Tarzan Kay


August 4, 2023

to you

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unexpected support I didn’t know I needed

Confession: I’ve spent 6+ hours preparing for my first mastermind call. I even enlisted my son Gaïan to help me make this “bowl of stories” for an icebreaker I’ve got planned.

>> I have 10 pages of notes. 

>> I have a “backpocket” to pull from in case something doesn’t work, or takes less time than expected. 

>> I have an invisible structure so that this first meeting feels both orderly and free-flowing at the same time. 

>> I have lists of documents I’ll need to have open. 

>> I have props and I have prompts. 

>> I have bullet points of things to say, and whole paragraphs to read verbatim, like articles from the community agreements that need to be clear from day one.

It’s partly because I like to be prepared. Ironically, the more prepared I am, the more raw Tarzan I can bring to the table. It’s also because I am trying to single-handedly heal the wounds of an entire industry in one two-hour session (which I know I can’t but that’s the weight of the responsibility I feel, and sometimes I forget that I’m not alone in this work.)

I’ve spent years listening to stories from clients who bought packages from coaches that turned out to be little more than empty promises and air.

I’ve bought those packages too. 

In my second year in business I bought a $10K coaching package that included 5 1:1 sessions with the coach, plus a bit of “package filler” that wasn’t even written down—a few landing page reviews, pricing feedback, etc., things that would’ve had real value had they been delivered with any sort of structure or forethought, which they weren’t. 

Directly on the heels of my first launch (an absolute flop), this coach said to me, “To be honest I don’t know how many sessions we’ve done but do you feel complete?”

That’s a trick question. 

“Yes, of course,” I told her. “I’m so grateful for your support.” 

The truth was I was absolutely lost and clueless about what to do next. But I was also wired to seek her approval, to please her, and not to blame her for my failures—though you better believe my successes were pasted all over her website, even though they came much later.*  

That’s the lineage we’re dealing with. 

I don’t call myself a coach, but I know that some of my clients think of me that way. Saying “I’m not a coach” might be me trying to wiggle my way out of a complex problem that I want maximum distance from. 

I want to be more than just a voice for change in this industry. I want to be a living representation of what it might look like if things were done differently. 

One of the best things I’ve spent money on this year (at the advice of my therapist) is hiring someone to support me in the facilitation of Power—to help plan sessions and live retreats, debrief with me afterward, sort through complex questions, advise me on creating an anti-oppressive space, and help me bring my vision for Power to life. 

It’s like I was trying to give birth alone but now I have a doula. It has given me such peace. And also made me wonder, “WTF have I been doing winging this all these years?”

As online business owners and course creators we get an overabundance of training on how to price our offers, how to put together the perfect promotion, the best messaging for attracting clients, conversion optimization and funnel hacking…

…and almost no training at all on how to teach big concepts, facilitate groups, or coach people through hard things. It’s presumed that we already have that expertise but many of us don’t. 

That’s why I have a support person and 10 pages of notes. 

Those ten pages hold all of the things I wish I knew six years ago when I was running my first group program, all of the things that would’ve let my clients know they were safe and supported, and shown them exactly how to get what they need from whatever program I was running. 

I’m excited-slash-nervous because this feels so different. My brain really wants to just check out and play Candy Crush for the next three hours. 

By the time you’re reading this it’ll be done and I know I’ll feel both enormous relief and additional responsibility for whatever is coming next. I hope it’s everything I dream it will be. And even if it’s not, you can bet you’ll hear about it. 

…and now back to level 879 of Candy Crush Soda.


*A side-lesson, which is equally important: I should never have written a glowing testimonial for that coach. It was my responsibility as much as hers to be honest about the parts of my success that were connected to our work together. 

Testimonials are a 2-way street. We have to take responsibility for the ones we GIVE as well as the ones we GET. And yeah, that sometimes means asking for testimonials to be taken down. It’s awkward, but it’s important. 

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