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Jan. 10, 2023

Rising Above a Painful Past with Donna Tashjian

Donna is the founder of Vibrant Living International a non-profit organization. She helps bring accelerated transformation to people across the world. Her passion is to help you reach your full potential. Donna has been speaking and coaching for over 25 years.

Donna is the founder of Vibrant Living International a non-profit organization. She helps bring accelerated transformation to people across the world. Her passion is to help you reach your full potential. Donna has been speaking and coaching for over 25 years.

She has developed powerful programs to help women rise above a painful past so they can live the life of their dreams. Her clients have said,“She will help you walk away from overwhelm, stress and self-doubt into peace and confidence, like a refreshing vacation for your body & soul.”

She also produces a podcast is called “You Were Designed for Greatness” and has written 4 books. Her clients say she has a knack for turning fear into excitement and exposing lies so the truth can shine through.












Alright, welcome back.

You know what?
I realized this before we started this broadcast, I said I had a question and that was escaping me and that's that question, was the correct pronunciation of your last name?
I knew it just as soon as you said it should, I should I let you struggle with it or should I help?
So my guess would be tasked Jen but that's really close.

Yes, it stashed Jen tossed in.

There we go.

Okay so I have the pleasure today of interviewed on attention Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which we joke that that's almost Canadians, any of the border states, you know, almost can't even see you get to experience winters like, we do in Canada and yeah.

So Donna, welcome to the show.

It's pleasure to have you here.

It's a pleasure to be here.



And so, just before we dive into your story, how you got to what you're doing, let's let's just let.

I'll let you introduce yourself and just kind of what you're up to right now and they're going to figure out how you got there.

Sure I am an international life Mastery coach.

And I am the CEO and founder of vibrant living International and our mission and passion is to help people live vibrantly to put it just as simply as we can to empower people.

Spirit soul, and body to rise above, the things that sometimes happen to us, and we'll set a letting it Define us help it Propel us into who we can be.

So that's what it's about.

Very cool.

So life coach is, an interesting term is, I'm going to see a pole.

I know I do.

Do I type in nutrition coaching but it's really behavioral psychology based and there's a lot of working around emotions and inner work outside of just helping people eat more vegetables and less junk food.

You know, she's always the one guy.


Yeah I mean and I think for a long time we were sort of just steered towards will just eat less, move more, eat, less junk food, you know, eat more healthy food, get more extras, all kind of stuff which you know, is Sound Advice in one sense like it logically and practically makes sense.

But I've come really fails to address why we do what we do.

And so I think the world of life coaching is kind of an interesting one.

And so you said International life, coaches there, is there like a particular certification or what?
My my my my certification is a life Mastery coach I added International because when I started vibrant living, it was vibrant living International with, no idea how I was going to be International.

And now I am.

So I have clients or were in a Oh different countries, so that's why I said that.

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

So well, now, I'm kind of curious how you got to the place where you are a life coach and running this, this fantastic business and so it is a great time to kind of rewind the clock and sure a little bit about your your backstory so we can go back as far as like to go back to kind of growing up because I think you had some difficult experiences early on in life and I just like to open the floor and let you let you share a little bit of that.

Sure, going back.

Pretty early.

I never had a relationship with my biological father.

So for anyone who is in the coaching or counseling industry know that there is abandonment issues and different as feelings that are associated with that.

But as a child, you don't realize you don't recognize those kind of things.

But it's so my mom remarried and I got a I had a new blended family that we were supposed to all get along.

And be happy family.

And and and what age were you in when you get sort of Blended together with another family?
I was Almost 9:00.

So, okay, and a half.

I think it was.

So and do you have any, like, any memories at all of your biological?
Father is just was never, right?
They were married, but I don't really have an idea.

And I have a lot of missing time in my childhood, but I don't have a lot of memories.

I have one memory of him and it wasn't a pleasant one.

But, and I asked my mom, as an adult was he ever around?
It's like, dude, did I just erase it?
And Was there and she said, no, he really wasn't a part of your life at all.

So I don't really recall much of it.

Yeah, that's quite something.

And especially to go through kind of as a child.

And, you know, do you recall like prior to your mom and finding a new partner and whatnot?
You know, maybe as a kid kind of looking at other other kids, and, and sort of their family life and that kind of thing and feeling like a sense of sort of Envy or disappointment or sort of wistfulness for maybe what they might have or well.

No, because It's preschool age.

And there's no, yeah, that's there wasn't a lot of comparison but the time I went into kindergarten, they were separating and I knew it, I do remember the woman that my biological father was with.

I remember her, but I don't really have too much memory of him, so it was It's A peculiar time.

When it seems like tell me what happened, because I don't remember.

Kind of a yeah yeah.

Anyway, yeah, so that you can get into to sort of being part of a blended family here and to me, I mean, I have the Good Fortune of just, my parents are still married, 43 years later.

I think it might be 40.

Yes me 44.

This this year as I'm recording this.

So 44 years married.

Just one brother.

You know, they got along with it.

They certainly have the hardships and difficulties but you know they got along well.

And so I feel very fortunate to regard so I didn't really don't have that lived experience of you know, sort of getting I do, remember we had a head like I think that three friends growing up that had their original parents.

Hmm, I didn't realize the time like how fortunate I was but only only three my friends growing up, had their original original parents and so I'm kind of curious this and a lot of us maybe comes from hindsight and able to kind of look back in to enter reflect.

But just, you know what, it's like to just get sort of punk together with another family, and be like, oh yeah, these are your siblings now and you're supposed to get along.

Yeah, it is.

It's rough spots that's for sure but we presented ourselves to the community as one big happy family.


It definitely it definitely had.

Its bumps of getting along.

I came to the new family with a brother.

And then my, my new dad, which one of the most wonderful things came out of it.

As I got a dad.

Yeah, no, I got a dad and And I first time.

So by the time I'm eight and a half, I now have a person who becomes my daddy, but I, but he brought Three Brothers.

So, there are four boys and me.

Okay, in the house, and then my mom and dad had another little girl.

She would came along when I was 10.

I was not a fan.

Yeah, fair enough.

Were you the youngest at this time?
Or what?
I was not, I was the oldest prior to the marriage and then when the blended family happen, I'm in the middle, okay?
Yeah, yeah.

So it was a strange dynamic because my mom still treated me as the oldest and a lot of her behavior and stuff but but I'm not anymore.

So my brother's call me bossy.

Yeah, yeah.

So no.

So a new one comes along and and I suppose with 55 of you You together sort of competing for parents attention.

And then another one comes along, it's like, well, this is just and, and I mean, I'm the father of toddler and so it's like I understand sort of how much attention this first couple of years of life.

Really, really take and say you're thinking yourself.

All man, there's just not another one coming along.

That's gonna basically take all the attention.

Yeah, it's so I was not particularly a fan of her.

I thought she was spoiled and all the things, you know, but but she's an amazing woman today.

It was just, it was just Didn't those that was a period of time and so there was a lot of, without even realizing it.

I have memories of feeling insecure and not mattering and, you know, not being important and, and it's easy to get lost in those kind of settings of, what's what's, you know, what's really important?
I always wanted to be the good girl and so the squeaky wheel didn't, I wasn't squeaking much, right, right.

Right now.



So all of those things but moving along we moved around a lot growing up.

And so there was this, not only the does the feelings at home but I was always singing feel like the new kid and so that caused also, a lot of insecurities.

And I first, whatever reason, I only always seem to be the only redhead in the whole school.

And so, you know, kids can do If you're different.

Yeah, you know you get picked on.

So attention wasn't good then.


And so I remember hiding and kind of hiding in the corner of the playground hoping somebody would notice.

But afraid that somebody would notice.

Yeah, interesting concepts of feelings that were going on and and then at the age of 14, I had a had some other issues with With some sexual abuse, but at the age of 14, someone that was close to my family hurt.

Me, and I became pregnant.

It was a, and so coming up in a religious home, in the decade of, you know, of the time frame in society that I was born in and this all happened was not okay to be pregnant, it didn't matter why.

So I was hid, there was isolation.

This is pre in Ernet pre cell phone guys, there was no one to talk to.

You are all a loan.

That's nice.

I had, I had a little girl at the age of 15, so, yeah, that's, that's quite something.

How did your did your parents support you when this occurred or how do they feel about it?
It was really know exactly how they felt because there was so much embarrassment and shame associated with.

It wasn't talked about right, right?
Was just as if I was in.

You know, it's a miracle.

I was just pregnant and there was never any his conception.

Yeah, there was yes, there was never any discussion about it whatsoever.

And, you know, they helped me get a crib and, you know, all of those kind of things to prepare for her birth.

I did finish high school before I was 17 and I was full-time employed Because by the time I was 18 and had my own place working full-time.

And then shortly after that, I began to take one college course at night and work full-time and raise my daughter.

So at 18, I'm she's doing She's three.

Yeah, so I had a lot of not always positive emotions, but anger and proof.

I'm going to prove everybody wrong.

I'm going to make something of my life, all of those kind of things and it was about that time that I met my future husband.

And so that, that was a big difference in my life.

We've now been married 38 years.



So we married when she was five and had two other children, he adopted her.

It hasn't all been rosy as anything in life is, but an those in the taking, all of my insecurities into a marriage of really not feeling worthy.

Willie really love me.

Will it stay?
Will it?
Last will all the things was part of our first few years of marriage.


Absolute us like the individual that just you.

Was there ever any justice or anything like that was ever brought to light every, you know, just buried.

And and did you ever have any contact with this individual in the future?

Yeah, later on when my daughter wanted to know who and so that was a whole big can of worms.


So yeah.


And so and you know, you have to kind of go through this in high school and of course, I think being maintained moment, High School carries a stigma as well, you know?
And you said, you kind of you kind of just felt like buried under under shame and guilt to do were able to maintain like some friendships.

Some Um, social relationships in that time.

I wasn't in public school.

I was in what we would call homeschooling but it was done differently than so I didn't have any friends there was nobody was incredibly difficult and so, but did that sort of is that was that with us resolve kind of came from that I'm going to get out of my own.

I'm going to start taking care of myself, or was it just there wasn't really an option?
Well, there wasn't an option but I suppose there always is a choice.

Always has a choice.

I never.

I never went on welfare or any of that.

I always figured out a way.

My faith had a lot of Duke to do with it.

I had things that a very young age and so God had a lot to do.

Well, a whole bunch to do with where I am today, but learning how to he was.

All I had, God was all I had, there was nobody to talk to there.

Was nobody else there was, I couldn't talk.

To my parents.

They didn't want to care how I felt at that point.

And so it was I can't find the adjective to describe how hard that period of my life was.

But it also created an incredible fortitude in me.

That would not have been there without it and also seeking answers to Google to be the best.


Even at that time I had a belief that I created really early that helps us to move through and Rise through the pain that happens in our life is that everything can work for my good.

I don't know how, I don't know how but I'm going to begin to look for the gift.

What's going to turn out?
How is this going to turn out?
Well, how is this going to turn out?
Even better for me and my life.

Proves that to be true.

Yeah, which is fascinating.

Where did the do you have any idea?
I mean, I can get the scriptural reference but I mean, is that that's where it came from, okay, yeah.

And how early in life did you, did you, you know, because it's I think it's interesting when we develop sort of these religious beliefs, how early life did you feel?
Like this is like not some your parents, you know, made you do but this is something that is going to be a part of your life.

I And an experiential encounter with God at the age of 12.

And so it it changed there for me, then I had been raised in a Christian home, but having it not just being my parents relationship with God, but mine, and so that changed at the age of 12.

And little, did I know what was going to happen in just a few years, right?
That was going to test you in.

Think about the experiences that we go through.

I mean I've been through trauma as well in different way but the experiences that we go through that, we feel in and of ourselves we don't have the ability to get through it because we're not really equipped for it but it's we learn something, maybe about ourselves and maybe the for those who have a faith in God, we learned something about God and that maybe we're not asked to do this all by ourselves and you're right.

I think there is the potential for even the most difficult experiences to be turned into something good.

If we if we open the door, Possibility.

And so you then you decided you got a full-time job.

Where were you working at that time?
And went to work for a doctor's office in a medical records.

I was called a medical records Clerk and also this is the days of the switchboard.

I ran a switchboard.

I know my mom has a my mom has a phone operator back in the day where she talks about how she would like you know, plug this or plug that need to have the plug.


But it had buttons that push I could have as many, as I think it was 14 lines.

Ringing at the same time.

Okay, we have to keep track of where, which one which line was For What.

And which line was being transferred where and all of that stuff and keep my voice Pleasant while I'm doing.



And so what while you were at work was your daughter some kind of child care or how did you navigate being a single mum and and trying to Income and try to make ends meet.


I not very not very well.


My rent was $108.

I think.


And a little tiny little Studio kind of an apartment and I had I the way I found a sitter as I called some of the local churches and ask if there's anybody that they would recommend to watch a child and I interviewed them and that's how I ended up.

With as someone to watch my daughter because she's three when I'm going to work at 18, so watching her.

And, and that's, and so, I worked full-time, picked her up and then two nights a week.

I went to college and she stayed and so she would stay longer those days.

Okay, and what did you what do you start studying at College?
Well, I began to just take prerequisites because I Only take one class and work full-time.


It was.

So I never got past the prerequisites because I met my husband and we moved and ended up getting married, but I was on that course to be able to, I was planning on being a nurse.

Oh, how about that?
Yeah, well maybe it was a serendipitous that, you know, meeting your husband.

How did you meet your that?
The man that would become your husband.

He came to one of my the college classes at night, okay?
He was in.

The Air Force and though he was not from the area, he was from upstate New York and the chance of us meeting was in pretty much impossible.

So this guy comes into class.

Did you, did you spot them like the first day of class?
He hit you sure.

Yeah, the class was about 40 people and three men.

So yes I know I noticed him as did.

Maybe a few other people.

Probably like clean-shaven clean-cut, you know, that sort of thing, literally the whole military thing.

Yeah, I'm ex-military.

So I get that.

So we're there any other of your classmates that were vying for his attention at the time that you were?
Maybe you weren't because I wasn't, I wasn't really looking.

Yeah, you know, II had made the decision that having a relationship with men, wasn't a good thing for a number of reasons.

I'm sure you can understand.


But so I wasn't I wasn't working anymore.


Well, he asked me out.

I said, maybe I didn't even meet him work for it.

He still brings that up today.

Good good man.

Yeah, so so he noticed something about you right away.

Yeah we're going to pick me out of a room full of women and asked me out.

Yeah, it was something pretty miraculous.


No kidding.

But what does he say that he noticed about you that made him feel like he had?
You don't want me to say that on the air fair enough.

If I say there was there some degree of physical attraction as well.

I'll just say my hair.

Okay, there we go.

Yeah he's like okay that that stood out and so I have to go an Aftershock.

This one, do you remember like the first this might be this might be hard to remember, but do you remember the first thing he said to you, or how we how we approached you?
Yeah, he invited me to a Christmas party, okay, but the reason why I had given him a hard time, is it?
It sounded to me as if he was doing me a favor by asking me out, I don't believe that's what he meant, but that's the way I took it.

So, my response was well, I guess it's possible and I just kind of step back a little, you know, who I would like you to go.

And I went, okay, then I'll go okay.

And that's It's like a fairly safe kind of innocuous and you're going to a social event with other people there and whatnot.

And so it's, you know, you're not not by yourself naturally trying to make awkward conversation.

So, going to this Christmas party together.

Did you did you get a sense of?
Hey, there's something here.

Not necessarily right away but the awkwardness, if you will for me to go on a date is very quickly.

If they don't know I need to let them know.

I have a daughter.

Yeah and the other thing that was Usually shocking was, how will my daughter was and how old I was?
Hmm as well.

So what ended up happening is we went to the Christmas party and by the time we got there, it was over.

So we show up and he had planned the whole Christmas party.

It was a military was on the base.


Yeah, the whole thing got over early and so we got there and Santa's gone all the food is gone, all the stuff and he goes well let's go out to eat.

So we went out to a restaurant is what we ended up doing.

We and so at the restaurant I don't even know how I told him.

But I said I have I just want to let you know I let him know I had a three-year-old daughter.

And usually I never hear from them if that go out on a date.

That's or they think it's an easy Mark just to put it nicely.


Furnace is two things happened.

So he asked me out again and so the second date he got to figure out how young I was.

So he's a little bit older than you or just a little I guess I should say.



What's the age Gap?
It's just three years.


But When you're when you're 19 or when you're 18, three years is a bigger deal.


It's more than 10% of your life and so, it feels it feels fairly significant at that time.

And how long it has he asked you out again.

And he's so he wasn't deterred by this and he wasn't necessary.

He sounds like a man of very good character so he wasn't deterred by this and and he wasn't he wasn't looking to take advantage of you.

And so, how long is the relationship before he got to meet your daughter?
Um, I think it was their third or fourth date.

He invited.

He invited us to go to ice capades and like a big one, nice thing.

And so I got her, you got to meet her there.

And, and then his birthday is in January.

So we had the Christmas party and her birthday is in January, so they both got to see each other there.

And then we began to date from there.

He had told me when we start to Daytime going home in six months.

Let's just have fun while we're here.

So but if you know, his actions were not lining up with that statement, right?
He was like, it was, it was clearly he wanted this to be this to be serious.



And this is kind of interesting because I think, you know, we've alluded to is like you had a fairly difficult sort of the social or if there wasn't a lot of Social Development that took place like kind of through your teen years and so what If I could ask was, was there a degree of naivety in one sense and I don't want sense.

Your innocence had been taken away, but was there a degree of certain a DVD or sort of social awkwardness going into this relationship or hydrogen?
How did you find?
I don't remember feeling socially awkward.

I was definitely on guard.



A good way to to word it and or withdrawn slightly with reserved.

He comments that he had a pickup truck and he commented That when we were I don't know if it's our first date or a second date or whatever, but I set as far against the other door as possible according to him, I don't recall that behavior but he says that.

So there was this I don't know if you're safe you just stay right there.


Right right.

Sort of a guy guardedness?

What eventually kind of help to break?
I mean I guess just spending time together but yeah, you know, I remember We've been dating for a while, I was pretty sure how I felt about him.

You know, things have been increasing for a little while and my mom asked me, she goes well how do you how are you feeling about this relationship?
And I said, well and I kind of looked at her funny because I thought of something and I'm like on the way home from the movie.

The other night, I fell asleep on his shoulder and I'm like and then it kind of like donned on me.

I'm like I've never fallen asleep around.

Any guy ever.

And so he just he just proved himself, he was a real man will put it that way.

Not absolutely know if you not understand what I mean, by the Integrity that goes into that.


There is what we call aesthetic masculinity.

And I think how do you embodied that there's yeah, I've had the pleasure of interviewing someone who speaks about authentic masculinity from a really remarkable perspective and So, and your daughter at the age of three, you know, did she sort of start to develop a bond with with him as well?
She had a lot of guardedness similar to me yet, you know.

So but yes it did occur.

So he was there.

Well it was actually she was two and three quarters when he met her according to her.

She talk like that.

So he was there for her third birthday on and so you know and she has a daddy.

So you know, It's the way that was there.

Some bumps in the road when she tried to figure out in the teenage years.

Who am I is, you know, all of the things.

But yes, it definitely, it's definitely there.

Yeah, okay.

And what a remarkable backdrop for started, getting to where you are today.

And so what, how long were you guys together when he proposed to you decided that hey, I want to, I want to marry you, because you mentioned, he was going back home, wherever that was Did you ultimately decide that I'm going to follow you?
What did you ask me?
Ask me to.

We were actually living in Washington state at the time and he extent he is he was supposed to get out of the Air Force and six months and he extended six months.

So we were together a year in Washington and at that point he had asked me to marry him.

There was a delay and when that occurred, but we were headed in that direction.

And so a little while later, I followed him to his home state which was New York, okay.

Very nice.

And so did you did you grow up in on the west coast in Washington state there?
Did not as I remember I said I we moved a lot.

Oh yeah, well I moved to New York when my daughter was one.

She was born in Texas.

Okay, yeah.

And so, yeah, I've lived in a lot of places.

So you meet this wonderful man.

He becomes your husband and Of course, there's never belong in the road, but you know, where along this, did you feel like there's maybe a calling to becoming a coach and helping people?
Because you've been through some really, really difficult experiences in life.

I think what I often identify when I speak with coaches.

And I think it's really fascinating, as, you know, like I miss everyone of us has a story as to why we do this.

Like we guide people through experiences, in some sense or to some degree that we've been through ourselves and there's kind of a mentorship element to It at what point in time, did you decide, you know, I feel like there might be more to more to this than maybe what I'm present doing.

Well, I began without even trying to and it wasn't a paid position but I began mentoring.

Would have been what it was called when I started?
Because 25 years ago, the kind of coaches that you and I are weren't really around that.

I recall anyway.

Oh yeah.

But it was in a lot of different organizations.

I founded some Organizations where I did that, that kind of work.

So it was a lot of unpaid, kind of and it.

And I'd find myself, is everywhere, I went either employment, volunteer work, I have people would say, I've never talked to anybody, like, I'm talking to you, I've never told anybody this.

And so I found myself and I had a calendar where I'm at with people regularly on appointments while.

I'm raising my children, and it was going on all those times.

I started speaking in founded in front of audiences, in my 20s, encouraging people to make a difference and help and different nonprofits.

So I have been doing that for a long period of time.

I just wouldn't have called it coaching.

It was just what I did.

I didn't put a label on, it is very organic and kind of very naturally kind of fell into it in a sense.

It's just who I am.

Yeah, who I am.

So I can resonate very, very clearly with that.

It's not They inevitably dead everywhere.

I went, I had many different, I've had it.

I've had a bit 11 different careers prior to prior to, I say, I couldn't.

I eventually couldn't, like, run from this, you know?
But so you mentioned, you have, you've got multiple children as well.

And so, how many kids are we trying to raise World while doing this?
I have two others.



So we have, we have three children and they're all married and we have seven grandchildren.

Wow, that's Remarkable and and 38 years together and your husband.

He was he supportive of you.

I mean, I probably already know the answer, but you're sure you're sort of for foray into this.

Yeah, he was he's supporting me all along the way and it's been about 10 years ago, that actually vibrant living was born.


And so that's when I like, I want to do this and I describe it and they go.

Well, that's a coach and I'm Coach.

I like it think of was football coach.

And I'm like right, right?

That people on the sidelines telling them to do this.

I'm like, that's not me.

And so I had no frame of reference of the label coach.

You know, it's often often joke with my clients, I say like, I'm a tour guide, but I'm not a sherpa, you know?
And that's a phrase often use of it's really like, you know, I say, I help people perhaps go read a couple of chapters in their life story and hopefully create a more positive ending to the story that they're there.

Are there writing you know and I didn't want to ask one other question just from your past there, you know you mentioned like you're your oldest daughter that it through the teen years.

She was kind of curious about who her biological father was.

And what not?
And I think I'm asking this because it's how do you navigate that, you know, how did it come up?
And how do you know, how do you navigate that?
Because I imagine, you know, for those who've been in similar circumstances to yourself that this, this eventually comes up, you know, something within us that we want to, you know, I guess get to know.

Biological connections.

Yeah, I don't really have an answer for that, if it's not an easy thing to navigate at all, and I didn't prevent it, but I was very fearful because I knew she would be hurt if she was to find out the actual circumstances rest circumstances.

And the man that he was, because I did know, I did know about that and I was Very concerned that she would be hurt and she was but I couldn't prevent it.

She wanted to have answer answers and there was a rebellious period where she was angry at everybody and everything but that had nothing, you know.

And so they it was it was difficult to transverse but when I one thing I will say for anyone who may be going through, it is Love Never Fails.

It may take some time to work through it but truth and love will prevail And that's all I held onto during that Rocky period.

There's been a lot of rejection of both my husband, and I, in an acting out and anger, and all of those kinds of things, but love, never fails.

And when you keep that as your focal, you keep that as your Center in your prayers, and in your beliefs, things will turn around, and it has.

And I love that.

And I think, I think this also points to something An else is when you say something a phrase Like Love Never Fails, perhaps, maybe some people have this idea that it means that everything is easy and and you're sort of Guided by this euphoric sense of you know, what I would call it romantic love.

It's like, you know, I have this other analogy I call it the tunnel of sewage, probably guess where this is going.

But I just, I say to people, I say look if we're gonna do this transformation journey, I kind of want to tell you what it's really going to be like going through this.

And if you're not scared at the end of this, then maybe we're a good fit to work together.

So often imagine that people, you know, it's like I'm going to work with this coach.

I mean, they're going to help me navigate this this transformation because it's, maybe something I've been through before.

And then you maybe we hop on a ring are unicorns and ride the Rainbow Bridge up to the clouds and kind of go from Cloud to cloud.

And we're just rising and Rising above real life, without any sort of resistance or obstacles, or things like that, in reality.

I'm like, I'm just cutting this short, but we're basically kayaking through a tunnel assuage together.

And that's the polite way of saying, this is what we're this is what we're going through, but you're not going through this alone.

And I've done this before and I'm comfortable in this environment, even though it's often difficult and uncomfortable, and that makes it safe to go through this together.

And so, and I guess I wanted to ask also, you know, did you ever in your adult life or you?
Did you ever find a have a desire to know about your biological, father yourself, or did you ever afford any kind of relationship?
Where is that written off?
Um, I oh, he's passed away at this.

Point your life.

I did, I did know about him.

I had a relationship with my grandmother, his mother.

And so, I did know about him, but what I knew about him as an adult, I wasn't impressed and didn't until trying to think I was probably in my early 40s.

When he reached out to me, and, and we're doing Facebook Messenger kind of a chatting and things like that, but there was never any draw.

It wasn't, he wasn't the man.

I needed to know, I didn't need it in my life may have needed me, but maybe at this point I'm just life.

I don't know.

Maybe he was trying my it might have but he wanted to he didn't navigate it by saying.

Let's get to know each other.

Started going calling me his little girl and stuff.

Well, I wasn't.


No and he and so the way that it was handled just turned me off and I'm like, fair enough.


It just wasn't handled and so no, a relationship didn't develop their and and to me, of course, the the psychoanalyst a psychologist can do professional.

And, but I'm well, studied in Psychology.

I think to myself he is remembering you from the time that he was really last present in your life.


He's missed absolute four Decades of development.

And so in his mind, that's where you are still, because he hasn't went as any of this taking place, you know?
And on the same token, you had a wonderful stepdad who became your dad and you saw him as such, you know.

And and I think even for your daughter, you know your oldest daughter that she had the privilege of the man.

That is your husband, like again having this in her life.

And so your daughter went through, this really difficult phase as you mentioned, but she's undoubtedly going to a remarkable.

As well.

I gather absolutely.

And so, and I think that that's kind of this highlight sort of the, the tagline of the program here, which is the stories that shape us.

And it's, it's these life experiences that we go through.

That are often really, really difficult than they bring up.

A lot of the heart emotions.

And maybe we feel like, we don't know how we're going to get through it.

And yeah, we fight against it and so on.

But It ultimately forges this wonderful character.

And so you in all of this just uncovered, it really?
You are a coach You're a guy, you're a mentor.

It's just Who You Are by Nature.

You know, I think coaches often have this empathic qualities ability to sort of read other people incense other people and what not?
And so, you know you your you found it.

Oh aight.

I'm vibrant living International and you talk about living vibrantly and I'm curious.

What does that mean to you to live vibrantly?
To me, it means living free and it is if we, you know, I described what I've been through any and there are so many weights.

There's so many labels are so many insecurities and and I call it identity theft that happens.

And my passion is to stop identity theft because it isn't my It that I'm talking about.


I think about who I am because I was you know told or felt like I would never amount to anything.

I was told that I couldn't speak well I was told that I Dada you know you can.


When the blank these labels were applied to you and and and so, but here I am, you know, proving all of that wrong because this is Who I really am and discovering that all along the way.

And so, living vibrantly is a journey.

Yeah, we can library is a discovery.

I remember one person who was a mentor of mine and she was praying for me and she said, Donna, you're in for some big Revelations, it was when I was starting vibrant living, you got, you are a gift to everyone around you, but the one who's going to be most surprised about the gift.

Is you, hmm?
And that is what vibrant living is.

It's discovering the gift that we are.

It's embracing all of the little things about us and all of the wonderfulness about us and learning who in my words God created us to be.

Yeah so that we can really live free without all of the wondering what people think without wondering.

About if we're good enough, if we're going to fail, all of the stuff that human nature was, and just have a ball and live free that's vibrant.

Living, I love that and I love this concept of identity theft and, you know, I wrestled with all the things that you've described as well, you know, even even getting the feel that I get into, you know, and and all the feelings of worthlessness and, and struggle and whatnot, and these things that are robbing us and Hooch wheeler and I agree, I I fancy that we live in a cage of our own construction and really kind of what I'm referring to though is when somebody like applies a label to us and we accept to be true, it sort of forms, one of the bars in this cage of our own construction that we live in and it takes maybe, sometimes somebody else who's not encumbered by these beliefs to see who we truly are and say, let me pick the lock to your cage door to open the door and like, guys out of this into this.

Of shoes is waiting for you to step into and to fill.

And I really, you know, I love the idea that each one of us like, has something as a gift, something to share with the world.

And, you know, I often think about humility the way that I used to think with humility was, I guess just thinking less of myself, but I really I love the definition that it's not thinking less of ourselves.

We think about ourselves last so recognizes and it's not really about us and when we don't necessarily make it about us and when we actually serve and show up to help other people are life is much more purposeful.

And much more fulfilling.

And so, it's, I think sometimes there's other people with us and have hammers and Nails helping us build that case.



This is very true and what you've been through so much, but I think again, you wouldn't be the, you know, amazing woman that you are today, had you not gone through.

And, you know, I think people often ask me is well, because I get interviewed about my story as well and they say, like, you know, would you take this out of your past?
And say no, I wouldn't I wouldn't take any of those experiences of my past because it would not be where I am today.

Had I not gone through what I went through and those experiences that shaped me to be the person that I am today.

And so, you know, I always like to ask my guests this and that is if they've been listening to this conversation, if they've been hearing your story and all the different things you've gone through.

And I think boy, we've only really only scratched the surface because there's there's so much to potentially tap into here but what is the message that you would you would like people to take away from this conversation?
In today.

Two things.

First, if if you feel like you're not living vibrantly, find me on social media, I'd love to talk to you.

Support you help you, find the resources, whatever that is for you.

Yeah, because that's my heart, and the second and final thing is remember that what I said in the beginning that nothing is wasted.

Everything can be used for your good.

Even the were the worst, Absolute worst.

Day of our life can be.

Nothing is wasted.

You didn't make mistakes that are too big.

You haven't turned you know haven't wait you're not too old you're not too young whatever you saying it doesn't matter.

Nothing is wasted and it is still has the potential for you to have a vibrant life.

I love that and you know we're going to make sure that we include this in the show notes as well but you mentioned people reaching out to you what's the best place to connect with you?
The easiest way to find out all the resources Is that I have is my website and that's the letter.

I vibrant

There's a tab there that you can schedule a chat with me and it's absolutely free.

And there's a lot of other resources to I love that.

And I guarantee you anybody who, who has a conversation with you is going to come up with it with entirely different perspective.

I know that because I've had the pleasure of chatting with you today, Donna.

Thank you so much for coming in and sharing your heart.

Sharing your stories, sharing the difficult things, you've overcome, it's a very very inspiring story.


And for anybody listening, I think, you know, you'd be very fortunate to have to enjoy a conversation with this wonderful and thank you again, Donna for being on the program today.

My pleasure, John Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before and after if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape, who we become and I love human potential.

I love the possibilities that lie within us.

So, whatever you may be up against.

I hope these stories inspire you because you're still here, your story's not done yet, so, keep moving forward.

Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before and after if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

Jonathan McLernonProfile Photo

Jonathan McLernon


Coach Jon is a weight loss coach and emotional eating expert who has lost 100lbs. From nanotechnology researcher, to Navy marine engineer, to globetrotting nomad, Coach Jon spent most of his life running from his true calling, until one question changed his life. Now he's on a mission to help others lose weight for good and leave BS diets in the rearview mirror.

With Freedom Nutrition Coaching he marries the Science of Metabolism with the Psychology of Behavior Change and the Compassion of Human Connection to create life-changing transformations with his clients.

Donna TashjianProfile Photo

Donna Tashjian

International Life Mastery Coach

Donna is the founder of Vibrant Living International a non-profit organization. She helps bring accelerated transformation to people across the world. Her passion is to help you reach your full potential. Donna has been speaking and coaching for over 25 years.

She has developed powerful programs to help women rise above a painful past so they can live the life of their dreams. Her clients have said,“She will help you walk away from overwhelm, stress and self-doubt into peace and confidence, like a refreshing vacation for your body & soul.”

She also produces a podcast is called “You Were Designed for Greatness” and has written 4 books. Her clients say she has a knack for turning fear into excitement and exposing lies so the truth can shine through.

Donna Tashjian grew up in a blended family in the south. She always had a desire to help people. In 1990 she began mobilizing communities to help those in need. In 2016 founded Vibrant Living International, a nonprofit organization, to help people live to their fullest potential across the world.

She has been married for 35 years with 3 married children, 8 grandchildren, and 1 great-granddaughter.