the 1st thing that comes to mind is that I’ve been in the season of grinding. I feel like I have been working my ass off for. Oh, like 13, 14 years in my career, ultimately, which, I don’t regret. I don’t regret the choices because they brought me here.

But I, I do think that I am moving into a new season of just re imagining what. My life can look like inclusive of career, I guess so career being such an important part, but not everything. Whereas before I think the chapter I’m exiting out of for leaving behind is so centric on. I really think this is like the first year I’ve been able to, God, just feel the sun on my skin and enjoy summer.

Not to say that I haven’t had great experiences in life, but just, I really feel like I’m able to think into parts of living that, I sacrificed to build up that part of me that is, an important part of me. That is an important part of my identity, it’s my career. But for now, I feel like I’m finally, seeing the seeds grow.

If that makes sense. I’ve planted them, I’ve worked hard, I’ve really watered the garden. And now I’m seeing things grow. And I’m able to step back and really… Witness that and it’s pretty potent. It’s pretty powerful. It’s it’s discombobulating as well to not have that to fall back on, leaning into.

Okay. How do I want to spend some time outside of this? And where do I want to nurture and nourish? Other parts of myself, how am I spending that time? Because time is finite. , that’s the scarce resource always. . Yeah. A hundred percent. Last, so long, last long answer to that question. The last chapter is the grind.

And this chapter, the grind is, The grow the grind to the grow. I love it. I think what you shared is so powerful too. And I’m hearing this so much at the table lately and myself too. And it’s like this both. And if your business isn’t giving you life if you don’t feel alive, your business is not going to feel alive.

So like, how do we. How do we do both? How do we do both? And I’m noticing a lot of women confronted with that lately and almost feeling guilty for choosing life over work. Oh yeah. And so I think you sharing that is really powerful because it’s like someone needs to hear that permission slip of oh it’s okay to loosen the grip a little bit it’s okay.

To enjoy the abundance of all the labor.

It’s okay. Oh, man. And let me just echo that to anyone who’s listening. It is. Okay. I have to tell my, I have to remind myself every single day. It’s a process of also repatterning and, removing the conditioning around what success actually looks like. I’m doing a lot of that right now.

So much of the society we live in and this capitalist society that really drives our economy drives our, in many ways, our purpose, it tells us that we have to do something to be successful, or it has to look a certain way. And right now I’m really. I’m really visiting that. I’m revisiting that idea or that belief and trying to conceptualize something for myself and really asking myself, is that success or for me, or is that something I’ve been told is success?

And I think that’s the biggest work. I think that’s the only way to actually really step back and benefit from the hard work and really receive the gifts of the hard work is to. Question, what it’s all for I know that’s pretty big, but that’s yeah, it is really big, but I completely agree with you and.

I hear this literally every single day, like the conversations I have every single day are, I worked my ass off for the degree. I worked my ass off for the career. I got the awards. I wrote the book. I got the shoes. I got the leather handbag. I have the family. I got the house, but I thought it would feel different.

And it’s fuck, why? Like, why is that? Is that because we were following some archaic playbook that was handed to us? Is that because it was modeled to us before? That’s the track we take. Is that it? And I think we’re like waking up women right now, especially are waking the fuck up and questioning and challenging and dismantling all these things.

And I think it’s really important. It’s so important.

Oh, yeah, I love what you’re sharing and I’m so happy to hear that. It’s coming through at your tables because. I also think it stems from this very big boom of this entrepreneurial spirit, where we were seeing these moguls, and it was a single individual, and there was no conversation about teams, there was no conversation about support or structure, or the entity that is multiple people, multiple voices, versus just one Steve Jobs vibes it’s just it’s never one person, and so I will also say, too, part of this is, Really learning how to delegate and receive help and actually receive help, ask for help and receive help.

I wouldn’t be. here without a team. I am not an, I’m not an individual entity. I have a full team who support the vision for what Mero does and offers, and I would not be able to do the work without that team. Not to the level that we are able to do it, for sure. And so that’s, I think, another thing too, is that we’re all waking up to this understanding that, This idea that’s been given to us is actually not real and so then it’s and then it’s okay if I wanted to get to that place even there has to be supports and if I don’t have those supports I’m not even close to that idea anyway And what you’re describing so beautifully is the invitation of the feminine into business because the feminine is receiving the masculine and we need both, right?

We need the yang, we need the duality of it all. We, if we had no structure, we probably wouldn’t get anything done, but we need the structure and the systems. And we also need the feminine, we need community, we need receivership, we need creativity and, to be able to open yourself up to receive is to become a leader and the difference between the entrepreneur that is hustling and trading time trading time and hours as currency and someone who’s leading is someone who is open to receive support.

And that’s a, that’s not easy. That’s that sounds beautiful. And it’s also not easy. It’s one of the hardest journeys that I think an entrepreneur and a leader can really take is letting the ego fall and saying I can’t do this alone. I don’t want to do it alone. I’m going to, it’s going to be stronger together.

And I’m going to step out of the way and allow my team to also help me create a ripple with this. So tell me a little bit, I want to come back to your definition of success. So I’m going to pin that there, but I want on this topic of like leadership and receiving can you share a little bit about what that journey has looked like for you share a little bit about the grind and then the transition for you really stepping into receiving.

Yeah, absolutely. Candidly, I. I was at a point in my business where I had a really critical team member. And she decided to take on a different role and that, and it was honest, it was honestly me and her for a long time. And so when she left, I really had to, I had to hunker down and I really wanted to secure and sturdy my business.

And so much of that required, putting process in place that hadn’t been really setting up. The ways in which the business could function with, new eyes and new people and. Not only did the business need the framework, but I needed to believe that I could be supported again.

There were 2 pieces that were really critical that were happening at the same time. And honestly, truthfully, Mandy, I don’t know how I do not know how I got through it because it was 1 of the more. Rigorous and more intense times in my business. And it happened relatively early in my business. It was happening in like year two, two ish.

And there was a part of me that didn’t know that I could trust in someone again, or a team again, cause I just wasn’t sure. There was so much fear around, okay I’m going to spend all this investment and all this time bringing these people along and they’re going to just leave and so at the same time that I was, putting the structure in place, there was also this, I really had to meet this fear. I really had to meet it full force. And I just had to believe. And, I will say I didn’t, I just, I didn’t find that totally by my own self. I actually. And this is again, where I really believe that the world has you like the world knows and will help guide you in the right way.

If you just let it, there were really beautiful touch points that I had with other people that ultimately became members of my team. And I think. It was not only the belief that I had to find within myself and to trust and the knowing that I had to find within myself, but it was also, the, this new perspective and these new individuals that I think saw the vision that maybe I wasn’t able to see, or that had been a little bit like had been Maybe closed off or shut down or I was there was a really big disconnect for me to in terms of the vision for my business because this individual was so critical that I felt anyway was so critical to the future of my business and so it was this really challenging murky gray time and I just I can’t even describe if it was a certain set of things that I put in place, but I really think it was a bunch of factors at play and then.

Thank you. Mostly just trusting and just baby steps and then just really delegating pieces and pieces and seeing these individuals like meet that with real excitement and energy and, vision and talent. And so it was also a collaborative effort as well. Yeah. Did that answer your question?


What you’re really reflecting back to me is just this message of all of your stuff shows up in your business. And we have things that happen with our team or people are coming or going, or, entrepreneurship is essentially just hosting a party and being willing for people not to show up.

Like we put ourselves on the line for rejection every day. Every damn day. Every day and I so relate to what you’re sharing and, that’s happened to me before where we feel these like workplace wounds from people leaving, coming and going or leaving or having their own thoughts or judgments about the vision that we hold and.

We can take those to heart because this is such a love affair that we have with our business, with our mission. It’s so intimate and whether, when someone says one thing, we have to be we have to be so sure of ourself and so convicted and like confident in ourself and our own, Leadership otherwise these things can really knock us off course.

And I personally have had an experience like that as well. Like where I went quiet for a year after I had a team member leave. And I just, I was it was, I was so impacted by it. And so I appreciate that share. And then I also, I really appreciate because I walked with you during that season and something that you didn’t mention, like you were all in on investing in yourself at that time as well, whether that was Right. The other investments that you were making in your own self-leadership in your own journey. In your own work. . And maybe you can share a little bit about how doing some of that work on yourself helped you. Open yourself up to a place of, okay, I’m going to save sample.

We’re going to try again. We’re going to let people in again. We’re going to build trust again. What did that look like? Cause it, it’s just like relationships, right? It’s like you are with someone and, let’s say you have an experience with someone where they lie to you or you feel betrayed or whatever, you’re trepidatious moving into that next relationship.

And like our businesses are exactly the same thing. So share a little bit about what that experience

was like for you. Yeah, thank you for that thoughtful prompt and for, you saw that journey and I think it is very important to share that side of it because, there comes a part in own, in owning and running a business, especially when you bring on a team.

That, ethical relationality comes into play. That’s been a really big one for me in the last little while here. And it’s something that, I’ve been in conversation with my therapist about. That aside, self growth, self work. I’m, my philosophy is one where I’m just always looking to, innovate.

Iterate I’m never done because I always want to be improving and I really have to apply that to myself and like how we do life is how we do business and vice versa. I started therapy. Yeah, almost probably 10 years ago. And it’s almost once you look under the rug you can’t unsee.

I wish you could some days, don’t you? It’s wish you could unsee that. It’s so much easier to just be blissfully unaware sometimes but you, but actually though, on the other end of that, it’s you cause harm when you do that, you cause harm when you’re not aware. And I know that, and so I think, even in the journey of just redirecting and reimagining the business and bringing people on I knew that I needed to improve leadership and being a leader and hold that responsibility.

Very. With careful hands, because it’s such it’s such an important role. It’s such an important role for individuals who have leaders who are looking to leaders and leadership. And, it’s not one I took lightly. And so I knew that as I was moving through this. And rebuilding and restructuring and solidifying the business.

I had to do that for myself at the same time. So those kind of those pathways have always been parallel for me and, where I address 1 thing personally, I know it’s going to impact and. Impression what’s happening in my business. And and they’re very tethered, like you said. So what I was working on personally impacted the business professionally.

And for me, if I’m to really think into prioritizing both. It really equips you to handle what comes your way, and my biggest work at that time was a couple of things. It was, re centering my belief in myself, knowing that I would be. Okay. The business would be. Okay. If people left.

That was one of the biggest things, is just the belief that I would be okay if more people left. And truthfully, now I know that people may still leave, the door is, in a way, it’s I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. The door is open, and you can come and go as you please, it’s not something that…

I need to cage or gatekeep or I want that energy to be in flux because the people who work with me, I want them to be there because they want to be there, yeah, and so that was the greatest lesson of that time is just, when we release and relinquish some of that control, not only is there a weight lifted off us, but there’s also a weight lifted off the individuals that are coming in and collaborating because.

Okay. Less pressure, pressure’s off. Yeah. Yeah, I get to be here because I fucking want to be here You know, and if I don’t want to be here I’m gonna go elsewhere and that’s actually all I ever want and what I promote is that And my business model is unique. I work entirely with contractors and it’s such a, it’s a conversation.

Do you want to do this project? Is this work something that excites you? Because if it is, then there’s space for you. If it’s not, I will find someone else who might want to take it on. And so I really feel like there’s this flexibility, this trust, and this it’s a mutual agreement too. So I will say that it’s taught me a lot.

This new era of business has taught me a lot about, yeah, building culture and the kind of culture that I want to keep. So it all is important at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change any of it. Because it got me here.

Yeah. I so acknowledge you for leaning in and doing that work. It’s not easy.

And you’re right. And someone else probably needs to hear this today, like actually people definitely are going to leave at some point. This is the thing. Oh yeah. These are the things we can be sure about, whether it’s a client, whether it’s a team member, whether it’s people unfollowing you, I feel like the more expressed you are, the more.

The more in your truth you are, we’re either attracting or repelling people all the time. And and especially, we’re going to get into our conversation about expression today, but if we are going to be fully expressed beings, if we’re going to be fully expressed leaders, we’re not going to be for everybody.

And that also gets to be okay. And it has to be okay, because what’s more important suppressing to make everybody else comfortable or expressing and living your truth.

Yeah, and when we talk about suppressed, we talk about oppressed it’s like the cage, it’s a cage. And I love that beautiful segue you created because branding and brand is in my belief and my philosophy so much about honest and authentic expression because you really, you cannot connect with the right people unless you’re being authentic with what you’re providing and what you’re offering.

Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Thank you for making it. I didn’t even mean to, but here we are. We’ve arrived at the segue. We’ve arrived, but here’s the thing that like we, it’s life, it’s business, it’s leadership. It’s, how you do one thing is how you do everything. And so it’s just, it’s all perfect.

Yes, maybe share a little bit about what that looks like brand expression. What does that mean? And tell us a little bit about some of the amazing work you do at Merrill. What is that? What does purpose look like with Merrill?

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So we are brand strategy. Art direction communication.

We are that hub for figuring out the positioning and the direction that you might want to take both verbally and visually and we work with, great creative partners to really. Map out that visual language. I would say that we really own the verbal and the strategy behind it. That’s a lot of jargon for some people who are like the word.

I just know I got a logo No, no, we’re going way. We’re going deeper than logos We’re going to challenge you To think deeper than logos. And we’re going to think we’re going to peel back some layers and get to the heart of the matter and your world. Yeah.

So let me like, yeah, let me like step back. Okay. So you’ve got a logo and that’s wonderful, gone are the days that we can just rely on your visual identity to express who you are.

Yes, we’re visual creatures typically as we navigate this earth and visual is so important. But how you express visually typically comes from voice and, ultimately leadership vision. And so that brings me into, our process with Merrill and something that may be new to some, but we like to start with the verbal identity.

For your brand, and that’s really what we own. We call it brand model. So something that we do is we work with leaders who are either in early growth stages. Maybe they haven’t launched yet, or they’re at a really critical point in their business where they’re redirecting or they’re evolving and they need something different.

They need to change. This may, this may be they’re offering a new product to the market, or maybe they’re maturing their audience and they need to mature their brand along with, there might be all different reasons why they’re making this decision, but they come to us because typically they’re saying, I either I have a visual identity, I just, I don’t know how to share it or talk about it.

That’s one of the things we hear often. Another thing we might hear is I’ve got such an incredible idea. I just don’t know a who the right audiences and how to communicate this offering to that audience. tYpically, if you just feel stifled in your ability to a express what you do and share it with a lot of pride and passion.

We are for you. wE work with leaders again, who, are either creators, makers themselves, typically are naturally visual. And we work with a lot of interior designers, we work with, we work in the wellness space, we work in retail, we work with product, we work with all these types of, I’ll call them lifestyle brands, um, direct to consumer brands.

And what we do is we take. That vision that you have, and we help you express it in a way that you haven’t considered yet, because our process works to distill your essence onto a page in a way that you haven’t yet been able to do. So that’s a start. Yes. Yes.

And it’s so important because why is it so hard to talk about what we do?

It’s, I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I don’t think if you’re like, just starting out, or you’ve been seasoned and, tenured in your business, I think we’re always evolving and, our audience is evolving and finding new ways to communicate with them. We all need help with this and we all could use refinement with this.

And I think that especially when we’re talking about, maybe more lifestyle brands or personal brands or someone that is speaking from this like heart vision that they have, any help we can get to communicate with confidence is.

It’s the key to, being able to deliver your mission, to be able to create an impact, to be able to generate revenue, to be able to reach your audience.

It’s such an important part. And I’ll share I’ve worked with Tanya specifically in my brand and I’ve done a brand model with her and I’ve done many deep dives and, I can say firsthand, this experience you, when she delivers it back to you, you walk out of it and you’re like, Oh my God, I was trying to find that word.

I was trying to find that. Thank you for seeing me. And it’s just, it’s what you do is so beautiful.

It’s when you ask. And you ask why it’s hard and it’s, and I say this all the time, it’s because you’re too close to it. Number one, you’re too close to it. It’s like, how often do we meet a mirror and see exactly who we are?

You know what I mean? It’s often the people who love us the most, who see us the clearest and, that’s my work is like really getting to a place of. Comfort, some intimacy, and really being able to, yeah, see you, like at the end of the day, see you, and I always say this too. I was too close to my brand.

I had to outsource this work for myself. It’s you’re in it, you’re in it every single day. Also, the stakes are so high. It’s so high to get that word, do you know what I mean? To distill it perfectly. There’s so much pressure. So many times I meet leaders who are like, I have sat on this blog post for, four months.

We’re just, we’re so precious with it, too because it’s just so important. It’s so critical. And, again, this is why, our essence is from the core. The stuff is the closest to you. And when it’s the closest to you, it’s the most, it’s the most terrifying part. Yep.

It’s vulnerable.

And speaking about the wounds let’s bring it back to the wounds. Fear of looking bad, fear of being judged, fear of Rejection.

let’s talk so what you’re saying is you’re also a therapist,

in part, I’m just kidding, I have no credentials.

So how do we tell me about the untangling what does that.

What are some of the things that you really see? And I know that this is going to make someone feel so validated and seen in sharing some of the other struggles that you hear, whether it’s entrepreneurs, leaders or business owners what holds them back?

Ooh, man, all of the things you just said.

And I and to add to that. I have my own brand as such an important case study because I have been there, like I am, I’m you, I’m the person on the other side. It’s like when I started my business, I knew I wanted to do brand strategy in a different way. I didn’t want to be positioned in a way that was obvious.

If anyone has encountered my brand out in a while, it’s a bit abstract. It’s a little bit poetic. It’s a little bit artsy and out there. I did that intentionally because that’s how I look at the world. And in truth, I was terrified to do it. I was actually really scared because I thought, I’m going to launch this vision of mine and crickets like no one’s going to get it.

I’ve done the corporate branding. I’ve done the, professional process. I’ve worked with, large enterprises to help them with their strategies. And I, I just didn’t know if my, Vision was going to be digestible to enough people to make it viable. But I so much doubt. And I think I see that often with my clients.

There’s doubt. There’s also the fear of taking up space. That’s a massive one, especially for women. We are taking, women and marginalized communities in general, which is like taking up spaces. It feels like there’s very little space to occupy for us to begin with. So that’s common.

And then once I do take up that space and I’ve, really pushed through all my fears to do that. Again, the crickets, the fear of rejection, the fear of it not landing and again, not being seen at the end of the day, not being seen. So those are all things that I. Experience with my own brand, but I, for whatever reason, and I think I’ve got this weird thing or I just, I do it anyway and I don’t know how, I don’t know what it was.

I think it was not. It was my community as well. So encouraging me, which I really have to give credit to, but once I got through that phase of just meeting the mountains, climbing the mountain and getting to the other side, it’s been such an important case study for me to, gel to this belief that if you express your brand authentically, the right people will come and, don’t be afraid to niche in. Don’t be afraid to anchor to something that feels, unconventional or unorthodox. Your people are out there. I really believe it. And the power of this process of just getting really clear on what it is that you want to talk about and how you want to do it. It cuts the noise, it cuts the noise, it cuts the onboarding calls with the person that’s like maybe 15 percent of a fit.

It really gets, it gets, there’s clarity there. And that’s my own journey has been helpful because I can I’ve got the case study I’ve lived the case study Yeah,

I think a lot of I think I hear this a lot too and I’ve experienced it as well. Is this like fear of niching fear of choosing the layer of deciding and that Especially if you’re just starting out, I, this is like directly correlated with financial stability and feeling like, Oh my God, I have to take on everything.

I have to say yes to everything. I have to do this work and I see and have experienced the stretch of all the yeses in all the different arenas. And it seems. It seems like you’re cutting an arm off when you’re like no, I’m going to decide to just choose this and just to hone in and just to specialize here.

So maybe you can speak to that a little bit. Cause I think that that creeps in, it creeps in when we niche down.

Oh man. And the. The response immediately to that idea is that scarcity is systemic. It’s a mindset that is systemic. We are in a society where scarcity is the belief, and it takes a lot of courage, and and ultimately, definitely some privilege.

I want to acknowledge that there, I have privilege, and I have access to privilege, which assists in this. But it makes you combat this belief that there is not enough. And so niching down is this very, it’s very aligned with that belief. It’s if I close off part of my offering or the audience that I’m looking to engage with.

There isn’t going to be very much coming through when really it’s actually not just when we think of a metaphor or visual, it’s not like a river that we’re siphoning down the river. There are multiple rivers. Do you know what I mean? So it’s less about closing in on yourself and more about redirecting to different audiences or more audiences.

That are like minded and more depth and your time like, yeah, more depth. Exactly. That’s exactly what it is. And it just goes in tandem with the only thing that we do know that is scarce is time. And so how do you work with that? And if you only have a certain amount of time, Beth, believe those people that you’re supporting are for you.

Yeah, I think it’s so important to really sit down and think about the essence and the energy and the culture that you want to create with your client experience, especially if your type of business is working directly with your client, like further than the avatar work or the ideal customer, but it’s like, what do you want the energy of that relationship to feel like?

And I know that can really, that can really change things and build awareness of oh no, that person I’m going to have to work 10 times harder for and prove my worth for all the time. And they’re going to be the one that emails me at 11 o’clock at night. And I’m going to regret taking this client on we’re both like, yeah, we’ve been there.

We’ve made those mistakes.

But I know, like for me, I’m in a I’m in a like swimming in the deep end with less people era and like less is more magic

kind of era. Oh god, less is more. Yeah, I really want to redirect that experience to you because I think you have been through a very similar journey, and I love that you bring energetics in, because I think we’re both very, we’re both very sensitive to energetics, and it’s funny what one client might energetically take versus another, especially the intimate work that we both do.

hoW did you know that you needed to make a change? What came up for you when you knew that you needed to change the way you were engaging? How you were building those relationships.

Totally. I think for me, the intimate work of my business and how that’s evolved and changed and evolved over the last few years, specifically, COVID moving me from large scale events, hundreds of people in a room and speaking to a bigger, a big audience all at once to.

Intimate small groups, small containers, a lot of truth telling a lot of vulnerability at the table, speaking about anything from life, business, leadership, intimate struggles, I recognized. That the women at the table, the people that are in, at those tables, it’s not just my energy.

It’s also like the group synergy. It’s the group chemistry. It’s the level of trust at the table. And. You can’t just say yes to everyone to create that sort of container of safety. You really can’t. And and as a facilitator as well, like if I’m holding space for your energy, it, we have to be aligned.

We have to be aligned because when I say yes to work with someone, I’m like, I’m all in I text message every single one of my clients. And, Tanya is in one of my groups too. It’s if she messages me and she’s she voice notes me and she’s Hey, I’m going for a walk. Can we chat about something?

I’m like, yes. And that’s what I want for my relationships. That’s what I want in my personal relationships. That’s what I want with the people that I do business with. And so that shift for me was, it was a big risk too, because it also was, I went from, my business was like, how many tickets can we sell?

How many cities can we activate? How many people can we? Can we bring together and, still through the lens of what’s the impact we can create here in a really positive and empowering way. But my definition of success has really changed and evolved too. And I know that when I go deep with one human, like yourself, who’s a leader, who’s leading a mission, who’s leading a team of young women.

I know that you’re creating a ripple that has like a 5x from one conversation, and then that has a 5x, so it’s like the ripple, like the ripple is actually so much bigger and when I get to give my full energy and attention, I can really it’s, there’s no Out of the box strategy for everyone.

It’s so unique. We all come to the table with these unique experiences and wounds and all of that. And like this work in leadership, in self leadership in business, in building heart driven business. Like you got to know the person to be able to provide the right level of mentorship. So yeah, that’s, it’s been a big evolution for me for sure.

And and. It has just changed and deepened the way that I lead the way that I build my business. And like I said, it’s like we’re in this season of less people, more magic,

deep end swimming. What I love about what you shared too, is that it’s. And not, there’s not a one size fits all approach. And I feel like it’s very business leadership, there’s all of these kind of frameworks and infrastructures that are meant to systemize this experience of being a business leader.

And I think what I love about what you’re doing or your approach is that you’re actually bringing it back to the human level, and you’re starting there. And we all at the table learn from one woman share because we have all, Experience that in some way or another. And so I think, oh, it’s just, it’s like the bringing the feminine back in and what you talked a lot about and which I think is so critical is.

It’s how you do your work. It’s also how I do mine too. It’s pretty counterintuitive to business in general, or yeah, and it’s, but I think what’s on the other side of that is long lasting, right? It’s that’s the longevity piece is when you start here. Nothing else is influencing.

Yeah, I think that business isn’t actually hard.

I think business is not hard. The people. Humans are hard. Being a human, leading humans, that’s hard.

So hard.

It’s so hard. It’s like, how do you navigate your human, and then you got a bunch of other humans, and then they’ve got a problem with each other. Oh, man, right? The bigger your team gets. And so I feel like that investment in, your own inner world in our economy, own culture it’s so important.

And you said it well, it’s if you want to learn about all of this. In an X, in an accelerated way, being in a group environment, like your breakthrough is literally always in the room.

Always. It’s no, everyone’s speaking well, even if we, you know what I’ve noticed about group learning to it’s group learning can be so can feel so risky because, oh, yeah.

Your trigger is also in the room, you’re, you’re going to be triggered by someone, but if you are a self aware being who’s willing to do your work, that trigger might completely change your life and your way of being and it’s but it’s risky. I have some women that will only work with me one on one because they’re just not ready to go there and that’s fine.

Yeah, and I get that there’s seasons where we need to. When we need to roll deep with we only have space and capacity for one person to support. And then we, there are seasons when we need community and we need group and that seasons, the eras can change the chapters change. And we got to always look at what do, what does this season require of me right now?

Yeah. Yeah. I think you nailed it. I think that’s really, probably really helpful for the audiences to hear is that your needs change. But if you want to be a better leader, you need to self lead and that’s huge. And I love your definition of self leadership. I’d love for you to weigh in on it because.

That’s been critical for me. What does self leadership mean? What is my definition of self leadership? Oh my gosh.

I probably have 100 iterations of it, but I just think that the capacity that you’re able to lead yourself is the capacity you create to create the life that you want, the business that you want, the team that you want.

Everything starts with you. And we can’t expect, we can’t expect from others what we can’t do ourselves. And especially with team and I see this with young leaders and I’ve been here too. It’s you look at what’s happening in your team, whether it’s, maybe a lack of accountability or.

Not getting things done on time or not showing up or being late or handing in C’s when they’re capable of A’s or, just like any little things that happen. And then we look at, we have to look at ourselves first and say, was I clear? Did I communicate expectations? Did I set the table? Did I set them up for success?

What in myself has led me to this place. And as leaders, when we can do that, when we can take extreme ownership for ourselves, that’s where it all starts.

Radical accountability. And that again, like that’s everywhere in life, because I also think it’s important to remember. That we are relational, whether we’re in a job or not, and if we can’t take radical accountability for ourselves in relationship, we can never lead people.


Ever. It’s so easy to blame everyone else and be like, oh gosh I can’t, they never get anything done on time. I can’t believe it. Or, and then I ask him so what are you modeling? Are you always on time to your meetings? Are you impeccable with your word? Do you cancel on them?

Do you show up? What are you modeling as the leader of your life? And your business and they’re, people are watching. So we always are showing people how to treat us. And so this is why this journey of self leadership is so important. And get up every morning and pour into yourself before you go pour into anyone else.

Like you investing in you, your morning routine, your boundaries, your office hours, your, like when you shut it down is equally as important as when you’re fully showing up.

Nailed it. You nailed it. I could talk

about this all day, but I want to get back to,

This is our jam. Yeah, this is our jam.

So back to, so we’re talking a lot about evolving as a leader and like the different seasons that. We experience what about brand, like brand evolution? And I know, this whole world, like we are, we have all been through so much change. We’re always changing. We’re always evolving. Yes. But especially these last few years, like people are jumping out of the corporate nine to five, two feet in and starting things.

People are burning things down and starting over. People are. Changing direction, changing niches, adding new, like new flavors. There’s a lot of evolution and how does that impact brand?

Oh man. It it impacts brands in an infinite amount of ways, but I think what you’re getting at is. The acceptance that evolution is always occurring and as a business owner, I can also sit back into the seat of, okay if I’m branding, if I’m putting the effort into this, it’s an investment, it’s an investment from a financial perspective, time, it’s commitment and so there’s a lot of, I think, a lot of fear associated with often fear associated with I’m, I might get this wrong or what happens if I need to pivot and change and this is already set in stone.

anD so something I’m always thinking about is. We’re branding from a place of authenticity, so the hope is that. Unless something extreme occurs for you on an individual level that. If we are to make tweaks or refinements to align with your evolution, they’re going to need, they’re going to be incremental.

Again, by starting with a place of authenticity, the hope is that we have something of longevity at the, as the deliverable and the output. But at the same time, you need to leave room for yourself to grow. I always tell my clients, you should revisit your values exercise every year, if you can. Because those need to shift with you as you experience ways of being, ways of knowing those things might change.

But at the end of it all the changes typically when we start with this kind of process, they’re not mass changes. They’re not big sweeping changes. They’re refinements. And like I said, iterate, we need to treat things like we can iterate in a in more of a nimble manner because. Also gone are the days of these corporate structures that, still have a grip for 40, 50, 60 years.

I can only hope that we all build businesses with that kind of track record. But at the end of the day we need to be able to pivot and be nimble to adapt with our surroundings, adapt with the way that we want to build business. And so I like to tell people to not be fearful of changing. But when you start with a place of purpose and authenticity, typically, those changes are really manageable.

Plus, we have tools at our fingertips to empower us to make some of those changes on our own as well.

I think that’s beautiful. I think it’s like that permission slip to evolve just like life and especially, if you’re. Lifestyle brand or a personal brand. I think we all understand that we’re all evolving and shifting.

And here’s the thing, your audience is evolving and shifting too. And I personally have been in a major holding pattern caught myself in a major holding pattern of. Sharing some of the evolutions that I wanted to bring to life with my business, because like we were just talking about it felt like a risk.

It felt like my wounds, my like grade 11 eating lunch in the bleachers by myself was activated and having a little temper tantrum in myself. And I had to get clear and be like, Oh, okay, that’s actually not happening. No one’s leaving. And if they do, it’s okay. I’m going to be okay. But I was in a holding pattern because I was afraid that someone wouldn’t feel welcome or someone wouldn’t, like I’d be turning someone away.

And instead I was met with. The opposite I was met with when I, and I shared with my members specifically first before I was about to make any changes everyone was excited and everyone was actually like, this is amazing. This makes sense. And we could actually tell that you were holding something back.

So I also had this moment of I should have pulled the bandaid off. Earlier, um, and more layers to come for sure, where I’m sitting right now, August 11th, more layers coming. But that permission slip to bring people in and invite people in behind the scenes, even without all the answers or everything switched over, I think is really powerful to some brands that, I love and people that I love the most are the people that are most transparent and bring me into the messy middle.

Because I think we can all sense it I don’t know, maybe not, but I know you and I are highly Energetic, feely people, us emotional manifestors over here. But like I can sense the energy. I’m like something doesn’t feel something. Yeah. So I’d rather be, I’d rather be informed of something that’s messy and in progress and then not no evolution at all.

And I think even something you’re, I can imagine you’re coming to terms with, and I know that cause we spoke about this, but. That fear of ostracizing or leaving someone out, that’s a personal fear that you still carry. And on top, but on top of that, Like you said your audience has evolved with you.

It’s an exciting thing when we can embrace change is a really good thing as like a, Hey we’re getting more into alignment. We’re settling more into ourselves. Like when it can be a positive thing, it’s a rallying point. It can be a really exciting time. So I love that you’ve, I love that you’ve found that for yourself.

That’s so wonderful. Yeah. Cause you build very powerful brands.

I just, I feel like there’s a time when. When you don’t feel like it’s you anymore, and that’s a time to check yourself and say, and I know there’s this burn it down energy that shows up when we feel in conflict with our businesses or whatever.

And there’s many reasons that could be, it could be, the finances aren’t working, or, there’s different pieces that aren’t working and, or you’re working too much and you’re not, energetically, it’s not giving you what you were hoping for. But also when there’s disconnection from our truth and disconnection from our values that also can feel like resistance and personally, that was something that was very alive for me because, when you think about the iteration of where I started with the ace class and brunch.

And rise and all the things there was a definition that was created with those brands at every iteration. And then yeah, COVID happened and it was like, boom, we’re wiping this outbreak, wiping this out. And yes, at the essence, it’s and even still to this day, what I do with the groups and with the well is.

iT’s about truth at the core, right? It’s about providing safe space for women to be themselves and to come together in community to find the aliveness in themselves and in their business. There’s all these things that have, when you really look back, they’ve been called different things, but it’s been there since day one, but the language and the story gets to be rewritten as you.

Kind of grow into it, and so I just felt like I was still operating externally from an old book that I wrote. I wrote it. It was me and then internally so much evolution happening, values evolving, becoming just more attuned to who I am as a leader. And the needs of my community too.

Yeah, I appreciate the work that we did together because you helped write that permission slip for you didn’t write it, I wrote it, but you lit a fire under my butt to write myself a permission slip and it feels. More true and that I think it’s so important that we live our truth.

Yeah, I so agree with what you’ve said and how you share that and also your personal share in that experience and it’s such a great case study for you know meeting the resistance and questioning the resistance and Addressing it to create some fluidity because I do believe that when we are in alignment It should feel, there should be ease, and I think As leaders and as, women in business, there’s often times where there are seasons of friction or seasons of tension.

And we’re like, why, how do I get out of, how do I get out of this? And sometimes it’s all encompassing, but sometimes there’s very specific points in business that feel like there is that friction. And I would say, You want to do better for yourself and your business, look at those first, even if they’re really hard to look at those moments of friction and those areas of friction first, address those first, because that’s a big tell, that’s where you’re not in alignment, and that’s what needs to be fixed to move forward.

Yeah, I agree. I think a resistance is an opportunity for curiosity.

Exactly. And you might not know the answer right away, but at least you’re acknowledging it. Because a lot of times we don’t want to acknowledge what feels sticky. We don’t want to acknowledge what feels hard. We just keep doing more, building more, adding more, and then we overcomplicate it.

And then we end up two years later and we’re like, wait a second, I ignored that little thought that I was having, that little inner tug. Oh shoot, here we are again.

Not speaking from experience or anything.

Yeah. And I think a thing too, that I’m sure people are picking up on is that brand and personal brand, especially when you are your business or you are on the front lines of your business, they’re not so separate and we need to stop treating them separately.

Totally. So what’s a message that you want to share with someone that is feels like they can’t unlock their voice right now? They’re feeling a little hesitant to take up their space right now.

What’s the love note you want to write?

Okay. Speaking to myself at the same time back then.

That gal, but yeah, so the person who’s feeling stifled or stuck imagine a moment or a time in your life where you felt ease and think about all of the factors that play in creating that ease for yourself. And I want you to recreate those elements around. What you need to share. So give yourself a cushion.

Start there. Because again, you have a framework for how that has worked in the past. That was some advice that was given to me a long time ago. And I really stick with that. If I need to make a decision or if I need to make a move or, again, the idea of taking up space. When have I done something similar in the past?

And how did I set myself up for success? That might mean spending time with your community. That might mean putting up like a backup plan in place, whatever those things are, do those things start small because small is monumental and understand that perfection is impossible and perfection actually is often what keeps us still.

And you’re better for creating and expressing and taking up space than not at all because there are people who need to hear what you have to say. And just trust that there are people there who are listening and ready for you. Yes.

Oh, so good. I love that. Love it. Trusting that your person is there, your voice is important.

We need it. We need your expression. We need it. We need it. We need it. And if it’s just one person, just know that might… Everything to that one person. Absolutely. And then it’s worth it. Yeah.

So I have one more question for you today. And then, but first I want you to share with our listeners how they can track you down, drool over your Instagram account and find the amazing work that you do.

Oh, very sweet of you. You can find us at Mero studio underscore at the end of that on Instagram. You can also check us out Mero studio. ca. Our website has a good breakdown of how we work our linear brand process. There are definitely steps and stages in terms of when we’re supporting brands, and you might be able to identify yours just through our website.

You can follow me personally, Tawny P, with a W T A W N Y P. Don’t ask, I won’t tell. That’s a whole nother episode.

By the way.

I’ll link it in the show notes below. And yeah, let’s start there. And again, I really encourage anyone who’s just got curiosities and questions, just reach out. DM, email me.

I’m hello at mailstudio. ca. I love to hear from people who are just curious and who have questions, no expectations. I love conversation and love everyone’s story. Yeah.

I love it. We’ll link all that below. Okay. We’re back to the final question, which is where we started, which is back to where we started in this season, in this chapter from grind to grow in this chapter.

What does success look like for you? Feel like for you? And with the caveat that we know that this can be ever evolving as well, but today, what does that mean?

Success is space. Success is space to step back, to take a breath, to take a walk in the sun, to not feel guilty about that. Success is treating. My team’s wins is my own and really feeling that feeling the excitement and the energy of. The people that I get to work with them succeeding. I succeed.

Success is seeing a client show up with more vibrancy and excitement and pride than I’ve seen them do before. success is experiencing all facets of life and not just the benefit and the beauty of career. It’s career is so wonderful. And I’m so much of my identity is what I do, but at the same time, there’s so much out there that I’m curious about and that I’m excited to explore and maybe for the first time.

And so success is. Having the space to potentially do that without hurting or hindering my business. I love it. And success lastly, and this is going to, this is going to make you happy. It’s going to be one of the ones I talked about very early on in our work together. And success is most importantly, like time for me.

And I just want to sit with the gravity of that. I don’t think any of us really get enough time for ourselves. So when I can access time for me, God, it’s fucking good. And it’s that’s everything I’ve created. If I’ve created a life in a business that affords me time for myself I’ve fucking cracked the code.

Mike fricking drop. Love it. I’m so proud of you to see that evolution for you.

Yeah, it is. Appreciate it. I couldn’t have done it without you, honestly, you’ve been so critical on that. Yum.

I love being at your table, my friend. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Any final words that you’d like to leave with? Leave this beautiful conversation with today?

Oh, man. I think my final word is. If you are ready to build the life you want as a business owner, get your butt at one of Mandy’s tables. First and foremost, honestly, it’s really to invest in yourself. I honestly, I am at the table and it is been. The crowd sourcing, the support the encouragement, it’s lonely running a business.

It’s really lonely and I think a lot of people don’t have access to a community of like minded leaders and when you don’t have that, no one can see you the way you need to be seen. And so if you’re ready to, if you’re ready to do the good shit in business and do the good work in business. Do the good work with yourself.

That’s the only way anything else flows. And it’s gonna feel like a burden. It’s gonna feel like it’s so much. It’s too much to do. I couldn’t possibly. You can. You can. And you will never look back.

I love that. That’s so well said. Yeah, it’s definitely don’t do it alone. And I so appreciate that, Tanya.

And you being a part of the community. And we’ve known each other since university and look at us now.

I know. Look at us now. Yeah. Amazing. That’s another story for another day. Another day.

We’ll have to have you back. I love you deeply. You’re amazing. Love you too. This conversation was so good.

So thank you so much, Tanya. And we’ll see you next time.

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