Read & Watch

Thing Finding Thursday With Dyana Valentine

What’s Your Thing?

You now know that this is one of my favourite questions. To ask and to help others answer.

I found my thing – and kapow! finding my thing was a game-changer, a life-changer – and over and over again, that’s what clients come to me for: help figuring out what they want to do with this one wild and precious life.

And you and I aren’t the only ones committed to you finding your thing.

Oh no. Not by a long shot.

Dyana Valentine is another one.

And mercy me, this woman is not for the faint of heart. She’s spent the past 12 years instigating entrepreneurs and teams to complete seemingly impossible projects—we’re talking major brand overhauls, six-figure product launches, full-fledged manuscripts. She serves up straight-from-the-hip advice in online magazines and columns all over the ‘net…in a past life, she was an idiot-savant microsurgery tech, worked for the Olympic Games organizing committee, and was personally approached by the FBI with a recruitment invitation—for classified reasons – on two separate occasions. She’s a writer, speaker, instigator, and creator of the incredible Woke Up Knowing Experience.

So, clearly:

Dyana KNOWS about things. And finding things.

And sharing. She loves to share. And so for this week’s Thing Finding Thursday, Dyana and I talked about your catalogue of things, tying shoes, and being your own investigative reporter.

Go on and love her.

You heard, that, right?

“You have a CATALOGUE of things.”

“Just because your GOOD at something DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE ANY BUSINESS DOING IT.”

AND finally: “believe yourself.”

You feel the shudder of resonance, right?

Me too.

Find more Dyana goodness: + @DyanaValentine

Know this: We are gaining on finding your thing. Oh yes we are.

More fabulous people + resources coming you way every Thing Finding Thursday. So keep showing up.

PS – that amazing friend Skylar? Also an amazing artist: Check him out: Skylar Fein.


Transcript for your reading pleasure

Tanya Geisler: And I know that you and I share the belief that everybody got a thing.

Dyana Valentine: Or that everybody has a catalogue of things, which is what I’m starting to discover. So, I’m even in a transition right now where my thing is morphing.  I am, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m fairly animated, right?

Tanya: Mm-hmm.  Little bit.

Dyana: One of the things that happens is, the more us we are, the more we tap in to things that are really meaningful to us and might not have seemed important but that sort of keep coming back.  So, I’ll give you a little story.

When I was about 5 years old, or maybe I was 4 I can’t remember when you learn to tie your shoes, but it’s sometime before major school starts kind of age, I learned how to tie my shoes. And the feeling to be somebody who’s sort of waist high to everyone, and everybody is always having to like help you in and out of things, and on and off of things, and you know there is all this power stuff that happens around when you are 4 or 5? And learning how to tie my shoes, was a time where I literally felt like I was a foot taller.

I just was so proud of myself. And I was so amazed that I didn’t know how to do it before that time. You know when learn something and you say “Ah! How could I have not known how to do this before?”  So I made it my personal mission to teach as many little kids how to tie their shoes as I could.

Okay, here’s what that looked like:  Grocery store with mom, my mom at that time was 25, she’s a young woman, she’s working her butt off, right?  So, we are at the grocery store and I am walking up and down the aisle looking for kids.

I’d sidle up to them and say “Hi, I’m Dyana. Do you know how to tie your shoes?”  And the little kids go like this.  And I’d say “Sit down. I’m going to show you right now.”

So the entire calendar year, I was an insane person about teaching other kids how to tie their shoes.

Now, this is a kid’s story, right? I didn’t even recall this story until some years ago, I think my mom reminded me of it and I thought “That’s my thing!”  I learn something, and I couldn’t believe how it changed my life therefore I must share it with the world, period.  There is not an option.  If I found something that took me out of that place where I would do anything I could do to stay under the covers for a period of time.  Where I was, I had just finished my Masters degree, my business was growing and it was kind of growing faster than I was ready for it to grow, and I was like “I can’t take the pressure!”  You know?

So, in that time here is this story and I thought “Okay, I’m going to teach people how to tie their shoes.” In business, and in life and

So I say we just all look for that story or look for that thing.  Or, even ask our parents, or our friends, or our kids to tell use stories about ourselves and what they see in us in our most natural states and see if there is something there that resonates.

Just play with it.

Tanya: what about strengths? How do people know what their strengths are?

Dyana: Well, there are a lot of ways into that.  I mean, I think that just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have any business doing it.  So that’s something I feel very strongly about because I spent years doing things that I was perfectly good at and in fact other people thought I was brilliant at, and they made me want to stick a pen into my eye.  But, I kept doing them because I was like “Oh, I have a job.  So I have a job, so that’s good.”, and whatever.  You know, all the sort of requirements, and I was really bummed out.

It sort of took a friend of mine calling me out on that.  So my friend Skylar, we had been friends for years and he was just hilarious and fun and just bare and one of those core, core friends who really knows you.  After I finished a job, a big involved 70 hour a week intense job for 4 years, the project finished so I ended that job and I was having a phone conversation with him after as I was sort of debriefing that experience and he said “I need to tell you something.”  And I said “Okay, go ahead.”  And he said “If you ever take a job like that again, that has nothing to do with who you are, I’m not going to be available to you, as a friend.”

So the reason I bring this up in the context of strengths is that I hear Skylar’s voice every time I’m on the precipice of doing something I’m good at, but isn’t necessarily rooted in my strengths and isn’t necessarily based on my values.  So that is why I put it in context, because a lot of times people think that your strength, is what you are good at.

You may be absolutely fantastic at cooking for people, and you may not want to do that day in and day out, right?  Especially if you’ve already done that for your 2, or 3, or 4 kids and your spouses and your family and stuff like that.  You may not want to be professional chef even though you do that and be good at it.

Tanya: Mmm.

Dyana: So, my way into a strength conversation is to look at those things that without them, you would have a different name, basically.  Like my name would be Matilda, if my strength was getting like little particular things done and making Excel spreadsheets. I would literally be a different person.

Tanya: Yep.

Dyana: That is not where my strengths are, by the way (laughter). But, my name is Dyana Valentine, and I am absolutely rooted in my power and my strength when I am on stage live and I am interacting with a giant audience.

Okay, so that’s the litmus test. For me, I like to like to process with other people. If you want to practice, this is for you and for all the people watching, if you want to practice seeking out your strengths like a little investigative reporter?  You can start to talk about the things you are good at.  Talk about the things you really like.  Talk about what you value, and have somebody else listen to you, and listen for when that zing happens.  To listen for when they go “Oh, oh wait!  What did you say?  Say that one again.”  Just play with about yourself.  We are not used to talking about ourselves.

Tanya: But do we need to hit a wall?

Dyana: A trauma, yeah.  I think that … I don’t think so.  I think that that is a very commonly held concept, that you have to hit bottom before you can bounce back up or something. I’m kind of a drama queen, so I love theories like that because then I’m like “Oh, right… so I have to be more depressed.”  So I’ll be like “Okay, I should probably have an extra bottle of wine on hand then”, for that. You know for that transition or whatever.  But really I don’t think so, because even in this past year I’m been making a transition to do more speaking and more sort of performing of stories and using that as a catalyst for people to change, and I haven’t had a major trauma.

Tanya: Yeah.

Dyana: But I did have a sense that something needed to come out, and I just kept trying to pay attention to it and listen and to quiet down and listen a lot.  So sometimes it can be a major trauma, or a major belly flop of a failure or something, but I don’t think –I don’t know, I’m not really into that whole punishment model, that you have to pay your dues, and all that stuff.  I just don’t – I think that can be kind of destructive.  So I’m going to go with no.

Tanya: Yeah, I think you should go with no.  I like that.

Tanya Geisler: what do you want, this is so big, but what do you want for the people that are watching right now?  What do you want for them?

Dyana:  Here is what I want for you, all of you watching this: I want for you to believe yourself.  And I don’t mean believe in yourself, but I want to believe yourself. I want you to believe what you experience.  I want you to believe what you say to yourself, and to other people. I want you to believe that you are on the planet and we are happy that you are here.  I want you to believe that if you know something is not good for you that you can make that change.  You don’t have to make it now, but I want you to believe that you know the difference between right and right now.


Hot, hot stuff.




  1. This is AMAZING! :) Thank you so much Dyana & Tanya. I still confuse my strengths with my values- in terms of picking a job because I know I could do it well rather than picking it because it would make me heart-happy. I constantly have to ask myself these questions.

    • Keep in mind that your values are the thing that make you fundamentally YOU (without them you’d be a reasonably drawn facsimile of yourself). Strengths are the things that are so easy you could give them away (and often, we do…at a cost). A personal favour? Lead with that gorgeous heart of yours…that’s your way.

  2. I love your story about tying shoes!

    I remember when I was a kid I was buddies with my cousin who is a boy. We were pretty tight. I had just learned to tie my shoes and I showed him. While I was just a bit older than him by 3 months I think, he then showed me a different way (bunny ear style) to do it.

    Funny thing how that shaped each of us, because I find that my thing is being the first to do things (I’m the oldest granddaughter on each side of my family) and leading by example (in dance class I was chosen to demonstrate more than I wanted to – its scary).

    And what does my cousin do? He’s going to school for engineering…

    Go figure 😉

    • ps… I really love what you said about not having to induce trauma on yourself to have a breakthorugh. And I say that because, as someone who actually suffers from the real life disease of depression – it truly gripes me when creative types choose to use that as a part of their artistic identity.

      Why would anyone choose trauma?

      • hear hear!!!!

    • oooooh, I LOVE this!!! And you ARE a quickstart, leading, teaching Wonder Woman. WIth a penchant for performance and such grace.

  3. So, exactly what I needed to read right now. Don’t you love when that happens?

    Great stuff. Thank you!

    • Exactly how it’s supposed to happen! Glad it did for you.

  4. I love this: not believe in yourself but BELIEVE yourself. Goosebumps!! Thing finding Thursday rawks. As do both of you – always a good day when I get to see you on vid and Dyana is just SUCH a sexypants!

    • Yes indeed she is, T. Yes indeed. xo

  5. Thank you so much for this! Quite a few years back, I found myself in the situation of working my ass off at something I was really good at, but absolutely did not resonate with me. I learned that I could be amazing at something and that didn’t mean I had any obligation to persue that path! What liberation that was! The journey since then has been so authenitic and truly rewarding as I am doing “my thing” for ME, no one else… simply because it lights up my soul to do so. Great series, Tanya… looking forward to future Thursdays! xo

    • And we are sooooo grateful you’re doing it. Happier world with you in it, doing your thing.

  6. Dyana is, hands down, one of my favorite people on the planet! Thank you for the interview. I’m gonna go teach some people how to tie their shoes… aka: rock what they’ve got!

    Big X and O,

    • Ooooh YES you are!!! Glad to meet you, Kerrie. Any friend of Dy’s…xo

  7. As usual, Dyana makes me want to stand on a tall chair and whoot/holler “Speak, Dyana! You better tell ’em! Remind me, mama!” “absolutely rooted with my power and my strength when…” how powerful! I felt so aligned with her from the very first time I learned of her during my Firestarter Sessions. Like Dyana, I know my exact story, and it was also age 4, and it’s in complete flow with what I do now. Dyana is such an incredible permission-granter! Thanks for sharing this with us, Tanya!

    • Yup, Akilah…you nailed it. xo

  8. UGH YES this whole interview was so amazing! Dyana knows what’s up! The intersection of strengths/values/loves is so key. I lived for so long in a life where I was focusing solely on the strengths, feeling miserable, then blaming myself because I ‘should’ appreciate a steady job or I ‘should’ be happy doing something I ‘love’. Come to find out I didn’t love those things, or I loved them in different circumstances. I also found her take on the not needing a crisis or a rock-bottom moment refreshing. I’m still wrestling with my assumptions in this particular area. Not needing to suffer in order to be worthy of goodness/light/success/whatever-it-is is hard to fully digest because it takes some serious self-love and grace.



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