Tarah Keech moved her small family — her husband and her puppy — to Denver to pursue a graduate degree and become a therapist. Little did she know, only a few weeks in, she'd realize therapy wasn't for her. Cue a big career change and time of soul-searching. Keech pursued project management and a series of jobs as she reverse-engineered her dream career.
Now the founder of Burnout Survival, Keech helps high-achieving, mission-driven professionals prevent and heal from burnout and offers coaching on what she calls "Whole Self-Care" — a way of curating your thoughts and actions to best serve yourself and reduce guilt and burnout. We asked Keech about how "Whole Self-Care" works, why women are so burnt out and how she built a career she loves.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Tarah Keech
Founder and CEO, Burnout Survival
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
So many! I'm proud of my kids, my relationship with my husband and that I am in love with the work I do — helping high-performing professionals survive and thrive after burnout. I teach Whole Self-Care through a process I call "thought curation." When my clients are able to see their thoughts and reverse engineer the results — the actions and feelings they really want — it's life affirming, soul-fueling and empowering for them!
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
Burnout! Really, as women, we go through an "evolution of ambition." It can be devastating to look up one day and not recognize who you are or why you're doing what you're doing. That's where my burnout survival program came from. I needed a tool to help me consciously, mindfully take charge of my career and my relationships. It boils down to the simplest and hardest work you'll ever do — managing your own thoughts.
Everyone wants to give advice in terms of what to think, but what no one is talking about how to think. Regardless of where you are in life, what your experiences are or where you want to be, the only constant is that you control how you think about them. And harnessing that power of intention is the missing key in so many women's lives. The only way to change how you feel is to change how you think.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
I am so lucky to have had so many amazing mentors in my life. I'm forever their fan girls. Dr. Jean Kutner, CMO with the UCH, has been my sponsor, advocate, mentor and example of what women are capable of. Kecia Connick was my first example of a strong woman executive. Debra Benton is my teacher, role model and coach. And my parents: loving, encouraging and steadfast demonstrations of the pursuit excellence in every single role in their lives — marriage, career, education and caregiving.
What do you do when you're not working?
Leave my phone in the laundry room where I don't see or hear it and snuggle, play with and feed my kiddos!
If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
Just one?! Janet Lansbury. I love her brain and advice on all things parenting and human behavior. She is my icon!
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
All the Paula Abdul.
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
"Hope Floats" — I love a happy ending!
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
Does my Passion Planner count?
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
Hmmm... Less stuff is my latest obsession! So, with this windfall, I'd invest in vacation homes around the world that would give us family time and support our kiddos experiencing the great, wide world.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
As women, at some point, we go through what I call an “evolution of ambition." My clients are successful women — by most standards, exceptionally successful. But when we first start together, most of them say they feel like failures and imposters or empty and unbalanced. They feel like something’s missing, but they don’t know what.
And here’s what I see with high-performing, achievement-oriented women: coping with those feelings turns inward. It can look like destructive self-talk or pounding chardonnay alone at home every night or scrolling through facebook and over-eating; it's anything that ultimately makes you feel worse even though it feels like relief in the moment. So, in the Burnout Survival Program, what we learn, apply and study is how to manage your thoughts to target the feelings, actions and results you want. Because the simplest and hardest truth is that the only way to change how you feel is to change the way you think.
Why do you love where you work?
I ask my clients what they most want to feel in life and they say, "satisfied," "content" and "happy." I freaking love my work because teaching my clients how to recognize their own thoughts is the missing key to so many women's experiences. Whole Self-Care gives them the ability and the power to lead the lives they want most by focusing with intention on the thoughts that will give them the results, actions and feelings that they most want.