Listen to the Full Episode:

I remember when I was younger, when my parents or my friends would say, “I’ve got your back,” and the relief that brought me. However, we can create that same sense of relief for ourselves. We can have our own back. And in this episode, I’m showing you how.

How to gain that clarity and confidence that allows you to have your own back in any situation.

I remember years ago hearing Maya Angelou say, “I have my own back.” And I’ve been obsessed with the idea ever since. So, if you were a woman who had her own back, how would that make you feel? What would you be able to create? How would your world expand if you took responsibility for protecting yourself?

Tune in this week to discover how to start looking out for yourself, just like you would for your best friend. I’m sharing why the discomfort of having your own back is so worth it, and I’m walking you through how to gain that clarity and confidence that allows you to have your own back in any situation.

Women have been asking me for years to do something around business. And I’ve also had many women ask me for a mastermind. That’s why I am incredibly excited to announce that we are opening enrolment for my new Business Image Mastermind! This is going to be a small group of extraordinary women, we kick off in May 2022, and applications are now open! Click here for more information and to apply. 

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 treas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why you don’t need anyone else to have your back for you.
  • The incredible level of courage that comes from having your own back.
  • How we work in the School of Self-Image on bridging that gap from relying on others for safety, to creating it yourself.
  • The kinds of conversations you have with yourself when you decide to have your own back.
  • How to see those moments where you don’t have your own back, and how that’s showing up in your life.
  • What you can start doing to have your own back right now.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

What would your life be like? What would you be able to create? How would you feel if you were a woman who has her own back? That’s what we’re discussing in today’s episode, so let’s dive in?

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

Hello, gorgeous friends. How’s it going? I’m having the best morning. I’m having one of those mornings that’s, like, leisurely. I woke up at eight o’clock. I went and made a cup of coffee, turned on some Snoh Aalegra – love her voice – and now I’m recording this podcast.

I’m leaving later this afternoon to take my daughter to Scottsdale with her friend. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she was like, “I just want a girls’ weekend. I want to relax by a pool. I want to really focus on health and wellbeing.”

And so, we have a spa day scheduled and we have a hike planned and I’m so excited just to disconnect for a couple of days and spend some time with my girl and her friend. It’s going to be super fun.

But today, I want to talk with you all about the concept of having your own back. I’ll never forget, years ago, I heard Maya Angelou say, “I have my own back.” And I thought, what a concept, “I have my own back.”

And I thought about the times in my life where my mom or my close friends would say to me, “I’ve got your back,” and the relief that came from that. I remember even recently, I was making a big, bold decision. And Fonz said to me, he was like, “Listen, no matter what happens, I’ve got your back.”

I thought about the time that my dear friend was leaving her husband and she was terrified. And the terror made her want to stay in a relationship that was not healthy. And I said to her one day over lunch, I’m like, “Listen, I’ve got your back.” And knowing that, for her, that gave her the courage to go out there and do the thing that she knew she needed to do, knowing that no matter what happened, someone was there to catch her if she fell and to support her and to cheer her on.

And I began to think about what it would be like if we all had our own back. Within the School of Self-Image, we focus on living and being the future versions of ourselves now. And one of the things that I envision for all of us is that our future selves, we are women that have our own backs. Which means we have to practice having our own backs now.

So, this is one of the things that I’ve been practicing for years. And I cannot tell you the peace that comes from it.

I think about my friend who, hearing me say those words to her gave her the courage and the confidence to go out and make this decision. And so, for me, knowing that I have my own back allows me to relax, allows me to take bigger risks, allows me to have the courage to go after what I want.

And so, when I was preparing for this podcast, I thought about what it really means to have our own backs. And I thought about me specifically, what it means to me when I say I have my own back.

And the first thing that came up is that I have my own back when I make decisions. And what this looks like is, when I make my decisions, I’m like, “Listen, girl, no matter what happens, I got you,” and I decide how I’m going to feel about it. I decide on the outcome that I am going to create. And then, I know that I’m going to have my own back in that process.

Versus I see so many of my clients and my friends waffling. They’re afraid to make decisions. And I believe the reason why they’re afraid is they don’t have their own backs. They spend a lot of time fearing making the wrong decision. They spend a lot of time afraid that they’re going to fail, and so they live in this space of indecision. And that indecision breeds familiarity and nothing changes.

But when you have your own back, you’re willing to make big decisions because you know that no matter what happens, you’ve got you. If you fail, you’ve got yourself, you’ve got your own back. You’re going to pick yourself up and you’re going to move on.

If you succeed, you’ve got your own back by celebrating you. And so, that is one of the ways that I practice having my own back. I have my own back when I’m willing to make the decisions and support myself, no matter what happens.

So, that’s the first thing. The other thing that came up for me is having my own back means I show up for my promises to myself. Like, you think about a friend that has your back. She’s not going to flake on you. She’s not going to tell you that she’s going to meet you for lunch and then just not show up.

She’s got you. She’s like, “Hey, listen, when I tell you I’m going to be there, I’m going to be there.” And yet, do we do that for ourselves? How many times do you promise yourself, “This is the year that I’m going to…” fill in the blank, “I’m going to get healthy. I’m going to write the book. I’m going to start the business. I’m going to start dating again. I’m going to buy the house.”

You make these big, lofty promises to yourself and then, year after year, you disappoint yourself. Having your own back means, “Hey, listen, my dreams are important to me. And when I promise myself that I’m going to take action to support my dreams, I show up for them. I’ve got my own back.”

The other way that I have my own back – and this is probably the biggest impact on my life. Not probably. 100%, this has had the biggest impact on my life. Having my own back means I don’t beat myself up.

If I fail, if I say something that’s offensive to someone unintentionally, if I make a mistake, if I don’t reach my goal, I don’t beat myself up over it. I know that I’m a human being having a very human experience and I’m not always going to get it right. I’m going to make mistakes, especially the bigger the life you want, the more mistakes and the more failures you have to be willing to experience.

So, I just know it’s part of the curriculum. I just know that that is the path. You cannot avoid it. And so, for me, I just don’t beat myself up, ever. There was a day that I just decided I was done beating myself up. And I’ve been practicing that decision for years now.

And to me, this is at the core of having your own back. I think about the times that I’ve said to my friends, “Listen, I’ve got you.” And the relief that they felt. And what I was really saying to them was, “Hey, listen, no matter what happens, I’m here. We’re going to figure it out. I’m going to support you. I love you.”

And it’s taking that same energy and applying it to ourselves. Like when I think about my friends who have made big decisions, we didn’t know if they were going to succeed. It’s not a guarantee. But what I knew is that no matter what happened, we were going to learn from it, and we would figure it out and I would be there to hold her hand and wipe her tears and we are going to keep going.

And that, to me, is such a beautiful energy to apply to ourselves. So, instead of adding to our suffering when we fail, we take that layer of beating ourselves up off and we hold ourselves with grace and with love and with compassion. And we’re like, “Hey, listen, it’s part of the journey. I love you, honey. Let’s keep going.” That is having your own back.

Having your own back too means trusting your intuition, trusting your gut. So many times, we outsource this to other people. We trust other people more than ourselves. And so, it leads to this situation where you’re ignoring yourself.

And I’ve done this, especially in business. I know what I should do. I know what my community wants and what they need. I know who I am. And yet, someone will come along and say, “Hey listen, you should do this.”

And then, in the past, I have given them my power, even though it didn’t feel good. And guess what happened. It never worked out. I collected some failures along the way by not trusting my gut.

But having your own back means, “Hey, listen, I trust me. And I’m going to pay attention to my internal GPS system that is always guiding me, that’s always showing me what’s a yes and what’s a no.” And the minute I don’t have my own back and I start listening to everyone else, I abandon that navigation system.

Here’s the thing, you all. We all know what to do. That’s a belief that I have about all of us. We know what to do. And yet, sometimes we need permission. And other times, we are afraid, and so we want someone else to say to us, “Hey, listen, this is what you need to do, and I’ve got your back.”

But sometimes, what that person is telling you that you need to do is not what you need to do. So, what I’m inviting you to consider is that when no one else is around, when no one has your back, will you trust yourself enough to listen to your own intuition and make the decisions that you know you need to make and then have your own back in that process?

Ultimately, having your own back means being in service to your future self. And what I mean by this is that, many times, we look around at what is and what has been, and we keep showing up in a way that doesn’t serve the futures that we’re wanting to create.

So, for me, having my own back is getting up and getting dressed, even when my brain is telling me that it’s just not worth it today. I’m like, “No, I’ve got my own back here. I am going to get up and put something on that makes me feel amazing.”

Having my own back means going to the gym when my brain is telling me, “You should just relax today. This is too hard. You can do it tomorrow.” Having my own back is recording this podcast every Wednesday. It’s like, “I’ve got you. You’re going to do this. It’s already planned. It’s already pre-decided.”

Having my own back is the willingness to feel the discomfort of growth and change, not allowing myself to shrink. I had a really interesting moment yesterday actually that I should probably record a whole episode about. But I had a meeting with an attorney. And that meeting blew my mind, literally blew my mind.

In fact, I think what I’ll probably do is, for those of you within the School of Self-Image, I will share about this experience in Behind the Scenes.

But while I was sitting there, I could feel myself wanting to pull away. I could feel myself fighting against possibility, which is crazy, right? Someone shares with you what’s possible and you’re like, “No, no, not for me.”

And having my own back in that moment was not doing that, even though I could feel myself wanting to. Because this possibility, stepping into it is going to require that I completely shift how I see myself. It’s going to require that I step into a whole new way of being and completely transform my self-image, which is what I teach. It’s what I do.

And yet, I understand that for all of you that are going through this and you’re in that push and pull, it’s like the pull back to who you’ve been and the push towards who you’re becoming, and that’s where I was yesterday. But having your own back is the willingness to step into that next version of yourself and feel all of the discomfort that will be a part of that process, 100% guaranteed.

So, here is my question to you. Is there anyone in your life that you find yourself maybe not saying it out loud, but you’re thinking it, “Listen, I’ve got your back?”

If you have children, I’m sure you have that attitude, right? “Listen, I’ve got your back. No matter what, no matter what you do, no matter if you fail, no matter what, I am here. I am going to hold you and we’re going to get through this together.”

I want you to think about how you think about that process with that person. What does it mean to you when you think, “I have your back,” to someone else, or for someone else?

Now, what would your life be like if you applied that same concept to yourself? What would your life be like if you were a woman, or a man, who has your own back? Have a beautiful week, everyone. And I cannot 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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