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Thing Finding Thursday with Jen Louden

Jen Louden. To know her is to love her. Without question.


To me, this woman is the sheer embodiment of Creative Joy (and River Deep? Oh YES).  Truly.

{Deep sigh}.

Okay, so she’s that, she’s funny as funny can be (cf: The Giggle Reel), she’s hung out on Oprah’s couch, and oh, I don’t know, like, HELPED LAUNCH THE WHOLE SELF CARE MOVEMENT with her first book The Woman’s Comfort Book. Since then, she’s written five more books on well-being and personal wisdom that have inspired more than a million women in nine languages, like the classic The Woman’s Retreat Book and her latest, The Life Organizer. She has been a national magazine columnist, radio show host on Sirius, the whole while with those brilliant baby blues shining bright and a grin that could stop a Mack truck going full speed. In fact, I’m sure it has.

She knows self-love + world-love = wholeness for all.

{Yet another deep sigh}.

So, she’s a woman WHO KNOWS THINGS….you know?


And she revealed a LOT in this interview in service of you finding YOUR thing. She talks about teaching your way to your thing, her incredible TeachNow program (of which I am enthusiastically participating in this time around), seducing your thing, loving and abandoning your thing (and how that’s juuuust fine) and all kinds of other richness. TRUST me.

And I confess, I had a helluva time editing this video down to under 10 minutes (the limit available for a YouTube video) so once you’ve enjoyed the interview, devoured the transcript, shared the tweets (as feels appropriate to you), please treat yourself to The Jen Louden + Tanya Geisler Giggle Reel (wherein I THINK she does Shiva Nata, shares a highly memorable moment on National TV and we yuck it up but good).

{Final sigh}

Interview with Jen Louden for Thing Finding Thursday

Good, right??

Tweetworthy Jen-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • You don’t think you’re ready to teach, but you discover what you know thru teaching. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs 
  • Don’t let the heartbreak stop you from trying. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs 
  • It’s never about being done, or perfect. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs 
  • And if I try to stare too hard…or make it a brand or a tagline, it bites me in the ass + it dies. @JenLouden #TFThurs
  • Finding your thing is an onion, a spiral, a dance, it’s not a destination. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • Your thing may be what’s flirting with you out of the corner of your eye. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • It’s okay to find [your thing] + abandon it + find it + abandon it.  @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Tanya: So, Jen Louden, what’s your thing?.

Jennifer: Can I read you something?

Tanya:  Always.

Jennifer:  I’m called to lead you into sun drenched wholeness.  I am called to paint a picture for you of you free from shackles and shame and blame and ill health.  I’m called to mold a whole body YES to whatever life brings.  And I’m called to help you find and live your creative heart’s desire in service to the world – in service to you and in service to the world.  And I’m called to ask you to consider the whole of the world and all the beings as you live your heart’s desire.

I’m called to write stories that bring you home.  Yeah, so anyway I wrote that and I want everybody listening to know that I have lived in the question of what’s my thing and everybody close to me will tell you with a lot of teeth grinding and a lot of angst, since my first book was published, probably before that was that book arose out of wondering what’s my thing and feeling like I was failing at the thing I wanted to do, which was write screenplays.  So I think the most important thing I want to tell people listening is you decide what your thing is and it’s like something for me that flirts out of the corner of my eye.  Right, it’s like, “Ooh, I see you, but do I really see you?”  And if I try to stare too hard or bear down on it or make it a brand or a tagline, it bites me in the ass and it dies.  And it’s something about this living relationship.

In yoga today my teacher said, “Be peace.  You know, it’s a word; it’s a lovely word that we hear but be it now.”

And it was like, “Oh holy, yeah.  That’s it.  That’s what we need to do with this thing.”  Finding it, living it.

What gets in my way is that I intellectualize it and I want to brand it and I want to be strategic about it.  I’m not saying that’s wrong, but it’s like the cart can get in front of the horse.  We have to keep coming back to being this thing that really is beyond words and taglines and brands and everything and trusting that.

Tanya: And I think that there’s something – I’ve talked to other people about gaps to be filled, I’ve talked to other people about itches that need to be scratched, but there’s something about this dancey, fluttery, whoop, what was that, it’s gone.

Jennifer:  And seducing it, right?  Seducing that desire.

Jennifer:  So I was on retreat with my brain trust … and one of my dear friends, Eric Klein who’s a 30 year ordained spiritual teacher, incredibly successful consultant in business and best selling author, I was watching him this whole retreat having a hard time really claiming his chops as a teacher.

Tanya:  Yep.

Jennifer:  In a very deep way.  And I thought, “I want to help people who want to teach.”  That’s how our ideas start, right?  They start as this little thing that we see a need in the world or a need in ourselves.  All of my books have come from a need in myself, most of my blog posts do.  And then I started talking to my friend Michelle Lisenbury Christianson because I love to collaborate with people, I like to do serial collaborations. And we started talking about our own journeys as teachers and how much shame and suffering we had because we were both called to teach in our 20s.  My first became a word of mouth bestseller and people saw me on TV and they were like calling me up, “You want to come talk at our hospital?”  Or, “Hey, do you do workshops?”

But here’s the important thing everybody, here’s the important thing about finding your thing through teaching.  You don’t think you’re ready to teach, but you discover what you know through teaching.  And if you set it up in a way that it’s safe for you and that you can collect what you’re learning, you can record it, you can grow so much faster into seeing, “What is it about my thing that I love?  What is it about it that I don’t love?  What is it that I want to learn more about?”  But it’s never about being done or perfect.

You will never know everything you need to know to teach what you want to teach and hence that is what is so maddening for people and so tenderizing about teaching.  Things will always arise that you can’t answer and the stronger that you take your seat as a teacher the more able you are to meet people there and be curious with them and be a student teacher.  And there are a number of the master teacher interviews, there’s like 34 and we’re always adding more master teacher interviews.  And Sherry Huber, the zen meditation teacher is one of them and she talks about being a student teacher and being asked to teach and having her knees literally shaking and she’s still terrified, like 35 years later.

Tanya:  Right.

Jennifer:  So to me the greatest gift of TeachNow and probably the greatest gift of a lot of my work is kind of being willing to pull the curtain back and say, “This is what’s really going on in this moment right now.”

Tanya:  Love it.  Okay, so you said that your family, your friends witnessed this whole process.  It’s been quite amazing to watch it.  Even at the top of the call you were saying you don’t really coach anymore.  So as your own identity has been morphing and your things have been sort of shifting like a beautiful home that’s sort of settling into itself in a way, you know?  What have been some questions that you’ve been asking yourself?

Jennifer:  Well, first I have to tell you that my word for the year is home so it’s really lovely that you said that.  And I don’t mean home like staying home, I mean like building a new way of being, inhabiting the space of that deep rootedness and self trust, so nice little synchronicity there.  The benchmarks are, for me, first to notice where I’m feeling out of alignment or like I’m faking it.  That faking is a huge benchmark for me, and then I’ve had to learn, God, over and over and over again, “Oh, that doesn’t mean I’m doing the wrong work.  It means I have a story about how I should be doing the work.”

Tanya:  Yes.

Jennifer:  Huge, huge, oops, still learning it, still learning it.  And then looking back at whatever I’ve done and there’s a lot of it and going, “Oh, holy shit, that was really of use to people but I wasn’t getting fed because my story was ‘that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.’”

Tanya:  Right, right.

Jennifer:  So there’s so much discernment here and I think it’s so important if there’s one message that I have for people is that you don’t think that there is an arrival place or a done or that if you get there, you will know it because it will be delightful, light, and easy all the time, right?  Because you’re still you, even when you’re doing your thing you’re still you.  And so as you can tell, a little goofy, a little intense, and a little bit of an over provider so those things are always going to be, but as I spiral around I tend to loosen them up a little better; I can get some distance.

Tanya:  And again, that’s where the home piece comes in it seems like for you.  So within the context of all of these disparate things that just make you so alive and so Jen Louden, yea!  Finding the piece and the homeness in there.

Jennifer:  Yes, perfect, thank you.  That’s why you’re such a great coach.

Tanya:  Oh, thank you, thank you.  Is there anything else that people who are watching?

Jennifer:  There are a couple of things.  One is that it’s okay if you found it in and abandoned it and found it and abandoned it and found it and abandoned it.

And we can be ashamed that we’ve given up and we’re here again, or we can celebrate and get support.

Tanya:  No honestly and truly, you’re so like, “That’s it.”  And the idea of this being a dance, I’m sort of like, “Is it fitting now?  Not so much, I’m going to try this.  Is it fitting now?  Oh, a little more, if I just had a little more of this, add a little more shimmy shimmy shake.”  I absolutely love that and it’s okay to abandon and revisit and abandon and revisit.  Do you know how expansive that is?

Jennifer: Sometimes the things that you most care about are the things that you’re most afraid of, so you may know very well what your thing is and you may know that you may not be able to bring it to life the way that you want and that may break your heart, but don’t let that heartbreak stop you from trying.  I’m not going to be able to write the great American novel.  You may never read what I write, or maybe I will.  But if I put my hat on that as living my thing, then I’m screwed right out of the gate.  And instead I say my job is to show up and how can I show up all of myself and how can I keep learning and how can I be curious and how can I really try to tell a story that does what I want it to do, which is bring wholeness and make you think and make you, well lots of other things.  That’s all I can do.

Annnnnnnd…The Giggle Reel



Go find Jen at her site, TeachNow and on Twitter. Learn from her. Celebrate your path as she celebrates hers. Joyfully.

Thing Finding Thursday with Sabrina Ali

When Sabrina Ali first reached out to me via Kelly Diels, she said: “My ‘thing’ is resumes”. I’ll ‘fess up: since I left my corporate gig in 2006, I haven’t thought much about resumes (with the exception of including one in my own business plan). Those dreary under two-paged, Times New Roman, 1.5 line spaced, centred contact info (“make sure you don’t have a partygrrrl69@ email address”)  documents that seem to breathe “meh, this is good enough”. SO. BEIGE.  So, given that this delightful young woman came to me through Kelly (and I’ve only met incredible, anything-but-beige stars through her), I imagined that Sabrina would offer my readers some fabulous tips about sassing up their resumes. And that that would be good.

Between the months that have elapsed since that request and this posting, it’s truly blissful to see Sabrina claim her REAL thing: uncovering vocation. 

Boo Yah.

So please, dig into this wise young woman’s delicious words. And see what covers start to peel back for you.

What’s your thing?

Sabrina Ali:  Here’s “the” thing first:

The simplest thing that you do is your gift to the world. You need no thanks because it’s a pleasure just to be able to do it. And you can absolutely create a life out of doing this seemingly simple thing because you do it uncommonly well.

The dilemma?

Not everyone knows how to express, name or talk about the meaningful thing they do with specificity. It’s under a lot of clutter.

So my thing? Where do I come in?

I uncover vocation. I help articulate enthusiasm (with my compassionate investigative querying nature) and facilitate the design of strategies to create vocation-centred living. It’s all concrete; it’s all marketable and totally professional.

I’ve personally been working with people on creating vocation-centred lives my entire life. I was designed this way. Over the last eight years alone I’ve worked in career transition coaching, self-development facilitation, career and education advisement, and employee engagement roles.

It’s (like seriously long over-due) time to re-imagine our concept of work. Work is not just about a means to an end, it’s about creating a life that integrates all parts of you.

Was finding your thing the result of a divine revelation, an insane invention, a culmination of insights…or something else?

Sabrina Ali: Finding my thing was all of the above and something else (as you say). It was a matter of putting all the clues together:

A culmination of insights: I used to be a career workshop junkie. If someone was holding one, having one, giving one then I was there. They were fun to me. Some were better than others and whether I was looking for a job or not, I went. At some point, I started to offer my insights to the other participants. At some point, I started to become the teacher. Who me?!?

A divine revelation: I used to drop everything, clear everything in my schedule, move my schedule around, and even create a schedule around helping people with their career and education strategies. I just couldn’t help myself. And I especially loved the results – phone calls, emails, or coffee and dinner dates with people to celebrate job and school program offers. People were feeling “on their path,” they were making more money, feeling happier. Hearing this news was the equivalent of … well, I’m almost embarrassed to say, but it was like having really great sex. Every. Single. Time.

The revelation: My enthusiasm is a force to be reckoned with. And so is everyone else’s. And I define this particular enthusiasm as: Clarity of purpose in total alignment with intention – where being and the task are one.

My insane invention: I have an insane invention being invented right now! I’m in the midst of creating the ultimate self-guided digital vocation exploration kit. It’s called the Bliss Kit and it’s for fellow heroes and heroines who yearn for self-discovery; who want to create careers and lives with a sense of energy-giving purpose. This is the quintessential collection of career and self exploration tools to assist people on their journey. It’s due out in March.

Something else: I’ll call it listening to the signals of life. Reflection, curiousity and intention are the ingredients. I would have been blind to the clues lying around me if not for the act of reflection and the power of being in a state of curiosity. The wisdom is not hard to find, but you don’t know what you’re looking for or looking at without intention. With intention it’s like looking for Easter eggs that were hidden by someone that wanted you to find them.

Obstacles/fears/doubts – what were they, how’d you vanquish them??

Sabrina Ali: These words have come to mean: The gifts that I couldn’t have in the moment that I’d never want to be without.

It’s human to experience obstacles, fears and doubts.

It is divine to transform them into something that serves your life. And we always at any moment have access to that possibility.

Obstacles: Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough acceptance. Not enough credentials. Not enough time. It all boiled down to externally referencing myself towards other people’s ideas of success rather than defining my own based on how I wanted to feel in my own life.

Fears: That I’m generally an inadequate human being. That I have helped all the people that I can and now there’s no one else to help. That I can’t  write. All stories that I inherited and contrary to the actual evidence showing up in my life.

Doubts: That what I’m doing (whatever plan, strategy, idea) won’t work. The antidote? Listen to life instead – what people are asking me for, thanking me for, admiring about me without any prompting whatsoever from me. Where is the love coming from and what is it saying?

My vanquishing (love that word btw) strategy: Tiny. Baby steps. And often (momentum is a friendly force).

A nurturing strategy that encounters the doubts, obstacles and fears was key. For example, I have worked with gifted coaches, a Jungian counsellor that I really connected with, energy healers and did yoga over the last 4-5 years. These partnerships helped move me through my stages faster and I’m thankful that I made those investments in myself. I am in a supportive relationship where I grow into more of who I am and I also adopted a dog. I speak kindly to myself. I even did a couple of online writing courses for the sheer pleasure of learning (nothing with grades). I write every day.

If you love yourself and allow yourself to be loved, fear, doubts and obstacles start to look like opportunities for evolution. If they can get you just sick and tired enough of maintaining life ‘as is’, they are your friends. Trust me.

What questions did you ask yourself to trigger your a-ha moments…and what signs and milestones should others be looking for in their journeys?

Sabrina Ali: When I feel the “crunch” of existing – exasperated, frustrated, pointlessness, listlessness, rather than asking: “Why is this happening to me?” I ask: “What is this experience here to teach me?” Not in a punitive way, but rather in a compassionate way to help me evolve my capacity to be in the world and to live with more joy than fear.

Pain is sometimes very subtle and sometimes it’s loud and clear. Either way, it is a sign that something is unresolved. We were taught to avoid pain, but the bridge to joy lies in turning towards it.

It’s the foundation of why an entire work history can be transformed from a burden to an expression of enthusiasm. It processes and grieves things that we blame ourselves or others for. It allows for alchemy of experiences from pain to purpose, useless into ‘full of use.’

With this question alone I started to witness patterns that limited me that I had been unaware of. This is freedom. Freedom to choose rather than letting an unconscious pattern keep you feeling estranged from your one wild and precious life.


Sabrina Ali is totally honoured to have her “thing” exposed by Tanya Geisler. :) She’s a Vocation Strategist and the Creator of Sabrina says: Work is a pilgrimage of identity, a partnership of your heart and head, and what you are called to do for work is sacred.

You can also find her on Twitter.


Tweetworthy Sabrina Ali (for your sharing pleasure)

  • Finding your thing is about putting the clues together.  @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs 
  • enthusiasm = clarity of purpose in total alignment with intention – @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler  #TFThurs
  • It’s divine to transform fears + doubts into s.t. that serves yur life.  @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • In facing doubts, ask yurself: Where is the love coming from + what’s it saying? @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs


In upcoming Thing Finding Thursdays, I’ll be sharing interviews with the paragon of Creative Joy herself Jennifer Louden, Matthew Stillman (“deproblemizing through High Weirdness <–LOVE) and more, MORE, MORE!!

Plus, news about the launch of my Board of Your Life kit. It’s coming, and it’s goooooood. Make sure you’re signed up to receive notices, will ya? 

Thing Finding with Emma Gwillim of BasilBe

I’ve been interviewing people for Thing Finding Thursday who have, by and large, FOUND IT. Their THING! (Or, arguably, they are happily ensconced in their Thing For Now as we all know that Things evolve.) Yes, it’s clear what Susannah, Danielle, Chris, Kelly, Pam, Dyana, Jenny, MMM, Tara, Jasmine, Megan, Amy are bringing forward to the world.


And from the emails I’ve been receiving since this series’ inception, I hear that you’re appreciating the informed wisdom they’re sharing here.

So, “been there” stories are an incredible source of inspiration (and for a fabulous round-up of “been there…gone HERE” stories to rev up your possible-o-meter, go check out Alexandra’s piece.)

But what about the people that are RIGHT HERE, right now? Who know how they want to BE, and maybe not necessarily what to DO?

Sound like anyone you know?

I present one such person, a reader of mine who sweetly raised her hand and said:

I would love to write a guest post. I speak from my own experience of feeling a little inertia, waiting until I had THE answer…until I learned to taste all the flavours, take the cues from my friends and family (and myself) and ultimately making some big changes in my working life.

Friends, please enjoy this guest post by  Emma Gwillim.


Journaling would be, for me, a great excuse to indulge in my love of stationery (oh the sweet joy of a crisp, new notebook!) but I just don’t seem to have the discipline to get my thoughts down on paper daily.  Not in this structured way at least.  I am a scribbler though – my creative mind is constantly stirring up new ideas which I write down, along with inspiring quotes and stories I’ve read in books, blogs and, my other obsession, magazines.  In looking back over years of dog-eared notebooks, it’s obvious that my thing has come to light by a slow, dawning realisation.

I’m pretty impatient by nature and, if I set my mind to something, I’ll be a woman on a mission – I love a good challenge.  And so, finding myself thing-less and a little lost in my early twenties, without knowing what the thing was that I wanted to go after was foreign territory.  Uncomfortable at best, sheer panic a worst.

Here I was, working my way up the corporate ladder and earning a good living by giving out 100% of my hard work, energy and professionalism at work, all the while feeling pretty lost and empty on the inside.  And without an answer.  Terrified at the uncharacteristic prospect of doing nothing, I set to reading all manner of personal development books and inspiring biographies, while the answer still eluded me.  What was my thing?  The thing would set my heart on fire?

I spent way too long waiting for the answer, waiting for the proverbial light-bulb to go off.

It didn’t. 

And I’m embarrassed to say, unsurprisingly, I continued trading my time and energy for a monthly pay-slip in a job that left me cold.

Nothing changed until my mind-set changed.

The wonderful Steve Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”  I’d been waiting to work out, and logically decide, what my next dot would be and all the while I was in limbo.

It was a distraction in another area of my life, the natural end of a relationship, that was the shake-up for me.  That ending became a new beginning of the real Emma: I took a flying lesson, I travelled, I began to learn the Italian language, I cooked foods I loved, I read books that interested me, I socialised with people that made me feel happy …. and almost I forgot about my pursuit of that ‘light-bulb’ moment.  I stopped waiting and started moving, it didn’t matter in what direction.

And then it came….not in a blinding flash.  Instead I instinctively knew the things that brought a smile to my face and my heart and, the more I indulged in things I was passionate about, the more it seemed to open up the conversation with others.  In being willing to give things a go and learn if it was “me” or not, my wonderful family and friends seemed to be given the green light to impart their view, their perception of the real me, and added more colour to the picture that was always before my eyes.  Clues to which I’d been scribbling down over the years.

I still don’t believe I’ve got the definitive answer of what I want to do, but I’ve got gutsier about what I want to be.  As one of these things is brave, I’m going to bravely share, for the first time, my thing: to love and nurture people to live their best life.  It’s a simple as that.

And how exciting!  The giddiness of this was that I realised I could be this way in every area of my life – rather than the ‘what to do’ I was searching for in my working life.  I can be loving and nurturing with my husband, family and friends. I can be loving and nurturing in my work and hobbies.  I can even be loving and nurturing with myself – something that was definitely on the back-burner years ago.

If I could speak to my younger self, here’s what I’d advise:

  • Your purpose isn’t your work.  Your life is.  What do you want to stand for?  To be remembered for?
  • Don’t hang onto a ‘someday, one day’ dream.  Stop waiting.  Get moving.  There’s something gutsy about taking the next, courageous step without knowing where it will lead.
  • Feel it.  Let yourself be drawn to all the things that interest, inspire and make you wonder.  It’s only by tasting a little of everything that you’ll get to know your favourite flavours.


Do you hear the grace in Emma’s words that she knows how she wants to BE even if what to DO is still amorphous (and possibly even temporarily irrelevant)?

I, for one, am excited to witness this bright light along her path. You can too, by following her writing about her journey (and sharing inspiration) at her blog or connecting with her shining self on Twitter.

Tweetworthy Emma-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • Your purpose isn’t your work.  Your life is.  @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • What do you want to stand for?  @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler  #TFThurs
  • Stop waiting.  Get moving. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • Let yourself be drawn to all the things that interest, inspire and make you wonder. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler  #TFThurs
  • It’s only by tasting a little of e’thing that u’ll get to know yur fave flavours. @akaBasilBe to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs


Thing Finding with Danielle LaPorte of White Hot Truth

You know I love me some Danielle LaPorte. Told you so here, here, here and here. In my mind, she is THE High Priestess of Passion Persuasion and a sublimely generous friend. So when I decided to dive into the realm of Thing Finding, there was zero doubt who I’d be contacting for an interview. This was actually recorded a good while ago, but like all things golden, it has stood the test of time.

Danielle is the author of the Spark Kit (got yours yet?) and most recently co-authored Your Big Beautiful Book Plan with Linda Sivertsen.

When I was asked to review this latest tome of gorgeousness, I said this:

“It’s a rich buffet of ideas, tools and resources, delivered with soulful practicality and sizzling pragmatism.”

I still say that.

In this video, we talk about wooing your thing, how gratitude can be used as key evidence in the process, the killer of thing-finding {spoiler alert: comparison}, and you’ll bear witness to her best impression of a saboteur (not to be missed). She’ll also share with you (drum roll, please) THE FORMULA.


Interview with Danielle LaPorte for Thing Finding Thursday

How delightful is this woman, I ask you? Time spent in her presence, time spent in her words, is like time spent at an old-school Nordic spa for the mind. Hot submersion then cold plunge, then back to off-the charts heat again. Invigorating and ultimately oh-so restorative. And do you see what I mean about her flagrant generosity? Now please go ahead and spread the love inherent in her wisdom with your peeps, will you?

Tweetworthy Danielle-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • Practicality and passion are a wicked combo. – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs 
  • Go on a comparison diet. – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • Take the charge out of finding your genius. Like, what makes you happy? – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • There is nothing original out there. – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • We are not doers, we are deciders (from the Book of Runes) via @DanielleLaporte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • I don’t get off on failure. – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs
  • Appreciate what you have. That’s the formula. – @DanielleLaPorte to @TanyaGeisler #TFThurs

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Tanya: So something that you have written always, always, always piqued my curiosity and got my juices going. The enthusiasm is the genuine yes that will uncork your genius. That’s sublime. I absolutely love that.

Danielle: It’s so juicy. You’re so uncorked anyhow.

Danielle: Well, I think first you need to believe that you have genius. That’s sort of half the journey. I know it’s in there somewhere. I haven’t uncorked it. I haven’t stumbled across it. I’m certainly not making any money off of it yet, but it’s in there somewhere. So just believe that it’s in there somewhere. I’m often telling people that whatever is showing up in your life in the form of gratitude, people being grateful for you and appreciating and thanking you, whatever you’re getting thanks for is an indication of whatever your gift is or your genius.

What are people showing their gratitude for? When do you feel no sense of time? When do you look up from whatever you’re doing, whether it’s baking cookies or writing a blog post or tinkering with something, and five hours have gone by and you don’t remember how you got there? That’s the sign of being in the flow as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says. Aren’t you impressed that I can say his name?

Tanya: So impressed.

Danielle: So those are some indicators. I think we also need to take the charge out of finding our genius and just start in a gentle way like what makes you happy. Soft and happy. Just start there.

Tanya: I think that that sometimes scares that away, you know, this whole energy of like bigness, bigness, bigness. So I think that that’s possible that there is a bit of a story. What if it’s more just kind of a whisper? Do you know?

Danielle: Yes. And it can be more than a whisper. It can still feel hot, electric and juicy, but it doesn’t mean you need to go make money on it necessarily. It would be great. I mean, I’m aiming for the ideal that that’s what you can do. It doesn’t mean you need to launch it or go back to school. So I think if we just take the expectations off of finding out what it is it will help us get there sooner. It’s like falling in love, right? Are you the guy? Or it’s like the old Dr. Seuss story, “Dr. Seuss, are you my mother?” He doesn’t find his mother until he’s just hanging out. Do you know?

Tanya: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah. You let it go and then, poop, it will pop up.

Tanya: What are things that people are coming up against as they try to woo their thing?

Danielle: As they try to woo their thing? That’s such a great – Oh, comparison. It’s toxic. It’s a killer. Don’t do it. It goes like this. What I want to say has already been said. Her brand is like my brand. She got there, he got there to market before I did. Who am I to do this? I’m not qualified. They have more qualifications. They, they, they, they, they. Guess what? You’re an original just because it’s all coming through your lens, your perspective, your voice, your experience, your drive, your level of interest. So nobody has said what you’re going to say. By the way, there is nothing original out there. It’s been said. What I’m saying, what I say on it’s perennial stuff. You can find lots of teachers that talk about it. But nobody talks about it in the way I do. So comparison sucks. Just stop and knock it off. Just go on a comparison diet.

Fears in wooing stuff. Well, there is the what if I fail? Just make a decision and do it. Just decide. Just do. There is a great saying from the book of the Runes, “We are not doers, we are deciders, and once we decide the doing becomes easy.” So doing something and making a mistake is superior, underlined, italicized, to not doing anything. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t have to wait some things out and everything, especially business, so much to do with timing. But you do something and you fail, you will still be further ahead. Even if you’re in the hole financially, you will still be further ahead.

You will have more courage. You will have more faith. You will have more acumen. You will have more contacts at the bank. You will have more resources for your next thing. Just do something. Find out. And in that regard, quit soon and fail fast. If it sucks, leave it. Of course, there is time. I mean, everything I talk about is contradiction. So let’s get that on the table.

Tanya: Love it.

Danielle: Of course there are times where you persist and you endure and all that stuff. But if it’s not working, can it and leave it. Seth Godin in his book, The Dip, about this, “Winners quit sooner.”

Danielle: I also have a contradiction to that.

Tanya: Bring it.

Danielle: Fail fucking sucks. I want to be clear that my focus here is about executing. It’s about creating. It’s about doing so you can go on. Failure is often part of it, but it’s not – Some entrepreneurs get off on their failures. I don’t get off on failure. I have learned a lot more from my successes than I have from my failures for sure.

Danielle: Do I have a saboteur? Yes. Yes, I do. I’ve never articulated so we’re having a live moment here. I can tell you my saboteur are all those little – I really dislike them.  I need to be careful here. My saboteur is a 30 something, Adidas wearing, running show wearing, geek, social media addicted guy from Silicon Valley. He is a bit spiritually vacant and highly fucking cynical. That personality, that kind of avatar is my saboteur. So sometimes I think I’m being too spiritual or I’m not being grounded or, yeah, too out there, too Abraham Hicks. Is that guy behind me going, “this doesn’t work in the real world?” Do you know what I say to him? I say, “You haven’t been properly hugged in months, mister. You probably have sex like a robot.” And you know know what I got is hot. And that’s how I deal with my saboteur. I tell him to go fuck himself.

Tanya: Oh my goodness.

Danielle: Yeah, that crowd scares me definitely. But I’m almost over it.

Tanya: Sorry, I’m not finding – That’s really, really good. I just got to tell you, I wanted to hug him too. I just wanted to hug him too like he needs to be properly hugged like heart to heart, man.

Danielle: Saboteurs they really need love. They’re just coming to the table. Love me.

Tanya: Do you have any final desire for our viewers, people who are picking up what’s my thing? What do you want for them, Danielle?

Danielle: Don’t quit your day job. It is your birthright to have your thing. Be practical about your passion. Practicality and passion are a wicked combo. It’s perfectly alright to want to be happy the majority of the time and it can be done.

Tanya: Yeah.

Danielle: Appreciate what you have. That’s the formula. You want to find your thing. You want to move ahead. You want velocity. You need to appreciate everything that’s going on in your life right now. You need to appreciate that you have a bitchy boss. You need to appreciate the money that you are making. You need to appreciate that you’re stuck. You need to see the beauty in the people that you’re working with.

You need to realize, and if you’re watching this, you probably live in the western world. The fact that you’re watching this on the computer means you have the democratic choice to do that and the financial means to do that. So I’ll leave it on this note. Whatever you got going you got it good. Be grateful for it. When you appreciate that, you will attract more into your life to be appreciative for. It just gets better.


If you haven’t already, you can find Danielle at White Hot Truth and on Twitter.

Thing Finding Thursday with Jasmine Lamb of All is Listening

I missed you last week, Dear Reader. iMovie and I were having a lovers’ quarrel and it was trying to keep us apart. We’re on speaking terms again and I am thrilled to share with you the interview I did with Jasmine Lamb.

As a coach, one of my skills is the capacity to listen to my clients at different levels.  I listen for what they say, and to what they DON’T say. I listen to the pauses in speech, to the speed of the words and from whence said words come (diaphragm, throat, nose…it all indicates something different). So, yeah. I’m pretty skillish. And yet, YET, this woman has brought me to my knees. She is a LISTENER. A masterful listener who energetically reminded me to sloooowwww waayyyy, WAAAAYYY down.

Jasmine works one-on-one with people through her Healing Heart Sessions. She writes the blog All is Listening: Tools and Tales for Breaking Up, Waking Up, and Falling in Love. She is author of the forthcoming digital book, A Call to Listen: How to Start an Inner Revolution.

She has plenty of thoughts for you Thing-seekers and non-seekers. {Hint: it has everything to do with listening.} 

So please, get your cup of tea, settle into your comfiest chair,  and give this a good listen. Then turn everything off and take the time and make the space to listen to your own self.

Interview with Jasmine Lamb for Thing Finding Thursday


Ooooh yes. Stop and listen. What is your life, right now, trying to tell you?

(let’s talk about this – really chew it over – on Facebook)

You can find Jasmine at her blog, All is Listening and on Twitter.


Edited Transcript of Interview with Jasmine Lamb For Thing Finding Thursday

Jasmine: My thing is listening.  And when I say listening what I am talking about is listening first to my experience in this moment and to what is arising for me right here.  And extending out from there is listening to the environment, to the actual sounds, and then also having from this place of presence, listening to others.

Tanya: I suspect it’s always been with you but it hasn’t been articulated as such.

Jasmine:  That’s right.  It always has been with me and I’ve always almost known it, but haven’t quite and I’ve been confused about it.  Because what was reflected back to me when I was younger, both as a child and a teenager and then in my career in my twenties, was my skill in relating to people and in listening to people and my skill in taking care of people.  And I have really powerful skills in this area and I got enormous amounts of positive feedback from it.  And at that stage in my life I was confused into thinking that the thing that I got lots of positive feedback about and the place where I got all the compliments and the place where people gave me attention, that that was my thing;

Jasmine: I was a fixer and a problem solver and a hand holder and a “let’s navigate this divorce successfully” person.

And that’s all a part of me.  It still is; I have those skills.  I want to use those skills.  But, it wasn’t entirely feeding my soul.

Tanya:  So there was a point at which you went from this listener in this capacity to another kind of listener.  The listener that is very informed by your center – so what was that shift?

Jasmine:  It was a culmination of catastrophes.  I woke up one day five years ago, ready to go to work. I felt a pain in my side and it brought me to the ground.  And as I descended, my back seized up.  And I just couldn’t move.

And what first was my back being seized up transitioned to something where the bottom fell out of all my senses.  I couldn’t tolerate sound; I couldn’t tolerate fast movement or even slow movement.

Jasmine: What I could be with was the very quietest, most still part of the center of me.  That was where I could be.  And I had touched that place in my life, but I had never really rested there. It gave me this incredible opportunity to rest within myself and to listen there.  And really to listen in the moment there . When we are really listening, we are open to what we don’t know.

Tanya: I’m sensitive to that person who’s listening and saying, “Okay, but I haven’t known what my thing is for my whole life and now I’m open to being open to it and I want to find my damned thing.”  I feel that there’s that sense of urgency, so I think that you have a lot to offer in this realm of confusion and bless you and I hope that comes across with the respect that I mean for it to.  But I know that you have a belief that confusion, that feeling lost is actually a really powerful place so will you say more about that?

Jasmine: When we are lost it doesn’t feel powerful; it feels often miserable.  Particularly when we are trying to get out of feeling lost.  When I have been able to accept my lost-ness, and often it comes because I just am so fed up and so exhausted and so at my wit’s end that I just say, “Okay, I am lost.  I don’t know what I need.  I don’t know what is next and I don’t know what my thing is.”  And then, I can feel it right now, I just took this big breath.  My body, my being, sighs a sigh of relief that is like, “Great.  You are accepting where you actually are.”

And from that place, knowing really does come.

So if I was working with a client around this, you would actually slow way down and I would give them this opportunity to feel the sensations of felt sense.  Their physical sensations that are coming up in this wanting and desire and lost-ness.  And let those unfold and let those unwind.

Tanya: I love this – on your site.  Breaking up, waking up, falling in love and I was wondering if you could play with me and knit that into the context of finding your thing or stitch it in for me.

Jasmine:  But for those people who are seeking their thing, they’re on a journey and what I think is exciting is that your life is going to take you there if you will listen to it.  And if you’re willing to go for the ride, which might mean some breaking up happening and it doesn’t happen consecutively; it all gets mixed up.  You’re going to wake up to what is true for you and it might not be what you expected and it might be scary.

Tanya: What is it that you want for people who are watching this right now who may be looking for their thing or trying to claim their thing or in process or maybe they think they found it but they’re feeling, “Is this it?” What do you want for them?

Jasmine:  I want them to open to the possibility that their thing is inside of them.  And that they can move towards it by trusting themselves and slowing down to include more parts of themselves in the conversation.

Thing Finding Thursday with Pam Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation

Pam Slim. I adore Pam Slim – author of breakout book, Escape from Cubicle Nation (her blog with the same name is “one of the top career and marketing blogs on the web“); writer; coach; and former corporate manager who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business – and after this interview, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t.

It’s soooooo good. It’s about finding the themes in your life, your body of work – which may encompass several ‘things’ – and about how to STOP DRIVING YOURSELF CRAZY trying to identify your one thing…

…and instead use your interests and ‘list of personal ingredients’ to start making a difference in the world.

Go ahead, make an impact. Pam Slim is about to tell you how.

And how she put it was so incredible that although the video is just a snippet from our interview, I’ve attached the PDF. It’s epic in scope…and in length. (13 pages!). You might need it for reference – seriously! – so here it is (Pamela_Slim_on_Finding Your Thing).

Interview with Pam Slim for Thing Finding Thursday

Genius. Let’s start with where Pam Slim left us: what impact do YOU want to make on the world? And what list of ingredients can you contribute to this delicious world-changing stew?

(let’s talk about this – really chew it over – on Facebook)


You can find Pam Slim at her blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation and on Twitter.


pssst: if you’d like to share your story (or question!) with Thing Finding Thursday, please e-mail me

Edited Transcript of Interview with Pam Slim For Thing Finding Thursday

Tanya Geisler: So, you know what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about people finding their thing. So you want to tell us a little about your thing?

Pam Slim: I do. I have actually a lot of things to say about my thing because what I do is work with people generally who are wanting to start a business, so to make part of their thing the way in which they make money be in some way related to starting a business as opposed to a career.

And that path has come from a long time of working on the human side of business, first inside companies working within training and development and helping people to grow and develop within companies and then as an outside consultant where I worked in a whole bunch of companies to work with people to try to improve them from the inside. And then in the last six years I’ve escaped cubicle nation of working with corporate employees that want to leave and start a business.

So what’s interesting is although I have many, many conversations with people about what their thing is, I actually fundamentally don’t believe there is one thing for most people, which we can definitely get into.

I think that can be something that slips a lot of people up because they think the sky is going to open up and the answer is going to come and they’re going to know their thing and they’re going to tiptoe down through the pile of tulips for the rest of their life.

And it actually in my experience rarely happens like that.

Tanya: So how does it usually happen?

Pam: The broader context and the way I’m thinking about it lately is it’s related to your body of work.

So, your body of work is a way of thinking about everything that you do in the world, how you interact with people, the kinds of things you might physically produce, anything from needlepoint to a book to a whole generation of really fantastic entrepreneurs. (You know, if you’re somebody like a coach.)

And so your body of work doesn’t necessarily have to be around one particular thing.

If you think about your life’s work as including this huge body of work that can have some disparate pieces to it, it might reduce some anxiety for thinking that there has to just be this one thing.

SO what if you don’t yet have a huge body of work to analyze?

Pam: just start to list ingredients. I call it listing your own personal ingredients. So you can say, “You know what? I have a little bit of coach in me and I really love music and I think music is a very powerful thing. And I’m totally fascinated by Apple products. And I really love Thailand.” Just begin to list all of the different ingredients that can just have you become aware of yourself and what your interests are.

And also include things like you talked about,

  • What are your personal values?
  • What are lines that you know you will never cross when it comes to ethics or personal values?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are strengths that you have that you’ve noticed all the way through school?
  • Are you really analytical or are you great at presentations…?

So when you have your list of ingredients, what I tell my clients is just become ingredients in search of a recipe.

Once again, you can eat many different plates throughout the course of your life, so at a certain stage the recipe is found in problems in the world that are meant to be solved.

So to use a personal example, that’s part of what I saw when I did my own assessment of ingredients. I love to work with people, I love to coach, I’m fascinated by the start-up experience, I love business, I love marketing and growing businesses, there are a huge amount of people who are very highly qualified and competent who are coaching people how to do that. There are a ton of books written about it. But the gap that I’ve found is there were few people who were addressing the specific issue for corporate employees who wanted to leave their jobs and start a business and all of the issues that were associated with that.

So they would read all the books that just talked about, “Here are the ten steps to open for business.” These books would leave out things like how do you go through a massive identity shift? How do you tell your parents that you’re going to leave your job that they had worked so hard and spent all their money to send you through college to be a doctor or to be a lawyer and here you want to go open a cookie business or something, you know? How do you have those conversations, how do you deal with fear?

That, for me, was an example of taking my ingredients and finding a particular place in the market that had a need for the specific kind of thing that I wanted to develop. And so that has been my thing for the last six years.

Tanya: that piece where you recognize the opportunity or the transition, were those from personal experiences that you had where you were moving from this realm to that realm and sort of felt some of those pains yourself?

Pam: But for whatever reason, in my own life it’s always been pretty clear. And the way it generally appears is I’ll find the vein of what it is I want to be doing, and I might be in it and kind of put out that though like, “What is that next thing? What’s the next thing I want to do?” And things generally open up.

Now, that said, and the reason I say that is exactly for the reason that you and I have talked about before. It’s so annoying, it’s like somebody who if you struggle with that issue and it isn’t easy and it doesn’t come and there’s somebody like me. Like, “Just set the intention to the universe, man. It’ll come.” That is not helpful. And so that’s where I’ve learned working with different people that there are particular tools to use, you know?

But that said, I remember when I was getting ready for that transition between the corporate consulting, which I did for about nine years and escaped from cubicle nation. I was definitely in that whole stew of trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and I took a class with a woman named Suzanne Falter-Barns that was about developing an online presence. I had been trained as a life coach with Martha Beck and I loved her methodology, but I wasn’t totally vibing with just doing life coaching.

Tanya: Yeah.

Pam: Because I had this whole side that I really love business. And I spent a few months of really deep introspection of thinking about my market and sharing ideas and kind of moving things around and really putting myself intensely into figuring out what might that recipe be. And that’s when I eventually hit on “Escape from Cubicle Nation”, and it was something that evolved. I really didn’t, I had no idea it would turn into a book, I didn’t know it would be kind of a thing. But that’s an example of where many people I think don’t have appreciation for how long it takes sometimes to be stewing on ideas. So in one hand it’s totally okay if you’re stewing on ideas and you’re asking yourself questions, like I’m sure you’re going to be helping people with in the overall program and process…What are great questions to ask and how can you start to track things?

Tanya: Yeah. I think that that’s where the theme piece comes in as sort of a bit of saving grace. And you know, I think the comparison piece – it’s like that person, “I can do that, I can do that, and I can do that.” And I think that that piece there, we’re losing sight of the ingredients that we have. So when we look at what everybody else has around us they might have a little more cayenne than we have cumin or whatever that is.

Pam: Exactly.

Tanya: And so we just kind of can’t force that to happen.

What do you really want for somebody who’s watching this – knowing that the people who are watching this might be seekers, might be multi potential-ites, might be on the cusp of or feeling more lost than ever or whatever it is – what is it that you want them to take away from this?

What do you really want for them?

Pam: What I want is to reframe things in terms of instead of thinking about one thing that you have to figure out in order to be happy, just shift the focus to think about what is the kind of impact that you would love to make in the world.

But the other thing could be what is some bit of a problem or something that you just really want to address.

And it goes directly to what you talked about; Martha Beck calls it ‘compare and despair’. Where you’re like, “Oh man, this is really my thing but look at this person! They’re cuter than me and they’ve done it for five years and oh my God they went to Harvard.” And you tell yourself all these stories.

For the most part, when you look at what impact needs to happen – especially around really large issues like helping people in their careers or solving hunger or inequity in the world – there is so much more need than the people who are actually serving that need.

Focus on where you can make an impact based on who it is that you are.

But really what’s important in the long term is the kind of impact and footprint that you’re going to leave on the earth…and if you’re spending all of your time in agony, beating yourself up because you don’t know the thing, then you’re missing this opportunity to be engaging in a bunch of really wonderful activities that are going to help make a difference in the world for things that you care about.

And that is often the really fertile ground for where it is that you end up finding out areas of deep passion is by doing things, not by stepping back in analyses

However, acting in the world and making impact is I think the way that you’re going to start to get better answers to the question.


PS – Love that Max Mendoza fellow. Here’s why:

You can find Max on Twitter. 

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