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Name: Tanya Chernova

Business: Courageous Living

Industry: Professional Services

Location: Toronto, Canada

Reason for starting: I started Courageous Living in 2006 and was inspired by my personal journey of healing and transformation that turned my life around in the area of self love and relationships. I partnered with a woman who was in essence my business soul mate on this topic and we launched Courageous Living. Providing the education, tools, resources and inspiration for women to enrich every area of their lives and powerfully create a life they love. We became experts in the neuroscience of success and in 2012, we wrote a book called UnderMind helping people discover the 7 subconscious beliefs that sabotage their lives and how to overcome them. It went to #1 on Amazon in 3 categories and out sold The Secret on our launch day. I am committed to helping people and especially women gain a healthier relationship between giving and receiving to prevent what we call the “doing, doing, done” syndrome. We are infinitely capable of achieving our dream life. My mandate with Courageous Living is teaching women the skills set to reconnect to their authentic selves, to claim their voice and create and actualize their inspiring vision in every category of love, health, finance, self expression etc- one life chapter at a time.

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How do you define success? I used to define success by the capacity to set audacious goals and achieve them. Now I no longer live for life’s “check marks.” I define success by my capacity to make a difference and live a life of service and meaning. By my capacity to influence positive change locally and globally. By the quality of my relationships and the depth of love and intimacy I can achieve. By the level of freedom I can experience at any given moment and by what I write about in our book – our JPM or Joy Per Minute. Ultimately, how much joy I can unconditionally experience in my life – and my ability to courageously face, heal or overcome the inner obstacles that may stand in my way.

I emigrated from Moscow, Russia in 1980 (6 years old). My family were mostly doctors and engineers who became entrepreneurs in Canada. My mother, a famous dermatologist in Russia, couldn’t get her license in Canada so she opened one of the first natural skin care clinics. I grew up in an entrepreneurial mindset – vision, passion, innovation, leadership, risk and resourcefulness. I did work for other companies however, I knew the only way to live a fulfilling life was to forge my own path.

Biggest success: If I was to answer this question at 23,it would be “to pursue my dream and move to France as an international educator and travel 22 countries teaching my theories on skin care and publish in 11 languages.” At 27 I would have said “create my own skin care brand and achieve global distribution,” at 31 I would have said “to leave a mentally abusive relationship,” at 35 I would have said “to have traveled to 40 countries as a corporate speaker and been the only Canadian to speak at the 100 year anniversary of L’Oreal in Paris.” At 38 it would have been “publish a #1 best seller.” At 40 I my biggest success is the work I have done on myself to feel I am enough. That my success doesn’t have to be measured in dollars, applause or acclaim. I no longer need to seek outside approval to be enough. I live authentically and honour my beautiful marriage and my ability to be present and joyful with my 9 month son. So Grateful.

Related: Growth Culture: Building a Big Company by Winning Hearts and Minds 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge has always been the struggle between focus and diversity. I wear a lot of hats and say yes to a lot of things. I am always working on multiple projects across multiple platforms including a partnership in a cat litter company. How can this be? I wish I could be a crystal clear brand with one mission and one business plan. I am not sure if this will ever happen but I have given up worrying about it and accept I am classically boundless when it comes to opportunity. I have 5 different websites and more to come. I struggle with my brand identity. How to introduce myself so I don’t sound schizophrenic or intimidate others with an obvious case of hyper-ambition. Now that I have a family, my challenge is to narrow the focus so I can give more mindshare to them.

As a speaker, whether corporate, beauty industry or personal development, my vision was always to be live in a room, on tv or on a stage with people. This is a very limiting business model. Now with the internet, my vision is to stay local and be global. To reach the greatest number of people through video, webinars and recordings. To certify others in my teachings – to multiply my impact and minimize my participation. Financially my vision now hinges on developing the passive income model. Also with youtube etc, people are no longer afraid to take the stage. The world has exploded with self expressed teachers. My next challenge is to narrow the focus and (reluctantly) commit to a niche market so we will be easier to find by those we truly serve.

Who is your most important role model? My mother. Growing up I saw her as a very powerful woman who created her life. She had an unconditionally positive attitude. In the face of adversity, she innovated. When faced with scarcity, she willed abundance. She always supported and nourished other women. She had fearless conversations with people who needed a new perspective and she moved to Canada in her 40’s with no English and 2 small children. She divorced my father as soon as she landed in Canada. As a famous doctor in Russia, she invented a cream that healed gangrene without amputation. Canada would not honour her license so she opened her own clinic and built a multi million dollar business on reputation alone. She did not let anything or anyone stop her from achieving her goals. She taught us how to live in gratitude.

I will say that her example also helped me see what I didn’t want – whether by personality, generation or circumstance. Without judging her, I vowed not to be a woman who couldn’t show vulnerability. I vowed not to be a workaholic or a performance based parent. I vowed not to sacrifice myself or be codependent. I vowed I would not be a woman who felt she could only rely on herself. And therefore I built community. I healed my beliefs about men and I married the right man for me. I chose to have a child later in life so I could give more of myself. She is 76 and looks 55 and she is still ambitious. She is a model of vitality in body, mind and spirit.

Twitter   @courageouslivin

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