Episode 44: How to Create an Extraordinary Life of Meaning and Success with Tanya Dalton

December 6, 2021


Trust me when I tell you that you’re going to want to listen in and likely rewind and relisten. 

You might know Tonya for her previous book Joy Of Missing Out, but today we’re talking all about her most recent book On Purpose: The Busy Woman’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life of Meaning and Success.

So often we’re all striving for the next goal, for the next vision in our lives, for the thing that we most want. But it comes at the sacrifice of us. It comes at the sacrifice of joy, of purpose and meaning. And when we really think about it, what we’re all really craving is that significance.

In today’s episode Tanya Dalton and I have a conversation about exactly that. 


[3:24] Making a Big Decision 

Tanya’s entrepreneurship journey began in 2008. She started off life thinking she was going to be a teacher and then a stay at home mom. But then she had a conversation that changed everything in her life. At that time, she was running around doing things with two small kids while her husband was traveling around the world, doing international marketing for a Fortune 500 company, and leaving their home for two to three weeks at a time. One night, they were chatting on the phone about what was going on, about all the things that the kids were doing and all of a sudden her husband got really quiet. After a few moments, he said: I’m missing everything. I’m missing all the moments, I’m missing all the milestones. I’m missing it all.

That night, after she hung up the phone, Tanya’s whole life changed. She made a big decision: she was going to grow her tiny little side hobby business that she started with $50 to absorb her husband’s MBA income, and let him come and work alongside her. Within about a year, she made that goal happen. 

In 2012, they moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and life was great…until 2013. Tanya realized that her work is not fulfilling her, it’s not making the impact she really wanted in the world. So, she created a bunch of exercises for herself to really dive into who she was and what she really desired. And out of that her company Inkwell Press Productivity Co was born. They closed their other company, went without any income for  five to six months and scaled Inkwell Press to seven figures in less than 18 months. Out of that came Tanya’s podcast and then her first book The Joy of Missing Out, which was named a top 10 Business Book of the Year, and now her latest book On Purpose: The Busy Woman’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life of Meaning and Success. 

Helping women step confidently into intentional leadership is truly at the heart of what Tanya does and what she loves.

[8:57] The Meaning Behind It

One word that stood out to me when I first heard the title of Tanya’s new book was “meaning”. I think that’s the piece that’s missing for so many people out there. They’re pursuing success and they might achieve success, but is it really success if you don’t feel purposeful in what you’re doing or you don’t feel that significance or that meaning behind it?

According to Tanya, a lot of things will check the boxes of what looks good, but one of the biggest problems is we don’t ever take time to stop and define success on our own terms. The only way that we know if we’re successful is by looking around and going, okay, how am I doing compared to everybody else? So often we are uncomfortable getting out of our own comfort zone, that’s why it’s called a comfort zone, but we’re already uncomfortable in that comfort zone. Once we step out of that comfort zone, that’s when we have that growth and we can truly step into who we were designed to be.

[13:36] Choices 

Things that come between us as we are today and the us that we could potentially become are our own choices. Extraordinary is a choice that we make on a regular basis.

Some of the choices that we can make each day are:

  • Choosing to disrupt your patterns
  • Choosing how we identify ourselves as entrepreneurs
  • Choosing to focus, to narrow in and really pour ourselves into what matters
  • Choosing to release our fears
  • Choosing how we spend our time

But the thing that holds us back is we don’t even see the choices at all. We think that we don’t have any choices, that this is just the way life is. But when we make those choices, that’s when we get momentum that allows us to make the impact that we want.

[15:45] Fear

Fear is a very good thing because fear keeps us safe. We need to stop feeling like fear is the enemy. It’s not the enemy, fear is there to keep us alive and to keep us safe. It’s really about making fear your ally, recognizing where your fears come from so you can really tackle them.

If we reframe feeling fearful to “this is just me being excited about the next steps”, that totally shifts how we look at our opportunities. Reframing how we look at fear and really becoming a friend to fear and recognizing that oftentimes, it’s a sign that you’re actually on the right path. Fear is an amazing indicator that you’re stepping into something really big and something really impactful, something that you’re really designed to do.

[21:40] What if I get off track?

Tanya’s new book has four sections: Reflection, Projection, Action and Alteration. The fourth part, Alteration, answers the question “What if I get off track?’ Because you will, because we all do.

In answering this question, Tanya goes through three A’s:

  • Acknowledge; simply acknowledge that you got off track, but don’t beat yourself up about it
  • Asses; asses where you are, where you want to be and if your goals are still the same
  • Adjust; adjust your habits and your goals if necessary 

Another important piece is to set the right goals. Oftentimes, we don’t set the goals that are meant for us because we don’t know how to measure success. We measure success by looking around and seeing what everybody else is doing and what success looks like for them and in doing that we lose our magic. 

[27:11] Wayfinding Process 

So when we’re setting goals, we want to set the goals that are right for us. In her book, Tanya  goes through a wayfinding process of really backing up and figuring out what are the goals that are designed for you.

Goals are not the goal. Goals are the vehicle to get you to the life you want. So, you start by figuring out the life you want. What do you want to achieve in the next 10 to 20 years? Now, this is a long period of time and it can be quite scary so you narrow it down – what are your goals for the next 3 to 5 years that will get you to that big beautiful vision you have for the future?

Then, you narrow that timeline even more – what could you do practically in the next 12 to 18 months that will get you closer to that goal?

Then, narrow it more- what do you need to prioritize in the next 3 months, the next 6 months, the next 9 months? Those priorities are your goals.

[31:03] The Best of both Worlds 

Tanya truly believes you can have an amazing, incredible, impactful business and have an amazing family life at home. She runs a seven figure company and leaves work every day at three o’clock to go home and focus on her thriving personal life.

Tanya leaves work on Monday- Thursday at three o’clock and she doesn’t work on Fridays. She does this very intentionally because all day at work she’s wearing her CEO of the office hat and then at three o’clock she takes off that hat and puts on the CEO of the home hat. That’s when she’s focused fully, completely and wholly on her kids, her husband, her friends, her family members and it makes such a huge difference.

Tanya strongly believes that we need an amazing foundation of a great home life so that we can go and do the things at work that we really want to do. Because when we have an amazing home life, then we’re able to fully focus at work.

I hope this episode spoke into the hearts of the founder families that really do feel called to both, family and business. And if it did please leave us a five star rating and review. Let me know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling about it @elizhartke.

And as always, if there’s something you want to hear on when it comes to raising luminaries or raising yourself up in leadership, please let us know because we want to continue to bring you the value that you’re seeking.


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