Overcoming Adversity and Living Your Dreams With Tamaira Sandifer

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Podcasts

 SPEAKER_1: You’re listening to She Grabs The Mic, and I’m your host, Cole Baker-Bagwell.
SPEAKER_1: Every week, we’ll explore what it means to be happy, present and whole.

SPEAKER_1: You’ll hear from courageous women who are kicking ass in their lives, and leave with actionable tips that you can apply to reset from toxicity, tune into your gold, and live powerfully from the bedroom to the boardroom.

SPEAKER_1: Right now, it’s time to grab your headphones, kick back and relax, and get ready to be inspired.

SPEAKER_1: Hello, Amazing Ones! Welcome to She Grabs The Mic!

SPEAKER_1: I am so glad that you’re here, because that means that you have made a mindful choice today to hit the big red pause button on everything else that’s happening and set aside time just for you.

SPEAKER_1: Time to get inspired, time to learn, to grow with this community of women from around the world!

SPEAKER_1: And I have got a super inspiring conversation for you this week.

SPEAKER_1: Today we’re talking about overcoming adversity and weaving your dreams.

SPEAKER_1: We are joined by a wildly accomplished and purpose-led woman with an incredibly inspiring story that I am certain is going to stick with you for a super long time.

SPEAKER_1: I am pleased and so very proud to introduce you to Tamaira Sandifer, known to the world as Miss Tee.

SPEAKER_1: Now, this woman is not your average entrepreneur. She is an award-winning leader and she’s a visionary. She is impacting the lives of over 800,000 youth!

SPEAKER_1: Yes, you heard me, 800,000 youth nationwide through her groundbreaking organization, Studio T Arts and Entertainment.

SPEAKER_1: With a mission to instill hope and real-life skills in underserved communities, Miss Tee’s dedication has earned her recognition as a Forbes Culture 50 Champion and Woman of the Year by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

SPEAKER_1: Join me as we delve into her story from developing Hollywood’s most sought after dancers to spearheading a national expansion that promises to empower the next generation of change makers.

SPEAKER_1: This woman is here with us today to share her She Grabs The Mic story about the internal shift that propelled her to break the cycle of poverty and trauma that she experienced as a child to uplifting so many amazing kids through the arts.

SPEAKER_1: Welcome Miss Tee.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for being here.

SPEAKER_2: Thank you very much.

SPEAKER_2: Wow, that was inspiring to listen to.

SPEAKER_1: I know! I was kidding with your publicist earlier and I said, “I’m going to have to take 20 breaths before I introduce this woman! She has a heck of a background and so much going on.”

SPEAKER_1: Thank you for coming around today.
SPEAKER_2: Oh, my absolute pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

SPEAKER_1: I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, actually. I’m really thrilled that you’re here.
SPEAKER_2: Thank you.
SPEAKER_1: You’re welcome.

SPEAKER_1: Before we dive into your incredible story, I have a question for you that’s a bit of an aside.

SPEAKER_1: Where in the world do you find the energy for everything that you have going on in your life?

SPEAKER_2: Well, I think you can find energy for anything that you are extremely impassioned by.

SPEAKER_2: I think that most often, when you love it, you’re willing to pay the price of no sleep, pay the price of hit the ground running.

SPEAKER_2: So I think that that’s just a thing that I’ve always done just because I believe in what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for.

SPEAKER_1: I hear passion. I hear just this thing that lights you up, gets you out of bed every morning.

SPEAKER_1: There will be women who will listen to this conversation today, so I just want to go ahead and put it into the front ground, who will wonder what does this woman do in the morning?

SPEAKER_1: How does she replenish her energy during the day?

SPEAKER_1: Why don’t we just give them a few Miss Tee-isms about how you meet your days, even though the passion is there.

SPEAKER_1: You’ve got so much happening. It has to be exhausting at times, right?

SPEAKER_2: Yeah, at times, but not for long.

SPEAKER_2: And I greet my day with gratitude.

SPEAKER_2: I get to wake up, I get to live this life.

SPEAKER_2: And I’m a huge fan of studying the Bible.

SPEAKER_2: That’s one of the first things I do. It’s always something that really charges me up because it helps me to know and understand that there’s something bigger and stronger out there with me and for me.

SPEAKER_2: And that’s always very encouraging. But first things first is thank you. Thank you that I get to wake up today. I get to live this life.

SPEAKER_2: And I keep that perspective.

SPEAKER_2: Tomorrow is not promised.

SPEAKER_2: Today is not promised to anybody.

SPEAKER_2: Anytime you get to open your eyes and take a deep breath, that’s a gift.

SPEAKER_1: Yes, it is. That’s a huge gift.
SPEAKER_1: Gratitude and connecting with faith.

SPEAKER_2: Absolutely.

SPEAKER_1: Stepping into something that’s bigger than yourself and honoring all of that.

SPEAKER_1: Talk about a grounding practice for mindset.

SPEAKER_1: You know, Miss Tee, when I first heard your story, I was blown away. I had chills just all over my body.

SPEAKER_1: I was so impressed by this fortitude that you’ve had across your life, what you’ve navigated, what you’ve accomplished, and how you’re giving back to the world.

SPEAKER_1: It’s all tremendous.

SPEAKER_1: I’d love for you to share a few highlights of your early years to connect the women who are listening with the gravity of what you’ve transcended to arrive in this place where you are now.

SPEAKER_2: Well, that’s always a fun question for me.

SPEAKER_2: I think most often when I share my upbringing or background, it gives people some layer of empathy for what I went through, but I know what I went through was all preparatory for who I’ve become.

SPEAKER_2: I grew up in the Bay Area, Oakland and Richmond, which are not the best parts of town if you want to accomplish a ton of positive in life.

SPEAKER_2: I mean, it’s riddled with things like the drug wars and gang wars.
SPEAKER_2: And I grew up with my parents in the height of the crack epidemic.
SPEAKER_2: As kids, we were losing our parents to OD and suicide and just extreme poverty.

SPEAKER_2: So, growing up at a very young age, I learned that I was responsible for my siblings.

SPEAKER_2: There were six of us.
SPEAKER_2: My mom was a single parent.
SPEAKER_2: My dad was not with us.

SPEAKER_2: We had to be very creative in not just how to survive the day, but also the basics of the day, like eating and running water and things like that.

SPEAKER_2: And again, I tell people those things and it’s kind of difficult to imagine, but because of what I do today, but really truly growing up when there’s poverty, when you’re fighting for survival every day, those things build, they build things in you.

SPEAKER_2: They build a tenacity to live better, to stay alive, to help your family, to love differently, to show up in people’s lives differently.

SPEAKER_2: I think the core of anything that anyone is seeing by way of success in entrepreneurial form started by being my brother’s keeper, if you will, at the young age of seven, all the way through getting my first job at 11 and being a supplemental provider for my family, bringing in money when we just didn’t have enough, making sure that you get up every day at 4 a.m. and do a paper route in a community where no one could afford the paper, but you’re still faithful to deliver.

SPEAKER_2: Those commitments, character and integrity, core things were built in me growing up the way I did.

SPEAKER_2: And I see a lot of them present themselves on national scale today, but most often I reflect in a way that it used to be painful, but today it’s impactful.

SPEAKER_2: I think of how so many people are experiencing traumatic experiences, but it causes them to self-medicate or hurt themselves or take their own lives where it did something different for me.

SPEAKER_2: The trauma built a tenacity to triumph and help other people triumph, even though they’re going through hard things.

SPEAKER_2: Growing up and having the past, like I didn’t have a dance class, I didn’t have equipment, I didn’t learn how to do videos, all of that stuff came as a result of wanting a better life and wanting to help other people have a better life.

SPEAKER_2: Growing up in a difficult and traumatic way, if used as a reference to help people have better, it could be one of the most powerful things that you have in your arsenal to help, not only yourself and your family succeed, but others succeed.

SPEAKER_1: That’s incredible.

SPEAKER_1: I hear, it was tough.

SPEAKER_1: It was tough for you growing up, but this internal, something that was intrinsic to you and you mentioned several times transformed you and it became fuel for you.

SPEAKER_2: 100%.

SPEAKER_1: We have a lot of care for children these days, Miss Tee, some of them would have no idea how to deliver a paper route.

SPEAKER_1: In that environment that you experienced in your early days, where did you find support and strength outside of yourself or did it all come from within you to be able to just triumph and lead with that tenacity that you’ve been describing?

SPEAKER_2: Well, I think that, you know, I grew up, I’m black.
SPEAKER_2: I’m right in the middle of six children, five girls, and then my brothers last.

SPEAKER_2: I watched my sisters have to be moms at a young age because our mom was always gone or we were always left at someone’s house.

SPEAKER_2: I always had examples of fighting forward.

SPEAKER_2: I was really, really blessed with teachers who could see me.

SPEAKER_2: And that’s a thing, you know, with kids that go through trauma is sometimes it’s easy to hide those things.

SPEAKER_2: But I had, you know, a couple of teachers, Miss Romo and Miss Jones. I’ll never forget them for as long as I live.
SPEAKER_2: But they could see that we, you know, we were, it was difficult where we lived.

SPEAKER_2: And, you know, what we were going through at home.

SPEAKER_2: So they were always super intentional, not so much highlighting the difficulty, but celebrating the gifts and talents and forcing, you know, me into it.

SPEAKER_2: My skills and reading and imagination and the love of education.

SPEAKER_2: So, I’ve been very, very blessed with just people, you know, merging on my path for a season to just help me keep me on a path.

SPEAKER_2: And it wasn’t people that could do the work for me, but it was people that could encourage me while I was doing the work to be better and to have better.

SPEAKER_1: That is an absolute gift to have these people in your life that saw something in you.

SPEAKER_1: And I imagine that that would have transformed your mindset.

SPEAKER_1: So let’s talk about the power of mindset and this intrinsic drive that you had.

SPEAKER_1: That in and of itself is incredible.

SPEAKER_1: I talk to women all the time who say, “Well, this is the hand that I was dealt.”

SPEAKER_1: And I say, “Yes and what do you want to do with that hand?”
SPEAKER_2: You play a badass game of poker with it, baby!

SPEAKER_1: That is exactly what you did.
SPEAKER_1: You played a badass game of poker.
SPEAKER_1: Where did mindset become one of those transformational elements for you then and now?

SPEAKER_2: Every day.
SPEAKER_2: Every day.

SPEAKER_2: For example, when you’re 10 years old and you’re waking up having your bowl of cornflakes, but you have to pick the cockroaches out of it and there is no milk, so you have to put water in it and forget about having sugar or anything good like that.

SPEAKER_2: You have to change your mind in that, wow, this is really horrible, into, man, I get to have a meal this morning.

SPEAKER_2: So perspective is everything all the time.

SPEAKER_2: What you think is exactly what you have.


SPEAKER_2: And the idea that you have the capacity to stretch, what you think, what you see, what you have, what you focus on.

SPEAKER_2: I don’t know that I could put my finger on exactly what would cause that to develop in me.

SPEAKER_2: I just knew that how I was living is not how I would live my life.

SPEAKER_2: And how my parents kind of evolved into themselves is not who I would evolve into.

SPEAKER_2: The people that were in the community that I was growing up in, that is not where I land.

SPEAKER_2: And so I always knew that there’s something, something powerful and I always was very optimistic about being at the bottom.

SPEAKER_2: There’s only one way to go from there.

SPEAKER_2: And then how high you go from there is 100% up to you.

SPEAKER_2: So, if you’re succeeding in life at a level, it’s cause you choose to succeed in life at that level.

SPEAKER_2: I believe what you think becomes what you believe. SPEAKER_2: And then whatever you believe is what happens in your life.
SPEAKER_2: So I was always super conscious about what I think.
SPEAKER_2: And then the great thing about what you think, you can always change your mind.

SPEAKER_1: Yes, you can.

SPEAKER_2: I want a hamburger.

SPEAKER_2: Well, you know what?

SPEAKER_2: I want pizza.

SPEAKER_2: I’m broke, but you know what?

SPEAKER_2: I want to be rich.

SPEAKER_2: So we all are gifted with the power, the ability to change our mind and become who we want to become.

SPEAKER_2: Outcomes in life is not somebody else’s fault if you’re not succeeding.

SPEAKER_2: Change your mind.

SPEAKER_1: Change your mind.

SPEAKER_1: It’s that simple.

SPEAKER_1: I just got a flash of you as you were speaking on a stage, in front of all these kids who maybe have never known who they are, and they are sitting up taller, they are smiling from ear to ear, because for the first time, there’s hope.

SPEAKER_2: Absolutely.

SPEAKER_2: And that’s how I get to live every day.

SPEAKER_2: Every day of my life, just like what you just described right there.

SPEAKER_1: I absolutely love it.

SPEAKER_2: So who wouldn’t wake up on fire about that?

SPEAKER_1: I know, who wouldn’t?

SPEAKER_1: I’m feeling a little extra fire because of you right now, honestly.

SPEAKER_1: So let’s shift gears.

SPEAKER_1: Okay. So we have the past. We have this intrinsic motivation. We have this belief of “You know what, I’m here, baby, and I’m going to soar because that’s what I want for me and my life.”

SPEAKER_1: You had these wonderful mentors who came into your life and saw something in you.

SPEAKER_1: Why dance?
SPEAKER_1: What inspired you to work with youth and the arts and through dance specifically?

SPEAKER_1: What was it?

SPEAKER_2: That’s what kept me and my sisters off the streets.
SPEAKER_2: That was the one thing that we could, that’s the one thing that we could do for free.

SPEAKER_2: That was something that was organic to our culture.
SPEAKER_2: And so, you know, back in the day, day, you have shows like Fame.
SPEAKER_2: I’m highly inspired by Miss Debbie Allen.

SPEAKER_2: She looked like us.
SPEAKER_2: We were a bunch of kids that were, you know, our family were multiracial.

SPEAKER_2: So that was the first time we saw someone on TV doing something like what she was doing.

SPEAKER_2: She highly impacted my life.

SPEAKER_2: But I would teach like her, my siblings, and instead of us going outside, getting in, you know, into nonsense, or, you know, hurt by stray bullets and all the other things that were going on, we spent an absurd amount of time inside and inside of our imaginations.

SPEAKER_2: And dance was the one thing that I could do by way of keeping them captured and also expressing myself.

SPEAKER_2: I was a violently shy little girl.

SPEAKER_2: I spent a lot of time in my head and alone and in books.

SPEAKER_2: One of the ways that I was able to communicate was through movement.

SPEAKER_2: I could teach a dance routine and I didn’t even know that that was something that people did for a career.

SPEAKER_2: It was something that I did for my siblings for survival.

SPEAKER_1: Wow, holy smokes!

SPEAKER_1: Okay, so that just took all of this to a whole different level.

SPEAKER_1: You said, something to the extent of “So that I could keep them alive, hold all my siblings and keep them in a safe place.”

SPEAKER_1: I find it very hard to believe that you were shy, by the way.

SPEAKER_2: Very much so!

SPEAKER_1: Talk about a mindset shift ! I’m not picking up on shy when I talk to you Miss Tee.

SPEAKER_2: Oh, jeez, I was very, very shy.

SPEAKER_2: Shy to the point of wet my pants when I have to walk into my classroom every day at school.

SPEAKER_2: I’m not kidding.

SPEAKER_1: You’ve come a long way, baby!

SPEAKER_1: It’s like that Virginia Slims commercial. “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

SPEAKER_1: Ok, you’re in the house, dancing with your siblings and learning that you can teach them something, which we call, of course, choreography now.

SPEAKER_2: Yeah, yes.

SPEAKER_1: What did you dream of accomplishing in that room as you were dancing with your siblings?

SPEAKER_1: What did the big dream to soar from the bottom up,  look like?

SPEAKER_2: That one day I could be a soul train dancer, one day I could be teaching, like Miss Debbie Allen in the fame, or maybe one day I could go to the school that was in fame.

SPEAKER_2: I thought I could be a Pippi Long-stocking or a Punky Brewster, or on Silver Spoons or Different Strokes.

SPEAKER_2: One day my big day was going to come and my whole life would change.

SPEAKER_2: And whether that was me adventuring out by myself to explore my creativity, or some rich person discovering, wow, I want to adopt you and give you a better life.

SPEAKER_2: It always opened the door for the multitude of potentials, but it helped to grow my imagination in a way that I know that I’m creative and innovative as a result of having those experiences, but it caused me to dream.

SPEAKER_2: It caused me to see that there was a number of things that I could become outside of what the atmosphere and the community and my culture, my upbringing was suggesting that I should be.

SPEAKER_2: Dance took me to different worlds inside of myself which kept me from conforming to the world around me.

SPEAKER_1: Another intrinsic move.
SPEAKER_1: What led you to say, you know what, I’m going to go from this painfully shy child to this person who discovers she can express herself through dance and feel free and maybe get picked up by one of these shows?

SPEAKER_1: And by the way, for the Millennials and GenZs who don’t know those shows, go back and check some of them out because when Miss Tee and I were growing up, there were three TV channels and these shows were all over every single one of them.

SPEAKER_1: The GenXers are going to understand. They’re following us.

SPEAKER_1: What took you from that point of, “I wanna live forever” (great-now I’ve got the fame song stuck in my head, thank you very much) to, I am going to start this company that inspires other kids, that lifts them up through dance, through the arts to give them a chance.

SPEAKER_1: Give us a little rundown on that story.
SPEAKER_2: The thread of dance has been all through my tweens, teens, young adult years.

SPEAKER_2: And so anytime I could, I had jobs, full-time jobs.
SPEAKER_2: I was technically like a network engineer, heady jobs, because that’s what I was told.

SPEAKER_2: If you wanted to have a decent life, you needed to get a real job.
SPEAKER_2: So no one ever told me that dance could be a real job, if you will.

SPEAKER_2: And so I always volunteered anywhere I could, churches, community centers, after school programs, summer programs, urban housing developments, anywhere where I could just work with the kids free of charge.

SPEAKER_2: I’ve done that my entire life.
SPEAKER_2: I relocated with the company that I was working for at the time to Sacramento.

SPEAKER_2: And myself, like a bunch of people from the Bay Area were realizing that they could live better for less here in Sacramento than we could in the Bay Area.

SPEAKER_2: So there was, I wasn’t the only, our family was the only family that relocated.

SPEAKER_2: We’re accustomed to certain kinds of culturally relevant classes and things like that.

SPEAKER_2: You can take an African dance, it’s about anywhere in the Bay Area, but that stuff didn’t exist here in Sacramento.

SPEAKER_2: It’s a very conservative city.

SPEAKER_2: I knew that, okay, in volunteering, like we’re missing something here for the families that are not organically from here.

SPEAKER_2: So I just started volunteering and teaching and I noticed very quickly that, okay, it wasn’t niche, but I’m on to something here.

SPEAKER_2: And one day, again, volunteering with different companies, I’m out of park and now at this point, I have two young girls and I wanted my kids to have access.

SPEAKER_2: I just started teaching them the way I used to teach my sisters.

SPEAKER_2: And it’s my daughter and a handful of her friends at a park one day and then the next day, there’s eight kids.

SPEAKER_2: Then the next month, there’s 30 kids.

SPEAKER_2: Two months after that, before you know it, we’re out at the park and there’s 70 kids outside.

SPEAKER_2: And I was like, “Oh my God,” I better get some help.

SPEAKER_2:  realized very quickly, no marketing, no advertising, all word of mouth and kids on fire.

SPEAKER_2: I said, okay, look, I clearly am onto something.

SPEAKER_2: So I started Studio T because I wanted to do things the right way and safely and dancing outside in a park in August in the city of Sacramento when it’s 114 degrees is not safe.

SPEAKER_1: Right?

SPEAKER_2: I couldn’t, in good conscience, keep doing things this way.

SPEAKER_2: That was really the instigator for the organization.

SPEAKER_2: Then the fact that our young people, I had to leverage the playing field a bit for them.

SPEAKER_2: They didn’t have, they were highly talented.

SPEAKER_2: Like I was highly talented, but I didn’t have money for a plane ticket to go do an audition to get a real gig.

SPEAKER_2: So I started to, yes, dance, but also media.

SPEAKER_2: I started documenting everything and then learned how to edit videos and then sent these videos via YouTube and all that stuff was just coming out.

SPEAKER_2: But I used it again, when you talk about poker and the hand you’re dealt, that was another card in the deck.

SPEAKER_2: I used that to be able to get my kids in front of casting directors.

SPEAKER_2: Some of the outcomes of that was one of my young people getting on with Britney Spears when she was in the height of her career.

SPEAKER_2: Then Jennifer Lopez and then Selena Gomez when she was first coming out.

SPEAKER_2: Then the hits just kept on coming.
SPEAKER_2: My kids started doing the audition shows and the competitions and things like that.

SPEAKER_2: We were on the cusp of something and I didn’t even know it.

SPEAKER_2: I just was trying to keep them engaged in this because once I started things, I started pulling them out of the juvenile hall because if I could give them this, then they won’t revert back to that.

SPEAKER_2: I have two young men that we got out of the juvenile hall. One of which is one of the talents that works with the Jabbawockeez, a headlining show in Las Vegas.

SPEAKER_2: But his alternative as he’s watching all of his peers pass away from homicide was either the dance stuff or death.

SPEAKER_2: I started to see some of the outcomes. I knew that I was on to something, but the something was so ahead of the curve that I couldn’t get people to understand.

SPEAKER_2: And so I would let them say, oh, okay, yeah, sure, it’s a dance studio.

SPEAKER_2: But I couldn’t articulate things in English in a way to get people to see it’s dance plus media, plus entrepreneurship, plus social services, plus financial planning, fiscal planning, debt demolition.

SPEAKER_2: Meal prep academy, I couldn’t get them to see the breadth of everything that we were doing, which was a really holistic approach to not just developing talented, but developing people through their talents.

SPEAKER_1: You really were a visionary.

SPEAKER_1: You were taking all of the services, not only elevating them, but rolling them up into one beautiful package for these kids.

SPEAKER_1: And that is amazing!

SPEAKER_1: To think that you got started by teaching a few kids in the park is unbelievable.

SPEAKER_1: And so far, you’ve touched over 800,000 youth and there is a huge domino effect that will come from that.

SPEAKER_2: Absolutely.

SPEAKER_1: Like in millions of lives. Disrupting old cycles, creating brand new hope.


SPEAKER_1: That’s crazy amazing!

SPEAKER_1: We’ve mentioned, that your work has touched all of these people.

SPEAKER_1: How has it changed you as a woman to see this dream that you had, this manifestation of something that was so dear to your heart and so instrumental in shaping you as a young person?

SPEAKER_1: How does it feel now to look out and to sort of reflect on where you are and say, this has really changed me as a woman?

SPEAKER_1: What is the magnitude of the impact of that work on your life?
SPEAKER_2: Oh my God, it’s humbling.
SPEAKER_2: It’s humbling that somebody like me gets to do this.
SPEAKER_2: Like, I could look at the myriad of reasons that I’m not qualified, but I get to do this.

SPEAKER_2: And it’s a remarkable thing when you know why you’re born.

SPEAKER_2: I’m rare in that I know why I’m here and it’s humbling to me every single day.

SPEAKER_2: And anytime there’s a moment where I might want to complain or I might want to be challenged or frustrated about what I’m enduring in a moment, I’m reminded that I get to do this and I get to show up in people’s lives and hopefully give hope and strategy in how to live better.

SPEAKER_2: That’s a very humbling thing.

SPEAKER_2: And there’s nothing in my background or academic experience that qualifies me to do what I’m doing.

SPEAKER_2: I’m just taking steps and the steps are working for not just me, but a bunch of other people.

SPEAKER_2: It’s a gift from God.

SPEAKER_2: And I think once you have that kind of experience, you can get up every day, you can go long, you can work hard, you can keep giving.

SPEAKER_2: The level of generosity that’s developed in you is remarkable.

SPEAKER_2: A lot of people just don’t get to live this life. SPEAKER_1: No, they don’t.
SPEAKER_2: For me, it’s just humbling.

SPEAKER_2: It’s every day, I’m grateful every day that I get to live this. I get to serve people.
SPEAKER_2: I am a public servant.
SPEAKER_2: I get to be that.

SPEAKER_1: I’m so grateful you’re here too.

SPEAKER_1: And I know those millions of lives and growing by the day are too because you’re here.

SPEAKER_1: Wow! Holy smokes.

SPEAKER_2: Now that I’ve  got some stuff figured out, I can really do some damage!

SPEAKER_1: I can’t imagine. The next time we talk, I’m going to have to have three full pages dedicated to all of your accolades.

SPEAKER_1: In all seriousness, you’ve been celebrated in California and across various organizations, in Forbes, NAWB…

SPEAKER_1: You are a fire starter. 

SPEAKER_1: What are you most proud of as you look across all of it Miss Tee so far?

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud of a lot of things.

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that I get to be a mom, proud that I get to be a grandma now.

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that I get to support my family and lots of families.

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud, you know, I could look at all the different accomplishments by way of, you know, celebrity type success, but I’m proud that, you know, I have kids that graduated high school.

SPEAKER_2: I have kids that, you know, that have college degrees, but they were in the hall.

SPEAKER_2: I have young people that are now in their thirties and, you know, young men, they’re fathers of families, and they’re taking care of their family, and they’re happily married.

SPEAKER_2:All of that stuff wouldn’t be if our paths didn’t merge and they weren’t gifted another perspective on the outcomes that they can have in their lives.

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that organizationally we get to not only have these programs for youth, but we get to employ a lot of them as they grow into their skill sets and their crafts.

SPEAKER_2: We get to feed families through what we do.

SPEAKER_2: I think I’m also proud of the way that we’re shifting people’s perspectives as far as leaders and civic leaders and how they can serve communities that are trauma-informed and under-resourced and tech-starved.

SPEAKER_2: There’s so many different things that I can say that I’m proud of, but I think it’s, you know, it’s how worlds are being bettered, lives are being transformed, not just changed for a moment, but completely transformed because now they’re thinking and seeing the potentials from their lives differently, watching the vast potential that’s come out of this one shy girl from the hood.

SPEAKER_2: I’m proud that I get to example some hard things.

SPEAKER_2: Most people think that there’s an easy route and there isn’t one.

SPEAKER_2: There isn’t one for anybody, no matter what they may make you think.

SPEAKER_2: Social media makes people think there’s a whole get-rich-quick thing and there isn’t.

SPEAKER_2: So, I’m grateful that I get to model that hard work pays off.

SPEAKER_2: But consistency is worth it.

SPEAKER_2: Discipline matters.

SPEAKER_2: Character and integrity count.

SPEAKER_2: And that you are an example and you are your brother’s keeper.

SPEAKER_2: I’m seeing more of that start to populate, not just in, you know, the communities we service, but in the states we service now.

SPEAKER_2: I’m watching the ripple effect from one girl who had the simple seed of, I really just like to dance and what it’s evolved into.

SPEAKER_2: And I’m proud of the way that innovative and creative approaches to problem solving, people are now starting to adopt because it’s been modeled.

SPEAKER_2: So again, I don’t take credit for the success of the people around me and the kids that filter through my program.

SPEAKER_2: I don’t want to say that I’m proud of what they’re doing, but I’m proud that I was picked to work with them.

SPEAKER_2: I was picked to meet them.

SPEAKER_2: I picked to know them, picked to hug them.

SPEAKER_2: I got picked to wipe their tears.

SPEAKER_2: I got picked to laugh with them.

SPEAKER_2: I got picked to sweat with them.

SPEAKER_2: And I got picked to connect them.

SPEAKER_2: When you ask about my list of accolades, those are the sorts of things that I put on it.

SPEAKER_1: That is absolutely inspiring, beautiful, heartfelt, and  real.

SPEAKER_1: Thank God for Soul Train. Thank God for Fame. And for the people who created all those shows.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you. Thank you.

SPEAKER_1: You got to be witness to that and say, that’s where I want to be.

SPEAKER_1: And then, you took that and created, you created something so beautiful.

SPEAKER_1: I mean, I just had this other image.

SPEAKER_1: Can you imagine if everybody danced every day just a little bit, how different we would feel?

SPEAKER_2: I can, actually. I can.
SPEAKER_2: And you know what taught me that, where I got that?
SPEAKER_1: Where?
SPEAKER_2: COVID. When the whole world shut down, how many people do you know made dance videos?

SPEAKER_1: A lot of people.
SPEAKER_2: Mm-hmm.
SPEAKER_1: A lot of people.
SPEAKER_1: TikTok dance videos.
SPEAKER_2: There you go.
SPEAKER_2: There you go.
SPEAKER_2: So, yes, I can.

SPEAKER_2: And that showed me that what I’ve been seeing my whole life by way of what it does, how it makes you feel, how it connects you to people, and how exciting and creative it is, like everything that I’ve seen through it, through the filter of movement, my whole life was proven accurate during COVID

and established me as an expert in my craft.

SPEAKER_2: This is as much about healing as it is about a show.

SPEAKER_1: Do you think that you could roll up to Washington, DC for a little while?

SPEAKER_1: Teach those people how to dance.

SPEAKER_1: I have a feeling things might get better.

SPEAKER_2: Absolutely.

SPEAKER_2: I already have, actually.

SPEAKER_2: In fact, we took a handful of young people.

SPEAKER_2: We walked the same halls of the White House that our presidents do for the past several years.

SPEAKER_2: And we’re aligned with being content creators for the White House.

SPEAKER_2: So this is, again, opportunity.

SPEAKER_2: It presents itself all the time.

SPEAKER_2: And I find that when you just keep it, I don’t want to say keep it simple because sometimes simple is really hard for people.

SPEAKER_2: They want complex so that they can struggle. SPEAKER_2: And so I don’t always subscribe to that.

SPEAKER_2: But as far as leadership and connecting with the people that are in position to lead cities, states and counties, I learned I can do a lot of work as boots on the ground, but I can do even more impactful work working with people that are leading the boots on the ground.

SPEAKER_2: And so I had to do both.

SPEAKER_2: And like you said, getting them dancing, that’s one thing, getting them to understand the power and the impact behind new movement, community building and community gathering.

SPEAKER_2: When you offer people something like dance, I couldn’t get them to understand it pre- COVID.

SPEAKER_2: Now they get it.

SPEAKER_2: And some of our biggest clients are cities, states, counties and entire school districts.

SPEAKER_1: I mean, congressional meetings would be really different if they started off dancing.

SPEAKER_1: Totally.
SPEAKER_1: They would be so much more fun to see endorphins that would get going.

SPEAKER_1: How amazing would that be?

SPEAKER_2: Yeah.
SPEAKER_1: All right.
SPEAKER_1: You and know that a lot of people are really struggling right now. It’s a tricky time.

SPEAKER_1: What three life tips can you offer to women who have dreams or some inkling of a dream, but who are stuck in difficult situations, or at least they feel they’re stuck or feeling a bit hopeless right now, like, you know, disempowered?

SPEAKER_1: What three things would you offer them to help transform their mindset and then their life?

SPEAKER_2: Well, I start with, and I get this question, I get this question often.

SPEAKER_2: And I learned, vague dreams get vague results.

SPEAKER_2: Most often people have, you know, something sweet and fluffy, but there’s no detail, there’s no structure, there’s no depth.

SPEAKER_2: And until you get serious about your dreams, you can’t reach them.

SPEAKER_2: And your imagination is a powerful thing.
SPEAKER_2: It’ll show you a snapshot of something.
SPEAKER_2: It’s your responsibility to put the flesh and the bones to it through action.

SPEAKER_2: And so first things first, get serious about your dreams.

SPEAKER_2: Write them down, have a vision board, speak to them, start connecting with people, read books about it.

SPEAKER_2: Like really, really put some substance with your dream.

SPEAKER_2: Secondly is document everything.

SPEAKER_2: I don’t know that people understand the power.

SPEAKER_2: Yes, you can record something.

SPEAKER_2: Yes, you can text something, you can swipe something, but there’s something about writing it down.

SPEAKER_2: When you write it down, it not only memorializes it on paper, but it also cements it in you.

SPEAKER_2: It’s something your brain has to do in order for something to become.
SPEAKER_2: Write it down, document everything.

SPEAKER_2: And again, I document not just so that I could cement things, but I also document for legacy reasons, recognize that whatever you accomplish in this life becomes a roadmap for someone who comes after you.

SPEAKER_2: So document, document, document.

SPEAKER_2: And the more you can start getting in the habit of thinking in leadership and service realm, from the perspective of everything that you accomplish today, someone’s going to build on tomorrow, it makes you more inclined to do more.

SPEAKER_2: It makes you more inclined to be serious.

SPEAKER_2: It makes you more inclined to be innovative.

SPEAKER_2: And this is just what I discovered in my, you know, on my path.

SPEAKER_2: And the third thing is, you know, the balance piece is critical.

SPEAKER_2: I know a lot of, you know, strong, remarkable humans who work themselves into the ground.

SPEAKER_2: And we don’t have them anymore.
SPEAKER_2: And I don’t know that they were done with their race.

SPEAKER_2: And so I know that, you know, sometimes when you’re feeling stuck, you may not need another job to do.

SPEAKER_2: You might need to walk in the sand and collect seashells.
SPEAKER_2: So you’ve got to keep in mind that, you know, the balance piece is, it’s not all work and it’s not all play.

SPEAKER_2: There has to be a balance of family.

SPEAKER_2: There has to be a balance of finances.

SPEAKER_2: There has to be a balance of fun.

SPEAKER_2: All of those things have to be well balanced.

SPEAKER_2: And anytime you’re out of balance, that’s when you’ll notice blockage or stoppage, because you’re out of balance.

SPEAKER_1: So vague dreams get vague results.

SPEAKER_2: Yeah.
SPEAKER_1: Journal with a pen and a paper.


SPEAKER_1: And our brains actually map information differently that way.

SPEAKER_1: And so you had a two-parter there because it was for yourself, but then also to create documentation as if you’re creating a legacy for somebody else to pick up.

SPEAKER_1: Mm-hmm. Just beautiful.

SPEAKER_1: And then the third one is balance, you know, between fun and work, between rest and doing, between socializing and solitude, you know, all of those things.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you.

SPEAKER_1: Those are beautiful, so amazing ones.

SPEAKER_1: There you have it.

SPEAKER_1: Three more micro coaching tips from a woman, from a woman who is wildly accomplished and has built her dreams.

SPEAKER_2: Can I add a fourth one?

SPEAKER_2: Can I give a bonus?

SPEAKER_1: Yes, we’re going to make it a bonus because I have a little situation about three.

SPEAKER_1: So we’re going to put an asterisk and call this a bonus tip.

SPEAKER_1: Yes, go for it.

SPEAKER_2: Get rid of the idea that you can only do what you can do.

SPEAKER_2: There is no such thing as I can’t.

SPEAKER_2: There’s only I won’t.

SPEAKER_2: You can really truly do anything.

SPEAKER_2: So as long as you function from a place where there’s walls or limits or ceilings, it’s going to make it very difficult.

SPEAKER_2: So you have to change your mind about what someone like you can do.

SPEAKER_2: You can really do anything.
SPEAKER_1: Yes, everything is possible.
SPEAKER_2: Yeah, it really is.

SPEAKER_1: Everything’s possible if you believe it is, right? SPEAKER_1: Yes.
SPEAKER_2: Because if you believe it, you put action behind it. SPEAKER_1: Absolutely.

SPEAKER_1: You put energy and action behind it.
SPEAKER_1: And where the energy goes, the results are going to flow.

SPEAKER_2: There you go.
SPEAKER_2: There you go.
SPEAKER_1: I’m so glad you threw that bonus one in there. SPEAKER_1: All right.

SPEAKER_1: So there are people who are listening who are going to want to follow your work.

SPEAKER_1: We’ll be sure to include whatever channels you want in the show notes.
SPEAKER_1: Where are the best places for people to learn more about you, to experience what you do?

SPEAKER_1: Go for it.

SPEAKER_2: That’s easy.
SPEAKER_2: Just remember Sweet Tea Time, and that’s Sweet T-E-E Time. SPEAKER_2: And you can find me on Instagram.

SPEAKER_2: I’m just, you know, I’m always posting and sharing tips, tricks, strategies, anything that I could be hopefully helpful in helping people, you know, pursue the life that, you know, that they want to live.

SPEAKER_2: And then also sweetteetime.com.

SPEAKER_2: That’s my website.

SPEAKER_2: Again, I have anything from e-courses to coaching opportunities, to speaking opportunities, to just fun stuff that I get to adventure in with, you know, myself, my family, and people that I’m working with.

SPEAKER_2: And then I would also, you know, on the organization side, studioteaarts.org.

SPEAKER_2: That’s where we do all of our remarkable work.
SPEAKER_2: That’s my nonprofit for my young people, servicing hundreds of thousands.

SPEAKER_2: Please check that out.

SPEAKER_2: And then again, Studio Tee Arts, we’re on every single platform, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera.

SPEAKER_2: So if you just kind of remember that.

SPEAKER_2: And then Google me all day.
SPEAKER_2: There’s something cool out there on Google. SPEAKER_2: Say my name.

SPEAKER_1: Just say your name, sweet Tee.

SPEAKER_1: Just say your name.

SPEAKER_1: All right, so I have one last question for you that has nothing to do with work or all of your amazing accomplishments.

SPEAKER_1: So I recently read that the Labor Board classifies women over 45 as older women.

SPEAKER_1: Yeah, what do you have to say about that?
SPEAKER_2: Some guy wrote that.
SPEAKER_1: Yes, indeed.

SPEAKER_1: But seriously, for women who are over 45 are thinking, oh, my ship has sailed.

SPEAKER_1: Come on, give it to me.
SPEAKER_1: No, no, no, no.

SPEAKER_2: Women who are over 45 are just hitting their prime. SPEAKER_1: Yes.
SPEAKER_2: You’ve made all the mistakes you needed to make in the 20s.

SPEAKER_2: You’ve done all the discovery in the 30s.

SPEAKER_2: Now you know who you are, what you’re capable of, the direction you’re going in and who’s with you and who’s for you.

SPEAKER_2: That makes you extremely powerful.

SPEAKER_2: By the time I was 45, all pistons were firing.

SPEAKER_2: And again, you got everything going for you.

SPEAKER_2: Wait till you hit your 50s, baby.

SPEAKER_2: That’s the sweet spot.

SPEAKER_2: So I’m just telling you, whoever wrote that clearly works in a cardboard box in the back of something somewhere and they’re not living real, real full life.

SPEAKER_2: 45 is the beginning.

SPEAKER_2: You’re healthy, you’re strong, you’re intelligent, your mind is sharp.

SPEAKER_2: And hopefully your kids old or old enough and they don’t need you to change their diapers and wipe their noses anymore.

SPEAKER_2: Like everything is firing in your direction in a good way. SPEAKER_2: Like 45, that was the turning point of my life. SPEAKER_1: Oh, gosh, I feel that.
SPEAKER_1: I love it.

SPEAKER_1: I’m getting ready to have, well, this is a big birthday year for me and it’s way over 45.

SPEAKER_1: I knew that answer that you gave me was going to be fire.
SPEAKER_1: So thank you so much for that.
SPEAKER_1: Oh, I love it.

SPEAKER_1: All right, Amazing Ones, you have heard from this fabulous woman, Miss Tee.
SPEAKER_1: And if you are not leaving here inspired, I don’t know what to tell you.

SPEAKER_1: Miss Tee, thank you for the time that you’ve shared with us today and all of the super real, beautiful wisdom, powerful inspiration that you’ve generously given to myself, to everyone who’s listening today.

SPEAKER_1: I am so grateful that you joined us.
SPEAKER_1: I am so grateful to know that you, fire starter, are in this world doing what you do. SPEAKER_1: And I cannot wait to see what you create next, lady.
SPEAKER_2: Oh, thank you so much.
SPEAKER_2: That’s so kind of you.
SPEAKER_2: Thank you.
SPEAKER_1: Of course.
SPEAKER_1: And I look forward to you.

SPEAKER_1: I’m going to have my eye on you.

SPEAKER_2: Oh, please do.
SPEAKER_2: Let’s go.

SPEAKER_1: And listen, if I ever find myself out in California, little known fact, I was a dancer for 22 years.

SPEAKER_1: We’re going to dance together.
SPEAKER_2: Oh, we must.
SPEAKER_1: Yes, we must.
SPEAKER_2: I just bought a 36,000 square foot building that takes up an entire city block.

SPEAKER_2: Let’s do it.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s do it.

SPEAKER_1: Let’s rehash our fame days, shall we?

SPEAKER_2: I’m still living in my fame days.

SPEAKER_2: Let’s go.

SPEAKER_2: Let’s go.

SPEAKER_1: All right, babe, you got it.

SPEAKER_1: Amazing Ones, thank you so much for lending us your ears.

SPEAKER_1: If you’re ready to hit your internal reset button and reclaim the agency that you have to live your best life and you need support, I want to meet you.

SPEAKER_1: Head to the contact form on my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Tell me what’s on your mind.
SPEAKER_1: Let’s grab some time to noodle and explore what’s possible for you together.

SPEAKER_1: And in case no one’s told you yet today, remember this. SPEAKER_1: There’s only one you, and that is what makes you amazing.

SPEAKER_1: See you next week.
SPEAKER_1: Until then, be kind to yourself.

SPEAKER_1: Big love.

SPEAKER_1: And that’s the end of the show today, everybody.

SPEAKER_1: I hope it has served you well.

SPEAKER_1: Thank you so much for tuning in.

SPEAKER_1: If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, please drop a review wherever you grab your favorite podcast.

SPEAKER_1: Please subscribe so you never miss an episode.
SPEAKER_1: And please be sure to share this podcast with another woman that you love.

SPEAKER_1: If you’d like to learn more about me or my work, check out my website, colebakerbagwell.com.

SPEAKER_1: Until next time, remember to be super kind to yourself and do your very best to leave everyone and everything just a little bit better.


Cole Baker-Bagwell

Master Certified Professional Coach

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