As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Tarr.
Erin Tarr is the founder of Be the Benchmark LLC, with over 20 years of experience as a Confidence Coach for teen and tween girls. She’s known for helping girls and their families navigate this important life stage, her programs and messages have impacted thousands of girls world-wide.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
As a young girl from a small midwestern town — entrepreneurship was NEVER on my radar growing up. I attended college at first to become an accountant, but quickly pivoted to the world of education, which aligned much more with my passions, gifts, and motivations in life.
That being said, I never truly felt like I fit the mold of a classroom teacher, despite my deep desire to impact the next generation of young leaders. After serving as the head administrator and launching a successful and selective private school in our local community, I left that position to pursue … something more… the only problem was I wasn’t sure what that “more” would look like.
At the time I had two young daughters, and knew despite leaving my position in education I was still born to teach. But the who, how, and what … that part I wasn’t certain of just yet. So I did what it seemed like everyone was doing around that time (2012) — I started a blog. This gave me the opportunity to write about (and discover) my true passions and receive feedback from readers to see if what I had to offer the world mattered.
Pretty quickly, the blog turned into classes, coaching, and a membership program — as well as a speaking career — revolving around teaching girls (and the adults in their lives) about the tools they need to be confident and ultimately successful in their endeavors.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I will never forget the first time I went live from my facebook page and I was SO NERVOUS. I do it so often, that now the memory of being nervous is quite funny. I fretted about the background, and the technology… what to say and wear… how long I should talk, EVERYTHING! In spite of the fear, I pulled the trigger and went live.
After it was over my then 9-year-old daughter asked “How did it go?”
To which I responded, “Ok, I guess…I’m not really sure…”
To which SHE responded, “Well, what was your goal?”
With that one phrase she quickly turned the tables on me reflecting back what I was teaching her and I became the student in that moment.
She reminded me that success can take on many different forms based on what we are trying to accomplish, and to always be seeking to learn from and alongside my clients because they have wisdom I need as well!
From the mouths of babes, am I right?
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I started out — I just assumed that people would understand what I was doing (and why!). I underestimated the power of having clear and consistent messaging, especially in a niche like coaching t(w)een girls that most people are not AT ALL familiar with.
I learned that the single most important way to build the know, like, and trust factor necessary for soloprenuer success is through consistency. Parents and daughters both need to have access to seeing and hearing from me on an almost daily basis, in order to truly “get” who I am, what I am about, and whether or not I am someone they want in their corner cheering them along through the ups and downs of middle and high school (and even into college).
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people to whom I am grateful for along this entrepreneurial journey — but the one that stands above the rest is Giulia’s Mom. Ann was not a close friend… or family member… or even colleague. But she saw me, and my vision, and believed in what I was building.
Ann believed in me at a level that was heads and shoulders above anyone else in my life (even me) at that time. She trusted me with her only daughter as one of my very first clients, while continually being MY cheerleader along the way. She has consistently challenged me to show up in bigger and better ways, has given testimonial after testimonial about the work I did with her daughter Giulia, and has always been a consistent sounding board for my new thoughts and ideas about the business. Without her unwavering support I don’t know if I would have persisted through those early years. Even before my business had a name — it was literally JUST an idea in my head — we sat outside a small local café equidistant from our houses, drinking wine and brainstorming together about what this vision of mine could become. Now 9 years later, I am fully stepping into that vision as a full-time Confidence Coach for girls. I am forever grateful for Ann and the people like her in my life who helped me believe in myself the way I help girls believe in themselves.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
When it comes to health and wellness — specifically mental & emotional health and wellness, women of a certain age are often told to PIVOT! There comes a point in our life where we realize we just can’t keep all the plates spinning anymore, and the demands on us just become too much. And only then do we truly seek out answers to help us develop a healthy mind, body, and spirit so we can enjoy life.
As an educator and a mother of three daughters — my immediate instinct when learning anything is, “How can I make this developmentally appropriate for my daughters and their generation?” The foundation behind Be the Benchmark is to get the very best tools, habits, attitudes and research into the hands of tween and teen girls NOW — so they can make tiny shifts throughout their lives instead of waiting until adulthood and attempting to do a 180 degree changes when life feels like too much because they have been living by default instead of with intention.
Imagine an entire generation of girls who have learned from an early age to choose their thoughts, so they can create lives they love and in turn… change the world. THIS is my vision. I seek to play a minor role in their lives at a young age, but that role in turn starts a ripple, that unleashes a generation of mentally and emotionally healthy women who are unstoppable.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
My top five lifestyle tweaks are grounded in my FIERCEST Framework that I teach young girls in my program.
The first two pertain to the “Choose Your Thoughts” aspect of the framework.
The first tool for choosing your thoughts is FEEL GRATITUDE by developing a daily gratitude practice. My most fun/memorable way to do this is by choosing to take a moment of gratitude every time you see a yellow car — this is great because it involves the whole family, and serves as an excellent reset button on your attitude every time you see a vehicle of this hue.
The second tool for choosing your thoughts is I AM STATEMENTS or daily affirmations. Each morning, I encourage my clients to take JUST A MOMENT to think about their day and the challenges they see arising. And, in that moment, think about what qualities they will need to practice in order to face that challenge, and then CLAIM that I am statement. For example, if they have a speech in history class, they might need bravery and focus — so their affirmation for the day would be “I am brave and focused.” Saying it aloud, writing it down, and then following it up in their mind with examples of how they have been brave and focused in the past can make ALL the difference in how they show up that day.
The next two tools pertain to the “Create Your Life” aspect of the framework.
EXERCISE and READ may not seem like revolutionary tools in the journey toward wellbeing, but keeping in mind that I work with young girls — I focus on the tiniest portions of each of these that can be implemented quickly and easily into their morning routines so that they can be effective but also efficient.
I encourage them to EXERCISE for just 60 seconds! (You read that right!) The idea is that they do just enough rigorous movement to get their heart beating and oxygen flowing — enough to remind them that their bodies are strong and they are alive for a reason. 50–100 jumping jacks or a few sun salutations can usually do the trick!
Similarly, I challenge my clients to just read one quote or inspirational phrase first thing in the morning and then ask themselves … “Do I agree with this? And if I do, how might this impact my day?” For example I love Seth Godin’s quote “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” In order to decide if I agree with it or not, I have to really process the words and consider the statement fully for a few moments. Then — if I DO agree — I would consider times in my day when I want to face fears, do something new, or step out of my comfort zone instead of playing small.
While the FIERCEST Framework has four additional components — all of which pertain to supporting girls’ journeys to better well being — I will only share the fifth one with you here which is CREATE.
I regularly tell my clients (and myself) — “Creating each day keeps boredom away.” There are literally ENDLESS ways to create and put something new and unique and special into this world — and I truly believe when girls understand this in their core; their confidence, wellness, and passion to show up for themselves and one another becomes an unstoppable force. This force benefits not only themselves, but literally every other person with whom they interact.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
The movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people would have to start with our youngest kiddos. For this reason, I would start an educational program beginning in preschool for children to be taught about what self-talk is. They would learn where it comes from, how to channel negative self-talk, and how to leverage positive self-talk to overcome and persevere. Kids are so ridiculously amazing. They are creative and kind and powerful … and through life and school they quickly come to believe they are NOT these things. This movement would make sure kids never lost their ability to see themselves as amazing individuals who could create a fulfilling themselves founded on their unique brand of passions, talents, and personality.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health has always been a cause that has been dear to my heart, since a variety of emotional and mental disorders run in my family. Harnessing the habits and mindsets that keep my wellness journey on track — that I can pass on to my daughters is literally the WHY behind my business, and therefore the wellness topic I am most passionate about.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!