Reliability: A New Manifesto

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have the pleasure of presenting a workshop at my favorite conference of the year. As I was preparing for my presentation, entitled Reliability: The Human Dimension of Productivity, I penned an all new Manifesto as a handout for the occasion. And here it is! If you’d like your own copy as a pdf, click here. Enjoy!

reliability manifesto


My New Podcast!

I am over the moon to share with you my brand-new podcast! I’ve been dreaming for years and years about producing a show like this one. Now, at last, that dream is a reality.

The Tara Show is a talk show style podcast. My intention is that it sounds like the best programs you hear on NPR, yet it has its own unique flavor. I’ve brought together a stellar group of contributors to share their stories in conversation and audio essays. We will be talking about all sorts of topics but the themes of authenticity, vulnerability, and life of the spirit are central.

The first episode is called The Sound of the Genuine. The contributors are

  • Avrum Nadigel: Avrum is family and relationship therapist from Toronto, Canada. He is writing two books: the first, The Best Time To Work on Your Marriage is When You’re Single is part autobiography and part self-help manual, aimed at anyone who is anxious, or struggles with, committed relationships; the second will be a “how to” manual for therapists curious about Family Systems Therapy based on interviews with the late Dr. David Freeman. Avrum is also a talented musician and composer; he composed our theme music and one of the music segments in the first episode.
  • Heather King: Heather King is a Los-Angeles based writer, speaker, and Catholic convert with three memoirs—Parched; Redeemed; and Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Thérèse of Lisieux. A sober alcoholic and former lawyer, she appears monthly in Magnificat and blogs at Shirt of Flame. Her theme is everyday mysticism, and she believes one of the surest signs of the follower of Christ is a sense of humor.
  • James Lamkin: Like Tara, James is a native of Louisiana. He’s the senior pastor of Northside Drive Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a Doctor of Ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA.
  • Evan Moffic: Evan is a rabbi and speaker dedicated to making the Old Testament and Judaism more accessible to Christians. Originally from Houston, Texas, Evan graduated from Stanford University in 2000, and after studying in Jerusalem and Cincinnati, he was ordained as a Rabbi in 2006. Since 2009, he served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Solel in suburban Chicago. He blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and Beliefnet, and speaks about the Old Testament and early Jewish life at churches, synagogues and interfaith institutions across the country. His newest book is Wisdom for People of All Faiths. Connect with Evan at his blog, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Otis Henderson: Otis is the Athletic Director as well as the Director of the Tutoring Program at Christian Cultural Center in Queens, New York. A former police officer with the New York City Police Department, Otis is an incredible leader, a basketball coach, and a lifelong learner.

The music credits for the first show can be found on SoundCloud.

Please give us a listen! I’d love to hear your feedback–and you can add comments right on the sound waveform in SoundCloud; just click on the point of the recording where you’d like to add your thoughts or ask a question. If you would leave a review on iTunes, that would mean so much–thanks!

What the Sexy + Soul-full Woman Knows: It’s better to risk displeasing someone than attempting to please everyone

This is the third in a series of posts exploring what it means to be a Sexy + Soul-full woman. You can read the first post here. Enjoy!


After listening to my client bemoan her bulging schedule and her ever-shrinking bandwidth, I spotted a pattern. She was always saying ‘yes.’ To every request, no matter how irrelevant to her goals or how far outside her interests, she acquiesced to them all. When we explored what lurked behind her agreements, it became clear that she wanted not just to be pleasing and accommodating, but she also feared hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry by refusing their request. Her unwillingness to say ‘no’ was driving her to exhaustion; she was over-committed and unable to keep her promises–a situation that was decidedly displeasing to those whose requests fell through the cracks.

The Sexy + Soul-full woman knows that it’s worth risking someone’s displeasure when they hear her ‘no,’ over attempting to please everyone by constantly saying ‘yes.’ Acquiring the ability to risk and, occasionally weather, being displeasing is a key skill that marks the passage into a stage of wisdom for Sexy + Soul-full women. This wisdom comes from discernment and the willingness to say ‘no’ with love and courage.

Discernment is the process of weighing options, not just according to possible risk or potential payoff, but also against spiritual criteria. This sort of spiritual discernment relies on feelings and intuition rather than solely consulting the intellect. The Sexy + Soul-full woman uses her gut (as well as the rest of her body) as a reliable compass to point to her inclinations and possible courses of action. Looking for subtle, persistent, and consistent leanings toward a particular direction, she distrusts flashy fantasies about fantastical outcomes.

“We are all conduits for a great and creative energy,” writes Julia Cameron, “that seeks expression in us and through us. When we yearn to be different, it’s not just our restless ego. It is our accurate response to the creative energy within us that is seeking a venue for expression.” Knowing this, the Sexy + Soul-full woman focuses her attention on callings, yearnings, and insights. She follows her heart’s leanings and trusts her soul’s whispers.

It is her ability ability to recognize when a ‘yes’ isn’t appropriate that gives her the courage to speak an unambiguous ‘no.’ A ‘yes’ spoken out from an out-of-control desire to please or a misplaced fear of being displeasing reeks of lack of conviction. When a woman is fearfully or tearfully accommodating, her commitments waver like the mirages they are. The unwitting people-pleaser is led farther and farther into a desert of littered with her broken promises. There is nothing for her there in that parched, empty landscape but dust.

When speaking her clear, unambiguous ‘no,’ the Sexy + Soul-full woman uses her core strengths. She doesn’t squirm or quail, she needs no excuses nor apologies. She says ‘no’ firmly and with compassion. Her compassion springs from the understanding that ‘no’ can be hard to hear and unpleasant to bear–she has heard her own share of ‘no’s’ so she delivers a ‘no’ with kindness. She is firm to communicate that her ‘no’ is real and has strength behind it. She may receive arguments from the recipient of her ‘no’ but the Sexy + Soul-full woman can stand on her ‘no’ and make it stick. She shall not be moved when she doesn’t wish to be.

Ultimately, what this willingness to risk displeasing others by saying ‘no’ with love and courage does is communicate the commitment to being reliable. The Sexy + Soul-full woman knows that trust is the basis of all relationships. Broken promises damage, and eventually destroy, trust and relationships along with it. To be worthy of trust, her ‘yes’ must mean, truly ‘yes.’ By reserving her ‘yes’ for what she knows she can and will do, she both gains her own confidence in her ability to follow through as well as earns the trust and respect of those around her. That trust and respect yields much greater credibility and standing that people pleasing can ever do.


What have you learned about people-pleasing? When have you said ‘no’ with love and courage? Share your stories in the comments below.

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