Lead Your Life

“I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and who has the courage to develop that potential” Brene Brown Dare to Lead

As I scrolled through Instagram not shortly after I opened my eyes this morning I saw a post from a woman who I respect a lot.  She is younger than I am, married, smart and strong in her faith. All things to be admired and respected. She was posting about how incredible it was to speak at an event this past weekend.  You would think that my first reaction would be:

“That is so awesome, I am so happy for her, she is doing exactly what I know that she has been dreaming of doing, go her”

But I am going to be honest and say that that was not my first reaction.  Maybe it was because it was literally first thing in the am and I was still asleep.  My kindness and support instincts were not fully awake. Or maybe it was because it was so early that I was unable to pretend that I felt anything way but the way I did,  My first reaction sounded more like this:

“Why can’t I have that?  I am older, have lived more.  I know things, I may not be young but I look good.  When will I get opportunities like this? How come I don’t have what she does? I deserve it after all I have been through.  I wanted to be there and if I wasen’t going through such a hard thing I would be there, I would do that WHY NOT ME LORD???


As I made my coffee and stewed and pouted I know that this was not my best moment.  I felt guilty that I felt the way I did. I sat down with my journal and wrote:

Why am I this way God? Why cant I get it together and be successful.  I have intelligence, I have talent, people LIKE me, why to I feel stuck?????

Then I read a quote that I had jotted down in my journal the day before.  “I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and who has the courage to develop that potential”

Immediately I knew the answer was there.  I was not where I wanted to be because of my lack of responsibility for seeing the potential that God has given me and more importantly for not having any courage to develop that potential, I was failing to lead my life.

I am a strong leader.  Every personality test that I have ever taken had told me so.  I have lead countless teams, multi million dollar businesses and keep my 9 year old daughter alive and healthy.  I have never been afraid to have hard conversations. People tell me that I am brave. So what gives? Why cant I have the courage to develop the potential that God has given me?  Why cant I feel the fear and do it anyway? What is it that is holding me back? Because I know this stuck feeling is me. Its not my circumstances, it is me. My brain, my wall.

So how do I find the courage to develop my potential?  To be the person that God has created me to be? I am taking it one step at a time and approaching it as I did any of my high paying high power jobs.  When I would be faced with a difficult thing, something I had never done before I would do the following:

1- Identify the behavior that I was addressing:  This made it about the behavior and not the person.  Say I needed to talk to someone about their failure to perform during a project.  I would gather the facts. I would list specific expectations that were not meet I would collect data.  I would not go into the meeting and tell the person they were a failure or not smart. I would stick to the facts.

2- I would discuss the conversation ahead of time with a trusted mentor or peer:  I would outline the situation to a peer that I respected, a friend who has had to have a conversation like this before and I would check my thinking , get perspective and validate the facts and how I was thinking about those facts.

3- I would enter the conversation with an open mind and empathy:  Yes the conversation had to have an agenda. There were points that had to be made and behaviors that needed to be addressed but I also needed to be ready for anything, flexible,  able to listen and react appropriately to whatever or however the conversation went.

4- The goal was growth not winning:  Whenever I had a hard conversation my goal was never to win.  It was to be heard and understood and to hear and understand the other person.  I didn’t want to prove I was right and they were wrong or punish them for not doing what was asked or Make them feel bad because they failed.  It was for them to learn from the experience and to ultimately do better next time.

As I wrote all of these out I realized what a crappy leader I have been for myself.

I always attacked myself whenever I felt I fell short.  I never dealt in facts. I was always stupid and a failure and lazy and a coward.  I needed to get rid of the emotion and deal with the data. What was really going on and not my emotions around what was going on.

I had isolated myself.  Acted and reacted to things in my life in a bubble.  I had no objective perspective and so my emotions just ran wild.  I had an idea I ran with it even if that idea was obviously nonsense then i blamed myself when it failed.  I needed a FRIEND or community I could trust that would push back on me in love and remind me to get over myself and deal in facts.  I was absolutely not flexibility with myself. I was able to do only what I was able to do. If something was new it was going to fail.  I am a 47 year old soon to be divorced single mom with no job and no money. I used that to set limits on my expectations of myself and what others should expect from me.I reacted defensively to situations that I was uncomfortable in and ran from everything.  There was no listening, no rationalizing. And finally I was all about winning. If I could not win why bother. If I was not good at something why try. It was safer to sit here and wait for the world to finally come to their senses, see my suffering and realize how amazing I was,  then I would have the life I always wanted and dreamed of. Anything less was just a waste of time, I deserved success after all didn’t I?

What I realized the most from this exercise was that I am in charge of my thoughts. I am in charge of what I do or don’t do with them.  AND SO ARE YOU.

The world owes me NOTHING.  Yes I can pray to God for the things I want but God is not like lotto or Vegas.  I have to play a part in my success or failure. He has given me everything that I need  (my potential) to make it happen. But like all good leaders I need to step out in courage to develop that potential in myself.  To take responsibility everyday to realize that God given potential.

And the absolute hardest but most necessary part in my opinion:  Put myself out there and make friends and love people again no matter how scared I am to lose them.  BE REAL, VULNERABLE AND NOT PERFECT. To lead my life in a way most like Jesus filled with love and grace, acceptance, courage  and forgiveness. To remember all that I have and not what I lack. To realize that I deserve nothing but I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams right now as I am.

So now I ask you, are you leading your life?  Are you living to your potential? Are you being real putting yourself out there and looking for opportunities to love others?  Tell me about it!! I want to hear from you! If you are not what is holding you back? I am here for you and want to know. Lets figure it out together.  One day at a time.


“Selfcare, though important, is not why we exist, and feeling good about ourselves is not the prize”  Sharon Hodde Miller, Free of Me

This is hard.

So hard in fact that I have been avoiding sitting down to write it for a while… Like 6 months.  Early in the summer I was scrolling through social media and I started to see #selfcare. Like suddenly noticing all the red cars when you get a red car, selfcare was everywhere.  Every book, podcast, blog post and instagram pic everyone was speaking about the importance of selfcare. The need for it and that the root of all our problems was that we weren’t getting enough of it.  There were entire companies built on the premise of self care. Books being written about it. I started to feel left out because I was not doing it!

Self care seemed like the magic bullet to all of the problems that women were facing, that I was facing, that all I needed to feel better was to take care of myself. Please hear me, I understand and appreciate the importance of taking care of yourself. Of creating space to regroup, heal and clear your mind so you can be whole and have the ability to be your best for the ones you love in your life.  That there can be no push without rest. What I am talking about is the selfcare that becomes the goal in itself. The endless focus on myself and my happiness that made me pause and think.

We are told from when we are young to believe in ourselves.  That the goal is to be happy. To feel good about ourselves and that we must always be doing something about it to make ourselves feel better.  Dozens of books giving us 10 step programs to feel good and believe we can do anything. I know because I have probably read all of them.  Believe more, take care of yourself, spend time thinking about what you need to feel better and do it. That is how you will feel better. I believed it, but when my life fell apart I found it extremely hard to believe in myself.  The shame, the pain and the betrayal was huge. Nothing I did made it better. No amount of selfcare worked. I felt lost, overwhelmed and confused. “Why cant I be happy” I would cry into my journal each morning. “All I want is to be happy”.  I don’t know what made the switch click in my head, maybe it was God just getting tired of my complaining that He made the quote above blink in neon lights when I read it. but it wasen’t until I stopped focusing on me and started to focus on others that I felt the beginnings of joy in my life.

You see I am learning that God never promised us happiness.  In fact He told us that we would have painful times. He never said that we would feel better if we focused on ourselves, He said we would feel better if we turned to HIM.  Ultimately it is not about me. It is about Him and others in my life who I am called to love. I learned first hand that it is only when I turn my attention outward not inward that I can begin to see the incredible world that is around me.  On the day I was fired from my job I went to a women’s meeting with ladies from my church, when all I wanted to do was climb into bed and feel sorry for myself. I went to the home of someone I did not know and listened while they spoke about their lives. It was like a light went on and the blinders suddenly came off.  I was not alone on the island of me. When I focus on others, when I see my life as full instead of lacking, when I realize that I am not alone, that is the selfcare I need. When I remember all of the promises that God has made to me that I can find space, smile and let go of the fear and anxiety that was taking over my life.  

So what is the prize.  If it is not to feel good about ourselves what are we here for?  

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. Corinthians 9:24

To me the prize is to live a life like Jesus.  To love God and to love others and to be obedient to what God wants me to do.  This is a big prize one that I struggle and mostly fail at each day, but I start over each morning and believe that every step of the race God is with me.

So as the quote in the beginning of the post states, selfcare is important, if you are not taking time to take care of you it will catch up to you.  But when the act of selfcare becomes the focus, the need to think about ourselves and our own pleasure and indulgence become what we work for that is when we have missed the mark.  When we have forgotten the real prize. I desire to stay in the race till the end with Jesus and get the ultimate prize.

I have so much to say....

I have a lot to say…

Warning:  This blog post will contain  stream of conscience ramblings and may not make much sense.  I ask for grace in advance.

To say that the last almost 4 months have been a whirlwind would be an incredible understatement.

So much has happened since June 21 of this year:

My marriage has ended

I lost my home and most of my belongings

I moved to NYC

I lost all my community, church and most of my clients

I became a single mom


This journey has been the hardest of my life.  I am realizing so much about myself and not all of it was good.  Through it all there have been some incredible people who have loved me, prayed for my daughter and I and supported me no matter how many times I texted them with more bad news or problems.  My family welcomed us into their home with open arms no questions asked even after I had not spoken to them in months prior to the bottom falling out of my life.

I lost my job this week.  It was mostly my fault. Mostly my pride. I took the job out of desperation and panic and knew it was not for me from day one.  I tried to make the best of it but each day I thought about my life and I knew this job was not a part of it. I knew that this was not what I was suppose to be doing. This morning I woke up and realized that i have been living in a fantasy land.  In my fantasy someone will magically call me with the job of my dreams, the schedule I want, making the perfect amount of money. Then all of my problems would be solved. I would be saved and everything would just go back to normal. I realized this morning that I already have that job.  The business that I built 6 years ago Brick House Bodies was that job. I had walked away from it because I didn’t know how to make it fit in my new life, I did not have the strength to help anyone, I thought that now I had to get a “real job”. But my business had been successful, I had earned income from it (more income than I was making at the job I just lost)  I had given up on my business because I could not see how I could change it to match my new life. Shoot I didnt even accept that I had a new life!

The minute that I realized that the thing I had been searching for, the answers that I was begging God for where right there, already created, I just had to reach out and seize it.  I had to take a fresh look at my business, accept that it was not going to look like it did before and MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW. I had built it before now I had to do it again. Yes there was more at risk, I had to make it work, no more discounting it or treating it as a hobby I had to take myself and this opportunity seriously.  I had to accept the gifts and passion had been given to help moms be healthy and free. Show them what is possible, not because I had all the answers but because God did. Brick House Bodies is not about me, its about HIM and all of you. The opportunities in my life are mine to identify and take advantage of. For the last almost 4 months I have been feeling sorry for myself, believing every lie that i told myself, doubting myself and doubting God. I falsely believed that I needed to do the “responsible thing” to rebuild my life.  I insisted that God was silent when He was speaking loud and clear. In the months leading up to June 22 I had invested heavily in my business God was preparing me for this exact time. It is now the time for me to step up and make it happen.

I think a lot about the good that is meant to come of all of this and I firmly believe that my pride is the thing this was meant to destroy.  I am opening my hand, surrendering it to God because it is He who controls it all. He will make this work. There is not rescue, just Jesus.

So if you want to know what this will look like all I can say is I don’t know.  

But I can promise you that whatever I do it will be in service to you.  My prayer is that this season creates a community of women who love each other, love God and lives free.  

I encourage you to share your email with me so I can get to know you better and connect with you.  You can also find me on instagram @tabithasierra_bhb.

Thanks in advance for sticking with me, the ride will be bumpy but I know its going to be fun!!

5 Ways to Love Who you are Right Now


"I just hate how I look”

“I need to lose 5 pounds”

“I want to tone and get rid of flab”

“I just don’t like myself right now”


I hear the above statements all the time. I speak to so many women at the start of their wellness journey and it is almost always from a place of not enough or of needing to fix themselves.

So today I want to present an alternative. A radical one. What if instead of starting this journey from a place of not enough we decided to see ourselves as awesome just the way we are???

I know that this is really hard, but you can do hard things and I am going to help. I have 5 ways that you can love yourself right now and start this journey from a place of abundance.

1- Stop comparing yourself: this one is first because it is HUGE. Comparison is not only the thief of joy but it steals your self esteem. Social media is a comparison party!!! Good rule of thumb: if a persons feed makes you feel anything but joy click UNFOLLOW. 

2- make a list of all the things that are amazing about you: do it right now grab a piece of paper and write down 10 things that you love about yourself. Then share it with your husband, child or if you are really feeling yourself post it!

3- Tell someone else how awesome they are: this is a fun one. I challenge you to find something about 3 people you come in contact with today that is awesome and tell them so. Making someone feel good feels good.

4- gratitude: this is a lot like #2. Challenge yourself for 30 days every morning to think of 2 things you are grateful for. Why 30 days? It forces you to really get creative about your gratitude. It also takes that long to develop a habit.

5- No negativity challenge: I tried this one and it is shocking. Put a rubber band on your wrist, every time you say something negative about yourself snap the band. You will be surprised by how you speak to yourself. 

Bonus: every time you speak something negative about yourself imagine saying that to your child. Really makes you realize how much the words we speak to ourselves make an impact.

Try one of these strategies or all 5 and let me know what you think. Was it hard? Easy? Change the way you feel about yourself?

Become part of the conversation by joining the Brick House Bodies private Facebook community.  It where I hang out with other amazing women like you who are on this journey to be Fit Inside and Out!!!


5 Books that Changed Everything

Books.  For my entire life books have been there for me.  When I was young they kept me company.  Being overweight as a child was pretty isolating so reading was what I did.  The stories I read became my world.  The greatest discovery was that I could learn anything just by reading a book about it.  Books gave me knowledge, experiences and insight into how the rest of the world lived. 

As I got older (and more popular) I started reading less.  I can still mark times in my life by the book I was reading.  In college it was mystical fiction by amazing Hispanic authors.  As I started in the career world Stephen Covey and Zig Zigler became who I turned to for knowledge.  Once I had my daughter I became obsessed with all things parenting and began to “listen” instead of read books (you moms know what I am taking about).  Once I started going to church and developing my relationship with God I sought out women ahead of me in their faith.  Looking for a roadmap to what my life could look like now that I knew Jesus. 

When I decided to think about the 5 books that changed everything for me you will see a bit of everything I just mentioned.  These books are ones that bring up emotions and memories for me and have had the biggest impact on my life.  It was so hard to narrow it down!!! It is like asking a mom to list her kids in the order she likes them best.  There are about 10 other books I could add to this list(maybe I will make a part 2) and I know that before I die there will be 10 more added and that makes me so happy! Reading is something I treasure and a good writer has a gift from God. 

I hope that you enjoy my list and check one of them out!  I would love to hear your top 5! Put them in the comments or share them on Instagram and tag me @brick_housebodies. 


100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This book is the one fiction novel in the group.  This book was released in 2006 when I was 34.  This was a CRAZY time in my life!  This was pre baby and marriage and I was making a lot of money working in NYC in the fashion industry.  I was living a “Sex in the City” kinda life (lots of nights out, drinking and drama) and this book was like a wonderful dream that I could escape to while I read it.  The writing is beautiful and the story has everything , history, romance and fantasy.  It just sucked me in and was a happy place for me in the whirlwind that was my life.

Gifts of Imperfection  Brene Brown

I actually listened to this book.  It was my first exposure to Brene Brown.  It came out in late 2010 and my daughter was about to turn a year old (hence the listening and not reading).  All I remember about this book was sobbing while listening and being just floored that Brene Brown was in my head and knew exactly how I felt and then was brave enough to write a book about it.

Whispers of Rest  Bonnie Gray

This book I finished recently at the recommendation of a friend.  I was in a state of utter and complete burn out.  Had no idea what I really wanted in life (still sometimes don’t know) and I was desperate.  I read this book devotional style every morning during my quiet time.  The most powerful exercise that Bonnie has you do is think about what you loved when you were 12.  That made me cry and shifted something in me.  This is one I need to read again and soon

A Mended Heart  Suzanne Eller

This is a tough one.  I looked through this book before I started this post and it is just covered with notes and underlined passages and dog eared pages.  This book I read when my marriage was in a really bad place.  I was sad, frustrated and angry and I was desperate for help of any kind.  This book really saved my sanity.  The only regret that I have is that I have been unable to loan this book to anyone (everyone needs it) because of all of my frantic note taking in the margins and all over the pages. 


Made to Crave Lysa Terkeurst

I have been a personal trainer/health coach for over 10 years.  I was saved a little over 5 years ago.  When I started my walk with Jesus I wanted Him to be a part of my ENTIRE life. But I didn’t see many fitness ministries, sometimes it almost felt like this fitness thing was a little prideful and vain.  I had struggled with an eating disorder since I was 16 years old so I knew this food thing was serious.  It was God who finally set me free of it.  To me it was incredible that something I could not overcome on my own for over 20 years could be changed.  So I wanted to learn more, I searched for tools that could help others that were struggle same as I was.  I google searched “God and food” found this book.  I cried at every page.  This is what I was feeling, This is what I had struggled with for so long.  God did care about this!! It showed me that my life,  the 20 years of suffering that I had gone through I was not alone in.  This book gave me the courage to believe that this FIT INSIDE OUT idea could be a thing.  That I could help people,  that this could be my calling.  If I ever meet Lysa Terkeurst the author I think I just might die, or get arrested for causing a scene.

The 5 that changed everything.  Tell me yours!!! What books changed your life, made you ugly cry, finally made you feel like you were not alone or was just a safe place in your chaotic world.



Traffic Lights

We have all been there, stuck in traffic, lined up behind countless cars waiting for the traffic light to change from red to green. Or late for an appointment and praying that every traffic light that we encounter changes magically to green just as we approach it. My favorite is racing to catch the green light just as it is about to turn red, then feeling like a champion when I make it.

Summer in NYC the weather is crazy, bright blue skies and hot one minute then suddenly the sky darkens and open up to a downpour. I was walking home one day looking up I saw a traffic light, dark sky and impending rain as its back drop. God reminded me in that moment how important traffic lights are not just to control traffic (without them there would be chaos) but how they create rhythm for that traffic and can do the same in my life too.


Right now I feel like I am late for an appointment, my life is waiting and I am really really behind schedule. There is a job I need to get, a business I need to grow, a daughter to take care of and I am way late. I wake up every morning and feel like I am playing catch up. I hit the road running and do all the things. Hoping that something will happen. Hoping the lights will be magically green so I can get to where I need to go NOW.

What I am being reminded of each day when I don’t get a response to a job application or I feel like I am spinning my wheels is that none of it is in my control. The timing of the lights exists but it is impossible for me to know what that timing is.

Trying to beat the light may sometimes result in success and momentary satisfaction but more often it is an exercise in frustration.

Today I am going to just drive. Get up, get in my car and go. Decide to move with the flow of traffic, maintain a consistent speed and enjoy the sights along the way.

Today I will not try to rush, not try to maneuver to avoid traffic, showing up at my destination but not remembering for the life of me how I got there.

Today I will breathe and lay off my horn. Let a car pass, yield to those around me.

Today I will just enjoy the ride and embrace every red traffic light, look around and smile.

Less is SOOO much more!

Well its been a week.

Running up against a lot of hard truths and big lessons.  I truly believe that sometimes things blow up and we never want them to but sometimes they have to for something better to grow.

The biggest lesson I have learned so far (its been about a month) is that perfection is just not possible.  Before all of this my expectation everyday was perfection.  A "good day" to me was everything going as scheduled and on time.  Workouts 5 days a week at the same time, eating: everything measured and prepped, school pick ups and quality "me time" needed to be just so, that means exactly 8 hours of sleep.  If not I was just not someone you wanted to hang out with.  I would get so frustrated when things did not go my way.  I have never been a "go with the flow kind of woman.

Well things have definately changed. In the last month I have worked out a total of about 7 or 8 times.  Some days I eat well and some days I survive on coffee and chips and salsa.  I have meal prepped once and had to throw it all out cause I never ate it.  I have had GLASSES of wine on a school night and I cannot remember the last night I got 6 hours of sleep let alone 8.

Did I explode? Did I gain 20 pounds? No and no.  I have actually pretty much maintained my weight over the past month but I dont look as lean.  I have bags under my eyes some days and my clothes are a little tighter.  I have probably lost a little strength and "fitness" too.  I am a little tired all the time and I have developed a sty under my left eyelid that just wont go away (sorry about the TMI) A hot mess?  Some would think so but I say  far from it!  In the last month I have also been able to (well forced) figure out a lot of things that I just didnt have time to do before:

I have updated my website slowly overcoming my fear of technology which I realize was just a lack of patience and a bit of spoiled rotten.

I have learned that though I am not working out regularly now,  all that working out I have done for so long has made my body strong and resilent.  Lack of sleep, not perfect food choices and stress will effect me and my body can handled it in the short term

I can make big, life effecting decisions and be terrified while I am doing it. I have always relied on advice of others and my own smarts to get me through,  both of which are not in large supply now  That good enough is  better than perfect almost all the time and the value of a sincere "i'm sorry" when you make a mistake (which I do everyday) will go a long way.  Thank God for Jesus and grace. 

That survival is not convient or easy and neither is success.  You will always have to do things you don't want to do.  You will always have to choose the narrow gate(Matthew 7:14), its less crowed for a reason.

I can live without a car, new clothes, Starbucks and all my "stuff".  God, my daughter and my family (friends and by blood) are all irreplacable.

That NOTHING IS FOREVER.  That life is made up of seasons.  Some are awesome and fun and easy and some are scary and hard and awful.  But every season has a purpose and life happens when you figure out what that purpose is and live it.




“It is all about perspective”

“Look on the bright side”

“Turn that frown upside down”

Everyone loves a good quote. Until about 3 weeks ago I would furiously highlight them in the books I was reading and take screen shots of them to post on social media.

But deep down they were just words to me. They sounded good, they struck a cord for a moment but just as quickly they were gone. I was never the type of person to post inspirational quotes all over the house. I was the one who inspired me.

Especially the quotes about perspective. I found those most interesting. How you could change things just by changing the way you think. I have had experience in this. Small things like getting stuck in traffic or waiting in line. Switching my perspective has saved me from a lot of frustration over small things. But 3 weeks ago my life changed completely. The home, job, church, friends and things that made up my life changed overnight.

So I had a choice. That thing they talk about in all those quotes. I could lay in bed with the covers over my head, I could cry constantly, I could be angry, spiteful and feel sorry for myself. For goodness sake I deserved it.  Or I could pray. Stand up and lift my head. Put one foot in front of the other and take action.

This I know for sure. Words matter, or more precisely the words that you fill yourself with matter.

My choice: would I fill myself with truth or lies. Would I believe what God says or what the world was telling me. MOST days I choose what God says

Do I have days where I cry? When I feel hopeless and helpless? When hate bubbles in my heart?

Where I think about all I have lost and I can feel the anger come over me with such force that I get nauseous? Absolutely.

That’s when those words matter even more. When this all happened a friend said something I will never forget

“Lean in”

3 weeks ago I would have said “amen” but had no idea what that meant. Now I know.

Everyday leaning in means I pick my perspective. Sometimes I choose to cry and sit for hours in shock, to spend too much time on instagram and worrying about what people think and money and tomorrow. But as the days go by leaning in looks more and more like getting dressed and playing with my little girl, getting dressed and go outside, reading my bible and writing in my journal. Watching a funny movie, eating a good meal, smiling and laughing.

I know it will get easier. The bright spots last longer and I don't stop myself as much in a happy moment to remember what life used to be.  Right now it’s still very raw and speaking about it out loud to people is so hard. So I will believe what God tells me instead: that until it get easier He will be with me, He who is always the same will love me and get me through.

That the plans He has for me are always good. That I will get through.

I believe in Him.

Why am I sharing this? I am sharing because it is the truth, it is real.  I never in my wildest nightmares thought my life would be this, but it is and hiding it or pretending that everything is ok all the time is not real.  My pride cannot save me.  My perfectionism cant either.  Only God can.  I never thought that was true until I leaned in and He brought me peace and hope.

The idea that I had of  God has moved from my head and penetrated my prideful heart. I am wrecked in the best kind of way and so grateful.

So I encourage you whatever it is that is hurting you, paralyzing you

Lean in