If you’re looking around at everyone else and thinking they’ve got it all put together — think again.
No matter how successful other women may look on the outside, most of us have something we’re struggling with on the inside.
This episode of Think Tank of Three welcomes Donna Tashjian, a pioneer in guiding women to their fullest potential through her work with Vibrant Living. As a certified Mastery, Life, and Health Coach, Donna engages in a profound discussion about achieving personal harmony, challenging the notion that experts are always in perfect balance.
With honesty and insight, Donna shares her own encounters with imbalance and the tactics she uses to regain her equilibrium.
Be sure to subscribe to support the Think Tank of Three! Our direct links are here.
Learn more about Donna: ivibrantliving.com
Transcript: Finding Harmony When Life Falls Out of Balance with Donna Tashjian
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: All right. So Alex and me, when we got married, before we got married we had to go through premarital counseling for individuals who, depending on what church you belong to or don’t, what have you. So Alex, of course, being Orthodox. I just being plain old Christian, we went through, we had to fill out a form and the form, a whole lot of questions, like tremendous amount of questions.
But at the end of the exam, as I like to call it, the couple’s exam, father Jim Pappas told us that we were quite harmonious, which we were like, Hey, we aced it. We’re harmonious, right? We’re harmony. We’re harmonized. It’s a beautiful thing, which is another one of those. Words that I like from time to time but here we are 15 years later and every now and again, we have to remind ourselves that we are this harmonious couple because
Julie Holton: How’s that harmony thing going,
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: cause I’m like, I don’t feel really in harmony with you today.
So I always find that interesting, but when I realized that we are thoroughly out of balance and I’ve reached a point where I just I don’t even want to see your face. Can you just go into another room so we don’t talk right now. It’s generally because one of us, sometimes mostly me is out of balance or out of harmony with ourselves, with our own selves.
Julie Holton: And I was going to say like harmony with each other. Yeah. That’s a balancing act, but also to be in harmony with ourselves, to have all of the important areas of our lives feeling fulfilled and I don’t know, all the stuff that makes it harmonious.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Makes you feel good about living. I
Julie Holton: really like this topic of finding harmony in life because it seems like the message that gets pushed, especially on women, is finding balance and that work life balance.
And it’s all bullshit because it’s just life. And so how are you finding that balance? Balance within yourself. I started working with a coach. I think I’ve mentioned this on some previous podcasts this season reach, I started working with a coach because I just was feeling out of sync. I was feeling like, what do I want to do with my life?
What do I want to be when I grow up? And of course I’m living my life and I am grown up and I’m doing all the things. And from the outside, friends were telling me like, gosh, you have it so put together and you’re in all these places and doing all these things. And you’re so successful. And. It’s not that I’m not successful.
I recognize my success. I see it. I embrace it. I celebrate it. I’m learning to get better at celebrating it. But I also wasn’t feeling completely in alignment with what I want to be doing. And I couldn’t figure out still, I think figure, I think it’s part of the journey of life of figuring out what do we want to be doing?
And am I doing that thing? right now. And if not, h And so I just think it’s that this idea of how thi outside compared to how w on the inside. And that’s today is
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: going to talk ab
Hey there and welcome to the think tank of three podcast along the fabulous Julie Holton. I am Rishi, a candidate cafe service. And our
Julie Holton: third today is an incredible woman. Her name is Donna Tashkent. She is a certified mastery life and health coach who has been a public speaker since 1990 and founded in 2016 a nonprofit called vibrant living.
It’s an organization that’s focused on helping people live life to their fullest potential. Donna, welcome to the think tank of
Donna T: three. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here today.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: In your own words. What is
Donna T: harmony? That is not an easy, simple answer necessarily, but harmony for me is when I am behaving and feeling in alignment with what my true values are, what is important to me.
And what gets me out of disharmony, I’d like to hear you guys thoughts, is when we let other people’s opinions. Of what we should or shouldn’t be doing, and what, or society, or whatever, somewhere the, these voices come that say we should be something different than what we feel like we are, and that must mean we’re wrong, right?
And so it creates this disharmony.
Julie Holton: Oh, my gosh. So many layers to peel back just from that sentence alone. Like the judgments, right? Reese, like you and I talk about this a lot. And, I’ll share, I, even this morning, it’s funny how those voices creep into our heads. And the voices are ourselves making up the judgments.
This morning, I was thinking about all the things that I have to do this weekend and why my week was so crazy. Because I was thinking about this idea of harmony and just how the opposite. life feels sometimes for me. And the reason, life was chaos this week because we just got back from vacation.
And so all week I’ve been telling myself like, no one feels sorry for you. Like you just went on this amazing vacation. And, but then I kept telling myself like, but I worked really hard for that vacation and I deserve time off. And it was like, I was having to justify the fact that I even took a vacation.
But justify to whom? These imaginary voices that are telling me that I wouldn’t be so crazy this week if I hadn’t gone on vacation. It’s the judgments really creep in. Donna, where do those voices come from and how do we get them to stop?
Donna T: When you figure that one out, let me know.
Julie Holton: All right, writing that down.
Donna T: But The it isn’t getting them to stop. It’s learning to put them in the proper place is more is what area. So imagine you are in big family holidays and you’re in another room and your child. or someone you know, if you don’t have children, cries or make and have you ever seen moms go, Oh, that’s mine.
Oh, he’s fine. I can tell by the cry or they’re not. And so the order of importance that we put on the voices is something to, it’s to notice But smile at it. One of the things that gets me is when I get my life is really full of what I actually love. Cleaning house is not one of them.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I’m with you.
Really? And I was And you don’t wake up in the morning saying, Oh, I just can’t. Wait to see the baseboards
Donna T: on it. You can come on over. I was looking above my light here in my office and there’s cobwebs up in the corner and I’m
Julie Holton: like,
Donna T: Or do
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I want to just.
Donna T: I was going there and we can really go off on it. When I said that you thought about all of the things in your house, you mentioned baseboards, all of the things in your house that hasn’t. One of my things my coach told me recently is the first person women should hire when they go into their own business is someone to do those activities.
And not a VA, not someone in their business, but someone to take care of the personal stuff that they don’t really enjoy so that you can build your business as you grow. So I thought that was interesting advice. But so many times the voices are our parents. someone from our childhood. When I see the cobwebs, I hear my mother’s voice about those kinds of things.
Anybody clean their house really frantically before mom comes over?
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: So avoid having guests. I just say,
Julie Holton: I did the one arm sweep behind me on the, I had a podcast recording right before this and Oh no I’m hosting a, I’m hosting this weekend. So all the party favors and things are now on the floor, but they work on the desk behind me. That’s how I clean.
Donna T: Oh, but the actual harmony and things that we’re talking about with being harmony with ourself is actually the bigger subject that we want to get into. And that judgment piece keeps us out of disharmony. And then there’s the comparison. Peace, where we’re comparing to someone else’s, and in my terminology, comparison kills.
It never brings life in any degree. And so learning that when um, I can be at peace, one of the biggest things too for me for harmony is when I feel like I’m not doing enough. Even that thought you shared about I just came back from vacation and I’ve got all of this stuff that needs attention. What needs attention now?
Have the list, but what do I need to focus on now? And there will be enough time to get to everything I need to. That statement brings peace. When I am working from, Oh my God, I’m never going to get it all done. What am I going to do? Even though on the outside we look cool as a cucumber. When I’m working from that place, doesn’t things seem to go harder
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: when your thought process is chaotic.
When your thought process is chaotic, your actions are chaotic, or you might even. Tends to happen to me is that nothing is going nothing gets done, right? I laugh out loud when I said baseboards is the least of my house issues Okay, let’s just get it real But what ends up happening is I get So overwhelmed because Julie talking about the voices, Donna, the comparisons and you sit back and compare because I know that I’ve gone into other people’s homes and I literally am like, how is it so spotless?
How does it look like this? They have kids too and everything has its place and the floors are perfectly clear and they don’t have a catch all table that’s got three feet high stuff sitting on it. How is that possible? And I can’t help myself. And then someone says, Oh, I have a housekeeper and I’m like, Oh.
Oh, really? They’re like, Oh, yeah, I can’t. Oh no. And my mother has told me multiple times because you really need to get someone to come in and just help you organize the house and just let them come in and keep it that way for you. But I have this guilt thing, but I’m like, but It’s my mess.
I made the mess and my mom’s yeah, whatever. So as I was saying, and it’s hard it’s really hard because then I sit back and I’m like what’s keeping me from cleaning up the mess that’s all over the house? Because you are trying to run every single possible errand, you’re dealing with stuff with the kids.
You’re dealing with stuff with trying to get your business functioning. You’re there’s a lot. There are other things on the plate and instead of outsourcing one small thing, you keep thinking that this is something I’m required to do because you then saw someone else who you think has this perfect little life that they’re presenting.
Everybody’s presenting. What if there’s a A joke from Chris Rock years and years ago is like you when you go out on the first date, you’re not meeting the actual person you’re meeting their representative, like they don’t look that good all the time. That’s not how they roll.
Julie Holton: So that’s and that’s why side note when I was still thank God I’m not now but in that dating world for a very long time.
Was like, if that’s the best they’ve got on that first day, walk away. Cause it’s not getting any better than that.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: So it’s interesting. It’s tough. And then letting go, I think for me, the biggest one is the comparison. Cause there’s always this person is doing a, b, c, and d.
And I should be able to do at least that too. And yet I’m not able to accomplish this other part. And then, and then she told me, she goes, your cousin has a one bedroom apartment. She has a housekeeper. I was like, Oh, she goes, and she doesn’t have kids. Oh,
Julie Holton: I also think and Donna, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.
I also, I find that a lot of people don’t actually know what they want and it seems so basic figuring out what you want, but that’s frankly, that’s what I was going through when I first started working with a coach because I had all of these different balls in the air and I was trying to figure out.
Which ones I wanted to keep juggling and which ones I wanted to let drop or wanted to pass off an epiphany this week that I’ll share with the two of you and however many followers we have, in the midst of the chaos and everything going on in our lives. I realized Dave and I are trying to have a baby, and it dawned on me this week that is my number one job right now.
That is my priority. It’s not, it’s not making time for the things involved with making a baby. It’s Because here I was trying to juggle my schedule, and when am I home, and this, and it’s no, none of that matters. What I want right now is where I need to focus my time and attention.
And that, that thing is different for different people. If your focus is your family, Dave and I were talking over the summer, he uses a lawn mower that’s just like one of those mechanical things that takes five hours to mow the lawn No gas, no electricity either, like just your arm muscles.
And it’s that’s a great form of exercise, but do you want to do that every week for five hours or do you want to spend time with your family? These are choices that we’re making and it’s easy for us to look at other people and make their choices than it is to look at ourselves because oftentimes as women we think we need to do it all.
And I think part of that is not knowing what we want to do. How do we want to spend our time without landing on the obligations?
Donna T: One of the things that I have people do when I’m working in like a workshop and stuff is I like, pick a flower that you want to be today. So you guys do that. Pick a flower.
Who what, if you were a flower today, what would you be?
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I’ll go I’ll pick my favorite the calla lily.
Julie Holton: Okay. Oh, yeah. I’ll be a sunflower because I see sunshine.
Donna T: Okay. And I’m going to be a rose. Now, all of them are completely different. Different shapes, different colors. I’m thorny at times.
And you’re not, and all of these kind of things, and so I’m not a cattle lily. I don’t look like that, and and we get, that’s an idea, that gives you an idea of comparison. We are each unique, even if you have two cattle lilies next to each other, they’re not the same. That’s right. And so we are completely unique, and so that’s why getting into even any kind of comparison is setting myself up for sabotage.
It does not produce anything good. So the first note is catch it, catch the comparison to anyone, even your younger self. There is no comparison. And what you desire, talking Julie, what you were talking about, changes with the different seasons in your life. It’s who do I want to be now that I’m grown up?
And that happens at a different age. There’s different ages that women say that. Who am I besides XYZ? A mom, a wife, a mom, I did that. I’m like, who am I besides that? I’ve been a mother since the age of 15, so what am I besides a mom? And how does that look? And learning to allow yourself self discovery, allow yourself to have seasons, because I always did this doesn’t mean I have to continue to do this.
Julie Holton: I think that’s a hard one. Those changes, not that this is my own therapy session, when you spend, 20 years working to achieve career success, and then all of a sudden you’re like, wait a minute, that’s still important to me. But this other thing is now more important and changing changes
Donna T: hard.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Or even. Let’s stay on the track of career success. You reach the thing that you were aiming for and it’s not everything that you had anticipated it to be. I know for me, you know that I remember when I got into broadcasting and ESPN, that was my mountaintop. That was my Mount Everest.
And I want to be a sportscaster, a sports center broadcaster on the SPN. And I got there, and I got it. And I was not enjoying it. And sure enough, it all, it changed up on me. The contract didn’t get renewed and my time over there, ended. And then it’s that was incredibly dissatisfying.
And now I need to figure out what’s next. And I have spent the last however many years now trying to figure out what’s next, because I was so singularly focused. On that mountaintop thing and even when something might have gotten into my mind, are you sure if that’s what you want or what, what if this, what, and it’s no, this is it.
This is what I want. Except I was changing and that wasn’t necessarily what I wanted anymore, but I was I couldn’t entertain the thought of what. What the other thing was, and then it became desperation because I got there and I had other people who I was working with who had all these other little fun little side gigs who were like, they loved what they’re doing.
Don’t get me wrong. And they were very, dedicated to what they were doing, but their thoughts weren’t, they weren’t like if this doesn’t work out, I’m done for. They were like, Oh, if this doesn’t work, I’ll go be a party. Planner because I’m really good at that, too. I didn’t have a plan B and that’s scary, too So now because I was in harmony with myself for a very long time until I wasn’t so I guess the next question from that is you know For you, maybe even Donna what are your, I’m going to just assume that you are not always in harmony because we always assume that the coaches are like, they’re perfect all the time. They wake up, they go through their days. Perfect. They go to bed.
Perfect. And then it’s a perfect day. The next day too, like in the Barbie movie, every day is perfect, all figured out in the Barbie movie. It wasn’t figured out, but what are you, what are your tells? When do you recognize I’m out of tune here. I got to do something.
Donna T: When we ever, we say I’ll be happy when that in itself is setting myself up to even as wonderful as a baby is I can’t be, let that be my ultimate happiness.
That I, but I’m going to think about other things that will also be part of my journey, which I think you have in your life, Julie, because I don’t know you all that well, but having not just one thing be the thing. That there is a full life of a whole lot of things, because any of us who have lived as long as we have lived, we know that it doesn’t go the way we thought.
By now, it just doesn’t. And so what if you embrace change as an adventure instead of it’s hard? That it’s just one more thing I’m going to learn and grow through. And so that is one shift that I’ve made, is instead of being This was my plan! I’ve said that to God. This is my plan, and this is how it should happen in case you need one. Mm. It doesn’t go over real well.
Julie Holton: Yeah, he doesn’t always listen to that. And
Donna T: it is a joke now, because I’m a planner. And he knows it. He made me that way. And I’ll go, this is how I think it happened, God, but I put it in your hands, so I’m a planner. I still have my checklist and all of that kind of stuff.
It’s part, so part of what has helped me made the transition is my daily disciplines. It’s the way that I check in with myself every day. How are you doing? As if I was a client. What are you feeling? If I find myself getting irritated about stuff that has nothing to do with what I’m getting irritated with, if it’s like you’re snapping at something and you’re like, what’s going on?
So I, I get that time and spend time with myself or my coach and have those daily disciplines to check in. What is, what are you feeling? What are your fears? Go And I, one of the biggest keys is addressing your fears right up front. I’m afraid that um, let’s talk about what you had said. I’ve got this job and now I’m afraid I’ll never know what I’m supposed to do and I won’t be able to achieve anything that matters.
That’s what I’m afraid of. Is that even true? No, look at all of my talents and gifts. I just need to relax and figure it out. One of the biggest things of having a baby for a woman is reducing stress.
Julie Holton: Yeah, isn’t that great? I read that book, too.
Julie Holton: And also, let’s just say it as a side note once a month now, I’m like Yes. Do I even like him? Because let’s just say hormones are a thing, too.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Back to Donna. No, when you had said that was your, focus on having a baby, I wanted to, I’m like, don’t focus on having a baby. Don’t do that. Yeah. Oh, but it is. She’s getting angry.
Donna T: And so it’s I hope that I answered your question is in a story kind of way, is being able to think about your daily disciplines, how you’re starting your day, how you’re ending your day, and the being present in the moment, I can’t emphasize that enough, because that scatteredness is not accomplishing anything, and we do multitask, women multitask better than men.
Then our counterparts, but but it’s still if I’m working on my blog or a podcast episode or whatever it is, I can’t be thinking if I am, I’m scattered on other things and I’m not fully present. And so learning to silence our phones and turn off the notifications and whatever we need to do to work on that thing.
And if I work solid on that for even a half hour, I get more done than all that scattered feeling.
Julie Holton: I love that. Donna, I, so let’s think for a moment. I would love to hear from you as we start to wrap up here. For the woman listening right now, who is feeling the chaos in some way, or feeling the scatteredness, feeling out of alignment what are one or two things she can do right now to bring her back to present and help her get that harmony that you’re talking about?
What are a couple things Tactical, actionable things that we can do.
Donna T: Quiet time in making a list of what you would like in your life. Usually it’s so much easier for us to start with what we don’t want. But once we start with what we don’t want, I want to move forward to what do I want instead and focus on the positive.
I don’t want, I want, I don’t want to be such a grouch. Instead, I want to be more peaceful, and happy, and loving. So what do you want instead? Then you begin to create. Your focus, your declarations, begin to say what you want, not what you don’t want, and begin to focus on that, by your declarations, by affirmations, it’s a daily practice for me.
After that, what is one step, in your quiet moment, what is one step I could take today to take me closer to what I want? You do that. In 15 minutes, you will go from feeling scattered to more peaceful with an action plan of what you can do. It may be, I can’t do anything right now, but I’m going to keep believing.
And so whatever it is, in a very short period of time, walking through that process, you will change your internal disharmony to begin to feel more
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: in harmony. Because also within that, there was a moment of, and be okay with the quiet. Be okay with the quiet. Because if you can’t do the things that are on your list at that moment, then you need to be okay with that and say, okay, still going to go for it.
Just have to wait for the moment maybe, or move towards the moment in a different way. I love that.
Julie Holton: And when you need some calm reassurance, turn on Donna’s podcast because Donna, your voice got so calm and reassuring. I was like, yes, whatever you say, I’ll just sit in the meditative mode and listen to Donna.
Donna T: I have created meditations for that purpose, but learning to be able, whatever, Zen music, whatever it is that gives a moment and I, if you have to get up early 15 minutes, just whatever you need to do in our busy life, it will be reciprocated a hundred fold. Then going from that scatteredness, hitting the floor, feeling like you’re behind is awful.
You don’t digest food right. It affects our health. It affects our interactions with those that we do love. And people that are close to us. It affects everything. If you could take that moment to find, and this is what it looks like in the middle. In the middle from what I don’t want to what I do want.
This is what it looks like in the middle. The absence of the evidence of what you want in your life doesn’t mean it’s not being, it’s that they, it’s not present. It’s just not in my hands yet because everything is created twice. First it’s a thought before it becomes a thing. Positive or negative, it still works.
So that’s why I say, don’t focus on what you don’t want. Focus on, I don’t want my husband to be such a jerk. What do you want instead?
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: You know what, it’s removing the negative. It’s removing the don’t. And Julie, I know you’ve heard me say this many times about just changing the words on certain things.
I really try to say to my son, instead of don’t forget, and I’ve said this to my husband, don’t forget, I try, I really try to revamp it and just say, remember to. Remember this, so going along your lines of, I don’t want, just remove that negative, the do not part all together. I want this CD. I want that that as a, and I do believe in the power of speaking things repeatedly.
And if you keep dropping in the don’ts are going to take over and something will come out of it. Yes. Yeah. Don’t manifest that. Yeah. You don’t want to manifest what’s coming out of the don’t.
Donna T: And you can probably think of times in your life when it worked pretty well.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: Indeed. Before we wrap things up, Donna first of all, so much because those little bits that you just dropped on us, even just the level of tone. Did does wonders and I’m certain that anyone listening and watching felt that because it was literally just, it just manifested calm and you find yourself saying, Oh.
Yeah. Okay. So thank you for that. But before we go, we do have our rapid fire questions that we ask everyone. Our first one is what is one piece of advice that you would give to any aspiring woman?
Donna T: To get up every day and proceed as if success is inevitable.
Julie Holton: Can you share, Donna, a book, quote, resource, something that has had a significant impact on your journey?
Donna T: The latest one is Upper Limit. Gay Hendrix is the author of that. It’s an amazing book. The Bible is my main one.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: If you could go back in time and give the younger self who would actually listen to you, not the younger self that’s going to give you the hand, but the younger self that’s going to actually listen to you, a little bit of advice. What little bit of advice would you give the listening young yourself?
Donna T: To believe it’s possible. My phrasing is what if it could work out? That would be what I was, to believe in yourself.
Julie Holton: I love that. It’s that idea of before the world puts that fear in us, or that disbelief that we can’t. Do things who would we become if we just never let that sink in, right?
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: It has been wonderful talking with you, Donna. Thank you so much. Thank you for those moments of calm, those bringing us back. You brought me back from a ledge. I seem to get on a ledge every time I get on the show.
Julie Holton: We bring it out.
Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris: I have to get talked down and we keep bringing in people that. Are continually talking me down and it’s a beautiful thing. So thank you real talk, right? And that will do it for this episode of the fake tank of three podcasts. But please, before you click away, remember to hit that subscribe button and like us.
And we’ll see you all next time.