Begin Anyway: Tiffany Louise

Today we have the privilege to learn from the talented, grounded, and brilliant Tiffany Louise. Tiffany is a professional coach and therapist and the facilitator of powerful change in her clients’ lives. From her morning routine to her daily self-care and spiritual practices, we all have a lot to learn from this bright light! As she says: “if you fill up on the good stuff, the garbage the world throws at you will have less room to take up residency.” Let’s learn more about Tiffany’s journey.

Tell us a bit about your professional background and what led to where you are today. You have degrees in Psychology and Women’s Studies, as well as a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work – specializing in behavioral health. As a cognitive behavioral therapist, you have operated treatment programs in some of the leading treatment centers in the country. What did you learn during your early career that has influenced how you’ve built your own practice?

Well early on I learned I had a lot of work to do!! This type of work, this career path – it will lead you to meet yourself in ways you never imagined. All of your issues, your reactions, the parts of you that need healing. You meet yourself in every session, with every client.

I think that many therapists and healers start out with stars in their eyes, and then the reality of the internal work you must do to be prepared and capable in this career really hit you. This is the stuff they do not teach you in most schools! Early on, I was like this is amazing – to witness the transformation in people’s lives, and to have any small part in that process. But then, I realized how much it would require of me, spiritually, emotionally, etc. That hit me like a ton of bricks ten years ago. But since that realization, I’ve learned the ways to care for myself that allow me to show up and sustain a career in this work. It’s been such a gift.

You exposed yourself, early in your career, to women living in poverty and struggling with addiction. When did you realize you wanted to work with addiction clients? What did you find most enlightening about these early experiences?

That was one of God’s miracles that led me to work in addictions. I had no interest in the addiction field coming out of school. I was trained in behavioral health and individual counseling. But a job was offered to me in this amazing program that provided free treatment, free transportation, free food, and free child care to women and their children through a federal grant which is basically unheard of.

So I jumped at the chance, and it was an amazing experience. Baptism by fire I like to call it – it was raw and real.

“If you fill up on the good stuff, the garbage the world throws at you will have less room to take up residency.”

I also have a history of addiction in my family. It was such a miracle to understand the disease of addiction so deeply, to understand the effects on the family. It was both very challenging and very healing. Ultimately, working in addiction treatment taught me more about behavior change and what motivates us as humans, and how we can override years of conditioning and patterning with changes to our thoughts, behavior, and environment.

After 15 years as a therapist and coach helping clients heal from addictions and mental health conditions, you created your own coaching practice and platform. How did you realize this was the right path for you and what impact have you experienced from personalizing your practice?

I always knew this was where I was headed but I wanted to be prepared. I knew I needed the right education, training, and amount of experience. This is such profound and sacred work—people trusting you with their stories. I wanted to be qualified. There are so many people coaching out there who are not qualified. Who are doing deeper work than they should be. I wanted to do no harm, and do great good.

After about 13 years in the field I began to create my platform and business. Very slowly. Taking private coaching clients and starting to share the tools and ideas I had been using privately in treatment centers, publicly.

Today, if people ask you what you do for a living, how do you respond?

I tell them I am a professional coach and therapist. That I help people create powerful change in their lives.

What are some major frustrations or failures that you can recall from the process of building your personal brand? What have you learned from these failures that has helped you to grow?

Haha like which one this week? I mean this is definitely a challenging path. It requires vulnerability and courage and all that good stuff. I think a lot of us crawl before we walk and run. I look back on some of my early posts or business plans, and I am like OMG. But I will probably feel that way looking back on this time in five years.

I think the thing is to just put it out there in the best way you can. Nothing is ever gonna be perfect, but if your heart is in the right place, people will feel that. My stuff might not be perfect or cutting edge. I mean right now the website I have up is so outdated (my new one should be launching this month!!) but people are still calling me! They feel something from me through my posts or stories, and that goes further than any perfectly executed marketing strategy.

It’s clear that faith and wellness are hugely important to you. Tell us about how you’ve structured your coaching and therapy practice to focus on these areas.

Wellness to me is an inside out job. You get your heart and head in alignment, the behavior flows from there. I focus on wellness in our thoughts, which creates how we feel, which impacts how we behave, which creates our quality of life. So every session, every reframe of an anxious thought, every identified barrier – that’s wellness to me. I incorporate spirituality in all of my work. It is a way of life for me, and I believe healing is very challenging without a connection to something greater.

How do you incorporate faith and wellness into your own daily routine? With a full schedule how do you prioritize making time each day to practice faith? Tell us what that looks like to you?

Every morning before I get out of bed I pray and ask God to order my steps and give me strength for the day ahead. Then, as I am getting ready for work, I listen to 1-2 sermons or messages from either Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. I find my morning routine and getting spiritual nourishment first thing, has become really important. If you fill up on the good stuff, the garbage the world throws at you will have less room to take up residency.

I pray throughout the day, I meditate, I use deep breathing exercises. I use movement as a spiritual practice, and how I feed my body. Taking care of this human suit God put me in in this life is the least I can do to thank him for the gift. I don’t watch crap on TV or on the internet. I don’t fill my mind with violence and negativity. This stuff is non-negotiable for me. I need these practices in order to do my work. Nobody wants to work with someone operating from an empty tank.

You’ve been working as a life coach/life therapist for 15 years. Especially when talking about such traumatic experiences with your clients, that must take a toll on your well being. How do you stay grounded?

My faith. Really and truly. This journey continues to strengthen my faith in miraculous ways. When you feel the suffering of the world the way I do, it takes a God sized love to heal that and counteract that. I am so clear that I am a vessel. I am the messenger through which God works.

I think coaches, therapists, and healers get it twisted when they believe they are the source. I am not. The individual is their own source. God is their source, or nature or kindness, or whatever their personal higher power is. I have no idea the path that each individual’s life is meant to take. For instance, when I lose patients to overdose, the only way to wrap my head around this is my faith. My faith in the purpose of that individual’s life. The impact that their life will have on those remaining. The belief that God will somehow work miracles out of this tragedy. A belief that they are in a place of peace. And a belief that love is greater than suffering.

Tell us about your experience with Social Media. You have a love/hate relationship with Instagram but you’ve had tremendous success using it. What are some of the benefits of social media engagement? As a therapist, tell us about major cautions to be aware of when relying on social media to share your voice or to find validation for your ideas.

I believe it is all about intention. What is your intention behind the message. Is it to be of service? Is it to inspire? Or is your post or blog masquerading as service, but is really about ego or a petition for validation? Social media becomes dangerous when we link our self-worth to the response.

“We have the ability to flood the world with good will, kindness, and inspiration. That is what I hope to do more of.”

My mindset is always: do I feel called to share this? Do I feel this will serve others? If so, then I push publish. And even though at times it is easy to do the comparison game and worry if the response doesn’t seem that hot, I remind myself that if even one person is touched by the message then I did my job. That is the benefit of these amazing platforms. We have the ability to flood the world with good will, kindness, and inspiration. That is what I hope to do more of.

Being authentic has always been really important to you. How do you maintain your authenticity on your Instagram feed?

I follow a rule that I heard Brene Brown say years ago that has always felt true for me, “Share what is complete for you.” Sharing something you are still in process with, yes, might be cathartic, or “authentic” but it might not be the most responsible way to support yourself. I believe we should share when the response, good or bad, has no power over us. And for some that might be in the midst of the struggle, or many years after. I share on my platform in a way to inspire others.

Just because I am not sharing every trial and tribulation does not mean I am inauthentic. It just means I share that information with people who have earned the right to hear, or I publicly share it when I am complete and prepared to do so. I remain authentic on Instagram by not partnering with any products or brands that are not things I believe in. I really only share tools and ideas that have improved my life and the lives of others. I stay authentic by keeping my intentions pure and being of service.

Final question, if you could get a cocktail (or juice!) with anyone in the world, who would it be? And, more importantly, what are you drinking?

You know, at first I was thinking about all of the authors or teachers or visionaries I would want to meet. And then, I realized, I would really just love to have tea with my mother. You see, for all of the people I have learned from, I have learned the most from her. She really is a spiritual teacher. She was the one who put me in therapy when I was three years old when my parents were divorcing, to teach me to talk about feelings. She was doing vision boards with us as children before they were cool. She taught me about faith and gave me the freedom to choose my own. I watched her writing morning pages and filling journals with her thoughts and feelings over the last 35 years. I watched her connecting with nature to find peace of mind. I think we often want to travel outside of our lives to find inspiration, when it is many times right beside us in ordinary places.

As I grow older, the more I want to understand my mother, her stories, and her journey. So I’d pick her, because she is my hero.

Thank you so much to Tiffany for sharing both her inspiring story and some tips we can all implement in our day to day lives! Be sure to stay tuned for her new website!

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