Tina Essmaker on Embracing Change and Challenging Yourself

On Episode 22 of The Process podcast, host Shannon Byrne chatted with Tina Essmaker on taking risks and throwing yourself head-first into change.


“The biggest thing is listening and asking questions, which I have a lot of practice doing,” Tina Essmaker said of embracing change. She loves the challenge of helping creative individuals and teams take action toward their goals. After a stint as a content creator, she now helps her clients define what matters most to them, what they want out of life, and a path toward getting there.

She added, “You’re helping your client work through whatever they’re trying to work through using their own resources and ideas. Sometimes the solution comes up as they’re talking through one of the problems they’re trying to solve. They often talk themselves right through it.”

Photo of Tina by Julia Hembree.

Her career as a coach came to be by embracing said change and exploring possibilities. Before this job turn, she was a co-founder and the former editor-in-chief of The Great Discontent, a print publication and online magazine featuring inspiring conversations with today’s artists, makers, and risk-takers.

As many media companies do, the publication evolved and diversified its format to tell stories via a podcast and live events. After going through a divorce with her husband and then-business-partner in 2017, Tina now focuses on speaking, coaching, and writing.

Change often requires drastic actions. Before they started The Great Discontent, inspired by Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, Tina and her then partner turned their living room into a studio, getting rid of their couch and TV. This meant no more vegging after work and no more excuses.

For three years, they worked on their project in the evenings after their full-time jobs. Since the nature of their project was to learn about others’ creative endeavors, they were surrounded by enough inspiration to keep them going.

When faced with a divorce and need for another career change, Tina found that her desire to continuously challenge herself hadn’t faded. She went through the necessary training and built a new business from scratch. Today, her coaching business is thriving and she continues to speak at events around the globe.

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Tina said, “Pain and suffering are born out of resistance. The first challenge was to accept my marriage has ended and this is my reality. So what’s next? For me, that was a lot of self-care - therapy, journaling, talking to friends, and seeing family.”

In this episode, we also talked about how Tina and her ex navigated their personal and professional separation, how TGD diversified its business model over time, approaching new situations with openness, and more.

Check out my full conversation with Tina below or read the show notes. You can also listen on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Shannon Byrne

Freelance writer, marketing strategist, community builder, and podcaster. Founder of A Song A Day and The Process Podcast.

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