Tanya Lynn’s story, Founder of Sistership Circle
I was my father’s daughter.
My dad coached my sports teams and was the hero of my household. He provided everything we needed and more. A big house, nice vacations, club sports, beautiful clothes, fancy cars. So I strived to make him proud of me with perfect grades, ambitious dreams, and a diligent work ethic.
I wanted to be a journalist and I remember he told me I should be like Maria Bartiromo, the newscaster for finance. So when I was 23, I moved to New York City and became a sales person in the financial industry. Not quite on the mark for either of our dreams, but close enough.
I was making it. Good money, an easy work schedule.
But something was missing.
I found myself depressed, eating quesadillas in bed at 2am, watching old reruns of Sex in the City. I thought I was living the life, but was miserable inside.
Disconnected, isolated, and lonely. There’s got to be more to this life. There’s got to be more meaning.
My best friend introduced me to Landmark Education and it turned the light back on for me. I started a meaningful project bringing nutrition and yoga to inner city kids and went to school at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health counselor.
Not clear on what I was building or why I was building it on the East Coast when my family was in California, I packed my bags and moved back home and asked myself a question: what do I really want?
I wanted sisterhood. I wanted girlfriends who were also passionate about self-development and a healthy lifestyle.
So I put on my first women’s event in January 2009. Over 30 women showed up. Month after month I put on events to bring women together. I was onto something. I brought on a partner and we created a membership-based business model. We had a big vision and everyone was excited about it. So excited that a member came up to me and said, can we meet weekly in smaller groups?
And that was the beginning of Sistership Circle.
In May 2010, the first 12 women, 12 week circle started. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I was doing something right because multiple circles popped up that year, some that continued to meet for over a year.
Over the span of six years, I learned what worked and what didn’t work in circle. I learned how to start in a new city — multiple cities — and how to train other leaders how to do what I did.
I developed circle curriculums, launch event formats, enrollment processes and retreat rituals. I formulated a business model based on running circles, retreats and events.
Most importantly, I found myself through the process. It has not been an easy journey. The more I immersed myself in circle, the more I had to face myself. Circle was a big mirror for me to see my shadow: my unhealed sisterhood wound, disconnection with the feminine, and putting up a hard exterior wall to protect myself from getting hurt.
The more I leaned into circle, the more I fell apart. The little girl who tried so hard to make her father proud by succeeding in the world finally got to feel all the emotions she bottled up and stored away. The women in my circles held me while I sobbed and screamed. I learned that leadership is not pretending to have your life perfectly packaged together, but being vulnerable enough to be messy to give other women permission to let go of the “good girl” act and just be real.
By letting go of the false sense of self — I found my true self, my integrated self. I am both fierce and soft. I am both a purpose-driven entrepreneur and a stay-at-home-mom. I have learned to play my full range through circle and live my full self-expression.
Leading circle has been my vehicle for healing, self-growth, and leadership development. It has made me into an incredible mother, wife, business owner, sister, friend and daughter. It has supported me emotionally, spiritually, energetically, financially and physically. Women from circle have shown up to take care of my household after I gave birth and held me when I lost my second baby in a miscarriage.
I am so passionate about teaching women how to lead circle and how to scale it so they can feel fulfilled in their life purpose while also having their own safe haven to be supported. Circle is for me just as much as it is for the other women in it.
If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, or if you currently lead monthly circles and are ready to expand your offerings, you can contact me here.