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296: Living Your Purpose (with Tanya Dalton)

Vibrant Happy Women with Dr. Jen Riday | Living Your Purpose (with Tanya Dalton)

Do you know what your life’s purpose is? I’ve learned that if I want to do more than just survive – if I want to thrive – I have to live my purpose. We were all born with unique talents and skills, and I believe we are called to use our talents to contribute to the world, to grow, and to fill our souls.

My guest today is the perfect example of someone who lives their purpose every day and encourages everyone she meets to do the same. Tanya Dalton helps women do less while achieving more success. She’s a CEO and founder, a podcast host, she runs a mentorship program and recently wrote a new book about living your purpose.

In this conversation, Tanya and I discuss what it means to have a purpose for your life and why living into your purpose is so fulfilling. Tanya shares four steps to finding your purpose, how to handle regret and guilt, and how to cope with the curveballs life throws at you. If you’ve been feeling empty lately, maybe unfulfilled and lacking passion, this episode will help you find your purpose and get back on track to living the life you were born to live.

If you’re ready to do something BIG and amazing for yourself, I invite you to enroll in the next session of the Vibrant Happy Coach Certification. Click here to learn more, and I can’t wait to see you inside.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How Tanya's new book evolved into something much bigger than she planned.
  • 4 steps to help you decide what you want to do next in your life.
  • How to move regret into resilience.
  • Why it's so hard for women to decide what they want.
  • Why you’re never too old to change.
  • How to handle life’s curveballs.


Listen to the Full Episode:


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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. I’m Dr. Jen Riday, your host, and today we’re talking about living your purpose. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Hey, my friends, you know that phrase, I want to thrive and not just survive? Well, I think a big part of thriving for me is using my talents in the way that God meant me to, doing what I was born to do, taking all the things I’ve learned in my life and applying them in a way that allows me to help others. So for some of you that might be being a CPA because you’re so good at numbers. For some of you it might mean being a hairstylist because you love the creative aspect of styling people’s hair.

There are things that we all kind of have a passion for, that thing that if you go into a restaurant and you sit down with a stranger at the bar let’s say and you start talking to them. What is that topic or that theme that you could talk about all day long? That’s often what you’re passionate about. Well, I love talking about passion and purpose. And my guest today, Tanya Dalton is going to be talking with us about passion. Now, let me tell you a little bit more about Tanya.

Tanya is the host of The Intentional Advantage podcast and founder of Inkwell Press Productivity Company. It’s a huge company providing tools that work as a catalyst in helping women do less while achieving maximum success. Tanya also has a mentorship program called The Intentional CEO that helps female entrepreneurs grow thriving businesses and thriving personal lives.

Well, she just came out with her second book called On Purpose and we’ll be talking about that today. The steps you can follow to decide what’s happened in your life up until now, what are the themes, what has happened, what can you celebrate to figure out what you want. And then to move forward even if there are obstacles or detours and move forward toward living your purpose, making a contribution, growing yourself. These are all parts of our basic human needs.

And growing, contributing, making a difference, it fills our souls. And so if you’ve been feeling a little bit empty maybe finding and living your purpose is something that will help you.

So before we dive into my interview with Tanya, I want to share our review of the week. And that is from Life Coach Marcy, and she wrote, “The Vibrant Happy Women podcast provided the soundtrack to an amazing life transformation for me over the last several years. From being a new podcast listener to joining the Vibrant Happy Women Club and becoming a certified life coach, this podcast helped me focus on my own happiness, personal growth and lit me up with ideas, motivation and accountability.” Marcy, thank you for leaving that review.

And all of you listening, do you remember, Life Coach Marcy was on the podcast a few episodes back? I love how Marcy is living her purpose. She decided she wanted to be a coach, she heard that I offer the Vibrant Happy Women coach certification and she signed up the night she heard about it. And she is totally succeeding as a coach. She is working with clients. She is working towards hosting retreats on a beach in Florida. I love watching her succeed.

By the way, if you feel that part of your purpose might be helping others in the capacity of being a coach or learning the skills that will help you as a parent, you are welcome. And I highly encourage you to sign up and join us for the next round of the coach certification. You can sign up and learn more at

Well, let’s hear more about purpose, finding and living your purpose with Tanya. This is a fantastic interview, and I can’t wait for you to listen. Let’s jump in.

Jen: Alright, Tanya, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I am so glad to have you back.

Tanya: I am so happy to be back. I’ve been excited about this conversation. We had such a great conversation last time I was here so I think today will be a lot of fun.

Jen: So you have a new book out, On Purpose. Tell us about your book because I love – I loved our last conversation and I’m super excited to hear about this book as well.

Tanya: Yeah. Well, so I was on last time, and I think we talked about The Joy of Missing Out, my first book. And after I wrote The Joy of Missing Out, my publisher Harper Collins, they asked me to write a second book. They said, “Let’s write a second book.” And I said okay. And they said, “What do you want to write about?” And it seemed like a natural progression would be to talk about goal setting because that’s something that I have taught thousands of women how to set and achieve their goals. So I was like, “Yes, I’ll write a book on goal setting.”

They were happy, I was happy, seemed great. So I sat down, mapped out a whole book, did the whole outline, very detailed. I gave myself a writing plan so I wouldn’t be stressed out or any of that stuff. Sat down and did that in February of 2020. And then March of 2020 happened.

Jen: Oh no, yeah.

Tanya: Yeah. And I think we all know how that went, all plans went out the window because suddenly I have kids that I’m homeschooling while I run my business and trying to manage team and doing all of those things. And trying to figure out what in the world’s going on, just like everybody else. So there was no writing that happened in March as I had planned and no writing that happened in April or May. And it was funny though because I had that space of not writing.

And I was really paying attention to how everybody was reacting, how I was reacting, how my friends were reacting, how the people I’ve worked with in the past and my followers how they were reacting to this whole pandemic. And I was seeing this pattern of people asking the same questions. What am I doing? Am I happy with what I’m doing? Why am I here? Is this really what life is all about? And so when I sat down to write this goal setting book, I realized this is not a goal setting book. Goals are not the goal. It’s really about that bigger life that we have.

It’s really about living on purpose, that double entendre of living with intention, living with intentionality. But also living to a purpose, living to something that’s bigger than today. And so that’s the beautiful gift that was given to me with that space that you could call procrastination is this book began to evolve and shift into something so much bigger, something so much better. Because we talk about goals in the book, and we talk about goal setting and what that looks like. But goals are just the vehicle to get you to that life you want.

They’re not the end all be all, and I think that’s the thing is we treat them a lot of times like when I achieve this goal then I’m going to be happy. Or when I do this then all of a sudden things are going to get easy. And that never really pans out, doesn’t really work out. And we feel like, okay, maybe this is just how life is, that we get in this pattern of feeling like we’re kind of stuck.

So the book became so much bigger. It became really focusing on what is your purpose? What does that look like? How do we live every day on purpose so you can feel really satisfied, really successful each and every day?

Jen: Yeah. Well, that is the big question. So many women say, “I don’t know my life purpose. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t know what my big girl job is.” So how do you answer those questions?

Tanya: Yeah. Well, I think this is a thing is we feel like if we don’t know what it is that there’s something wrong with us, that we should have it figured out. That we look around and we think everybody else has it figured out. And most people aren’t sure what their purpose is. And this is why a lot of times we do set goals that aren’t really our goals. We are just setting goals for everybody else. It really helps to look backwards in order to move and look forward. So really reflecting back on our past.

And there’s a couple of ways that I go into the book in how you can do this. And I’ll go over a couple of them with you here. But to me it really is who are you deep down? And I think that as we start to adult, we start adulting, we lose sight of what we love. We start trying to fit in. We start trying to do what everybody else is doing. We start chasing after these metrics of success that aren’t even ours.

So let’s go back in time to when you were a kid. What were the things you were really passionate about? What were the things that really lit a fire in you? Not the things that your mom dragged you to kicking and screaming like maybe the piano lessons or whatever. But what were the things that you really, really loved? Maybe it was writing. Maybe it was playing softball. And if it’s something like playing softball, okay, you’re not going to be a softball player as your big purpose. Let’s dive into that.

Why was it that you wanted to be a softball player? Okay, well, was it because of the teamwork? Was it because you liked being outside? Was it because of the competitiveness? Was it the exercise part of it? And start digging into what were the things you were passionate about when you were a kid. And in that same vein, what were the things you wanted to be when you grew up? Because we as children, we don’t have any limitations. Everything is possible when you’re a kid. I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a president. I want to be an alien. I want to be Wonder Woman.

You can be just about anything. So why did you want to be whatever it was you thought you wanted to be? And even the silly things like Wonder Woman, why did you want to be Wonder Woman? Well, was it because she stood for truth and justice? Was it because she could get truth out of people when others couldn’t? Is it because she stood for a generation of young girls standing up for themselves? What were the things you were truly passionate about before that cloak of adulthood set in?

And that can become a little bit of a spark for us to build into a flame to really discover now as an adult what you’re truly passionate about, what your purpose is tied to. That’s a really strong place to start.

Jen: A bunch of friends and I answered this question at a book club. We were trying to see if what we loved as kids was true as adults. It matched up almost across the board. One of the women who is a voice coach and has always been a performer, as a little girl all she ever did was perform and create plays for her parents. And then another person had always been an artist and she had grown up to be an artist. So there might be some truth there like you’re saying. I love that.

Tanya: Yeah. Well, there’s just no limitations to us when we’re kids. I really think that especially when we’re young we feel like honestly, the world is an open book for us, that we can go after anything. And it’s probably around the age of 13, 14 that that starts to shift and change. We start worrying about fitting in. We start worrying about what other people are doing and we lose sight of some of those things but they’re there from the beginning we just have to rekindle them.

Jen: Yeah, that’s so cool. So let’s say there’s someone listening, I’m sure there are many someones listening who maybe they’re starting to become empty nesters and they’re thinking, oh gosh, what have I done with my life? I’ve devoted a lot of time to my kids, or I worked in this job I didn’t really like. What am I going to do for the second half of my life? What would be the first steps? And I know you teach about four kind of things people need to do to make those decisions.

Tanya: Yeah. Well, I can totally associate with those people feeling that way because I just sent my son off to college just a little over a month ago as we’re recording this, and I have one at home still. But I’m starting to see that, all those things that took up a lot of time, I have more free space and I have more breathing room in lots of ways. And sending off your kids to college really is probably one of the most magical things that we get to do is to help our kids step into adulthood.

So the first thing is to take a moment just to celebrate what you’ve done. I think we discount a lot of the things we’ve done in our past. Raising kids is small not feat. So if you feel like, what have I been doing with my life or I’m not sure I have any skills. I would argue that and say you have amazing skillsets. In fact mothers have amazing skillsets of being able to do so many different things. It means that your opportunities are endless because you’ve done so many different roles throughout the last 18 some odd years that you’ve been raising your kids.

So let’s not discount that. Let’s start really looking back at all the different things that you’ve done and realizing. I like to kind of equate it to having this backpack on our back where we’re just collecting these skills and this knowledge and all these things. And we discount it because we can’t see the backpack. It’s on our back. But if you take some time to unpack it, to really look at all that you’ve been through, all that you’ve done.

I can almost guarantee you’re going to be shocked. You’re going to be a little bit surprised and say, “Wow, I had no idea I was really able to do so many things.” Because we tend to forget about them. So I would say you start with that first step of reflection, looking back and seeing what it is that you were passionate about. But I think also is there some regret there? Are there some things that you regret that you’re like, “I wish I had done that, but I had kids. I didn’t feel like I could do it.”

Regret I think is so incredibly powerful. I think if I were to say to you, “Come up with a list of things that you like.” We struggle with that. I don’t know, what is it I want to do? What is it I like? But if I told you instead, “Make a list of what you don’t like. Make a list of things that you don’t want to have happen again.” You’d be able to come up with that no time flat. You’d be like, “I don’t like this. I don’t want that to happen again.”

And that’s really powerful because when we know what we don’t want we know what we do because we can do just the opposite. That’s how we move regret into resilience. And that is really a very, very powerful thing. So what are the things that you regret not doing when you had kids? What do those things look like? How can you push against them to find the opposite to really uncover what you do want? So we can start with reflection which are those activities that we just talked about.

And then we move into projection, which is really reflection answers, why we are the way we are and why we want to do the things we want to do. Projection answers, what, okay, what is it that I want? What does this really look like? What do I want to do? Really articulating that, what that looks like. And really uncovering from what we use in reflection as our foundation to build upon that. So when we uncover what we want to do the next question is, okay, how do I then achieve it? Which gets us to the third step of action. Reflection, projection, and action.

And I think this is the thing, this is the big bear trap that a lot of people fall into is they think that the how has to be big. It has to be these big giant leaps in order for them to count. And I would argue and say it’s the small steps. It’s the tiny steps. It’s the itty-bitty steps. It’s really the first step that matters most which is why it needs to be small, why it needs to be simple, why it needs to be easy.

And a lot of times that first step is just sometimes getting on the phone to make an appointment, or to do a little bit of research to find out. Let’s say you’re wanting to get a certification. Okay, well, let’s start off by figuring out what that certification looks like and what the requirements are, or whatever it is. And really giving yourself a map of where it is you’re wanting to go.

And then we want to build in that fourth step which is alteration, allowing life to happen, allowing the flexibility and the grace for life to unfold because no plans are ever going to be perfect. Plans are going to shift, plans are going to change. So really allowing for life to evolve and to happen.

Jen: I love that. So it seems like reflection – I love that idea of celebrating and reflecting. It’s so funny, then we get to this place where we decide what we want. That’s so hard for women because so many women spend their lives giving everyone else what they want. And I can’t tell you the number of people I know, good friends I have who say, “I know what I don’t want but I have no clue what I do want.” So, wow, that’s amazing. Have you seen women figure that out and move through these steps like that?

Tanya: Yes. I think regret is – in fact we’ll do anything we can to move away from regret. When we know what we regret it gives us that power to move away from that pain. We will move away from pain much faster than we will move towards pleasure.

So it really is so powerful to understand what you don’t want to have happen again, what you don’t want to repeat, what you don’t want to experience. Because we will take action against that, pushing up against it almost using it as a springboard for ourselves, so much easier than we will towards something that we find pleasurable because we feel guilty moving towards things that we want. But we don’t feel guilty moving away from things we don’t want. It’s a really interesting way that our brain works, I think.

Jen: Wow, yeah. And once people shift to figuring out what they do want, what about this guilt thing that we need to let go of to be able to actually go for it?

Tanya: Yeah. I mean honestly, guilt doesn’t serve us in any way, shape, or form. Guilt and shame are very human emotions. It’s really interesting because if you look around at the animal kingdom, no other animal experiences guilt and shame the way that humans do. When an animal chases after another animal to try to catch it and it misses it, it doesn’t go away and go, “I’m the worst, oh my gosh, I’ve got to go, I’ll never do that again.” It just goes, “Well, I missed catching that antelope so I’m just going to move along and try to catch another antelope.”

So it’s easy to say guilt and shame don’t serve you. It’s another thing to really put that into practice. So what I like to tell people is this, let’s reframe this a little bit because I think we believe a lot of times as women especially, because we are – I mean we’re programmed to be givers. We’re programmed by society. We’re programmed by the world around us that we should be giving, giving, giving. But what if we flipped that on its head? Because you have incredible unique gifts, beautiful things to offer up to the world.

And if you don’t go after those beautiful gifts of yours, if you don’t let those shine, you are being selfish by not letting the world experience you and the way that you can impact other people. That’s keeping your gifts away from the people who would really benefit from them. In the book I talk about this idea that regular everyday people, people without a podcast or any sort of platform, or no following on social media, regular everyday people have the power to impact 80,000 people in the course of their lifetime.

And I go through the math, just kind of high end in the book. But essentially, we live for about on average 73.3 years. You meet on average about three people a day, some days more, some days less, but about three from the grocery clerk who’s checking you out at the grocery store, to your neighbor down the street, to the other parents cheering on their kids at the soccer game right alongside of you. We meet about three people every day.

So if we’re meeting about three people every day and we live for as long as 73.3 years we’re going to meet 80,000 people which means we have the power to shift the way people think, the way they believe, what they see is possible, all of those things. We have that power. And when we recognize that we can change the lives of 80,000 people, just as regular everyday people, if we can impact the lives of 80,000 people why aren’t you sharing your gifts? That is selfish.

For me that made all the difference in the world when someone said that to me one time that I was being selfish by not sharing what I have with the world. It was like a permission slip I didn’t know I needed to really step into who I am. And I’m hoping that’s what your listeners are getting today is, I had no idea I could impact that many people. Most people are surprised.

Jen: And just for – the 80,000 is awesome but even our own kids are watching. And if we’re not stepping into that role, we’re not showing them how to do the same thing for themselves one day, so yeah.

Tanya: Without question. I like to say that when we pursue what we’re passionate about, when we have things that we love that we’re actively doing, when we allow our gifts to shine, we show our daughters what is possible, what a woman is capable of. And when we do that, we show our sons what a woman is capable of. It’s shifting the mindset of both the men and the women of the future. That’s how we affect change, through modeling it ourselves and our children are watching.

I think it’s really powerful. My son who just went to college, he’s a staunch feminist. And I’m like, of course he is because he’s my son.

Jen: That’s great.

Tanya: But he thinks it’s funny that other women aren’t CEOs the way that his mom is. Because that’s just his normal, ‘normal’.

Jen: Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah.

Tanya: It’s really interesting to watch as he is like, “Wow, I didn’t know other moms weren’t doing these things that you’re doing. I just assume everybody’s mom goes on TV or does the things that you do.” And I’m like, “No, this is kind of different.” So it’s true, we are modeling them.

Jen: And there are different personality styles, a lot of people would argue CEO types have maybe an Enneagram 7. What’s your Enneagram? I’m curious. Do you know?

Tanya: I’m an Enneagram 8.

Jen: Yeah, okay, so 8 with a 7 wing I’m guessing?

Tanya: Well, it’s funny because it sometimes seems like it’s a 9 wing and sometimes a 7 wing. So I think it kind of shifts, yeah.

Jen: Yeah. I’m also an 8, I was confusing the 8 with 7. So we all have different personality types. Some people want to be in the bigger leadership roles. But even being in the support role you can totally live your purpose. And I feel like if I weren’t doing something purposeful using my gifts I would feel really, really empty. So for those of you who don’t want to be a CEO there’s still contribution, we’re all born to contribute wouldn’t you say?

Tanya: Absolutely. I think the thing is we think about a leader, and we look at somebody who’s like a CEO or a leader of a country. You’re a leader of your home. You’re a leader in your community if you’re affecting change, you’re a leader in perhaps your children’s schools. There’s a lot of places we can step into really making a contribution. And it doesn’t even have to mean that you’re heading up something. It’s really just stepping fully into who you are and doing that with confidence that your intentionality is good, honestly.

Jen: For sure. Another argument I’ve heard against going out there and finding and living your purpose after you empty nest is “I’m too old to change.” So it’s so funny. Before we turned on the microphone you and I were talking about age. So tell them what you told me because this is fantastic.

Tanya: Well, we were talking about my kids. So I have Jack and I have Kate. And I was saying that Jack went away to college so he’s 18 and my daughter Kate is 15. And I said, I don’t know how it works out because I’m only 25. So the math doesn’t really work but don’t worry about it. Because in my head I am 25 years old. I don’t care that I have an 18 year old. Somehow that all works out because really it is very much a mindset. It’s 100% a mindset and how you feel, even how your body reacts.

I think a lot of times we think that that’s kind of like a woo woo thing where it’s like, yeah, then I’ll be all optimistic. And honestly, I think one of my favorite studies on this was these researchers took these two groups of men out of a retirement community. And the control group, they had them go to a different location. And they just spent their days the same as they had been, everything was the same as normal.

And then the variable group, they had that group go away to another location. And the whole place was set up to look like 20, 30 years earlier. So even the TV set, so it looked like a TV set from 20, 30 years earlier, the magazines on the coffee table were from 20, 30 years earlier. And they were encouraged to behave as they did 20 or 30 years earlier, had those conversations of the same types of things. And what I think is so fascinating is this.

This study only took a week. After a week they pulled the control group who were doing the same things as normal and of course they were exactly the same. Now, the group who pretended they were 20 to 30 years younger, they were more optimistic, and they felt younger. But even more impressive was this, their flexibility had increased. Their muscle mass had increased. Some of their osteoporosis had decreased. And so their body was physiologically adjusting and changing to the way that they were thinking about themselves.

Jen: That’s so cool.

Tanya: So it’s a true study, mind over matter. Our body actually physically responds. And I think that is really powerful.

Jen: I love that. Plus I was saying to you, the science of aging is showing there are medications coming that will actually kind of anti-age us, believe it or not, this is real science. So lifespan is going to get much longer than the 73.3 average year lifespan you were talking about earlier. So talking about a second half of life might not be completely accurate. Maybe it’s the second two-thirds of life that’s left, who knows.

Tanya: I mean really honestly, and even if it is let’s say the second half, think of all you’ve done. Let’s take that backpack off of your back and unpack it. What all you accomplished so far, you have an opportunity to accomplish even more because you already have all that knowledge, all of those skills. So when you get to ‘that second half’ or ‘the second act’, you’re nowhere close to being done. I mean Julia Child didn’t even start cooking till she was 40 years old. Vera Wang didn’t sell her first wedding gown till she was 40 years old as well.

I mean a lot of people discover what they are truly passionate about and go after that, after their kids have left the nest, or when they’re in that second half. What we have in the past called middle age, and it’s not really middle age, it’s just age. It’s all in how we perceive it.

Jen: Well, and the beautiful thing, once people are in their 40s, I’ve heard it said and I’ve experienced it myself, you stop caring as much what other people think. And by the time you’re in your 50s, 60s and 70s, other people’s opinions are completely irrelevant. So you develop a confidence to help people go after those dreams, plus hormonally it’s been shown that testosterone in women often increases. And that’s a great confidence booster, so hey, why don’t we go with our physiology rather than our age and go after these things? Yeah.

Tanya: Yeah, I love that. I love that. And I think that’s so true. I wish we could bottle up how I feel about myself now at the age that I am now and go back in time and give it to myself when I was 14.

Jen: Oh, totally.

Tanya: Because you just, you do, you stop worrying about it. And one of the things I talk about in the book is if you live your life worried about disappointing others, the only one who’s going to be disappointed is you. We can’t live our lives for what other people want, or think, or believe. Because a lot of times, honestly, we’re projecting those ideas onto them. I’ve heard a lot of women say, “Well, I can’t do”, whatever it is they want to do. “I can’t do that because my husband would never allow that.” Or “My husband wouldn’t like that I was doing those things.”

And I’ll say, “Well, have you had a conversation with your husband?” “Well, no.” And I’m like, “Okay. Why don’t we start there? Let’s start with just opening up the conversation.” They have the conversation and sure enough their husband’s like, “No, I think that’s great, go for it.” So we project these things a lot of times of what other people expect or want from us. We do that with our kids. We do that with our spouses or significant others, we do it with our friends and our community. And what if we chose to just let some of that go?

Or what if we chose to have a conversation? What if I told you everything you wanted is on the other side of a difficult two minute conversation, that after that two minute conversation the doors would all open up because the possibilities would be there? Two minutes, you can do anything, anything for two minutes.

Jen: Yeah, totally. Totally. And I think it kind of comes back to reflecting and celebrating like you said, where you’ve been. And then figuring out what you want and deciding to go for it. I love that. So your final step, your fourth step is how to be flexible when life throws its curveballs. A lot of people say, “My kids did this, I don’t have time to live my purpose.” Or “My husband has cancer, this means it wasn’t meant to be for me.” How would you answer handling all those curveballs?

Tanya: Well, I think here’s the thing. The perfect plan doesn’t exist. So what we want is, we want to just be able to say, “I’m going to do x, then I’m going to do y, then I’m going to do z, and it’s going to line up like these perfect little dominoes one after the next.” And then something happens, one of the dominoes falls over or isn’t in the right place. And we’re like, “That’s it, that doesn’t work out.” That’s just life, that’s how life happens.

And I think what’s beautiful and really encouraging is that often it’s the detours. It’s when we get off of the path we thought we were supposed to be on. That’s when we discover the life we want. That’s when we discover the opportunities. I know for me, it’s the detours and the twists, and the turns in the road that have gotten me to where I am today. If you had told me 20 years ago, I would be doing what I’m doing now, which I’m absolutely passionate about, I would have said, “What? No, I thought I was going to be a stay at home mom 20 years ago.”

That is really what I thought I was going to do. And then through all these different detours here I am today doing what I do, and I absolutely love it. I think the thing is, is we feel like we’re supposed to be on that highway. And we get off and we’re on this scenic route we didn’t even know was there. I think this is why it’s so important to just stop and just check in and say, “Hold on, I’m off track, is this a good thing?” Because maybe it is. Do I really want to go back to the highway, or do I like this path I’m on right now?

Because sometimes you go, “Well, this has mountain views. I really like this path. This is the path I really want to be on. I don’t even want to go back to the highway.” Or you think to yourself, “Well, I didn’t even know these things existed until I got off the path.” A lot of times we don’t know the right questions to ask until we’re ‘on the wrong path’. And truly it’s your path regardless of whether it looks like a detour or it looks like you’ve taken an off ramp or whatever it is, it’s still your path, it’s part of your journey. It’s getting you to where you want to go.

Jen: So kind of having the belief that everything is part of your journey, it is happening for a reason?

Tanya: Absolutely. The universe is here for you. It’s never against you. And it’s hard in the moment when you get off track because what we want to do – and this is one of the things I talk about in the book, the three A’s, when you get off track, acknowledge, assess, and adjust. We want to, instead of acknowledge, we want to beat ourselves up. “I’m the worst,” or “I can never follow through.” We tell ourselves all these terrible things that we would never say to anybody else. But we want to beat ourselves up instead of saying, “I got off track, where am I? What does this look like really?”

And just acknowledging it without the guilt, without the shame and just accepting that okay, this is where I am. Then going to that second A of assessing. Okay, do I even want to get back on that highway or do I like where I am right now? Or is this showing me a whole new set of paths I can choose from? And then we can do that third A of adjusting, of really shifting and changing and either erasing what we thought our goals were.

I used to say plans should be written in pencil and goals should be written in ink. And that was the dumbest thing I could have ever said, honestly, one of the dumbest things because goals should be erased all the time. They should be shifted, and changed, and modified. And this is just yet one of the other things I’ve added to my own backpack is the knowledge that I say dumb things from time to time. So when you’re off track you’re not really off track, you’re still learning something from it. You’re getting something from it.

And maybe it is that you want to get back on the highway but now you know a little bit more and you can reroute back on.

Jen: That’s so cool. I love that. I love that we can write our goals in pencils. I change mine all the time but as long as I have them, I am moving towards something, like when I’m vacationing and decide to take this weird stop I never planned. Well, that’s fun. So why not do it with our goals as well? Yeah, I love that.

Tanya: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Jen: Wow, this has been amazing. So everyone out there who is thinking, oh man, what’s my purpose, how do I live my purpose, definitely grab Tanya’s book, On Purpose. And Tanya, one last piece of advice for our listeners.

Tanya: So here’s what I would say. We kind of touched on this earlier, that we think it’s the giant leaps that we have to take. And it’s really the small actions. So if you heard something today that we talked about, maybe it was the reflection exercise, or maybe it was just stopping and assessing, or any of those things we talked about. I would ask you to just take action, take one small action, something you can do today. So that gives you a little container of time. So something you can do today.

What’s something small you can do today to get a little bit closer to your purpose? Whether it’s the reflection exercise or maybe you already know what it is and it’s taking a small step like calling, or doing the research, or doing one of those things. Pick one and do that one thing today. Let that start your momentum because once you make that first step the second step is easier. And the third step becomes even easier. And the next thing you know you’re off and running.

Jen: So true, take a step, yes, I love that. Thank you so much, Tanya, this is amazing. I love what you’re doing in the world. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Tanya: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, this is a lot of fun.

I hope you feel inspired to take at least one small action toward living your purpose whether that’s reflection, or having a conversation, or setting an intention because I can promise you, when you live your purpose, you feel more open, and fulfilled, and alive. And that’s a great feeling.

My friends, you deserve to feel and be your most vibrant and happy selves. That is really the point of it all. What’s your energy like? What’s the mood when you’re in the room? Do the things that boost that mood, that give you that vibrance and vitality, and living your purpose can be one of those things. I love you all. I’m sending you all my love, my strength and I hope you have a vibrant, amazing, happy week. Take care my friends.

If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at

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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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