Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


262: Mindset is Contagious – a conversation with Jay Swiger

You never know who you’re impacting with your creative biz! Listen in to this conversation with my husband about how my business has impacted and inspired him at TaraSwiger.com/podcast262

How do you impact those around you? How does that actually work? And how does it feel for those who love you? Today I’m having a conversation with my husband Jay about impact, confidence and more!

Episode 258, which came out a few weeks ago, has ended up being SO popular – so many of you are sharing it and talking about it and messaging me about it, it’s making me sooo happy. And it tells me that this way of reframing the sacrifices you make for your dreams as a positive, because it is showing other people what’s possible, it’s inspiring them to dream bigger – we all need to hear that.

I was talking to this about Jay, and through the years he’s told me that by following my dreams, well, it’s changed him. So I asked him if he’d come and talk to y’all about it, give you a different perspective, and to give you another boost of permission that YES, you are having an impact (even if it takes 15 years to see the results).

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

Yay! Fall! #yayfall
For the first time in years I knit an actual swatch. In 2 different needles. I even washed and blocked it! For my #bluesandcardigan out of Flannel Plucky Primo. #plucktember
Yay! I am holding @mercedesknits's book in my hands and it is GREAT! Happy birthday, friend and congrats on a job well done!  I am so thrilled to have been able to see the amazing stuff you've made over the years! Love you!
A VERY good Saturday morning. #taralovesmornings   (More on my (crazy) #greatbooksproject on the FB page. Link in profile. Join me?)
I so love this mossy little bridge over a tiny creek, in the middle of a totally normal neighborhood. #foundwhilerunning in #easttennessee    #taralovesmornings
My knitting matches the nebula in Wrath of Khan. #geekySaturday

I am so grateful for…

  • Getting to play a small part in the successes of Starship Captains (and getting to share their celebrations!)
  • Hours spent reading + my new reading project.
  • New obsessions.

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

Your Family + Your Business {PODCAST}

Your family and your business

Does your family support you in your  business? Or distract you from it? Are you frustrated about finding the time and energy to get your work done?
In this episode we're talking about your family + your business and how to get them on your side, so that they will support, encourage, and provide the help you might need to pursue your dream. We'll cover how to figure out what you want, how to ask for it, and what to do when you're just not getting it.



How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



How to deal with your family + maintain Holiday Sanity


Do you dread those family dinners where everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing?


Last week a Holiday Sanity Seeker  asked:
How in the world do you deal with family members who keep making lame suggestions about my business? They're treating me like I'm not capable of doing this myself!
Ugh. I know, this is totally annoying and wish I had a magic wand that I could wave over all family members so they'd just be supportive of your venture!
However, the fact is, we can't do anything to change what someone else says. You can absolutely ask them to back off, but they're unlikely to be able to stop themselves.

You can't change your family, but you can change how you receive it.

In this week's video I share my favorite thing to do when someone gives unsolicited advice.

(If you can't see the video above, click here!)


Just remember one thing:

What a person says is about them, not about you.

Remembering that whatever someone says is about THEM and not YOU is not easy, but I hope it helps you navigate the holidays!
For more help with holding onto your sanity, check out Holiday Sanity.

What do you do with meddling advice? 



Want more survival tips? Check out the (free) Definitive Guide.

Sign up here to get more on surviving your business adventures, no matter the season.


Get your family (+ spouse) to support your business

Beach pup. #adventure

Yesterday we talked about getting more support for your adventure. The first challenge many new explorers experience is…their family. Getting support, encouragement, or even just surviving a hailstorm of questions and doubt. It can make you feel like your family is the last place to get support, but, honey, having at least one person who knows you sooo well, and believes in you can do wonders for your confidence (and thus, business).
Today, let's talk about you can bring your family on board with your adventure, and specifically, how you can ask your partner for more support. *

Your family is a double-edged phaser. They can be an area of support…and a reason you need outside support. Getting your partner behind your business idea is the thing that just about every new business mentions to me – How do I get them to respect this? How do I get them to see this as a real thing? And a bigger one: How do I get them to respect the money side of thing? (Hey, I wrote about that here!)
The answers to these questions are as unique as the situation. In most cases, you've got to have a series of conversations. In some instances, for some partners, you need hard proof and Spock-like answers. (I have a list of answers here, regarding the Starship, but I really need to create a book full of Spock-like answers for every aspect of your business, don't you think?)

But no matter who your partner is or what you need, you can find a way to talk to them.
Your job is to figure out:

1. What kind of support you need. Do you need them to take the kids for…how many hours? Do you need them to make dinner? Do you need them to get behind you by investing money in it?

2. What their brain will understand (this is probably easier to know the longer you're with someone – if you haven't figured this out yet, I promise it'll help every aspect of your relationship!). Some people need charts and graphs. Some people (like my Jay) don't want too many details, but want to know you have a plan. Others have extensive experience with “big” business and won't understand that the rules are different for a one-gal-show. Yet others will have no experience with anyone they know being self-employed and the whole thing will seem like a ginormous risk. Others (like me!) have self-employed people everywhere, thus they see it as a normal career path.

Knowing what they need to know (and their own risk-tolerance) and presenting your request to them in a way they understand will make everything go smoother.


3. How you can ask for what you need + deliver what they need in a way that respects you both.

Here's the truth – your relationship has an agreement in place. You might never have spoken it, but you've come to embody it through the years. The agreement might be about who does the dishes or who provides child care or who “deserves” a break when they get home from work. Every relationship has an agreement, no matter how progressive and feminist you both are (your agreement might be that there's no gender-based roles! That's an agreement too!).

When you start to ask for what you need, what you might be asking for is a change in the underlying agreement of your partnership. This can be scary for both partners.  You can sidestep some of the fear and conflict if you first notice what your current agreement is and acknowledge it together. And then, start talking about changing it.
You see, if you just rush in with all these changes, without acknowledging that you are fundamentally changing the foundation of your relationship,well, you're really shaking up the world of your partner, which can lead to a response that's defensive or aggressive.
It's not that they don't want to support you, it's that you're asking for more than you think. You're asking for a total shift.


So! Your job here is to acknowledge the current agreement (together!) and start talking about a new agreement that would suit your new goals.

Of course, it's possible that your current agreement suits your business growth just fine and no roles are changing. But just recognizing the underlying agreement will go a long way to understanding every kind of support you need.

The final step – start talking! Ask them how you can explain this in a way they'll understand. Let them know how important this is to you. Ask for the kind of support you need. And ask, over and over. In every moment, when you need support, ask for it. Be specific.

Say: I really just need you to listen and reaffirm that this does suck, I don't want any advice for fixing it.
Say: I really need help finding solutions to this.
Say: I need a hug.
Say: I need to spend another hour finishing this project. Could you please do X, even though I usually do?

Don't wait for them to notice what you need! Ask for it! 


And above all,  assume the best.

If you have a healthy, loving relationship, assume that your partner is trying their best.  Assume that any mistakes are not malicious. Assume that a miscommunication is just that, not a sign of DOOM. Assume that if you ask, clearly and without blame, they will step up.*

Assuming the best of people tends to bring out the best in them.

Although this is a little outside of what we usually talk about it here, I think it's important to address. Because you are not alone. If your partner seems unnaturally (for them!) dismissive, or unwilling to give you the support you need, you're not alone. I hear this from women all the time. And it's ok. It's not a sign that you've partnered with a total jerk*. There's hope for working this out and shifting even the longest-held roles. And it's ok to ask for what you need.


All of the above applies to asking the rest of your family, with the added step of figuring out who you can truly ask for support, and what relationship will not support a direct request. (It's ok that you have some relationships with your parents, siblings, in-laws that are not built for this kind of mutual support.) Once you have recognized that this a relationship that can provide the support you need, remember to ask for it in a way that the other person will understand and appreciate. And keep asking for it. And, of course, assume the best.



How do you get support from your family and partner?

What have you learned to be the best way to approach them?


*I am not a relationship expert! I have a happy 9 year marriage (after a childhood surrounded by unhealthy, abusive partnerships), and have spent my life surreptitiously studying what makes happy, supportive relationships last…and performing experiments in my own marriage and that of my clients.
This is all assuming you're in a healthy, non-abusive relationship. If you are with someone who doesn't respect YOU and your smarts, creativity and general awesomeness, that's something else entirely.



Happy Birthday, Dyl!

The brothersDarling Pickle,

On this moment (just a minute after midnight), 9 years ago, you came into this world.

I was 350 miles away, in my dorm room, just 2 months into my freshman year.
But I knew you were coming and I couldn't sleep. My (new) friends gathered in the floor of my (tiny) room.

The phone range – you arrived! I hung up the phone, trembling, tears streaming down my face. The room erupted in squeals, hugs, laughing, crying! We were celebrating you, my Dyl, your birth into my life and into our family.

I'm still friends with those girls and we all recall that night with fondness. They can't believe you're as big as you are.

Dylan in chair

But I can. I'm so proud of what you've grown into.
Hardworking. Silly. Smart.  A great snuggler. Awesomesauce.

(and lest you think I'm just here to embarrass you – I'm sitting in Starbucks with tears streaming down my face as I write this!)

To celebrate our friendship, I'm giving away free shipping in my yarn shop, because I don't know how else to include everyone in our celebration. And I really do want EVERY one (in the whole world!) to know how happy I am to have you as my brother.


But since I know you don't give a snot about yarn, we'll celebrate today in a way befitting your 9 years: pancakes (with choclate chips + M&Ms), a double feature, video games, making our own pizzas.

So let's get this party started!

All my love,


PS. If you're not the birthday boy but you want to party in a yarn-y way, snag some yarn and put “Pickle” in the Message to Seller and get free shipping, all weekend.

Winter Manifesto

Inspired by Amanda's beautiful Winter manifesto, I've started writing my own.  I'll be adding to it for the next few Fridays.

February can be a cold, hard month: full of ice and short days and a deep longing for spring.
I find there's no better way to combat the cold than to embrace the light where I find it and to look for the small moments of joy. To remind myself that there is really just one more month of winter (spring comes early in East Tennessee!), I'll dedicate myself to this manifesto.

1.  Enjoy and relax with my loved ones;


with coffee,

chocolates  52/365

with chocolates,

baking with troy 33/365

while baking,

My boys

while playing.

What do you want to enjoy this winter?