The Big Idea
Who is it you want to be?
Questions I Answer
- How do I uncover my core beliefs?
- Why does mindset matter when it comes to productivity?
- How can I change the way I think?
Key Topics in the Show
What is a conscious conversation
How to step into your authentic self
How to engage with people whose opinions differ from yours
The big opportunity for growth that we are all faced with (and how to embrace it)
This is the intentional advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton,
entrepreneur, best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert and a
mom of two. In Season 16, Tanya is taking ‘real’ to another level, sharing more of her
story and opinions, and engaging in conscious conversations to start bringing more
women together. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello. Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host,
Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 196. It’s also the very first episode of season 16 and
boy, this one’s going to be a doozy. I was telling my team the other day–you know
how we’ve been up on my soapbox for the past few episodes, let’s just go ahead and
leave that soapbox out for the whole next season.
This is a soapbox season, we could say because I want to have some real
conversations. You know, the other day we were chatting with Jack because it’s his
senior year. So we’ve been retelling old stories about him at dinner, and just thinking
about who he was when he was really little. And we were telling a story about how
he was maybe three or four years old; he was in preschool and they were doing fire
prevention week. And so of course, as a family, we made a whole fire evacuation
plan. We practiced what to do if there was a fire crawling on the floor and how to put
towels underneath the door and everything else.
And so I said to him, we went through all these things together and I said, ‘Okay,
Jack. If there’s a fire, what are you going to do?’ And he looked me in the eyes and he
said, ‘I’m going to hide under my bed.’ Oh, I about died. I looked my sweet, sweet boy
in the eyes, and I said, ‘No, we don’t hide under the bed and wait for someone to
come rescue us. We rescue ourselves. We come out from underneath the bed.’
And while I was retelling this story to Jack who was laughing about it, and I realized, I
think I’ve been hiding under that bed right next to my sweet boy. I think I’ve been
waiting for someone to come and rescue me and pull me out because I’ve been
afraid to speak my truth, to be real and authentic. And it’s easier to avoid the fire
outside the door if we just hide under the bed.
But I’ve made the decision. I’m not hiding under the bed. And this season is my
proclamation of that. We are not going to hide under the bed anymore and wait to
be rescued. We’re going to rescue ourselves. This season is all about conscious
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conversations: real talk, not that faux authenticity I see on social media where
someone pretends to be real and cries on Instagram.
I’m so tired of that. I’m talking real truths, digging in, talking about the tough stuff,
figuring out who we are, what we believe, how we think: that’s what we’re going to
be talking about. It’s going to be a season full of hot topics, not the store, but the
opinions. So buckle up. It’s so big that I have potentially gone ahead and mapped
out two back-to-back seasons, so we can say goodbye to 2020, which I think we can
all agree needs to happen sooner rather than later, and say hello to 2021.
So I think the best way to really kick the season off is to really let you understand a
little bit more about who I am. And I know you might be thinking to yourself, ‘I know
you I’ve been listening to your podcast for a long time;’ maybe even 196 episodes, but
there are probably some things about me that maybe you don’t know that I think
might be helpful. If we’re going to go on this journey together, if we’re going to be
real and true and authentic, I think it’s really important for you to know a little bit
more about my background.
I moved 11 times before I turned 18. 11 times; I went to 9 different schools. I was the
new kid in junior high, three separate times, which is just ridiculous. But the majority
of my school-age years, I spent in an international school. I went to school in
Aberdeen, Scotland. I lived there twice. And so most of my friends were from
And so we had the opportunity to study and visit many, many different cultures. In
fact, I studied Russia and went there right after the fall of communism, along with
my classmates. So I saw people standing in the bread lines. I had conversations with
the Russians about what it was like to live with communism. I’ve been to Egypt
several times, visited the pyramids.
I’ve had conversations with the women in Egypt to understand what life is like for
them. I’ve traveled quite a bit and I’ve experienced a lot. I ask a lot of questions.
Anyone who knows me in real life knows I’m always asking questions. Another thing
that you might not know about me is that I am a proud American woman with no
Now I’m borrowing that phrase from my coach and mentor Ali Brown, who said that
the other day. And I love that term that she has no political home because that’s
exactly how I feel. If politics were a restaurant, I’d be full a la carte. I’m not one party
or the other. So I may talk about things that step on your political toes. Don’t worry, I
am almost certain I will offend the other side at some point.
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So no worries there, but just know I don’t align with either party and I’m not going to
shy away from my opinions or my beliefs anymore. I am tired of it. I’m tired of not
saying what I think or feel or believe because I worry that someone’s going to get
their feelings hurt. And I hope you won’t either. That’s what conscious conversations
are all about.
Speaking your mind and then listening–that’s the other half. Bravely, intentionally,
honestly listening to the other side; it’s not about barreling through the conversation
and owning your opinion, it’s about having the conversation, the back and forth.
When I talk to my kids about this, we talk about it like playing ping pong: you hit the
ball and the ball gets hit back.
In fact, I tell my kids, I want you to have opinions that are different from mine. I
encourage my children to think and feel and believe differently than I do. The only
catch that I have when I tell my kids that they can have their own opinion is it has to
be their own. They can’t tell me it’s their opinion because it’s what everybody else
They have to have done their research. They have to know why it’s their opinion. This
is what we want. We want to have conscious conversations, back and forth, talking
and listening and talking and listening because when someone thinks or feels or
believes differently from you; when they come from a different background from
you, invite them, ‘Come sit by me. Let’s sit and talk and listen,’ because you’ll be
amazed at what you’ll learn.
We don’t have to agree. We don’t even have to like each other, but we do need to
reach out across the divide and listen to other women when they speak their truth. I
am so tired of the old battle lines being drawn, and people being told that you have
I am over the Republican-Democrat talk. I am tired of the man versus woman
rhetoric. And I couldn’t be more exhausted with the women versus other women BS
that happens. But here’s the truth: the rules are changing. And that is an exciting
thing because we don’t have to tow the party lines. We don’t have to be on one side
of the fence and other people on the opposite side.
The rules are changing because COVID has created a new paradigm shift, and that is
incredibly exciting. There is a rebellion growing that is really starting to stir up this
rebellion to the status quo. We all realize at this point, the old rules don’t apply. You
know, it used to be that there was this very linear path. If you do X, Y is going to
happen. That’s not true anymore.
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Everything has shifted and turned and twisted upside down. It’s like being in your
home, and someone shuts off all the lights and rearranges the furniture. You’re still
expected to make your way across the house, but there’s a good chance that you’re
going to bang your shins and bruise your hips a little bit. But you’ll still make it
through the other side, just not in the same way that you used to.
You see, here’s the thing with COVID. It’s not a curse, it’s a catalyst. All right, now,
before you hop on your keyboard and you send a scathing email about how terrible
COVID is and how terrible I am for calling it a catalyst, rather than a curse, I need you
to listen. No one is saying that the disease is great. No one is saying that we want
people to get sick, but COVID is revealing some of the truths that have been
happening in our society for a long time. And we’re now realizing that we have been
actively, voluntarily giving up our ability to think for ourselves. COVID is a catalyst for
us to wake up and make a decision about who we are and what we want to stand
Who is it you want to be? Because right now, there is an expansion that is
happening in the world around us. You could call it an awakening or a calling, but it
is truly an expansion and a time to step into your truest self, understanding, and
acknowledging your own beliefs and opinions. In fact, I’ve been having some
incredible conversations with some amazing women who’ve been telling me, ‘I have
had enough; enough of the rules of what we should and should not do, enough of
the tight parameters of what society tells us we should want, and enough, quite
frankly, of living in a world where women keep getting pulled down by other women
simply for stepping out of line.’
You know, never before in the history of our country, of our society, have we been
asked–not really asked, but told to willingly, happily hand over our rights; our rights
as business owners, as consumers, as free-thinking individuals. We are being told
what to do and how to do it, and we’re expected to simply fall into line. And I feel like
a perfect example of this is trust the science.
Yeah, this is what I was talking about earlier where I said, ‘I might step on your toes
politically.’ Here it is, but don’t worry; again, there’s a long season ahead of us. I’ll step
on somebody else’s toes soon enough. Trust the science is this really interesting
battle cry that I hear thrown out a lot. Basically what it says is don’t ask questions,
keep your mouth shut, and just trust us.
But who is the ‘us’? It’s not scientists. I can tell you that right now because scientists
do not believe in trusting the science. In fact, they believe in questioning the science,
not once, not twice, but thousands of times. It’s not until something has become a
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theory, which means it’s been tested and retested thousands of times by a multitude
of different scientists, that we believe it as truth.
But even Newton’s law and the theory of Relativity; even those continue to be tested;
we don’t just blindly believe in them. We’re told as scientists to test them. You know,
scientists are not always right. Scientists are humans, just like you; just like me. They
once told us that lobotomies cured everything from daydreaming to hysteria. They
also told us that locomotives couldn’t go over 30 miles per hour because the human
body would explode.
They’ve endorsed lead in paint and gasoline. They’ve encouraged the use of cocaine
for toothaches, okay? Scientists are not always right, and that’s okay. It’s okay that
science is still figuring things out when it comes to COVID; it’s a brand new disease.
It would be surprising if they had it all figured out at this point. But it’s also okay to
question what scientists are telling us that they think they know. It is okay to not
trust the science.
I’m not saying that they’re wrong or that science is wrong. I’m just asking this
question, ‘What’s wrong with asking the tough questions?’ Because when we fall
into line, when we say things like, ‘Trust the science,’ which means don’t question
things . . . We are willingly silencing ourselves. And I get it: I get it that we are afraid
to speak up and say that we feel uncertain because we don’t want to get shamed.
And it happens, especially in the world we live in today where people all over the
world can access your information. You don’t want to get shamed. I mean, in fact,
when we used to live in tribes and in small groups, if we spoke out, we would get
exiled. We would be pushed out of the group to die. So I understand the fear of
stepping outside. But this is why right now, more than ever, we need to have
We need to have ‘real talk’. But instead, we give in to the crowd; we give in to the
mob; we quiet our own conscience, so we can fit in. We’re so worried about what
everybody thinks, we’ve given up our opportunities to think for ourselves. We cram
ourselves into these tiny little boxes of what we think we should say or do because
we’re so damn scared of how, if we choose to speak our minds, how it would be
received by others.
I say no more, I am done. And from what I’m hearing from so many of you, you’re
done too. Speak your truth even if your voice feels hoarse because it’s been too long.
We have to be willing to have these difficult conversations with other people; we
have to be willing to have these difficult conversations with ourselves.
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You know, these women that I’ve been meeting with and a lot of you who listen to
the show, I know you are rebels and that you are ready to start a rebellion against
the status quo because you are tired of standing in the line and nodding your head
when in your brain, you’re thinking, ‘No, I don’t agree with this.’ Our actions don’t
align with our beliefs and opinions, but we worry that if we speak our truth, we’re
going to be cut out of the group.
I don’t want to line up like a sheep. I don’t want that for myself, and I hope you don’t
want that either. We have to stop calling people out for thinking differently and
instead choose to call them in; into our circles, into our conversations. Let’s choose to
think about how we think: ‘How is it I got to this conclusion. Why do I believe this?
How is it that this has become a truth for me? What is it that other people think?
How is it that they think differently?’ Start diving into those questions.
You know, for me, I’ve been pretty vocal about my word of the year. This year, my
word of the year was discomfort. And I don’t think I knew what 2020 discomfort
would mean, but it’s been the right word for this year because I have truly stepped
into this concept and this idea of discomfort so completely. In fact, I don’t think I’m
recognizable as the same woman I was at the start of this year.
I have spent months in discomfort, peeling back the bandages, studying my old
wounds, and the way that I think. And you know what has happened? I feel
liberated. I feel like I truly understand who I am and why I am the way I am and why I
think the way I do. I’ve been on a very deep, spiritual, and emotional journey this
year. And it’s been tough. It has been a lot of hard work.
Many of you know, that I’ve been writing the first manuscript or the first draft of the
manuscript for book number two; it’s actually due at the end of this month. And it
has caused me to dig deeper, dig deeper into those wounds until they bleed; deeper
until I found the wounds hidden beneath the other wounds. Writing this book has
transformed me in every possible way. And I am so happy that it did, but that doesn’t
mean there aren’t days that I think, you know, that I sure would like to go back to
hiding underneath the bed; it sometimes feels easier.
It’s hard to step out and embrace your authentic self, especially when you know
there are people who are just waiting and watching for you to fail or to slap your
hand for daring to step out of line. I think my name is a perfect example of this. You
may have noticed that I changed the spelling of my name. I did it kind of quietly,
around the same time that we rebranded the podcast. I wanted to do it quietly
because I needed time to get used to it.
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I needed some time to try it on and feel good about it before I really started talking
about it publicly. Now, the change is not gigantic. You can tell when I introduce
myself, it’s still pronounced the same. It’s still Tanya. It’s a simple change, but it is
significant to me. I changed the O in Tonya to an a; that’s it: T-A-N-Y-A. But what it
did was it signified to me the spiritual journey that I’ve been on and how I am now
ready to step into myself, fully reborn, almost as this fresh new, authentic version of
myself, with a deeper understanding of who I am.
I made that decision because I wanted to show the world that I am not the same
person that I used to be. And I am thrilled about that. You know, if I had gotten a
large tattoo, maybe on my arm, or on my back; if I had gotten a big tattoo to signify
this change, nobody would have said a peep. If I dyed my hair pink, most people
wouldn’t have said a word. But I dared to do something different, I stepped out of
line, and I changed the spelling of my name, and people thought it was weird.
Now, what I think is funny is if I had gotten married or gotten a divorce; if I had
changed my name because of a man, no big deal! But because I did it for myself,
that’s weird for some people. And not just weird, but a problem. It’s interesting, the
messages, the DMS, and the emails that we get with people who question what’s
wrong with me. ‘Is Tanya mentally unstable?’ We get questions about that. Does she
not know how to run a business? Is that why she changed the name of the podcast
and her name? Lots of questions about who I am as a person and if there’s
something mentally wrong with me.
And I find that really, really interesting because a few weeks ago I had lunch with a
couple of friends. One of them is from Kenya and the other one comes from a
heritage where her mother is from India and her father is from Africa. And we were
having a conversation about my name change.
And I told him that people thought it was weird, and they were both shocked
because they both told me that this is such a huge honor; it really signifies a big
change and transformation. And my friend who comes from African and Indian
heritage told me, ‘We have parties to celebrate this. You should have a celebration; it
is a sign that you have grown emotionally and spiritually. This is incredible.’
I found that fascinating, that when I stepped out of line for who I am in this society, I
got my hand slapped. I got questioned with my own sanity. Was I okay? Was there
something wrong with me? And in other cultures, it would have been celebrated.
And what I thought was even more ironic, to be honest with you, is two days ago, I
got three separate emails from Google telling me they were changing the name of
three separate products.
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G-Suites is now called Workspace; Google Play Music Podcast Portal is now Google
Podcast Manager; and Google Play Music is now YouTube Music. Three separate
name changes. So I’m curious, do you think they got called out for being unstable or
mentally off? Do they get asked if they don’t know how to run a business? Do they
have women emailing them, asking what’s wrong with them? Hmm. I’m guessing
It’s fascinating when we step out of line that the other women will rush in to make
sure we find our place back in line. And I’m not finding my place anymore, I’m
stepping outside of it. You know, my coach told me, ‘No matter what, you’re going to
get hate mail. You might as well earn it.’ Okay, that was a game-changer for me
because she’s right. The truth is I already do get hate mail about all kinds of crazy
things, so why not truly earn it?
Honestly, what anybody else thinks of my name is none of my business. I cannot
waste any of my precious time worrying about what some of those haters think. I
need to use my time to affect change; to watch us as women alter the status quo; to
get those women who are ready to think for themselves, feeling more competent to
step outside of their circle of comfort. That’s where my time is best spent.
So this season, this season is it, this is your call, the call for you and for me to take up
more space, to stand tall in the path, and to allow ourselves to be liberated. Season16
is not a season where I tell you what to think, it is where we discover how you think.
You, with your beautiful opinions and thoughts and ideas that may be worlds
different from my own or from the other women in your life. But your thoughts, your
opinions, you are worth sharing. And that’s what I want this season to do for you.
I want you to feel more confident, more comfortable sharing your truth by having
these conscious conversations. And we’re going to be having a lot of conscious
conversations over in my Facebook group, so if this idea of stepping into yourself
authentically, truly having real conversations appeals to you, head over to the group,
And yes, that is Tanya with an ‘a’. T-A-N-Y-A-dalton.com/group. I would love to see
you there because this is what the podcast is all about; this is what the group is all
about: helping all of us come together to have real, honest conversations. It is time to
have conscious conversations and to think about how we think and how we behave,
and to make sure our actions feel aligned with our beliefs.
Let’s link arm in arm; let’s stand shoulder to shoulder, and confidently speak our own
truths. Let’s get the conversations going because that’s the intentional advantage.