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Recently, my mentor joined me in Durango to talk about life and business for a few days.

How to integrate changes to your identity and shake off old thought patterns.I was talking about my goals for the next year or so, and he listened closely. Then, when I was done telling him about everything I’m hoping to do, he said, “Tonya, you do realize that almost all of the things you just mentioned, you can do right now?”

That statement stopped me in my tracks. After thinking about it for a minute, I realized he was totally right.

My old identity hadn’t caught up with my new reality. I was already capable of accomplishing my goals – I just hadn’t realized it yet.

I like to call this space between an old identity and a new evolution “the in-between.” It’s a place between the person you were and the person you’re becoming. It can be awkward, and a bit messy, and full of doubt.

But I’ve found that amazing things can come out of this place, especially when you make it to the other side.

In today’s episode, I’m telling you all about the in-between and my experiences with this strange but enlightening place. I’ll share what I like to ask myself when I’m in this stage, how I encourage myself to keep going, and what I’ve learned from the in-between over the years.

What You Will Discover:

  • What I mean when I talk about the “in-between” phases of life.
  • Why it’s important to encourage ourselves as we continue to grow and evolve.
  • What I like to say to myself when I feel like I’m in an awkward stage of growth.
  • How to integrate changes to your identity and shake off old thought patterns.
  • Why you should channel your most expansive self to close the gap between the person you are and the person you’re becoming.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

Most people fight change because it’s so uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It’s unfamiliar. And it takes place in this space that I call “The In Between.” It’s in between where you are now and where you want to be. And when you have the courage and the grit and the grace to continually walk into The In Between, life becomes so exciting and so much fun.

So in this episode, I want to share with you the one question that I ask when I’m in The In-Between, because trust me, y’all, I’m in it a lot.

Bonjour, and welcome to the French Kiss Life podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach, and the hostess of this party where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.

Hello, my beautiful friends. I’m in London. And I was going to attempt opening this podcast with a British accent, and sounded ridiculous. I have a secret envy for people that are able to pick up on accents very easily. I have a friend like that. She can speak in like 20 different accents and sound native. But for me, no, it doesn’t work that way.

But anyway, I’ve been here for four days and what an incredible city. The people, the food, the culture, the diversity, the history, the shopping.  I actually went to the Royal Hat Shop a couple of days ago and I was like, I want to live here just so I can wear hats every day and people not look at me like I’m stupid.

But you know me, I’ll wear hats anyway in Durango and people can look at me like I’m stupid if they want to. But I bought several hats that they’re going to ship to me and just so fun, there’s so much tradition here. I think that’s what I really appreciate about the English culture. You know, the tradition of tea in the afternoons, and even the monarchy brings a sense of tradition to the country. So, yeah, London, you are cool. Thank you for welcoming me.

And then I leave tomorrow to head back to Paris for a couple of days. And I’m excited for that because I won’t be working. And so I plan to just sit in cafes and just saunter and just be before I head home on Wednesday. And I’m super looking forward to getting home. We already have snow happening. We’ve got winter coming. So I plan on skiing a lot and hanging out with my doggies and my family and just chilling for a while.

So that’s a quick update of what’s been going on in my life, and now it’s time to talk about one of you. This is the community spotlight, the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And today’s shout-out goes to Beth Hazelton.

She left me a five-star review titled Wish There Were 100 More Stars to Give, “Where to begin – in two months, French Kiss Life has made such an impact on my life. As I prepare to turn 50 in a few weeks, Tonya Leigh has challenged me, encouraged me, and taught me how to live my best self out loud. I have always been un femme Francaise au couer…” I know, I just butchered that French accent. I told you all I’m not good with accents, but anyway, “But thanks to Tonya Leigh, my French self has burst from my heart to become central to my life, boldly embracing all that is elegant, positive, chic, and beautiful. Do not mistake this for material things, rather it is an ethereal state of being only Tonya Leigh has been able to bring to light. And in my joie de vivre, everyone I come into contact with benefits as well. For this, I am forever grateful, merci.”

Beth, merci to you for that beautiful review. I read through all of my reviews and it always means so much when I read ones like this where I see the impact of this work on women’s lives. Some of you I’ve met.  I hope to meet more of you, but some of you maybe I’ll never meet, but just to know that this work is impacting you and that you’re going out there and spreading it with your family and your friends and your community, it’s why I do what I do. So I really appreciate the review.

Now, if you have not left me a review, come on, what do I have to do to get a review out of you? I would really appreciate it if you head to iTunes and subscribe, if you are not a subscriber yet, so you will get notified every time I release a podcast, and leave me a review, and maybe I’ll feature you in an upcoming community spotlight.

A couple of months ago, my mentor flew out to Durango to meet with me for a few days. And in our very first meeting, he said, “So, Tonya, tell me what you want. Tell me what your goals are.” And I just started listing them off, personal and business goals.

And he said to me, “You do realize that almost all of the things that you just mentioned you can do right now?” For example, one of the things that I mentioned to him is that I want to always fly business class, especially internationally, because I like to arrive places well-rested. And when I shared that with him, he looked at my financial statement, and he said, “But you can do that now.”

And when I looked at the math of it and I got out of the drama in my head, I realized he is absolutely correct. I could have been doing this for several years now. But my identity had not yet caught up with my bank account, does that make sense?

I have created a certain level of money in my bank account, and yet my identity is still tied to a previous level of money in my bank account. And I’ve realized that this is the process of change and it’s what so many of my clients struggle with. And I call it that awkward in between; the in between of where that identity has not yet caught up with the reality that you’ve created.

And it’s sort of like a back and forth because your identity shifts a little bit and then you shift and you create results and then somewhere within us, we still have that old identity within us and we take a few steps back. It’s a really weird experience and yet I find it to be so much fun.

I also remember going through this too with my weight. You know, I realized, at one time, that diets were no longer the answer for me. After trying many of them and failing over and over and over again, I finally woke up to the fact that something deeper was going on. I needed to go within and do some deep internal work in order to finally be done with this struggle that I’d had for a decade.

And so I remember practicing new thoughts, practicing feeling new ways and then creating results and yet still there was that part of me in my brain that was still overweight, that part that would be like, “Who do you think you are? You are not naturally slim, look at you.” At the time, I was overweight.

And yet, I knew that I needed to become a naturally slim woman on the inside in order to create that result on the outside. And that did not happen overnight. Some of y’all are so impatient. You don’t want to go through this in between of change. You want results immediately but it takes practice, sometimes years, to finally get to the point where you feel like you’ve integrated it enough and it’s just who you are.

And I know, for me, some of the language in my head when I’m in that in between is, “What if this is too good to be true? What if you can’t keep this up? This may not work for you. Who do you think you are? This is too hard. You’ll look silly. You sound ridiculous.”

That was a big one for me when I was changing my accent. So, if you’re new to me, you may not know this, but I used to have the deepest Southern accent that you could ever imagine. It wasn’t even Southern. I like to say there’s a difference between Southern and Country. I was Country.

In fact, it was so bad, when I was traveling in Colorado as a young girl, this man turned to me and he was like, “What planet are you from?” Because could not understand my English. It was a very deep, deep, deep southern accent. And so one day, I decided, I want to get rid of it.

And let me assure you, that was so awkward and uncomfortable, especially when you have people in your family that are saying things to you like, “Who do you think you are? Who are you trying to pretend to be right now?” And then your mind starts wondering the same thing and you start hearing little voices in your head saying, “That’s not who you are.  You’re trying to be something you’re not. You’re getting too big for your britches,” all the little Southern sayings that we have.

And I had to be so committed to my change that I was willing to keep walking through it. And let me assure you, I am still going through this process all of the time because I want to continue to grow and evolve. I want to see what I am capable of creating in this lifetime. And the payoff for that is this awkward stage of change that I call The In Between.

And the hardest part of this in between is the discomfort that I believe is you letting go of an old identity. It literally feels like death. And death, although I haven’t experienced it yet, but it’s probably not the most comfortable thing in the beginning. But I think once it’s finally done, it’s probably so peaceful.

And so when I am coaching my clients, the way I like to describe it to them is this; if you imagine that you have two lines, one above the other, and here you are at the bottom line, the you that you are now. And as you start to go towards that top line, there’s a space in between, The In Between. And the closer that you get to the new identity, the woman you want to be, the more uncomfortable it gets.

And the tendency in that moment is to want to contract and to go back to what is familiar. But if you muster up the courage, my friends, to keep going towards that upper line, it’s the most incredible experience ever. And so the question that I love to ask when I’m in that awkward stage of the in between is this; what would my most expansive self do right now?

Because I want you to understand this; everything in life is energy. And if you want to live an expansive life, if you want to continue to grow and evolve and to French Kiss Life, it is going to require that you stop contracting your energy. Contraction and expansion cannot happen at the same time.

Now, granted, when you are in the in between, you are going to experience both. You’re going to have moments where you feel expansive, and then you’re going to feel yourself contract. But when you start contracting, that is a beautiful opportunity to ask yourself, what would my most expansive self do right now?

You know, it’s like breathing. We expand and contract with our breath. We inhale and we exhale. But a lot of you are holding your breath. The moment you start to experience the contraction, you keep contracting. You keep going back to the familiar. You keep staying small and it’s time to take that big breath and expand and to follow the energy of expansion.

I was coaching a client recently around money and she really wants to get into the energy of abundance, but she’s been practicing lack and scarcity for so long, it’s very familiar to her. And so she’s in that beginning stages of The In Between and it feels odd to reprogram her mind for abundance.

And she has those little voices in her head, just like we all do, of, “This isn’t who you are, look at your bank account. Look at how you’re struggling right now with your finances. Look how hard it is for you to get clients.”  She’s got a lot of evidence for her story and that makes her want to contract and to go back to the familiar.

But I told her, I said, “I want you to go to that place of who you want to be and your work is to practice being her, to practice being that expansive version of yourself.” And if you think something long enough and you feel something long enough and then you do things to reinforce that thinking and that feeling state, eventually that will become your new norm. You’ll reach that upper level that I was talking about earlier.

You’ll just be like, “Yeah, of course, there’s abundance everywhere, money is easy,” whatever it is that you want to believe. Just like me. Now, when I talk, it’s just who I am. It is my voice. It is my accent. In fact, people will say, “Can you talk the way you used to?” And it’s very difficult for me. Why? Because I don’t practice that way of speaking any longer.

This is the voice that I’ve been practicing for many, many years, to the point now that I don’t think about it. It’s just what comes out of my mouth. And that is the process of change. But a lot of you, when you’re in that awkward in between, you’re listening to the contracted version of yourself instead of the expanded version of yourself.

If you were to listen to that expanded version of yourself and you keep practicing and you keep showing up, and then when you have that contraction, not to make it mean that something’s wrong with you or the world’s ending and you go back to your familiar, you would constantly be evolving and growing.

I’m always telling my clients, you get really good at what you practice. And I want you to ask yourself what you are practicing the most. Are you really good at practicing overwhelm? Are you really good at practicing being overweight? Are you really good at practicing being poor and full of scarcity and lack? Are you really good at practicing not-enoughness?

Are you really good at practicing your own contraction as a human being? Because when I think about French Kissing Life, I envision us so expansive, like our arms are wide open to life and we’re like, “Bring it, bring it on, I’ve got this. I’m excited for it. I want to see what I’m capable of. I want to live every ounce of my life to the fullest.”

That is a very expansive energy. And so what do you want to get good at and are you practicing it and are you willing to walk through the in between of letting go of old identities and practicing the new ones to the point that one day, you wake up and you realize, “Oh, this is just who I am, it’s my new normal.”

And again, please know, I’m doing this all of the time right alongside you all. Like, when my mentor was like, “You do know almost everything you just listed on your goal list, you can be doing right now?” I realized that I’m still sort of in that in between of a new level of being, a new level of success for myself, and it is awkward.

I still have that little voice, apparently, in my head that’s like, “That’s way too much money to spend on an airline ticket, right? You need to save up more before you can do that.” And the truth is, I’m a saver anyway. And so I’m having to really look at my own in between and how I am contracting myself and asking myself the same question that I’m encouraging you all to ask, “What does the most expanded version of Tonya do in this situation?”

And I know, if I continue to ask myself this question, and you continue to ask yourself this question, we will amaze ourselves with what we’re capable of creating and experiencing and being in this lifetime.

So, two takeaways that I want you to really think about from this episode is, number one, know that when you are feeling awkward and you have those two voices battling it out in your head, one saying, “Who do you think you are? You’re such a fraud. This is not going to work,” and then that other voice saying, “Keep going, you can do this.  You’ve got this,” you get to decide which one you listen to. You can listen to the contracted voice or the expansive voice. I’m always going to encourage you to do the latter.

And then the second thing is to know that this is normal. This is a normal part of the process. Nothing has gone wrong when you’re having sort of this identity crisis. It is part of the process of change. So be willing, be courageous enough to continue to walk through it.

If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting – because after all, mindset is the new black.

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