This month we are featuring 4 incredible women who are part of the Modern Match community. Seeing that International Women's Day is this month we wanted to bring you empowering content from some of the most inspirational and incredible women we know. Grab your coffee, or wine, and let's dive into our interview between Shauna, Founder of Modern Match Lingerie, and the inspiring Tanya Dube.
Tanya Dube, one of the most powerful women I’ve met and the only one who already knew it in the most humbling way! I have had the pleasure of getting to know parts of your life’s story through the years and what I admire the most about you is your resilience! But above that, you are loving, heart-centered, and a woman on a mission for something that is bigger than all of us!
When Veronica and I sat down to discuss what we're going to do this Women’s International Day and how we could make it even more impactful for our community members, it all boiled down to one thing, share the most influential women we know and you were top of the list! You have played such an integral role in empowering the women within our community so without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Shauna Allan: What are you currently working on and who are you serving? Tell us the juicy details!
Tanya Dubé: Oooh let me begin by saying thank you for this recognition. It’s sweet and I am truly honoured, always.
I’m currently working on something super exciting. It’s my signature high-performance program for women entrepreneurs getting their mental and emotional focus as close to 100% as possible so that they are able to command their skills, motivation and energy for anything they set their mind to: relationships, their businesses and whatever life throws at them.
It’s modelled after my own climb through massive adversity and the things that have served me time and time again that kept my head up, kept my persistence high and that taught me that no matter what comes my way, I am resourceful and capable enough to handle all of it. We all are. And having a performance coach who knows exactly how to keep you at your peak performance and who has risen from the ashes themselves is the cherry on top.
Shauna Allan: You have taught me so much over the years, in addition to not forgetting to dab my under-eye cream between my brows (pro tips right here!), how do you continually expand your capacity and grow your mindset?
Tanya: Ha! That made me laugh out loud. I was just talking about the eye cream thing the other day and how much you love it. It’s a wrinkle saver!
What a great question this is - the one thing that has kept me on my game through the years is the knowing that I am able. Able to survive. Able to improve. Able to know when to be quiet and when to talk. Able to go after what I want without asking for permission or “knowing my place”. My place is wherever I want it to be, just like the rest of us. Knowing that I have the tools within me to conquer everything is so important. It took me a long time to stop calling my success “luck” or “coincidence”. I had to learn to own it. I did that and it was scary at first, but let’s be honest here - there is no luck involved when it comes to personal ability and teaching yourself the skills you may be lacking in order to have what you truly desire.
I also have a rebellious nature - tell me who is going to tell any fierce, determined and persistent woman the word no. Like as if she’ll listen. She won’t listen because she knows what is aligned and she is going to get it. We use our critical thinking skills, we don’t care if someone doesn’t like us because of their own self imposed limitations, and we always find a way around anything - strong women are resourceful. We’re understanding. We get it. And we want to always be better so that we can do better. That starts with our mindset, our world view and our belief systems.
I always come back to real proof that I’m capable of more than just getting through so that I can truly be my biggest champion in life. Where can I look back and see myself succeeding…pushing through whatever I felt was holding me under water. Where can I go back and remember how hard I thought something was, only to be this far in life, having accomplished what I’ve accomplished? Think about that. Where you are right now in your life is a dream for the old you. Do you remember wishing you were free of a certain person? Do you remember wishing that your hard work would pay off someday? That you would have a nice home? Are you thinking about these things now for your own future?
My biggest advice if you are is this: 1. Everything can be broken down into the tiniest of tasks and getting through those things one step at a time, one thing at a time, is the way to ultimate success. Pacing, focus, belief in yourself (even if you have to go have a bathroom mirror chat with yourself several times a day), consistency and action is the way to gain more experience, push yourself harder because you know where to pull back; and 2. Curiosity will take you everywhere. You gain all kinds of valuable experience which opens your heart right up and will show you what you’re truly made of. Always land on this: “I can do anything. I’m here for a reason. And I will NOT let myself down. Not ever. Not for anyone.”
I don’t take anyone’s word for anything without researching (I’ll get to that in a second), and I’m a fervent reader. I love books, fact or fiction (and sometimes historical fiction). I love expanding my mind, especially when I think I have the answer, especially when my opinion isn’t benefitting anyone for the greater good, but mostly when I think I have the answer. I don’t look for proof that I’m right - I think I get this from all those years in debate club: whatever you think is fact, you’ll find 100 people who think you’re wrong, so how can we best see the other side of anything?
Always look for proof that you’re wrong and then come to your own conclusions after you get a good sense of both sides with equal weight. I’ve learned so much this way and I have never had a hard time holding my own in just about any conversation as a result. You get more bees with honey than vinegar and nobody likes someone who is loudly vomiting their opinion all over everyone just to be heard.
We are all inherently connected so we might as well accept that on a deeper level: we can feel our heart break over someone’s painful journey, we can laugh to tears at the sound of a baby laughing, and we always want to reach out and help someone who needs it (or an animal who needs care and protection). It’s because we know deep down that we also deserve love and these experiences are needed to open us up and break our hearts a little so that we grow.
Whatever your cause is, just remember that you are connected in ways to people you’ve never even met, to things you can’t even see, so ask yourself this: what is the greater good for everyone? My answer to this is to go inside: do your best to passionately understand, impeccably trust and obsessively love yourself so that you can understand, trust and love others. These are some guidelines for my own life - letting things go and not controlling the outcome frees up my mind to do things that really matter to me. I’m a recovering people pleaser and controller so trust me when I say that it is a relief to know how to let go of what doesn’t serve me so I can show up for others and be my best.
Shauna Allan: As a woman who is always progressing and unfolding these beautiful chapters in life, how do you take time to nurture yourself?
Tanya: Ahhh what a great question. Of course I always want to say bubble baths and some wine, but it goes so much deeper than that.
I’ve been applying this new-ish thing that I’ve learned over a year ago. It’s awareness without thought. Now, let me agree with you if you haven’t ever done this before that it feels kind of silly, but the way to get to this space (a way that works for me and maybe it will work for you) is to slowly take a deep breath in and breathe out. Now do it again, but this time on the inhale, notice how you don’t think of anything at all. It’s simply taking a breath. Your awareness is there, you’re present and you’re breathing deeply so that you can feel it inside your body the way you can feel cold water in your body when you drink it on a hot day. It’s a giant release.
Once I’ve called attention to the fact that you’re not thinking of anything, you’ll start thinking of something no doubt. But I want you to always get back to that initial breath you took where you weren’t thinking of anything but your breath as you inhaled and exhaled.
Unlocking my creativity is something else I do for myself. I’m a writer, portrait artist, a painter, a film and theatre actor, a web show host, a podcaster, a cook, a guitar player, I’m a fierce knitter and I love to sing. I sing a lot. Probably more than I do any of those other things, which is important to mention. When I sing, I open my heart up. I mean, I give it all I’ve got. It makes me feel good. It’s my other release. What about you? Have you made a list of all the wonderfully creative things you can do and then asked what makes you feel really good of all those things that you listed, and if you’re doing enough of that?
Own it - say you’re great at them. They’re things you are really good at. You don’t have to hide the things you’re good at because it feels like you’re vain if you say them out loud. Babe, we are all badasses at something.
Men own theirs unapologetically so why can’t we? Maybe some of these awesome things you can do could even be done as a career, or you could inject one or many of them into your current business because they’re mad skills that you have and only you will deploy them the way your heart guides you. For me, unlocking my creativity is all about getting out of my own way: I stop saying I don’t have time (because we all make time for what is important, don’t we?), I stop saying that I can’t (because I know I can at least try), and if something feels super super hard, then I cry if I have to, but I push through because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.
I don’t want your glory days to be 10 or 20 years ago. I want them to be last week, this week or next week, next month…this is something we can all do if we get out of our own way and just let ourselves try, let ourselves fail, learn the lesson and try again.
Shauna Allan: You have two beautiful, creative and talented children, how do you encourage and teach them to be leaders? What is the most challenging part?
Tanya: Gosh, well they are truly mini-me’s with their own awesomeness mixed in. Okay here goes: I don’t give them false praise, which means that because I’m an artist and I’ve taught my kids how to draw, I don’t let them get away with half a painting. Where is the rest?
I get them to work hard at the things they are setting themselves at and I don’t tell them they are great at everything because they’re not. There is no reward for showing up in my home: you’re going to be great at some things and crap at other things, but the point is that you give it your all and then you move on when you learn that your strengths can be applied somewhere else or you’re simply done with it.
I’m a firm believer in having a growth mindset so I have always got them to try something when they want to but they have to get past the first level at least before they walk away. I encourage their ability with their schoolwork in their effort with working hard at something and not the grade. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you just walk away and a grade doesn’t make you a potential doctor - it just means you’re good at getting good grades. But are you a good person? And I encourage them to fail as often as they can. I mean, I want them to learn to be resourceful and avoiding failure and playing it safe won’t teach them that.
I want them to be able to get out of anything, so I don’t rescue them when they screw up. Instead I teach them the skills so they know how to think around the problem. They have to get themselves out and then I’m there to make sure their emotional and mental health is nurtured. There’s a lot of love in my house, a lot of hugs and kisses and a tonne of laughs every single day. But when I have to pull the mom card, watch out.
I take being a parent seriously and because of my life path, I’ve had to learn a lot of hard things very early in life. I can’t say that they didn’t do me good because I’m still here and I’ve learned immeasurable skills from all of them. So do I want my kids to avoid pain? Nope because it’s how we grow. Certain pain, yes, obviously, but the kind of pain that comes with relationships, personal endeavors and the tribulations of life, I can’t get in the way of that. This is where they will inevitably find their life’s purpose one day and not follow the pack.
Shauna Allan: You are a woman who exudes empowerment. And what we know to be true is there can be times we don’t feel on our A-game, when do you feel the most empowered and how do you bring up the vibration of the empowerment energy when you don’t feel your best?
Tanya: Okay, there are a few things: I hike. I love being outdoors because it connects me to the earth, to all the things in nature and I can feel the vibration in the forest. It’s elevating, empowering and nurturing for my soul.
I also turn my focus on people who need me, which is why I love doing what I do. I can bring all of myself to a situation someone is in and help them figure their way out quickly or slowly, depending on what they need. I spend as much time as I can alone. And when I really just want a pity party, I give myself a day to feel that way, be grumbly and then I have a bath and go to bed early so that when I wake up, I’m over myself and I can get on with things. :) I need to know that I am my biggest champion so that means I have to be hard on myself when I have to be and loving when I can.
This is how I’m hard on myself: I ask things like, “what is being triggered in me right now and why? Who is driving this bus - is it my wounded 10 year old self or the woman I am right now?” I say often, “it’s okay to slow down, so slow down, take a breath, meditate right now because I know I need it.” And when I do something that doesn’t feel good in my heart or someone does something to me that feels awful, I ask, “what do you think you did to contribute to this situation and how could you have handled it better? Why are you taking this personally? Is it your ego getting in the way? Can you take a moment before you respond?”
And this is how I love myself: “I’m safe. I’m okay. I’m loved. I don’t need to take anything personally. How can I be my best for this person in pain?” And then I go and hug my kids.
I’m important to me, and I’m important to them so my emotional, mental and physical health is a priority. I check in regularly. As a matter of fact, I used to set four reminders a day for a full year in my phone during my divorce to take a minute to breathe. Life can get overwhelming when you don’t have the tools you need or you’re relying on old ones to get you through and it’s not fully working so give yourself some grace to lean on help.
Shauna Allan: You have moved us with the articles you’ve written for the Bra Bra Sisterhood blog over the past year. And although we LOVE them all for different reasons, I would love to know what do you love writing about the most and why?
Tanya: Oh, that’s so sweet, thank you. I love writing for you and your audience. It’s something special that I give myself the time to do every month because it’s fun. I love the Bra Bra community. ❤
Okay, hands down, without a second thought, my absolute favourite thing to write about is personal development, growth and potential and I love to do that through stories of mine or other people who I have met along the way where I have learned great lessons. I’ve been teaching this for a very long time and it all started when I was young and people asked how I got through being homeless for six years as a child. Or how I survived being molested. Or how I survived being beaten up by my mother. People would ask me how I found it inside myself to push through when I wanted to end my life. I realized when asked about these things that we all have the strength inside of us to overcome anything and when pushed to the absolute brink of your personal reality, you can do literally anything to survive.
The question is: do we really need to go through these kinds of painful, harrowing experiences to get to the things that make us completely light up with a level 60 intensity or can we start going deeper inside ourselves, peacefully, to know ourselves completely so that we can get to the biggest question of all: why are we here? I want that kind of level 60 intensity.
I like to look at every one of my personal experiences as lessons…things my soul needed to grow and develop and nudge me to remember why I came here in the first place. I don’t personally like them all, but gosh, am I ever grateful for them. I can’t stress that enough. I had to go through 20+ years of psychologist-led therapy with very old models that just didn’t work so that I could land on a regular meditation practice, sitting in silence to hear myself think, learning new skills, journaling my way through it all, helping others. Profound gratitude is where I’ve landed.
Shauna Allan: Are you a feminist and what does the word ‘feminist’ mean to you?
Tanya: Hm. I had to sit with this for a little bit. If you would have asked me this question 20 years ago, I would have said HELL YES! I would have given you all the reasons why - the history, the players, the gruelling truth about what it took for women to get where they are today. Now that I think of it, just six years ago, I would still have said yes and told you all those things. Passionately.
I think now, after everything I’ve been through and what I’ve learned about myself, I believe in something a little different. The more I have developed my belief in myself, the more I can believe in the world around me. Are women still getting paid less? Yes. Are there a lot of men who treat women like they’re second rate citizens? Absolutely. Is it fair? No, it’s not. And it makes me mad when I tap into that old energy.
But here’s the thing: have you heard of that old adage, “what you think about, you bring about?” What this means to me is this: whatever I put all my passion, focus and attention into, I’ll get more of that. Was I paid less than the men around me? Yeah I was until I learned how to ask for what I want without getting angry and jittery and weird about it. I had to learn some skills so that I stopped feeling like it was only men who got the breaks and that I kept getting overlooked.
I had to get smart. I had to unlearn a lot of conditioning that kept me playing small in my life. I had to stop talking long enough to learn something new, then accept the new skill and apply it until it became natural to me. I had to be okay with needing help. I had to evaluate my belief systems and then rejig them because this girl does not want an old operating system running and wrecking her life. I used to believe that it was me against the world and that I needed a partner so it could be “us” against the world. Why do I want to be “against the world?”
Maybe it was thinking like that that made me not want to live anymore when things got really hard for me and I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from. It’s stuff like this that gets us stuck in thinking and feelings and actions that we have a hard time recovering from. The hardest time you’ll ever go through is the time you spend in your head going over what happened like a revolving door that won’t stop, allowing yourself to feel victimized and then planning out your revenge.
The best thing I ever learned was how to be resourceful. I can’t stress that enough. This is how I do it now: I catch the thought that isn’t serving me, I cancel it and I chuck it and I replace it with a thought that empowers me and one that is likely the opposite of the thing I was thinking. If it’s, “...that person really doesn’t like me”, my new thought is, “...that person doesn’t even know me. I hope they feel better.” haha it sounds silly but try it. If the thought is, “I can’t handle this, it feels too hard, it’s overwhelming,” my new thought is, “Come on now…you’ve done harder things and came out of it super successful. You got this.”
Always look for proof. If someone does you dirty, ask what part of your ego is being triggered and name it: this feels a lot like when I was seven years old and that awful thing happened.” We are not our wounded and scared parts, ladies. We are women and we are responsible for our emotional and mental health. And we’re certainly not victims. We may have been victimized, but we are not victims.
Shauna Allan: This is going to sound like a self-serving question as a woman who is fast approaching her 40’s. *eek. What do you know in your 40’s that you wished you knew in your 30’s?
Tanya: I jumped at this question. I love this question. Okay it’s four things: Always do your best (don’t look at what others are doing but keep your eye on your goal(s)).
Be impeccable with your word (that means what you say to yourself, what you say to and about others and the language you use for what you’re going through).
Don’t take anything personally (meaning you never ever ever ever know what someone else is going through and even if they say something out of turn, give them the space to make mistakes and learn from them without making it about you (even if they try to make it about you when you know it’s not). To me, ‘don’t take anything personally’ also means if someone isn’t learning and it’s painful, set a boundary or end it).
And lastly, don’t make assumptions (meaning don’t make assumptions :). It’s not anyone’s job to make you happy, to figure out your life or to fulfil your neediness (if you have neediness)).
I got all of these from a book that has served me time and time again and I go back to it often. It’s called The Four Agreements and I highly recommend it. Don Miguel Ruiz wrote another great book that changed my life. Because I went through such a hard childhood and couldn’t separate my mother’s actions and consequences from my own life and what I thought I deserved, Don Miguel’s book The Mastery of Love, taught me how to forge my own path and allow my mother’s mistakes, successes, happinesses and struggles to be hers without embodying them and carrying along on the typical cyclical nature of abuse. This book was a game-changer for me.
Shauna Allan: You are a spiritual leader, someone who I highly respect for your own curiosity, education, and continual growth. For those curious about deepening their relationship with their spiritual side, what are your top tips?
Tanya: What a lovely question. Thank you for asking this because for anyone who I’ve asked how they’ve dealt with their darkest of dark times, they always say that developing a spiritual practice and learning about themselves this way changed the whole journey for them. It’s so important.
I’ve named several things throughout this interview already, but I think I can add a few more.
- Trusting the timeline of your life is so important. No more “what-ifs” or “things would have been different if I would have just done x.” We romanticize so much about what never happened. The truth is that you could be dead now if you did x, so let’s focus on the here and now. Everything has happened the exact way it was supposed to happen for you to catch up with your soul’s purpose and why you’re here. It’s why you’re reading this right now. Accept where you are, accept the lessons your soul needed to have, and now what are you going to do? Let’s make a plan! There’s nothing like dreaming about your life to get your heart beating and move you into action, even if it’s just picking up the pen and writing it all down (and don’t edit or judge yourself when you make this list).
- Taking time to sit in complete silence is another. Oh boy, for all you women who say you can’t meditate because you can’t slow down your mind, this is going to drive you mad, but you must MUST do it. I had to do it and it’s been a great journey of self control. Sitting in complete silence successfully is saying that you are 100% okay with being alone with yourself. And that’s not easy to do. That was me. I couldn’t do it until someone said “wow, I didn’t think such an easy thing could overthrow you like this.” My competitive nature was like, “What?!!!!!” I was determined to learn. No…after all we have been through, are we going to roll over because we can’t learn a few skills that will center us, balance us out and give us exactly what we need to calm the heck down and make something of our lives. Haha That’s how I saw it. I was obsessed with learning.
- Allow yourself the grace to do absolutely nothing. I am a high functioning, high performing person so this doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, come easily to me but there it is: you have to have times where you allow yourself to take a three hour walk, read a book or pretend to read a book, have a glass of wine at 3pm, have a four hour bath, whatever. Some of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th century claim to have had all their best ideas come to them when they weren’t actually working, so there you have it. It works but you have to get over some mental roadblocks first.
Shauna Allan: Love that! I am the same way, all my best ideas come when I am relaxing! How do you set your intention and stick to it?
I get sick of myself and force myself into it. Haha If I have said it over and over again in my life, and if the thought won’t leave me alone…if I know it’s the right thing to do and I’m just being a chicken, all of these things propel me into action.
At the end of the day, I want to be a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it. I catch the negative thinking, I toss it out the window because my self imposed limitations and old fears and ways of thinking is not who I choose to be today. This is the fun thing about life: every single day you have the opportunity to change it up, to decide who you want to be, what kind of woman your future self wants you to start being now.
When I was younger, I used to imagine my 90 year old self sitting in front of me in a rocking chair and I was sitting on the floor in front of her, telling her my hardships. And every single time I did this, at any age I was at, my 90 year old self would remind me how young I was and to keep experiencing as much as I could, and to never hold myself back. I decided to believe her and listen.
When I used to audition and those auditions made me so sick with fear or anxiety, I would close my eyes and imagine all the women ancestors of my timeline standing around me in a circle, some smiling at me and some just watching me, and the question they had for me as they stood tall and proud was this, “We did everything we did so that you could have this moment, right now to do what you’re here to do, so what’s it going to be? Are you in or out.”
It wasn’t a question. To this day, when I have a speaking engagement, I’m doing an interview in person or on someone’s podcast, I still do this. I invoke my ancestors to surround me with the energy that I need to have the right thing to say that will support the greater good for everyone. And then I get out of my own way and let the magic happen. I love this stuff! It used to scare the daylights out of me, but I have learned to love it all.
Shauna Allan: What does it mean to be an empowered woman?
Tanya: “I am intrinsically connected to everything and everyone. I matter. What I have to say will help to heal the planet and support the women who need me. What I say matters. I am here for a reason. I am important, inspiring, loving and essential to the growth of everyone and everything around me.”
Know this in your heart. This is what empowerment means to me.
Empowered women don’t say this because they need the reminder or because they don’t believe it so it’s one affirmation after the other, we say it because we have done the work and we know that sending out this light energy actually does something to change the foundation of the planet and helps to heal the hearts of so many people who need it, including ourselves. Check out this book called The Hidden Messages In Water” by Masaru Emoto.
You’ll understand what I mean when you read this gem: he teaches us about the healing power of love and gratitude through his work with vibrations and water at the point of freezing (crystallization), shows his work and captures it all with stunning high-speed photography. It’s a breathtaking book.
If you didn’t believe in the power of energy before, this book will surely give you a run for your money. You’ll see that negativity, judgement and cruelty undeniably creates more long term damage than you can ever imagine and that the way we think has a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of our planet and everything on it. ❤
Tanya Marie Dube - Born into the foster care system, living in eight homes by the age of two years old, and homeless on and off for six years from 12-18 years old, Tanya-Marie Dubé is a show host, a motivational speaker, published author and online educator. She uses her extensive experiences in life and business to teach ambitious women and men entrepreneurs to stand in their power and reclaim their lives through radical money mindset shifts and personal development skills that help them overcome the hardships that have held them back all their lives.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get information about the next free live masterclass and how to work with her, and get free training and coaching in her Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.