You’re stressed out, stretched thin, and wearing too many hats. You worry that you’re doing a terrible job in at least one crucial area of your life.
You’d like to make yourself a priority, but you feel guilty. There are so many things to do!
While you could send one more email or tick one more item off your to-do list, you fall into bed most nights feeling empty, unfilled, and utterly exhausted.
You don’t even know who you are anymore.
Whether you’ve been there before, you are headed there are you manage a team who’s there right now, you’re in the right place.
I understand because I’ve been there. There’s a better way, and I’m excited to show you.
The best part? You don’t need to sell your soul for someone else's bottom line.
Hi! I’m Tarah Keech, and I’m a teacher, retreat leader and coach for professionals who excel at work but feel tired, alone, and sometimes unfulfilled. I help them put themselves back at the top of the list so they can reach their full potential in their careers and personal lives—and feel good doing it (read: not selling their souls).
Following the road signs back home
I didn’t have a lightning bolt moment that jolted me into realizing that I was heading down the wrong path. Rather, there were many road signs along the way that ultimately led me to where I am today.
As a kid of a now-retired Air Force Dad, we moved around the US a lot. The summer before starting high school, we moved to our “home base” of Mobile, Alabama—where my mom grew up, my parents met, and was also the backdrop for my childhood summers. We came back to take care of my Mom’s Mom and then my other Grandma moved in too. I had the best days and made the sweetest memories getting to know them and spending time together during the last years of their lives. It was hard, fun, and also hysterical and tragic.
Driven by the heartache of grief and the determination to live while the living is good, I set my sights on serving Alzheimer’s caregivers. My freshly married husband and I both quit our jobs, picked up our puppy, and moved to Denver for my master’s program.
It wasn’t what I wanted
About two weeks into the program, it hit me that I didn’t want to be a therapist after all. But I stuck with it anyway. Largely because of my new amazing cohort of friends and the truly, profoundly inspiring researchers I connected with. They needed project management help—and I could help them.
This work was life-affirming, heart-lighting soul-fuel, and it was also a wake-up call. We were newly married and far away from everyone we knew. I wasn’t looking after myself and was feeling lost on this path. This was when I discovered self-coaching as a powerful tool, and also connected with some great mentors to help me through this tricky time.
While I loved the work, I didn’t love the real-life salary constraints that failed to align with my #housegoals and student loans that weren’t getting much smaller.
I remember going to the grocery store for a bottle of wine and all I could afford was the bottom-shelf variety—it was disgusting! I knew that I wanted better for my life. It wasn’t all about the money, but it seemed like the only choices I had were meaningful work that paid peanuts or corporate, soul-less work that would support my family.
I had to work through reframing the tradeoff in my mind.
These desires were clues pointing me toward living a fuller life
It was a dark time, and I tried to stay open to different possibilities. Being willing to observe and sit with the thoughts behind the feelings gave me clues about what I needed so I could live with more joy in life and more fulfillment in my career. I had to do some real nitty-gritty work through layers of emotion, assumptions and the stories I’d been telling myself—it wasn’t easy, but it was the key.
I looked at the beliefs I’d been holding onto about money, being a woman, and about worth and worthiness. I remember sitting in my car after pulling into work and writing out what I imagined for myself in the best possible world, working through what I was afraid of, telling myself the truth (finally) about what I had learned to believe versus what was true, and admitting what I really wanted most.
Then tactically, I reverse engineered the career I wanted. I kept seeing a Project Management Certification (PMP) as an option. I took the classes, passed the test, added the letters to my LinkedIn profile and celebrated in Las Vegas that weekend. The next Monday, I had four recruiter calls and became a project manager consultant.
Looking back at that transition, by doing the hard work on my thoughts, and being cut-to-the-bone honest with myself, I created the freedom to change my story which then created financial freedom and an abundance of joy, confidence, and satisfaction.
Stepping out of my comfort zone into the complete unknown
When I was in academic medical research, one of the MD Principal Investigators told me the only way I’d make more money was to get a Ph.D. He also said he’d never promote me because I was “too good” at what I did for him at my level. [Insert expletive of your choice].
I realized that no-one was going to hand me my next right job. I couldn't rely on my bosses to help because it was in their best interest to keep me right where I was. I couldn't lean on my circle of friends because their comfort zone was how things were—it was all they knew. I had to step up and create possibilities for myself.
I started attending meetups for other women in my industry, following PMP chapter happenings and created my own picture of what professional women outside of my known academic circle looked like.
Something had to give
Next came chapters of learning, stretching, and growing and I discovered I had a natural edge of excelling in corporate life. I’m talking unsolicited praise, promotions, raises, emails, cards and flowers as thank you’s, and three-steps-above-me leaders, executives, and VPs seeking my advice.
This was all really just me intuitively applying psychology best practices—you know, listening, sympathizing, motivational interviewing, appreciative inquiry... these are the skills I teach my clients today.
Some of my peers called me, "the bitch whisperer." I had an uncanny ability to read and respond to difficult people and situations. I loved being the go-to!
Except something was missing. I knew I had to do something different, but I didn't know what. I started taking online business courses, began blogging, and then took a bold step. I told my boss that I didn’t want to quit on them, but I was going to scale back to four days a week. I even said I’d be okay with a pay cut. And they said yes to both. I was surprised that I could make an ask and then be given exactly what I wanted.
It would have been easier with a mentor
What would have made this time easier was having a mentor I could trust to bounce these ideas off of—someone safe I could talk to who understood my job and was rooting for me—without the bias of corporate interests.
I needed a place to share these struggles where I could feel safe. If I shared all this at my job, they’d label me as a flight risk. Ultimately, I did share some of these nuggets with my then client. She was terrific and shared her own struggles, BUT—I was lucky. And still felt like I had to guard myself. And it sucked—feeling inhibited but wanting to share, relate and get real-, real-life, real-human connection and feedback that's not based on a manager's limited perspective.
Finding my purpose in lifting others up
I applied what I learned in my psych program within these complicated corporate situations. Namely: Appreciative Inquiry, Clinical and Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is the intersection of all my top skills!
I discovered that my purpose is to encourage, enable, and support other professional women in fully realizing and wholly embodying their purpose. I believe that when women choose openness, kindness, and intention, they can do anything.
And here's the beautiful part, I believe that what you want to do—is a clue to finding your purpose and your joy!
This is why I founded this supportive and encouraging community. When we lift each other up, we thrive in all aspects of our lives—especially our careers.
When these executive and executive-track women learn about how the brain works and how their thoughts drive every outcome—including emotions, it frees them from the isolation and fear that’s a part of many corporate environments. They can fully step into their power and create their best possible reality.
I love watching women step into the work they love and becoming the amazing selves they were born to be.
YES to more joy, connection, and intention
Today, I say YES to living a life with intention and supporting women to help them get there too.
I believe in balance (the real kind) and Whole Self-Care—less the guilt and burnout. Especially now, as a mother to two daughters.
I teach professional women how to survive and thrive after burnout. And support these inspiring women while they work to overcome their insecurities and bust past imposter syndrome.
I am the founder of The Collective of Real Executive Women, The Real CREW. We believe in purpose and we believe in being real: real connectedness, real success, real joy. We’re challenging the corporate status quo by leading a community of professional women encouraging, enabling and empowering each other to live the fullness of our joy and purpose in all aspects of our lives and careers.
And when I’m not leading an intimate retreat or working with corporate clients, you’ll probably find me snuggled up on the couch with my husband, two daughters, and dog.
Welcome to YOUR CREW. Here’s your personal invitation to join the totally free, totally safe and private Facebook community! Click here and request to join.
And if you’re curious about my corporate credentials, here are some of those:
16+ years in professional Project and Program Management for Fortune 500, 100 and 30 organizations, tech and health startups
Team Leadership, Coaching, and Engagement
Strategic and Tactical Planning
Stakeholder Management and Value Building
Industries: Healthcare, IT, software, medical research, finance and performance solutions
BA, University of South Alabama - 2006, cum laude
MA, University of Colorado Denver - 2009, cum laude
PMP Certification, Project Management Institute - 2011-2017