Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

MU173: Mary Ann Stenquist | Become Unshoppable: Find The Money To Fund The Life You Want—With The Money You Have

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:MU173: Mary Ann Stenquist | Become Unshoppable: Find The Money To Fund The Life You Want—With The Money You Have

Oftentimes, that worst-case scenario that we build up in our heads isn’t as bad as we believe it’s going to be. – Marla Tabaka

Self-doubt is like having a harsh critic in your head that won’t stop finding things wrong–with you, your business, or whatever the topic of the day might be. It’s an endless loop of chatter; it makes you anxious and zaps your confidence.

Even though the brain is predisposed to negative thought patterns, (yup, you read that right) you can learn to shift from the constant B.S. to a mindset that supports your business success and happiness.

Meet Marla Tabaka

Marla Tabaka is a small-business coach and adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has more than 25 years of experience in corporate and startup ventures, and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. Marla is a leading author at, has appeared on Fox Business News and noteworthy publications such as American Express Open, The NY Times, TIME Business, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and The Business Intelligence Report.

Show Notes

Marla, you are a master business coach and you’ve been doing that for a long time. I’ve heard some of your success stories about how you’ve helped your clients. You didn’t just stumble into this career. Let the audience know how you became intertwined in the whole coaching world.

It was the farthest thing from my mind. Honestly, I had a corporate career, I worked for NBC television and I climbed the ladder there. And one day, I just decided enough. Things changed, television changed, news media changed. And I just wasn’t happy anymore. I spent six months figuring out what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I didn’t figure it out. So I left aimlessly without a job without a plan or anything. I did get a job pretty quickly working with a middle-market company. And I launched a new division for them doing web and kiosks development for some large clients like Sears and Claire’s Boutique.

But you know what? I hated it. Here I was a year and a half into a very high paying job. And I learned a lot and did a lot but I hated it. And one day I was in this lovely, independent coffee house. And I was like, wow, I don’t feel connected with my community. I’ve lived here in Naperville 30 some miles outside of the city of Chicago for probably 15 years. And I didn’t have a sense of community and I didn’t realize how much I was missing it. And so I bought the coffee house. I wanted community and so I created the community with a darling little coffeehouse where musicians from literally all over the world came and artists came and people connected. And it turned into this really beautiful, wonderful space and experience.

I was talking to one of my customers and he said why don’t you hire a business coach. So he introduced me to Steve and I hired him and magic happened. I felt like I wasn’t in this alone anymore. Someone else invested in my success. I said to him I think I want to become a coach, but I want to do something different than what you do. And I told him people need the mindset and the emotional support as well and he said I couldn’t agree more and you’d make an amazing coach. So I’d like to mentor you. I sold the coffee house. And I went to school and he mentored me through school and sent me pro bono clients and did all that great stuff for me. My practice took off very well and I’m going on my 18th year of coaching.

When I was reading your bio, you had a little snippet about the endless chatter, that goes through our minds. And how true is that?

When I first started coaching, I was ready to partner with these amazing women and help them grow their businesses, but I wasn’t ready for the extraordinary amount of doubt and self-confidence that they lacked, and fear of success or failure. And, even after going through all my coaching training, I was shocked to find that because these women, by all rights were very successful, educated women, and I just didn’t expect it. And so that’s when I decided within my first year of coaching, that I wanted to specialize in mindset before most people even knew what the word was. When we have a negative experience in our life our nervous system ingrains that into itself. And so when we’re up against another challenge, where self-doubt rises, the neural pathway starts firing off and offering us the same physical response in the stomach or heart or throat, whatever it is that you get, that we had back in the original days when the belief was born. And then the other thing that we have going against us and a lot of people don’t know, is the brain is predisposed to negative thinking. It’s the way we’re built.

Key Takeaways

Here are some basic tips from Marla for when the negative stuff comes in.

Tip #1 – One of the things that I noticed is that entrepreneurs are so demanding of themselves. We don’t keep track of our little wins. We don’t acknowledge them enough. What I started doing years ago is every time a client sends me an email that has some sort of praise or thanks or gratitude, and it’s some sort of recognition, I put it in a little special folder in my email. I also jot down once a week, toward the end of the week, all of the positive things that I’ve done that week, things that support my success and the success of others. These are small tips that make a big difference. Write a diary of your wins. And when you doubt yourself, you go back to read all of the things that you’ve done right. You realize what a rock star you are. Take time to celebrate.

Tip #2 – Disrupt the negative loop that goes on in our brains. We have to disrupt it by doing something like changing our physiology. It’s very difficult when we’re engrossed in something negative to force ourselves to get up and move around and shift something, but it’s important. We have to acknowledge that there’s energy in our physiology. Stand up, go garden, go take a run, go do whatever, walk around the room pounding your chest and singing Tarzan tunes, or whatever it is, but walk that negative loop, and you will feel so much better.

Tip #3 – Kick the catastrophic thinking to the curb by facing our worst-case scenarios head-on. Separate the negativity from the truth from our reality. A lot of times, our minds travel down this path of destruction, and all these terrible things are going to happen, and you speak these things out loud as if that’s happening. And it is important to sit down and to think of each of those individual thoughts and ask yourself how true they are and say it out loud. The brain needs to separate itself from the problem in order to solve it effectively. So when you write things down, or you draw pictures, or even speak out loud, the brain can step back and assimilate and give you feedback, which can be very, very helpful. It’s important to remember that this thinking, the way that we blow things out of proportion is not our fault, it’s the brain’s natural tendency.

Tip #4 – Sit the problem or the fear down like another person. And so you sit down, you talk to it, like it was separate from you and you have this back and forth conversation. It feels really weird. But you’ll get the answers. Do it the way your mind is going to respond best.

Marla’s Free Gift

Marla’s 10-day Bull Shift Challenge

You’ll get an email every day, setting up the problem or the common thought patterns that I see, especially in entrepreneurs. You’ll get tips like what we did today about how to turn it around and how to empower yourself to think differently.



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