Get to the root of your limiting beliefs: What is it that you are truly afraid of? Many don’t know this but human beings’ most basic fears boil down to really 3 things: I am unlovable. I am helpless. I am worthless. The words we tell ourselves matter, so how can you change the negative things you are telling yourself into positive?
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanya Dalton.
Tanya Dalton is a nationally recognized productivity expert, best-selling author and speaker. He latest book, On Purpose: The Busy Woman’s Guide To An Extraordinary Life Of Meaning & Success release nationwide October 26, 2021. Tanya serves as a growth strategist for female leaders in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. In addition to her book, The Joy Of Missing Out, being named one of the Top 10 Business Books of 2019 by Fortune Magazine, Tanya’s podcast, The International Advantage is ranked among the top Business Podcast on iTunes. She is also a regular contributor for Entrepreneur and has been featured in some of the world’s leading publications including Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, and Real Simple. She has been awarded the elite Enterprising Women Award and has been named the Female Entrepreneur to Watch for the state of North Carolina. Tanya is also the founder & CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity Co. a multi-million dollar company providing tools that work as a catalyst in helping women do less while achieving more.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
My name is Tanya Dalton. I’m a mother, wife, business owner and I am a nationally recognized productivity expert, author, and speaker. When I set out to write my first book, The Joy of Missing Out, I wanted it to supply a simple service to other women — to give them the permission they needed to say “no” to the extra things in their lives that did not serve them. For too long, women have operated in a mindset where everyone else’s needs and desires are met before their own. But if we do not stand up for our own wants, needs, and goals, then who will? My second book, On Purpose: The Busy Woman’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life of Meaning and Success, on sale October 26th, is a natural extension of my first book because it teaches women how they can actively choose how they live their lives.
In writing my books and teaching my lessons on productivity through my podcast and speaking events, I truly believe that I am living out my purpose in life. My passion lies in teaching other women that the same can be true for them…that with the right training and tools they can live their lives on purpose.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I would say my start with entrepreneurship began in a sudden, interesting way, as is true with many of life’s most meaningful moments. It started with a phone call from my husband, John, who was on the other side of the world on one of his marathon business trips. With an MBA in marketing, he was constantly traveling the globe working with Fortune 500 companies. I was describing what happened with the kids that day when he said three words that nearly broke my heart: “I’m missing everything.”
At that moment, something in me shifted. I knew the little side business I had started with only $50 was going to change the lives of my family. I set a big goal for myself, standing there in the middle of my kitchen. I decided that I was going to grow my business so my husband could leave corporate America behind for good and come work with me.
I think the biggest lesson I took away from that challenge was that life is all about the choices you make. In that moment I could have hung up the phone, cried, and continued living my life with no change made, but I didn’t do that. I made a choice to grow my business and change my family’s life. People forget that we are the writers and designers of our own lives; they forget that we have choice in the matter.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Any decision I make for my company is grounded in the company’s core values, one of which is family. A couple years ago, pre-pandemic actually, I spent some time reflecting on how the day Friday was used by our team. At the time I already had the office close at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays so that my employees could get home early to their families. It then dawned on me that the work my employees were completing on Friday could likely be squeezed into a 4-day work week.
You see, I live by the principle that we have the power to bend and stretch time. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” More simply put, if an individual knows he or she has five days to complete his or her work for the week, the work will stretch out to fit into those five days. If that same individual is told he or she has four days to complete his or her work for the week, it’s been proven that the same amount of work will get done…just faster.
A deadline — even if it is an internal deadline set by you — will push you forward and motivate you to complete a task. Having one less day to complete the task just means you need to hone your focus. And that is exactly what my team did! Even better, we did not see a slip in productivity.
Things like that are what set my company apart. I am a productivity expert after all.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I don’t know if I can pinpoint one single person — I truly believe it’s the strong groups of women in my life that have enabled me to see what’s possible in my life. I think that when women link arms and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one another, we become stronger. I know that’s been true for me in my own journey.
We need to surround ourselves with people who support us and cheer us on, but also who nudge us when it’s needed or who show us what’s possible. I’ve found that in the network of strong women leaders.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, true resilience is not being afraid of failure. I discuss this in my newest book, but I think society has a negative bias towards fear. In contrast, fear is a very powerful and necessary emotion. Fear lives within us to keep us safe. Fear is a biological function that is necessary for our survival, which is why I have never come around to the word “fearless.”
The truth is, many of us fear failure, but it is failure, not progress, that is the truest sign of growth. If you are failing, it means you are pushing yourself instead of staying in your comfortable place.
Instead of being fearless, I invite you to be brave. Brave and resilient people still have the fear present, but instead of seeing fear as the enemy, they focus on how they can use the fear to push forward. In my eyes, resilient people have overcome the things they were once afraid of.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Whereas courage can be in a moment, resilience is a long-term game. Take goal setting for instance. When making a goal it needs to be inspirational, something that is going to excite you to put in the work. However, the catch is your goal also has to be realistic. No matter what we decide to pursue, we have to consider that there will be times of sunshine and times of torrential rain. In other words, are you willing to fight for this future even when things are tough? Those will be the moments where true resilience lies.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My grandfather is the first person I think of when it comes to resilience. A World War II veteran, he came back from Europe and built his home with his own two hands while walking a mail route twice a day. He and my grandmother raised two kids while both working full-time simply so they could give their kids a better life.
When my grandfather found out he was terminally ill with cancer, he never complained. In fact, he spent the last few weeks of his life celebrating with his family and friends everything he had been through. He told us that he had lived an extraordinary life with no regrets, which made embracing death easier. I think about that often — how so many lie on their deathbeds filled with regret and sorrow for what could have been. Watching my grandfather greet death was a gift I’ll never be able to adequately explain.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
I’ve been told a thousand times that whatever I dream of doing is impossible. When I made the decision to grow my company to absorb my husband’s MBA income and allow him to leave corporate America, everyone thought I was crazy. I had no business experience, two small kids and a $50 investment. It’s no surprise that everyone thought it would be impossible. But within about a year, I made that goal happen.
I never let impossible hold me back because truly the only thing that can limit you is yourself. For a long time, no one thought anyone would be able to run a 4-minute mile — it was deemed “impossible.” Until one day Roger Bannister did the impossible, he ran it in 3 minutes 59 seconds. That was all it took, for other runners to see that it could be done and suddenly there were multiple runners breaking that impossible marker. That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing my story and the stories of other women who live extraordinary lives… once we see what’s possible, everything becomes possible.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
Back in 2014 I had just closed my first business. I was excited for my new business venture where I would be sharing my passion for productivity with the world. To set myself up for success in this business, I did everything I could to try to make ends meet. I even sold my car and scraped as much cash as I could to make my first product order.
Unfortunately, a vendor I chose for my initial launch was causing a lot of problems. Shipping delays were a constant struggle and I was forced to push back the deadlines I set for myself multiple times over. This all reared an ugly head after I had a not-so-pleasant phone conversation with this particular vendor.
If I wanted to save my company and launch these products into the world, I knew I needed to overnight the shipment of my products to reach my deadline. The vendor gave me the option of paying $4,000 to $5,000 to have it overnighted so I went ahead and did it.
When I got the actual bill, I was stunned to see that the vendor had quoted the wrong amount. Along with my shipment, I received a bill in the amount of $45,000. At that moment, I had a decision to make. I could quit and close my business before ever getting it off the ground or I could take a big hit (and hope it paid off) by putting it on a credit card.
I knew from that point forward I had to do everything in my power to make it work.
I poured everything from my shoestring budget into Facebook ads to help promote the products and get it in front of more people. By the time I launched the product, I had over 500 pre-orders and was thankfully, out of that debt within minutes. This experience was so eye-opening to me. I quickly realized that as an entrepreneur, you have to take responsibility and own the challenges that come your way.
At the end of the day, it’s all about how you choose to handle the setbacks that you experience.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Growing up, I moved 11 times before I turned 18 so from a young age I learned how to adapt to new experiences and situations. I was the new kid in junior high three different times. I think that alone gave me the core foundations of adaptability and resilience.
I believe my childhood has made me more resilient as an entrepreneur. Throughout the years, I have become an expert at sensing when it is time to pivot or make a change for my business. I’m not afraid to blaze my own trail or go against the status quo. I think, in growing up, and seeing so many different “groups” I realized that trying to fit in was fruitless and exhausting. That if I wanted to be happy, I didn’t need to do what everyone else was doing, I could rely on myself and stand on my own two feet with confidence. I think that made me into a stronger, more confident leader.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Get to the root of your limiting beliefs: What is it that you are truly afraid of? Many don’t know this but human beings’ most basic fears boil down to really 3 things: I am unlovable. I am helpless. I am worthless. The words we tell ourselves matter, so how can you change the negative things you are telling yourself into positive?
- Flip those fears into facts: In my book I share a full blueprint to help flip your fears to facts, but the simple version is to think these questions to yourself: What is it you’re afraid of doing? What is the worst case scenario? What can you control? What is the objective truth?
- Set achievable goals: My tip when setting goals is to make sure they are IMPACT goals: inspirational, measurable, purpose-driven, adaptable, challenging, and timed.
- Rest: Research shows time and again that adequate sleep is necessary for optimum health, functioning and productivity. As such, you must commit a decent percentage of your time to “resting,” which is one of the categories of time I teach in my book. Resting does not only include the doctor-recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per month, but can also include meditation, closing your eyes and taking a break away from the computer, or sitting outside in nature for a few minutes. The key to your resting periods is they should feel renewing and restorative, otherwise it’s not rest!
- Adapt, adapt, adapt: We need to allow for some adaptability in our goals because life demands it. In fact, if we allow a little more grace and breathing room with our goals you will find that motivation grows.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have to name my movement after my newest book, On Purpose, so the movement I am inspiring is the “living your life on purpose” movement. When you pause and take a moment to reflect on your choices, it allows you to take back control of your time. Remember this: we cannot control time, but we can control our choices. For the most part, we can control what we are doing with our time.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
When I think of women who’ve paved the way for so many, I immediately think of Oprah. She defines resilience. Without question she has proven that the impossible is possible with the right mindset and determination. I would love to sit down and and talk to her about all that she’s learned in her journey to really dive into how she has been able to make such a big impact on our society. One of my very favorite quotes come from her, she says, “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.” I love that Oprah has been a role model for so many women like me.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Visit my website, www.tanyadalton.com!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!