1. What’s Your Greatest Failure, And How Did You Overcome It?
Great question! I really wish I would have finished my Master’s Degree in Counselling. It would have skyrocketed my career. Instead, I accepted a job that I thought was my dream career in that it combined my love of writing/journalism, and psychology/qualitative interviewing, AND travel. As I worked in the film industry interviewing people around Canada and the USA who have survived natural disasters for a TV documentary. Great experience but hard to make a living as the work is so sporadic. I always thought I’d go back to grad school but I still haven’t. I know it’s never too late but I’m not sure it’s in the cards for me. I have had some very good work experiences including with social services and in my current role - empowering women, so I suppose that’s how I overcame that failure.
Another great failure was SETTLING with the wrong type of partner for me – repeatedly LOL – so I did not end up with the white picket fence and 2.2 kids or fairy tale – so far! Though I don’t plan on having kids now at my age. It was the pain of failed relationships after spending years and years in them that I wish I would have done differently. I have chosen to work on myself for the past two years, on my own self-healing and self-worth so that I do not make those mistakes yet again.
I am learning not to settle and it’s something I work on almost every day.
2. What’s Your Greatest Achievement, And How Has It Shaped You?
I am pretty proud of myself for putting myself through 5 years of university with very little emotional or financial support other than student loans. Even when I was living with my partner, I felt more criticized for studying too much, etc. and really had to push myself to finish. I graduated as the Most Distinguished Student in the Faculty of Arts, not just out of the students who were majoring in Psychology like I was, but out of ALL of the Arts students attending university. That was pretty amazing. Plus, my research on Highly Sensitive People got an honourable mention from the Canadian Psychological Association on research that even the university professors were not that fond of at the time. NOW the topic is very popular, over 15 years later.
Also, I have contributed to 2 books so far that have been published, and I am a published editor of one of those books, so I’m pretty excited about that! There is talks of a 3rd book in the works as well. Another thing I am very proud of is that I did not live at home as a teenager. I got kicked out at age 15 and lived with friends even until high school graduation in Grade 12. I am very independent and had many firsts due to my own effort, such as I got my first job, bought my first car and my graduation dress and ring on my own. After high school, I got my first new apartment and ‘adult’ job on my own in a city two provinces away.
Today, I have a very good relationship with most of my family but it was a bit of a challenging upbringing. However, it has made me the empathic person and strong woman I am today. I am both grateful, and at times, compassionate for that girl and young woman (me) as well as for my family.
3. In What Ways Do You Hold Yourself Back?
I hold myself back because of a lack of confidence in my abilities. It’s a bit ironic and maybe a bit unintentionally hypocritical that I work as a program manager and manage a training program to coach and empower women! I am constantly encouraging them, building them up, advocating for them….yet I don’t always do that for myself. The hardest part for me is BELIEVING I have the skills, ability, and all of those great things, even if others say I do.
It’s extremely important that we believe in ourselves and have self-confidence. That lack of confidence has always held me back. It feels like a disability.
4. What obstacles are you currently dealing with right now? How do you plan to overcome them?
Some of the obstacles I am currently dealing with are perfectionism, not enforcing my boundaries, not saying ‘No’ when I need to take care of myself. Lack of self-care, rest, exercise, better eating habits. Mostly, it’s my lack of dealing with stress in a healthier way.
I overwork, don’t sleep enough, don’t work out like I should. I’ve been told by my management team that I give too much to my clients, which is true. I feel like I can do more, yet I’m at risk of burning out, to be honest. I am really working on handling the stress piece more seriously.
I have a naturopathic doctor, many healers in my world, as well as someone I talk to who help reframe some of my beliefs that do not serve my Higher Good.
Some of those beliefs are quite deep-rooted and I’ve been working on
them for much of my life.
5. If You Could Live Forever, How Would You Spend Eternity?
I would be an Angel . If I could grant wishes to help others just to see them smile and have renewed Faith in miracles and in Something bigger than ourselves, I would choose to do that. I’d want to give people "hope" again.
If that wasn’t an option, my dream is to be a writer living in a cabin by the water, in nature, writing inspirational material that would deeply touch people, and help move them forward on their path towards their goals and dreams. It would be a simpler, calmer, more peaceful and healthier, authentic Life.
6. How do you get through the bad days when you still need to show up to do your responsibilities?
I remember the BIG PICTURE, what I hope to accomplish, or where I want to go. I know from experience that we have to go on – Time and The World does not stop for us! – so we may as well keep working towards a life that we Love. It takes strength and courage and hard work – even some pain and struggle - but remaining in a bad situation is worse! I know ACTION is important when we are stuck or worrying too much.
I write things down almost every day to help calm my mind a bit. I try to find or read things that make me laugh…and I share them so others maybe get some relief from that too. I practice self-care such as saying No, going for a walk in nature, or talking with a gentle loving person in my life. Cuddle my 20-year old cat Mya who is a blessing to me that I am more and more grateful for every day! Music always lifts me up too. Also, I think back on the words or cards or messages I get from clients or connections or friends who’ve said the most beautiful things about me, such as how I’ve helped them. I try to remember to BREATHE…BE GRATEFUL for what I currently have vs. stressing about what I don’t have at the moment.
Sometimes I list 10 things with NEW THINGS to add to that list, while I’m having my morning coffee, looking out at Nature around me, when the worries or stresses try to come into my mind. I remember that I CHOOSE my state of mind, and that I’d rather choose HAPPINESS AND JOY vs STRESS AND ANXIETY or anger or sadness, etc. though I do honor those feelings too. I just try to release them and let them pass once I’ve allowed myself to feel them for a short while.
7. In What Ways Are You The Same As Your Childhood Self?
I love this question! I think it is vital to stay in touch with our Inner Self and that playfulness in order to feel pure Joy in today’s stressful world! I have always loved writing…I wrote my first ‘book’ in grade 6 and am more passionate about writing today than ever! I know it is my true calling. I loved it (and books) ever since I was a young child, and I still love them today! I also was known as a loud Laugher when I was younger. I still LOVE to laugh – and make others laugh very much today! It is so therapeutic to laugh, very healing, and very much needed. It can soften the harder times in our lives, but I believe the chemicals that are released in our bodies from laughing heal us physically as well as mentally and spiritually.
I have also always loved CONNECTING with people. Although I can be very outgoing, I’m also equally introverted, highly sensitive, and a very deep thinker and feeler. Nature is my meditation and my church. I have always needed much down-time and solitude in order to renew and recharge my batteries before I give my best to help others. I feel I was a bit of a wild child, a gypsy, nature-loving free spirit. I am still a lot like that today aside from the serious stress and anxiety and pressure I put myself under. I am doing my best to work on it by remembering who I REALLY am at my core.
8. When You’re 80 Years Old, What Will Matter Most To You In The World?
What matters to me the most is that my loved ones felt deeply loved by me. I love that quote about leaving people better than you found them, and the one by Maya Angelou that says “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Most of all, I just want to know that I made a difference in peoples’ lives, touched many hearts, and fulfilled my potential using the gifts that I was born with, as we are all born with them.
9. If You Had A Week To Live, How Would You Live It?
If I had a week left to live, I would surround myself with as many people as I could that I love and who love me. I would not leave anything unsaid if that meant I would have regrets later.
It’s important to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us as often as possible because we never know how long any of us will be on this Earth. I would do my best to have those authentic heart- to-heart conversations that can be so healing for all involved. Also, anything to do with Nature and healing so that myself and my family could feel more at peace before I was gone.
This could mean time by the ocean, walks in the woods or in the sunshine. I would prefer a quieter, secluded, more intimate environment vs. a busy one, with my loved ones around. Maybe a spiritual guru or healer to help facilitate the healing process as of course, it would be a very challenging, hard week for many. Meditation, walks, gentle music one day and maybe music to celebrate another day! Sharing great memories of each other and lots of laughter would be a must!
10. Describe One Experience You’ve Had Where You Took A Huge Leap Of Faith.
I am about to find out tomorrow if I’ll be taking a huge leap of faith tomorrow! It involves me taking my passion and desire to write more seriously. I’ll keep you posted! An example of when I took a huge leap of faith in the past was when I was an Editor-In-Chief and Writer for a women’s spiritual magazine. I had full creativity to write whatever I wanted, for the most part. I touched on some very sensitive topics such as suicide, relationship breakdowns, leaving the corporate world or rat-race to pursue our more soulful passions and careers.
I interviewed people from around the world who were open to sharing their personal experiences with the readers. I included my life experiences in each issue either in the Welcome Message or in an article, often my insights after interviewing someone I found inspiring. Writing from the heart and being gut-honest and authentic takes Courage! You risk being constantly criticized (even by loved ones!) when you write or speak or live from the heart. Not everyone is comfortable with those emotions or issues! When they fight to protect their perspectives (even if they are in denial), they can get very aggressive.
I’m becoming more and more ok with Speaking My Truth and with being very vulnerable. I find it the strongest way to connect at a deep heart and soul level with others, and I feel good about being my True Self, as best as I can, despite my own personal barriers or issues. Being vulnerable requires Trusting Yourself and The Universe & FAITH – that you will always be taken care of, especially if we are living our Truth.
Writing Website (2013/2014): https://taralifewriter.wordpress.com/