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When it comes to success, we often admire others who have it, and we talk about how much we want it for ourselves. We might see someone’s beautiful photos on Instagram, experience their work, or read their book, and our brain automatically goes to how amazing success is. And success is amazing.

How to be willing to fail and feel the discomfort that comes from creating success.

​But what we don’t often see or mention is what success costs. There is a price that one has to pay to be successful, and we need to be having the conversation around this as much as we talk about how great success is. So that’s what I’m talking about in today’s episode.

Join me this week as I share my personal experience of success, what it has cost me, and some of the things that it can cost you. Discover what happens when you start to create success for yourself and the importance of being willing to feel discomfort so you can become unstoppable in your success.

If you want to dive even deeper into this work, you will love the School of Self-Image. Doors are currently closed but you can click here to get on the waitlist and be the first to hear when they reopen. I can’t wait to see your beautiful face inside! 

Have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Click here to get your copy and learn how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

What You Will Discover:

  • My personal experience of success and what it’s cost me.
  • What holds so many people back from success.
  • How to be willing to fail and feel the discomfort that comes from creating success.
  • The ultimate price for success.
  • Why trying to control what other people think about you is preventing you from achieving your goal.
  • The importance of being willing to fail.
  • How to think about what success has cost you.
  • What kinds of people create success.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

When it comes to success, we often admire others who have it and we talk about how much we want it for ourselves. But what we don't often mention is what success costs us. And so in this episode I want to share that with you so you can plan for it. So you can expect it. So that when it shows up for you, it doesn't catch you off guard, but you are prepared for the cost of success.

Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.

Hello, my beautiful friends. I have just came back from Austin. I was there for a few days to meet up with my mastermind. I'm in a group with fellow female entrepreneurs and we get together a few times a year to discuss our businesses, and our vision, where we're being challenged, and what we're celebrating. It's so amazingly exhausting at the end of the day.

It's like your brain is tired but your heart is so full. And I walked away experiencing the next level of myself. But the entire time I was in that room, all I could think about was how incredible it would be to be able to bring you all in to see what happens in that kind of room with elevated conversations.

You see, I feel as if so many people are on the outside, looking at the outside of a person's success. Maybe you go on Instagram, and you see all the beautiful photos. Maybe you’ve experienced their work, maybe you read their book, and your brain just goes to how amazing success is.

And success is amazing. I love creating success in my life. But what we often don't see is the price that one has to pay to be successful. And that's what I want to talk about in this episode.

I just want to have a real, raw, honest conversation based on my personal experience. Now, this may not be someone else's experience when it comes to success, but I do find there are a few things that I'm going to share that are pretty general for anyone who has decided to create success in their lives.

Now, this causes us to first ask ourselves, what is success? And it really is a term that's used very loosely and very generally. And I believe success is something that each of us have to define for ourselves.

For me, success is achieving a desired result and, this is what they leave out of the definition, and enjoying who I've become in the process. To me, that's a very important distinction because there are many people who create results but they're exhausted, they have lost connection with their friends, they are not necessarily in a better place emotionally.

Of course, they reach their goal. But my intention for all of us is that we reach our goals. And, even better, we love who we become in the process.

So when I was preparing for this episode I sat down with my guy, and I just was talking to him about looking back over the last 10 years. 10 plus years since I started my business.

What I feel like success has cost me. If I were to go into a store, and we'll just call it the success store. And I had to make a payment to get the success, what would that payment be?

And I'm sharing this with you because I think it's really empowering to know ahead of time what to expect so that you're not caught off guard. Which is why I feel like we need to be having these conversations as much as we talk about how amazing it is to have success.

Because when you can plan for it mentally and it comes up for you, you're like, “Oh, Tonya told me this was going to happen.” And your goal may be to lose weight, build your business, get your finances in order, get married, move to a new city. It doesn't matter. I feel like what I'm going to share with you, especially as your goals become bigger, you're going to experience this, and it might be just on a bigger scale depending on what it is that you are trying to achieve.

So the first thing that I've realized in looking back that I've had to give up, and it was very hard for me, were certain relationships. And I know that's a big fear for many of you. You have expressed to me within the membership, like I'm afraid if I reach my goal, I may lose some of my family. I may lose my partner. I may lose my spouse I may lose some friends.

And I'm going to be honest here because I like to just be raw and real. That has happened to me. And it's not fun. You may have nights where you're crying over it. You may have days where you think to yourself, “I'm just going to give this all up, it's not worth it.” But when your why is big enough, you're willing to deal with the external circumstances that happen.

I have lost several relationships. One of them was a dear, dear close friend, who I still love deeply to this day. But as I have grown, as I have evolved my self-image, and so has she, energetically we just aren't a match anymore. And it doesn't mean that I don't love her. It doesn't mean that I don't care deeply for her. But there was a moment where our paths just started to go in a different direction.

I've also had people in my life who didn't like my changes. They wanted to see me where I had been. Because as I changed, I think what was happening for them is they were thinking about their unwillingness to change. And I was just bringing all of that up for them.

And so there would be weeks, months, and years, I would notice that they hadn't called. I had reached out and heard nothing from them. And again, it's just like two souls are together until that relationship is complete.

And so one of the costs that I've had to pay for success is the willingness to let people go and trust that the right people will always be around me. And it's hard because I love my people, right? I want to keep my little herd together.

But trying to control what your friends think of you, what your family thinks of you, what your co-workers think of you is keeping your eye off of your goal and how you want to see yourself and think about yourself.

So that's one, I've had to pay the willingness to let people go. The other thing that happens when you start to create success, and it's like the more you create, the more this is going to happen. So I just want to tell you all upfront, when it starts happening, just know that you're on the right path.

You're doing something right when this starts to occur. And I see this a lot in my entrepreneurs. And I also see this a lot with my weight loss clients, ironically. And that is being criticized.

People will have things to say about you. You have to be willing for people to have thoughts about you. That's what I like to tell my clients. They're just having thoughts about you, that's all that's happening.

But I have noticed that as I've become more successful, as I have grown my company and I continue to grow my company, there are people that have lots of not so nice thoughts about me. And I understood this ahead of time. And so when it started to happen and it would happen a little bit more, I was like, “Oh, this is one of the prices that I must pay for success.”

And it's not that it's going– I don't want you to think that it absolutely is going to happen. For me, I will say I'm so blessed that I have so many extraordinary women in my community. You all that listen to the podcast. The members within the school. People who are on my email list.

I'm very fortunate that I'm not getting pounded with hate mail every single day. But I have noticed the more you put yourself out there, the more you are visible, the more you are sharing your truth and your passion with the world, the more you are making yourself susceptible to criticism.

And all you have to do if you want to pay the price of success is be willing to experience it. Be willing to let people have thoughts about you because they have thoughts about you already. But what happens is, the more you put yourself out there, there's more people to have more thoughts. That's all that's happening.

And it's okay if people don't like you. It's okay if people don't agree with you. It's okay if you aren't a match for other people. I think that holds so many of us back from success. We're afraid of offending someone. We're afraid of saying the wrong thing. We're afraid that everyone won't like us. And so we end up presenting this watered down version of ourselves to the world.

But success loves a fully expressed human. Notice the people that you're drawn to. Notice the people that are magnetizing. Notice the people that you want to work with. Chances are, they stand strongly and boldly on their beliefs.

You don't want to work with someone who's afraid to put themselves out there. You don’t want to work with someone who doesn't want to share their unique perspective with the world. Because what is the country song, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

So with that kind of mentality and the courage that it takes to be truthful to who you are and fully express, you can expect that there's going to be people who have thoughts about you. It's a much nicer way to say it versus people that will criticize you. They're just going to have some thoughts, that's all.

The other thing you're going to have to be willing to pay in order to create success is the willingness to fail. I talk about this all the time on the podcast because I hear it so often from people. They're like, “I don't know if it's going to work. So I want to know that it's going to work before I do it.”

But the only way to know if it's going to work is to go out there and do it, and possibly fail. And that's something you all don't see, the number of times over the last decade plus, since I started my business, how many times I have failed. How many mistakes I've made. How many tech issues we've had. The number of times that I did not hit my goals.

But I kept showing up. I am stubborn, thank goodness, because that stubborn quality that I think my mother gave me, has really kept me showing up day after day wanting to figure it out. Because my perspective is it's all an experiment. It's all a game and I want to have fun doing it.

And so when I fail, I just make it mean I'm on the right path. I think about the quote from Charles Kettering. And he said, “99% of success is built on failure.” So you can see, if you're not willing to fail, you're never going to create success.

But so many of you are afraid of being humiliated, you're afraid of what people will think. You're afraid to be criticized. You're afraid of not being perfect. And so you try to create success without the failure, without the willingness to fail.

Which is why, if you're being honest with yourself, you don't even put it out there to see if it will work. To see the feedback. To see what you need to adjust, what you can make better, what you need to change, who you need to become more of. You have to be willing to fail. That is one of the costs of success.

And this is applicable to every goal that you have, not just a business goal. I remember when I was trying to lose weight, I would do really well and then I would fail. I would have a day where I just went off plan. I would have a day where I just abandoned my goal.

But those were the days that taught me the most so that I could get back on track and figure out what was going on within me that caused those failures. Which ultimately led to me being a woman who just knows how to manage her weight without any drama. But the amount of failures that went into getting to that result, I can't even begin to tell you how many.

And the problem is a lot of you the first time you fail, you make that mean you should quit. But if you have an attitude of quitting is not an option, I might have detours, I might have a flat tire, but I am committed to this goal. I'm committed to success, so therefore quitting is not an option. It might slow me down a little bit, but I'm going to get right back on that horse and I'm going to ride.

And that's how we have to think about creating success. And that is one of the costs that you have to pay, is the willingness to fail over and over again.

The other cost of success is my specialty, it's the work that I do in the world. And that is, you have to be willing to let parts of your identity go. You have to let them die. It's like you walk into the success store and let's say you have ordered weight loss. That is your success and it's on the other side of the counter.

I want you to think of what do you need to pay them with in terms of your identity that you're going to need to shed? That's actually a really good analogy. It just came to me, but really think about that.

So you walk in the store, and you're like, “Okay, I want my 50 pound success story.” And they say to you, “Okay, but you have to pay me with a part of your identity.” What would you have to hand over in payment for that?

Maybe it's the part of you who beats yourself up. Maybe it's the part of you that gives up. Maybe it's the part of you who doesn't know how to handle your emotions so that you turn to food. Maybe it's the part of yourself that constantly breaks promises to yourself. But what part of you are you going to need to pay with in order to create that success for yourself?

You know, leaving this mastermind this weekend, I was thinking about my goals for 2022. And I was thinking about this very question. The woman that creates that goal is not going to be the same woman that's recording this podcast today. I will have to change my self-image. I will have to create a new identity, which means I'm going to have to let go of some of my current identity to create that result.

So no matter what your goal is, to create it you're going to have to become a new woman. Which means you're going to have to let go of parts of yourself that you're being today.

And with all of this said, what it really comes down to y'all, the ultimate price that you have to pay for success, what success costs you, is your comfort. You have to be willing to experience discomfort.

Just yesterday I was writing down all of our 2022 initiatives and goals within the business. And I had three meetings, one with my team, one with someone that I'm bringing on board. And after it was all said and done I had so much anxiety, like literally crippling.

And I said to my guy, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I'm so anxious right now.” And he's like, “What's happening?” All I said, “I'm growing.” Those were my words to him. I'm like, it's just growth anxiety.

And I often experience this feeling when I am evolving to the next level. And what's really happening is I'm just experiencing the discomfort of change. My brain is sort of freaking out like, “Oh, there she goes again. There Tonya goes, she's heading out of the cave. We don't know what's out there, let's drag her and bring her back.”

And so the brain will often try to do that by giving you uncomfortable emotions that you want to stop. And the way we often stop them is to do things that take us away from our goals. Maybe it's overeating. Maybe it's procrastinating. Maybe it's laying on the couch and watching Netflix unconsciously.

Our brain is so afraid of what's outside the cave, that it will give us all of the reasons to stay inside the cave. And it often produces very uncomfortable emotions to be like, “Alert, alert, you're in danger zone.” When in reality, you're just on the road to your success. And the only antidote to this situation is to be willing to feel the discomfort and keep going anyway.

And that's what I've trained myself to do. It doesn't come naturally, just so you know. So if you're being challenged with this, just know that that's normal. This has taken years of training of when I feel that discomfort and my brain is telling me, “You're going to fail. You're such a loser. You're going to lose everything. No one is going to like it, people are going to leave you.” I just know now that my brain is just being cute and trying to protect me. And I calm that part of myself down.

But what I don't do is listen to what it tells me to do. Because all those years that I listened to that part of my brain was when I was overweight. I was sad. I was overwhelmed.

Because that part of our brains that is telling us not to go after are our goals because it's scary, and that we're going to get hurt, is just confused. It doesn't know that right now we're safe. And that going after our dreams is going to grow us and challenge us in the most beautiful ways.

And so that is the ultimate price. When you think about everything that I listed; being willing to let people go, being willing to be criticized, letting go of parts of your identity, being willing to fail publicly. What it all boils down to, is our willingness to feel the discomfort that all of those things are going to bring up for us.

But when you are willing to feel the intense discomfort that comes from success, from creating success, you become this wild force of nature. You become unstoppable. Because that's what often stops people, it starts to feel too hard. It starts to feel too scary. And we often run away from what we want and go back to a more familiar state of being.

But when you refuse to live in the uncomfortable familiar, because you know you're meant for more, you know that you have bigger dreams and goals, and you are committed to them, and you're willing to feel what comes up for you along the way. Those are the people who create success.

They are not unicorns. They are not extra talented all of the time. They're not geniuses. They are just willing to feel things that maybe you haven't been willing to feel in the past. But today, my friend, is a new day.

So ask yourself, what am I willing to pay for my success? Because it may be a conscious decision that you don't want to pay some of these things. But chances are the only reason why you wouldn't want to pay them if you knew you could create what you wanted, is because you fear the discomfort that's going to come along with it. And that's easy. That's what I coach women through all of the time.

I say it's easy, it's easy to learn the tools. Applying them is where the fun starts. And I want to leave you with that thought. I believe in making our journeys to success, fun. And all of the things that I just shared with you don't sound like a lot of fun, do they?

But I've learned to see them as fun. And you know why? Because I know that when I encounter a challenge, I know when I'm having an uncomfortable emotion, and I show up and face it, and then overcome it. The growth that happens within that experience is so much fun for me.

 I feel like that's why I'm here to grow and evolve and to share my journey and the tools that I'm learning so that I can help others do the same. And I do it through evolving our self-image.

So at the end of the day, it's you creating a successful self-image. And these ingredients that I just shared in this episode are a requirement. You have to be willing to experience all of these things in your new self-image in order to create success.

And what I can tell you is that it is so worth it because of who you become in the process. No one can ever take that away. Have a beautiful week everyone and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode.

Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

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