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Finding Balance Through Mindfulness

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Negotiation coach Tanya Tarr reveals how to reclaim your time and space.

By Madison Matous, Photos courtesy of Tanya Tarr

Finding balance in life can be tricky. But for negotiation coach Tanya Tarr, balance is her business. Tarr started her career working for political campaigns in Washington, D.C., and in 2009, she moved to Austin, where she acted as a political director for a teachers assocation. Since, she has traveled the country helping nonprofits develop their digital presences, stays busy building her negotiation and coaching practice and is currently writing a book.

Through her years as a negotiation coach, Tarr has come to believe balance isn’t just an end goal, but a state of being that is experienced when hard work and consistency are put into everything you do. It’s about not just reacting but taking control and prioritizing your needs. It’s about embracing your inner goddess.

At a recent event hosted by BossBabesATX, Tarr told a story that spoke to the importance of balance and how to achieve it. The story begins with Ishtar, a Mesopotamian goddess, who went to the underworld to save the person she loved. Along the way, Ishtar had to give parts of herself away to continue her descent. When she completed her journey and saved her loved one, she was told she could not go back to the surface. Instead, she had to take her loved one’s place in the underworld. But Ishtar was able to negotiate her way back while reclaiming all the things that had been taken away from her along her journey.

“I told this story to a group of women,” Tarr says, “and something about the story gripped everyone in the room. It was like the whole room lit up because it’s a story about reclaiming yourself and reclaiming your boundaries.”

There seems to be something about fairy tales and myths about strong women throughout time and cultures that really speak to women today.

“Asking women to think about how they connect with their inner goddess has a very universal appeal,” Tarr explains.

In addition to reclaiming oneself, Tarr preaches the importance of reclaiming time. She regularly conducts an exercise with her clients to help them prioritize the things in their life. Tarr suggests starting with a brain dump, taking five minutes to write down all the things that are important to you. The next step is to order the items, ranging from most important to least important. Then make a timeline for each of your top three to five items. Tip: Start with the deadline and work backward.

“There is a power in not only thinking through a plan, but writing down a plan,” Tarr says. “The very process of going through the plan helps focus the mind and gets us closer to our outcome.”

Another helpful strategy to keep in mind is what Tarr calls the procrastination plate.

With your to-do list, “you want there to be enough crowding so that there’s a sense of urgency to get things done,” Tarr says. “But you don’t want it to be so overcrowded that you get overwhelmed, and you don’t want it to be so little and stripped down so that there’s actually not enough motivation to move forward with something.”

Another way to achieve balance is by making time for self-care. It can be anything from setting aside time to hang out with girlfriends to making sure you have time for a run. Both are helpful to calm stress, and when you’re constantly on the go, it can really make a difference in your day-to-day life.

Getting in touch with your inner goddess means getting in touch with what you want in life and rediscovering your worth. By taking control and setting your own pace, it’s possible to achieve balance.

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