592 Tara Garrison:
We all know what it feels like to be frustrated or unhappy with our lives. The question is, why then do … …some people keep doing the same things that are making their lives unhappy … while others work up courage to let go of all of it … and start again, this time doing the things that make their hearts sing.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who completely reinvented her life.
Tara Garrison says she was overweight, a stay at home mom of four kids who had lost all her ambition, doing everything everyone else wanted her to do … and losing herself along the way.
Today Tara shares what she had to leave behind to find her true soul’s purpose and reinvent her life. These days she’s a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and mindset coach who helps high performers including celebrities, professional athletes, and top executives optimize their health. She is the founder of HIGHER: Women Who Rise, a health optimization coaching experience for high performing women on a deep dive journey inside themselves, physiologically and psychologically.
I can’t wait to introduce you to Tara! First…
Tara Garrison is the founder of HIGHER: Women Who Rise, a health optimization coaching experience for high performing women on a deep dive journey inside themselves, physically and emotionally. Weight training fanatic, Boston Marathoner and lover of nature, you can find her daily on Instagram as @coachtaragarrison, where she shares the inner workings of her life, health education and motivation. She also hosts the Kick Ass Life Podcast
Tara is also the creator of the popular Keto In & Out System, which teaches people how to “Do Keto. Not Forever” for metabolic flexibility and optimal human nutrition.
She is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), International College of Applied Nutrition and Strength (ICANS), is a Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC), Certified Neurotyping Coach and a Metabolic Analytics practitioner.
Today you’ll hear Tara’s inspiring story about how she faced her fears, surrendered all the “should’s” that were running her life, and dared to run toward her dreams. She shares what it takes to find your true purpose, get strong inside and out, and why losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Tara Garrison.
Melinda Wittstock: Tara, welcome to Wings.
Tara Garrison: Hey, thank you for having me. Happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you. You say that losing everything was the best thing that ever happened to you. I want you to take everyone through that.
Tara Garrison: Yeah. So, if you met me seven years ago, you would find a very… Man, I feel like… Gosh, I feel like my story is such a typical story of a woman. I was very, I was overweight, stay-at-home mom, four kids, had always been really driven in high school and college, and decided to stay home with my kids, but kind of lost myself in it, lost my mojo, started to gain weight, just kind of lost all ambition. I would sometimes fantasize and dream about, “Okay, four more years and then I can go back. I can work and I can…” But man, it was brutal and I had so many patterns, so many unhealthy mindset patterns of pleasing and just doing what everybody else wanted me to do, and finding my value, and just serving, and self-sacrifice, and all of these things.
And man, you know what? I really love fitness because fitness, for me, was the gateway, the gateway drug to personal awakening. So, it all started with me forsaking the typical… I see so many women do this and it is… I watch it. I’ll be in the gym, weightlifting, and I’ll look into those fitness classrooms, and I see all these women and they’re trying so hard and they’re all kind of overweight, and they’re just sitting there doing their little jumping thing and my heart just breaks because I’m like, “Damn, I did that for,” sorry, I won’t swear on your podcast.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s okay.
Tara Garrison: I was like, “Dang it. I did that for so long.” And when I finally started to figure things out and I started to get stronger, and my body started to transform, and I started to see what I was capable of, I truly feel like I became smarter. And as I, now that I know some of the neural chemistry behind that of being able to make new neural pathways and also having more honestly, micronutrients from all the plants and healthier things I was eating, I truly feel like I woke up. And, but it wasn’t like, “Okay, I woke up and then everything just got magically easy.” No. My whole life got torn to shreds, honestly.
So, if you think of it as if you built a, let’s say you had some Legos, and you built a structure, and you got finished, and you realized, “This structure is not what I want at all,” you can’t really just add a couple things to it or move a few things right there. You got to tear that baby down. You got to start all over, and that is what my life felt like.
So, at the time, I was Mormon. I had been born and raised in the LDS church, and for me, I’m not… I’m so careful with this message because I don’t want to repulse anyone who is LDS. I love my Mormon people. But at the time, I was so right. I was so right. I knew I was right. And man, I finally started to have some questions and I left that religion, and that was the scariest thing I ever did. I got those questions answered and I was, it was I faced a crossroads of, “Wow. You know this is not your truth anymore at all. This is not your truth, but in order to honor your truth, you’re going to have to say goodbye to life as you know it, completely.”
Every single person in my world was Mormon. I live in Utah. I live in front of the Mormon Temple. The little Angel Moroni at the top of the temple was shining on my front yard in the shadows at sunset. I mean, I was the leader. I was over the Young Women’s organization, 12 to 18 years old. I took that very seriously. So, everyone I knew was Mormon and my whole life was built around Mormonism, so I had to literally walk away from life as I knew it.
I felt as though I was suspended in space. I felt like the entire framework for my entire life, reality had been crushed and dissolved and I was just suspended in space. I didn’t know which way was up. I didn’t know what I believed. I didn’t know whether I even believed in God anymore. It was just everything was, it was torn down to shreds. And during that process, I realized that I also had been in my marriage for way longer than I wanted to be because in Mormonism, marriage is your highest covenant with God, so it’s like, you don’t get divorced unless you absolutely freaking have to.
When I found out that that wasn’t true for me anymore, I was like, “Wait, I don’t have to be in this anymore, and I’m not going to be, and I don’t want to be,” and that was really difficult because I have four children. At the time, my oldest was 11 and my youngest was four. So I mean, I was in the thick of stay-at-home mom Mormon life. And I was, had just become a part-time personal trainer at the gym. It’s not like it was exactly a lucrative position, and I was very financially comfortable in my marriage, as well.
So, here I am like, it’s like, “What are you going to do? You’re going to stay comfortable, but not really? Are you going to stay comfortable and miserable, or are you going to do this scary as crap thing? and are you going to follow your truth and go with what’s in your heart,” and I chose that route. So, I walked away from it all and I’ll tell you, it was harder than I thought it was going to be.
I had to deal with a lot of gossip, a lot of judgments, a lot of insults, ridicule. I had to deal with a lot of loneliness. I had to start everything over. I had to rebuild, honestly, my psyche, and the way I saw the world. But I would do it a million times over. It was so worth it, and now, on the flip side of that, seven years later, I’m living the life of my dreams and I can say that in full confidence. It makes me want to cry. It is so beautiful. I am, everything that I could ever want, I have created that. I have started from ground zero.
And it was scary. There were times I had $18 to my name. It was so scary, but as I leaned in and listened to my gut and followed my heart and did what I knew I had to do, honestly, in an act of service. It wasn’t, that’s… I really want to highlight this because I feel like sometimes we get in… It’s almost like like entrepreneurship and going after your dreams, it becomes a selfish endeavor, I think, at first, for a lot of us. And I really want to highlight this.
If you’re only doing it to prove to you that you can do it, you’re going to suck. You’re not going to be good. I did that for a minute, right. It was about me, but if you can simultaneously make it for you and in service of others, bringing all your gifts to the world, with an undying desire to help other people, pull them out of the trenches too, you’re leaning back in that trench and you are just grabbing people and you’re just like, “Come on, let’s go. It’s better out here,” that’s when you will be successful and you’ll feel good about yourself because you’re doing that. But in a nutshell, that’s been my story.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow. It’s so inspiring, Tara, because it took so much courage and bravery to do what you did, to actually follow what was in your heart and your true purpose. I think it’s such a powerful message right now, too, for people. With all the massive pattern interrupt, I guess I could call it, of coronavirus, I see it, this past year, as this amazing opportunity for people to actually look within and get in touch with what’s working, what’s not working. Am I just living a life of ‘should’s’ or am I doing what I want? And if I’m not doing what I want, what is that? It provided a gap, an opportunity for people to really take the leap that you did. And of course, some people chose to do it and some people not. I mean, what advice would you give to someone who’s sitting there, and they’re looking around and they’re sort of just comfortable enough that it’s hard to make that leap?
Tara Garrison: Yeah, I would… My biggest piece of advice is, you already know what you need to do, and how long is it going to take you? How long are you going to wait? Because what I’ve learned is that when your intuition is telling you that you need to do something, it’s just going to keep getting harder and worse and more miserable until you listen to it. So, you can either choose now to honor it, because I’m telling you, your intuition, that deep voice, that when it just, you come into pure… Yeah, you might be scared. It might feel scary. You might get some sweaty palms, because you’re like “Crap, dude,” but when you know what you need to do, and you do it, your life, it’s just trying to make your life better. That’s it. It’s like…
And I don’t know what it is. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know if it’s freaking spirit guides or God or universe or freaking aliens. I have no idea. Or if it’s just me and my higher self, my pure consciousness and intelligence. I don’t know what it is. All I know is that there’s something deep inside all of us, that it’s pinging at you. It’s coming at you and it’s like, “Dude, you need to do this. You need to do this.”
If that thing is scary, which probably is, you will find every rational reason why not to, but it keeps coming back. It keeps coming back. So, what is that thing that keeps coming back? The sooner you listen to it, the better your life is going to get, astronomically faster. So-
Melinda Wittstock: There is a providence, yeah.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Don’t you find that there’s a divine providence when you take that leap into the unknown, assuming that you are really in alignment with your true purpose and why you’re here on Earth right now, and you take that leap, things have a way of aligning for you.
Tara Garrison: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: There’s this sort of a safety net that suddenly appears.
Tara Garrison: Yes. Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: But the courage to walk towards a destination that you don’t entirely know and you don’t know the steps yet, to get there, it requires a lot of surrender.
Tara Garrison: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: And it requires a lot of trust to do that, but in taking that path, because I know I’ve taken it, done a similar thing to you, that certainly, in my own journey, that with each step, there was more confidence. There was more affirmation. There was more happiness. There was more gratitude. And with each step, it got easier and actually, it’s so empowering.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, I love what you’re saying there because I’ll share. At one point, I was into… So, I do online health coaching, mindset coaching, biohacking. I was a couple years into it and things started to spiral, and I really hit a rock bottom. Really, I lost everything. I went through bankruptcy. I had to ask my ex-husband to take my kids full-time because I was living in this tiny basement apartment. I lost it all. I did not have a penny to my name. I was actually couch-surfing with a friend for four months before I could get into that little tiny basement apartment that I affectionately renamed my launch pad because I was like, “This, I’m going to start over here.” But I did it.
When I first got there, I was like, “You know what, Tara? You were delusional. You were crazy. You actually really did lose your mind for a minute, and you need to actually go get a job somewhere and be a responsible mom and get a 401k and have regular health insurance. And you know what, guess what? You’re not special. You’re just a normal person. Go get a job somewhere.”
So I did. I went and I applied at a dentist’s office down the street. Now, this is after I had invested probably close to $100,000 into my education, okay, as health coach and mentors and continuing education, and all that. So, I go and I get hired immediately on the spot and they even want to train me to be a dental assistant. Oh my gosh, and so I was like… I drove to get scrubs at freaking Walmart. Walmart. And they didn’t even have the cute scrubs. They only had the baggy, ugly scrubs, and I bought them, and I drove home in the deepest depression.
I just, I was numb, a zombie. I was just like, “This sucks so bad. What was it all for? What has happened to me?” And I had a weekend to myself, and I was in silence, and I can’t recommend silence enough, but I was in silence a lot that weekend and walking in nature and really, really tapping into my soul, and I got this very deep, like, “Don’t you dare give up now. Don’t you dare. Don’t give up now, you…”
It was kind of a… I feel a we. I don’t know if it’s spirit guides or what, but I feel that it’s like, “We will help you. We will help you. Do not give up.” And so, I emailed them, “Thank you for your time. I’m sorry, I’m not going to take the job.” And what you’re saying there is what happened to me. Doors that had previously been closed just started opening left and right. I got a job just running people through groups and training people at my local gym that’s one of the nicest, it’s, in my opinion, the nicest gym in Salt Lake City, private coaching. And then, I started taking people online and I started getting so many requests for coaching that I couldn’t even handle them all. I had to start turning people away.
Immediately, my… I was still doing a part-time gig for a friend, creating content. Within three months, I had to leave. I left that position with him on good terms and everything because I was making double on my own, within three months, of what I had been making full-time before with him. So, I share that because when you’re on that path, there’s going to be moments where you’re like, “Freak, can I really do this?” It’s going to happen but if you will stay aligned in service and purpose, you’re exactly right. That’s all I found, is just…
Now it’s gotten to the point, the more I listen to my gut, because that’s, as I’ve gone deeper in business, I’ve learned that too, I start to get into these little offshoots where it’s like my gut is like, “Uh-uh, no. Nope, nope, no.” Maybe there were lessons to be learned. I don’t know, but my gut is like, “Not that way. Come back this way.” And the more I listen to that and stay aligned, it is crazy. I call it my magical carpet ride. I seriously, I’m like, “Am I magic, or what is happening in my life?” All these doors are just flinging open, left and right. It’s unbelievable.
So yeah, you’re right. When you are aligned in your purpose, that’s… Yeah, you’re… It’s like you’re continuously falling, free falling, but into a safety net. And it just, it’s magical when you get there, every single time. So yeah, [crosstalk 00:15:20].
Melinda Wittstock: So true. I mean, sometimes in my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve really learned that, to trust my gut, exactly like you’re saying, because if I look back into the five businesses I built, every single mistake that I’ve made, if I look back, I knew at the time I was making it. I just didn’t trust my gut. I let my analytical mind kind of override it because of all the other external things, or what should I do or what kind of makes sense.
Tara Garrison: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Or mine is not hurting people’s feelings. That’s a toughie for me.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s another one too. So, one of the things that’s so hard for women is learning, first of all, to trust that gut, but like you say, also being willing to say no.
Tara Garrison: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: Being willing to enforce your boundaries and actually be true to you, and it requires that that courage and confidence because I think we’re all acculturated as women to be people-pleasers.
Tara Garrison: Yep. Yeah, and I’d say practice that on little things. So I have found, the easiest thing to do is, when you don’t want to say no, is to avoid. All right. So, I know if you’re listening, I know you do that. We all do that a little bit. It’s like, “I don’t want to have that tough conversation, so I’ll just kind of pretend it isn’t there.” So for me, on little teeny things, I practice. If somebody hits me up, “Hey, we want you to sponsor our new earplugs,” I’m like, “No.” There’s a tendency for me to want to avoid that email, and just, whatever, but I intentionally respond to it so I can practice saying no more effectively and clearly and confidently. So yeah, you’re right. That’s a huge thing for women. [crosstalk 00:16:50]
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, and once you get into that habit of doing that, people are not offended.
Tara Garrison: No.
Melinda Wittstock: And it’s often knowing the difference between what’s a do, what’s a delay, what’s a delete.
Tara Garrison: True, true.
Melinda Wittstock: [crosstalk 00:17:07]. Right.
Tara Garrison: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: Because I’m starting to just kind of understand that, in terms of what is going to best serve you and your own soul, your own purpose, and your business. Because the more successful, I don’t know if you’ve found this too, but the more successful you get and as you go on that path, you’re on the right journey now, you’re going in the right direction, but suddenly, where maybe, perhaps once you were like most people in a scarcity mode, and suddenly you’re kind of opening up. You’re in abundance. You have this abundance of opportunity, abundance of choice, abundance of, and hopefully money, too, but abundance of all these other things, where if you don’t have that kind of no muscle, to understand what you’re going to seize on and what you’re not, you can end up getting right back into that place of people-pleasing that you ran away from to begin with.
Tara Garrison: Yep. I love that insight.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so true, right. It becomes kind of circular. So, I find this journey, it’s sometimes the patterns come around and around again, and they become a little bit more subtle, but it sort of feels like the universe saying, “Are you sure? I’m just going to test you here.”
Tara Garrison: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: See how far you’ve come.
Tara Garrison: Yeah. Elle Russ, who I think is who introduced us, she co-hosts my live podcast with me. I love how she puts this. She’s like, “You always get a ringer. Just when you thought you learned your lesson, the universe always sends you a ringer,” like, “Did you? Okay, let’s just double check and see. Okay, cool. You’re good.”
Melinda Wittstock: You know what’s so interesting, though, too, from an entrepreneurial perspective, is building on the right foundations. And so, making sure that team members are aligned, vendors are aligned, clients are aligned, and getting really good at knowing that, because one team member that’s not can throw the whole thing out of whack.
Tara Garrison: So true.
Melinda Wittstock: Or say, for instance, you bring in a vendor to build a website or a mobile app or something like that, and they’re not aligned, that can cause all sorts of problems. And so, sometimes you have to wait. I think as entrepreneurs, I know that this is true of me, I’m always in such a rush. I’m in this hurry. It’s like, “It’s got to be done. It’s got to be done.” And it’s going to be done when the universe says it’s going to be done. So, sometimes you have to… If someone’s almost right to hire, but not perfect, it’s better just to wait.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, absolutely. It’s like having flexible plans. Have a plan, but be willing when something more awesome appears. That’s what I love about intuition and running things through my filter of truth. And also, when you’ve identified your purpose and your values, when you know, it’s like, “Does this feed into it? Does this feel good? Okay, cool. Switch,” a little bit, just those little shifts. But yeah, I think, honestly, I love what you’re saying there because even with clients, that’s why it’s so important to, I guess, have boundaries.
For me, if you work with clients in your business, I have let clients go, I have let [inaudible 00:20:16] say, “Hey. I just, I’m not feeling like this is a great fit, but I do have this other coach that I think might be a better fit,” because I can easily get that… There can be energy vampires from your clients and people on your team if they’re not right. It’s like all of a sudden, there’s a kink in the chain that just isn’t working correctly, and everyone else is suffering because of it. So, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, and they don’t say it. I remember having, actually you remind me of something. In one of my earlier businesses, we hired someone who was good, good, but just not amazing. And we had a really amazing team. And this person was in a sort of managerial role. And I noticed that, I don’t know, that over time, the culture of the company, people weren’t just all in as much as they were. It was subtle.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: But it was there. And I knew I had to say goodbye to this person, but it’s hard to fire someone who’s doing the job. They’re doing it. They’re not doing anything particularly wrong. They’re not toxic. There’s nothing really kind of wrong with them, obviously, but here’s the thing, is I made the decision to do that and then every single team member… I was so terrified, right, because I thought I was just going to be seen as this horrible person, and it was like I’m really unfair, and my whole team was going to revolt. I did it. Every single person came to me and thanked me.
Tara Garrison: Wow. Yeah, man.
Melinda Wittstock: Because the person wasn’t an A-player. It was just, it was so subtle, though, you know?
Tara Garrison: Man, that’s so awesome. I appreciate you saying that. I think all of us in business, that’s a tough spot. You know what I mean? Because it’s just like-
Melinda Wittstock: It is, because it’s not obvious, but it is, it was draining the whole culture and the kind of life force of the business.
Tara Garrison: Gosh, and you know what? That reminds me a lot, my marriage too, being in relationships. That can be a huge sticking point for people too. Because I’m open about divorce and the path after that, a lot of people will come to me on that topic, and they’re like, I hear this all the time, “I don’t feel like I have a good enough reason to get divorced because they’re a good person, but Gosh, I’m freaking miserable. I’m not in love. It’s bringing me down. I just don’t want to be here, but I feel bad. I feel bad.”
And it’s that same principle. Man, that’s, really start digging into that because that’s going to affect your entire life, just like, yeah, that person was infecting your entire business. I’m curious, what was the vibe after that person was gone?
Melinda Wittstock: The whole culture went, snapped back to what it was.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Because people suddenly felt free. They weren’t kind of looking over their shoulders anymore. We went back to a culture of kind of innovation and joy, and that kind of fail-forward spirit, where it’s okay to fail as long as you’re learning. And it’s just that whole spark of innovation.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, that’s-
Melinda Wittstock: It was rejuvenated.
Tara Garrison: And that’s how I felt after I got divorced, truly. I mean, man, I had to deal with all the guilt and shame, and my poor kids, and all these stories, right, which, by the way, if this is a sticking point for anyone, my kids are way healthier and happier now that we have been divorced for quite a while now and he’s remarried, and she’s awesome, and everything is more positive. So, this whole like, “Oh, I can’t because of other people. I’m hurting other people by choosing what feels right to me in my heart,” is BS. Don’t fall into that trap because that’s the same thing as you.
You felt like you were maybe hurting this, or you’re being mean, you’re…
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah. All the things.
Tara Garrison: But all it did was bring everyone into alignment.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, because it, we all have this kind of fear of judgment or how we’re going to be seen, or whether we’re just seen as the dreaded B word, right.
Tara Garrison: Right. Yep. Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Like I lived in fear of for so much of my career, and you just have to kind of let that go, because there’s a way to do these things also with grace.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, and-
Melinda Wittstock: And how to find that, how to really leverage that wonderful thing that we all have within us is our feminine power, right, where we’re blessed with all this great empathy and intuition that we’ve been talking about and really a knowingness, where we really tap into that feminine side of ourselves in business. I think that allows us the grace to actually do things that men struggle with. I think so many of the role models in business have been men that we make ourselves be more like men and it doesn’t really work for us.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, and it’s really sad too, because you’re right. It’s almost a identifiable skill, kind of, the way I feel like in my feminine power, I’m able to finesse growth with someone or tough conversations, because I know that they know that I care, and I know that they know that I also love myself enough to speak my truth, but we get there in a place of peace. So yeah, I love that. It’s kind of sad, because it’s like we’re taking one of our greatest gifts and smashing it under the rug to be like someone else. It’s like we’re playing into shoulds in business, like, “This is how it’s supposed to be done. You show up like this,” instead of showing up in our full power. So, appreciate your insights on that.
Melinda Wittstock: So you, at a certain point on your journey, and you spoke of this earlier, where you succeed if you’re in service to others, not just yourself, I think that’s so profound. And so, you discovered your purpose, really, in helping women get strong, both on the inside and on the out. What was the spark there? What was the spark along your journey where, “Okay, aha. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur and I’m supposed to help these specific people achieve this.” What was that moment?
Tara Garrison: Yeah. So, when I was first getting fit, and I’m telling you, I went from… You guys can look at my Instagram. It’s Coach Tara Garrison, T-A-R-A. Go look at one of my before and afters, seriously, if this interests you at all. I mean, I went from, yeah, I look and my energy also feels like a completely different person. I was overweight and tired and just swirling in thoughts of stress and crying myself to sleep out of mom guilt, all that whole life. And I had this moment where I went from that to 11% body fat and shredded. Okay, so, I went through-
Melinda Wittstock: Wow, how long did it take you to do that, that transformation?
Tara Garrison: A year and a half.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tara Garrison: Yeah, and I remember I was, and I had always been a runner. My mom was actually went to the Olympic trials in 1968.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow.
Tara Garrison: She didn’t make it to the Olympics because they didn’t have her event yet, because women’s running was so new, but she was a national champion, beating other champions from other countries, and she was awesome. She broke the five-minute mile, which back in the ’60s was like, “Oh my gosh,” for a woman.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s amazing.
Tara Garrison: Yeah, and so she, shoot, my mom was a very intentional teacher and would take us to the track and teach us to do little sprints, and I grew up running. But as an adult. I’m running marathons, but I was very overweight, typical mom runner, and it wasn’t until I switched that and started getting strong through weightlifting and changing my nutrition to more of a nurturing standpoint than a caloric-restrictive mindset. I had this moment where I was, I realized that as I was cleaning my house, I was double running up the stairs, skipping steps like it was nothing, right. And I was like, “Whoa, I have so much more energy now.” I just realized that. I feel so much better and I literally can feel strength in my arms. I can feel strength coursing through my body through my veins. I’m like, “I want women to know what this feels like. This feels freaking awesome.”
So, that was the first point. I was like, “Dude, I…” And I also realized that I knew I had something. I knew that I had discovered a lifestyle that I know other people wanted. I knew that I had a good relationship with my body and a good relationship with food, and I was doing it in a way that was working, that was maintainable for life. And it’s true. It’s been what, six, seven years now, and I’ve been in the teens, low teens body fat for all that time, and I feel amazing. My hormones, menstruation, my blood work, everything is good. So I knew I had something.
But honestly, what happened was, when I was facing my divorce, my intuition. It hit me like a lightning bolt. I do have some of these moments. And it was, you have a special role to play in health and fitness and if you don’t do this, if you don’t get divorced, you’re never going to see it happen. And I knew that was true. I knew I would go back into pleasing and I wouldn’t want to take time away from my family, and blah blah blah, and I would just, I would let it go. I knew it.
And so, I really, truly felt called to the work, and it’s been interesting because it was like the universe just kept saying, “Yes.” So, that’s how that started. And then it’s like, it felt like the universe was like, “Oh, so you want to help women feel strong? Okay, well, you’re going to have to go through a lot more work than just body stuff, girlfriend.” So, I went through a really horrendous relationship. It wasn’t horrendous, it was a growth relationship, but it was a very controlling, manipulative relationship after my divorce, for a year and a half that I, it was like a body slam from the universe, like, “Girl. You got mindset work to do. Let’s go.”
So I did. So, I’ve been deep diving into that work with coaches, mentors, therapists since then, and wow, it’s been so cool to also get that mindset piece. I mean, you know. I know you know. I know you’re on that vibe. It is unreal how radically your life can change-
Melinda Wittstock: [crosstalk 00:30:16].
Tara Garrison: When you start to change within. It’s unreal. So now it’s like I’ve got this mindset piece and this body piece. It’s like you know you know when you have something that other people want. And so, to be able to give that and share that with others now, is unreal. But yeah, I truly felt called. I truly had a moment of feeling called and that’s what drives me. It’s like I have to. I have to. I’ve been asked to, by something bigger than me, that voice that I, that energy that I tap into every morning when I meditate, that. The thing that helps me so much has asked me to do this, so I’m doing it. So yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Meditation is the most powerful, powerful thing.
Tara Garrison: Oh, you have to get it.
Melinda Wittstock: I found my path into meditation through yoga-
Tara Garrison: Mm, cool.
Melinda Wittstock: But also through my own escape from a marriage that wasn’t good, that I stuck with much longer than I should have because of the kids. I sort of thought, “Oh, I’m doing this for the kids,” or I convinced myself of that, but actually, the longer I stuck with it, the worse it was for the kids.
Tara Garrison: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, similar story, in a way, of leaving that behind. And that personal growth, which I think entrepreneurship… I don’t know. If you’re going to really succeed in entrepreneurship, really, it is a mind game as much as anything else. Every bit of success comes from within.
Tara Garrison: For sure.
Melinda Wittstock: And because there’s so much beyond your control. There’s constant change, all of these things. So, those things really conspired together, I guess, to put me on that personal growth track starting with meditation, with gratitude, with really creating spaces in my day of just silence, the ability to just really be with myself, leverage my intuition, and so much more. And it’s a journey. It’s a constant thing, but it’s revolutionized everything that I do. My business is so much led by that. It’s lead kind of by the downloads I get on my morning meditation, actually.
Tara Garrison: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Me too. Absolutely. And it’s the way I… Actually recently, I’ve been really consistent with meditation for about the past three years, and yeah, I had missed a few days. I had missed a few days of meditation, which is really rare for me, and I was asking that voice. I was like, “Man, I feel kind of like… I don’t feel as tuned in,” and I heard this… I sound crazy, but it always sounds like a we. But it was like, “We’re here but you have to tune in.” It’s very… You have to sharpen your receiver and meditation. If you’re not doing that, if you’re not creating silence, I’d say, man, if you live in a place where you can walk in nature, especially year-round, you southern California lucky people. Well, except for COVID. I don’t want to live there because of the…
Melinda Wittstock: Right, yeah [crosstalk 00:33:22].
Tara Garrison: But if you live somewhere you can walk in nature and silence, don’t listen to a podcast most of the time. Don’t take in. Go in receiver mode. And man, you’re right. It guides your whole life. All of those answers that you’re looking for in the stupid podcast. Thanks for listening to this one. If you guys listen, that’s awesome. But also, now that you’ve taken this in, now go tap in. Be in silence and listen to that voice inside you, because all the answers for you are there.
Melinda Wittstock: So, we had this really interesting issue in the company with alignment with a vendor, and we could have chose to approach that in an adversarial, confrontational way, but instead, the inspiration I was getting from my meditation was, look, everybody here needs to be seen and heard and if I could come to this meeting in that way, and through grace and inspiration, allow that to happen, but also really bring to the surface any hidden agendas, hidden agendas, being just sort of shadow things, people’s fears, people’s this and this and that, that actually all this could be resolved.
Tara Garrison: Amazing.
Melinda Wittstock: And came to the meeting saying, “Okay, everybody, what would make this meeting a success?” So, everybody went around the room, right, or the Zoom room, right. [crosstalk 00:35:29]. And everybody was saying a lot of the same things and so it showed that there was alignment.
Tara Garrison: Cool.
Melinda Wittstock: Which was really cool. But then I said, “Okay, so what would sabotage that? What would sabotage, because we’re aligned here, but what would get in the way of that?” And that’s where people’s fears came up, or-
Tara Garrison: So good.
Melinda Wittstock: I guess it would sabotage it if people didn’t feel heard, or I guess it would sabotage it if people weren’t really empathetic, or if people put being right ahead of collaborating. And everybody went around and it just changed the entire energy of the meeting.
Tara Garrison: Seriously.
Melinda Wittstock: It was really kind of deep, energetic work on all these other people.
Tara Garrison: Yeah. That is so cool.
Melinda Wittstock: And it completely changed it in every single outcome that we had feared. Everybody left inspired, happy, and it could have gone so differently.
Tara Garrison: Yep. Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: And so I’m finding that these tools, these kind of conscious tools, that’s just a practical example of something that I just leveraged practically in the day-to-day running of the business.
Tara Garrison: That is amazing. So, I recently had a deep spiritual experience with peyote, which is an ancient Native American plant medicine, and one of the lessons I was taught in that journey was it’s the unspoken energy that you need to pay the most attention to in all of your relationships from business clients, colleagues, kids, your boyfriend, everything. It’s the… What is the unspoken energy there? And that’s what I hear. Because all of us has been on those group Zoom calls where you can kind of tell people or you’re like, “What are they thinking?” There’s a weird silence-
Melinda Wittstock: There’s an energy.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: There is an energy. [crosstalk 00:37:23].
Tara Garrison: And you just brought it to the surface. That is so beautiful. That is amazing. I love that. Thanks for sharing that.
Melinda Wittstock: It really does help. I’ve done sort of plant medicine, not peyote, but ayahuasca, several journeys.
Tara Garrison: Uh-huh (affirmative). Awesome.
Melinda Wittstock: Which was just so, so illuminating, because on one, it showed me the nature of judgment.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And where we’re in judgment of ourselves-
Tara Garrison: Totally.
Melinda Wittstock: Which is what sparks the judgment of others and how everything emanates from that, and that allowed me to shift all of that, shift a lot of scarcity stuff that we’re all brought up with, especially women. We’re stronger when we’re really helping each other, when we’re lifting each other, hence the name of this podcast, Wings, right, because we kind of lift as we climb.
Tara Garrison: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: But so much of society kind of forces us into these roles where we’re sort of in judgment and competing because at some deep, subconscious level, we think that there’s not enough to go around, or if she’s successful, I won’t be, or all this kind of weird stuff. And we’ve all been brought up with this and it’s been reinforced by media, and all this kind of stuff. And what does it take to get out of that, right. And it’s interesting. I mean, I think it is changing. I think more women, just judging from the conversations that we have on this podcast, more women are really transforming in that way, to be more supportive of each other. Do you see that too?
Tara Garrison: You know what is really interesting about having a fit physique, is I learn a lot about women, and there’s basically two reactions I get most, and one is one, I’ll get a smile or some sort of love or like, “You go girl,” or like, “Girl, your legs, good job.” Something like that. I’ll get that, and then I also will very often get this, look me up and down and then I can see them go off and get lost in their minds, and that breaks my heart. That breaks my heart.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. It’s like the sort of jealousy or-
Tara Garrison: Yeah, they just size themselves up to compare to me or judge me, or whatever is that, it’s reflective of their own lack of self esteem. And it’s cool, though, for me as a mindset coach with women and working with their mindsets towards their bodies, because it’s really, it’s a gauge that I get almost all day, every day. But I would say, there are so many abundance mindset women out there. I’ve been amazed at how beautiful so many women have been. They’ll come up and they’ll be like, “Dude, I want to do that. What are you eating?” And it’s just this really… They’re leaning in instead of leaning out. And so yeah, I do see that shift. I do. There’s a lot of work needed, so I’m glad there’s people like you and people like me that are out there saying, “Hey, hey, hey. Why don’t you tap into your highest self,” because all of us, every single woman, we all have that.
We just need to tap into it and allow it and remove these roadblocks, and I love that you’ve done ayahuasca. I’ve done many plant medicines. It’s a huge part of my life. But yeah, it’s removing those stories and those blocks. That’s all been trained into us, [inaudible 00:40:38] style. We have been taught to be like that, but we’re not really like that. We are as tribal. We want to come together. Everybody wants that. So yeah, I think we are starting to see a shift, I think, in women, and as we become more self-confident, as we do our own work, that’s what makes you confident around others. That’s what removes all that judgment because you see yourself. You don’t need anybody else to see you, because you’re like, “Dude, I see you. I know I’m beautiful. I know I’m kind. I know I have a good heart. I know I’m serving. I know I’m doing my work,” and then you don’t need that from anybody else. And that’s when you become this magnetic, just, sunshine soul that is just vibrating into the universe, bringing goodness everywhere you go.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm. Absolutely. So, there’s so much that we could talk about. What is it though, do you think, that holds women back the most in achieving our goals, whether it is that perfect body or fitness, or the right relationship, or just a great business, or wealth, or any of these things that that we really want? If you could really crystallize it down, with it with all your work with women, Tara, what is the main thing.
Tara Garrison: They don’t see themselves. They judge themselves and it’s because, and I will say, I do think the body is a huge part of it. Rachel Hollis has a documentary, Rachel Hollis is a motivational speaker, where she has these women and they’re in this auditorium and there’s hundreds, maybe a thousand women, and they write down on a piece of paper. They have to answer, circle these check marks, really deep things like, “I’ve been raped,” or, “I was molested,” or, “I’ve been through a divorce,” or, “I hate what I see when I look in the mirror.” And they check all these things. They pass them pass them, pass them, pass them, pass them, pass them, pass them, pass them, until you couldn’t possibly know where yours went, and then another woman stands in your place. And it’s like, “I have been raped,” it’s, a lot of women stood up and it was like, “Damn, dude.” That’s a, dang, that’s a lot.
And then, but when she got to the, “I hate what I see when I look in the mirror,” every woman in the entire place stood up.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh, that’s so tragic. It’s so sad.
Tara Garrison: So tragic, and Rachel started crying. I started crying too. That impacted me so deeply because of the work that I do. I was like, “Okay, this is not okay. You hate what you see when you look in the mirror.” That’s where we start. That has to be shifted. If you’re looking in the mirror at you, and you’re hating it, how is that affecting you in every area of your life? You are literally not good enough from the start. So, that’s where the fundamental shifts have to change. You get in that loving place with yourself like, “Hey, buddy. I see you. I got you. Man, you brought babies into this world. Good job. Thank you for taking me through every single day and helping me fall asleep at night and digesting all my food and doing all these things for me that I don’t even know what you’re doing, because you’re so amazing. So I’m going to start helping you. I’m going to start nurturing you. I’m going to start being nicer to you and stop neglecting you and abusing you and punishing you and treating you so terribly.”
When we start to shift there, that’s, for me anyway, I feel like that’s huge, because if every single woman is looking at herself in the mirror and saying, “Not enough, not enough, not enough,” it’s ruining your life. And I am I aware enough to know that this lasts for women until the day that they die. I have worked with women in their 60s. They’re still like this. So I’m saying if you don’t fix that now, you’re going to have that not-enoughness for the rest of your life. Do you want that? No.
So, I say that’s where it starts, is our perception of ourselves, how we see ourselves. Start seeing yourself. Start giving yourself credit. Start loving, nurturing, and showing up for yourself, just like treating your body like your child, like, “I got you. You’re doing great. Let’s go. I want to help you. It might be a little hard, but I know you got it, and I’m going to do everything I can to help and support you.” That kind of shift, I think is the biggest thing. [crosstalk 00:44:43].
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. So Tara, you’re going to have to come back on again because I feel like we sort of scratched the surface, but we covered a lot.
Tara Garrison: I would love to.
Melinda Wittstock: Thank you so much. I want to make sure that people know where to find you and work with you.
Tara Garrison: So, the way to get most of me is on Instagram. I’m really popular, or, not popular. I’m really active.
Melinda Wittstock: I can imagine that you would be very popular.
Tara Garrison: I’m super popular. I am not. I am [crosstalk 00:45:07]. I’m sorry. I meant to say active. I’m a micro-influencer. I’m not that popular. But I care, and I share a lot, and I give so much. I give everything I can. I would do it for free. I love to share anything I can do to help improve your life. So, that’s Coach Tara Garrison and again, it’s T-A-R-A, is how you spell Tara. And then, my website is taragarrison.com, and that’s where you can find my programs and my free program. You can learn about keto. You can learn about other things. But yeah, those are the two main places, and of course, it’s Coach Tara Garrison, is my brand across the board on all platforms.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Tara Garrison: Thank you so much.
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