Author, Inspirational Speaker & Storytelling Savant

Join us in conversation with Tania Katan, Author of Creative Trespassing, a super speaker and inspiration.  She’s on the show to talk about how Creative Trespassing can help us in our leadership and aid us in trying to, day over day, lead with who we are, and what we get, and what we create when we do.

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Join us in conversation with Tania Katan, Author of Creative Trespassing, a super speaker and inspiration.  She’s on the show to talk about how Creative Trespassing can help us in our leadership and aid us in trying to, day over day, lead with who we are, and what we get, and what we create when we do.

Find Tania Katan here.

Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Get your Copy of Creative Trespassing here.

About her book:

Whether you’re an entrepreneur seeking new ways to innovate, a newbie trying to spice up routine entry-level work, a free spirit with a rich creative life outside the office looking to bring more of that magic into your job, or just someone who occasionally feels the urge to scream, “Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?!!” Katan will show you how to transform monotony into novelty and get your freakin’ spark back between the hours of nine and five.

Peppered with stories of her own shenanigans- from organizing an arm-wrestling match in the middle of an art museum to staging a corporate culture intervention via post-its, – and lessons from the rule-breaking exploits of artists, change-makers, and totally legit business leaders alike, this book is an uninhibited guide to using creativity as fuel for a freer and more awesome life.

Check out all things Dia Bondi here.

Dia Bondi  00:19

Hi everyone, This is Lead With Who You Are. I'm Dia Bondi, and on this show we explore and discover and wrestle with and unearth what it truly means to lead with who you are. And we're doing it with people who embody live and lead, like that. In this episode, we're talking with Tania Katan about Creative Trespassing. And what a great conversation for those of you looking to refresh your perspective so you can see things differently and bring more joy into your life, leadership and work. In this conversation. Tania shares some key tools to unlocking yourself when you're stuck, like engaging in recognizing the positive opposite, framing things up as a productive disruption. And that every day it can be opposite day if you need it to be. This one is lively. And when you're done listening, don't forget to grab her book. Let's go.  Hey, just a quick reminder, you can subscribe to this show on your podcast platform of choice. We're live nearly everywhere and you can always listen to the show at If there's a leader or innovator in your life, who is it their shiniest when they lead with who they truly are, Please share the show with them. And rate subscribe and leave us a review makes a huge difference in the reach that the show has when you let everyone else know what you love about the show. Thanks so much. Tania Katan is a potent Keynote Speaker, Best-Selling Author and Co-Creator of the global viral social impact campaign it was never address a social movement that inspired over 100 million people to see here and celebrate women for the superheroes they are her visionary way of formulating ideas led to the groundbreaking book creative trespassing, how to put the spark and joy back into your work and life and winner of the Best Business Book of Creativity and Innovation. As an inspirational speaker, Katan is highly sought after to teach people and companies of all stripes how to generate unlimited creative breakthroughs in less overly creative jobs, processes and places. Some of the organizations and major conferences impacted by her talks include Cisco Live, Expedia, Amazon, talks a tGoogle, Humana, Etsy, TED talks, and the list just goes on. Tania, welcome. Tania, hello,


Tania Katan  02:54

Hello, Dia.


Dia Bondi  02:55

I'm so glad to have you. And I want to set this up really quickly. So when I sat down to think about like, how might I set up this Convo, I was like, You know what I just want to do, I just want to copy and paste the email that I cold sent you. And before we started recording, I was telling for everyone listening, I was telling Tania that like the folks that you hear on this show are not folks often from outside my network, like it's a friends and family situation, so to speak. Like if I have you on speed dial you're gonna get to be on my show, but But I will say that I did reach out cold to you. And here's what I wrote, because I think it kind of sets up the kinds of conversation I want to have on Lead With Who You Are. I sent you this. I said, Hey, I've been following you on Instagram, which is like, you're like one of like six people that I follow on Instagram, just so you know. And I mean, I'm probably following more, but that I actually stop and go, what's this person doing? Anyway, so I said, I've been following on Instagram and listening to your book and your voice, I think is a critical one. Now in a time when it's far too easy to be joyous. And wait too tempting to play it safe. And in fact, we may all feel a little bit deflated. I want to bring you on the show, to talk about how creative trespassing your book and everything in and around it can help us in our leadership and aid us in trying to day over day lead was who we are, and what we get when we in fact do. So I want to start. I want to start with just asking the question we always start with which you know in a few sentences, how would you answer, Tania Katan, who are you?


Tania Katan  04:28

Well, first of all, I have to say that when your beautiful message came in to my inbox, I read it and as we all read a lot of things that come into our inbox, sometimes we just kind of skim through them. And I I found it so compelling that you found the work that I find compelling and exciting about not just bringing your whole self to work and to the world. But bringing your creativity to spaces that are less overtly creative is equally important and that I that was just the bait that I needed to contact you. Back. So Tanya Catan is me. I am a writer by trade and training. I'm a public speaker and I would say a creative trespasser. Which, which basically means bringing creativity into processes, places, and people who don't know that they need creativity. And once I bring it in, and a lot of other people are doing it, they realize they can't live without it, and invited in through the front door. So that's, that's who I am in what I do.


Dia Bondi  05:35

Fantastic. So you wrote this book, we've already dropped the name a couple of times, Creative Trespassing. And you know, the title has this stinky word in it that I love so much, which is the word trespassing. Because it's a word that sort of conjures being subversive or crossing boundaries, or going where we're not supposed to go. And I love that so much. Can you talk about that? And why the hell anybody would want to do that? And why trespassing is so important.


Tania Katan  06:04

Yeah, well, first of all, I was trying to think about actually, after spending years of people saying like, so what do you do for a living? Because I would be like, an evangelist at a software company. And I would be a curator at a museum and all of these seemingly disparate jobs, to me made a lot of sense. And, and so when I was asked over and over, what do you do, and I don't get it and blah, blah, blah, I'm like, Okay, what is it that I do? Okay, as I said, it's like, I bring creativity into these spaces. Okay. Is it invited in? Did they think they were getting that with the, with the role that they were filling with, you know, with me, in a lot of cases early on, no, they had no idea that the person they hired to bag groceries in my 20s was going to bring creative processes into that endeavor. And so when I say that, I was like, Okay, so I'm creative. That's, that's what I do I bring creativity. And then the unexpected part is the trespassing like the I'm not necessarily bringing it in through formal channels, the roles that I have been in, don't necessarily say, creative, writ large. And so I guess I'm trespassing. And trespassing really, by definition is just about not having permission to go somewhere. And, and if you think about, you know, all the people who inspire me in work in, in visual art, in performance and storytelling, are people who never waited around for permission to help guide them into any space, or any time to evaluate a culture and then comment on it and make things better better than when they arrived. So to me, trespassing is really healthy, exciting, exciting thing, maybe less so for some companies with signs on the lawns that they're trying to write. But really, it's taking permission to do things that enliven companies, work cultures, and people. And that's how I view trespassing, especially in conjunction or next to creative.


Dia Bondi  08:05

I love this so much. And I was before this morning, I had sort of a gap, and I really listened, I really listened to the audio version of your book section and you said this thing, which is this quote that I had to grab, which was, we're limited by how we see, not by what we're looking at, and I wrote it down. I was like, Why did I write this one down? And a couple things. So I'm just gonna monologue for a tiny bit here. So I'm writing I'm writing a book. I'm just starting on my author journey we'll be publishing in November, a book called Ask like an auctioneer love. I love that title. So it's it's designed to help a million women and underrepresented people in their domains, ask for more and get it using everything I learned from the auctioneering stage, which I do as an impact hobby for women led nonprofits and nonprofits that benefit women and girls. And it hit me one day that like, oh my gosh, like the folks, you know, I've had a long time long career in communications, I got to help Rio de Janeiro win the right to host the 2016 games. I got worked on Turkey's bid. I've worked in the for the Clinton Global Initiative at very high levels all the way down to working with, you know, female entrepreneurs in the coreless network, like bootstrapped entrepreneurs, people and mid levels and organizations, blah, blah, blah. Point is, I work a lot with helping people decide decide how to put together a compelling story so they can move their business forward. And it hit me that Oh, at the heart of that is an ask what do you asking your audience to do with you? And if we all learned how to ask like auctioneers, which is diametrically opposed, actually, to how we think about asking, setting up an ask in business, we may get more of what we need to reach our goals faster. And to me there was when I first thought of it, I was like, these are two great tastes that shouldn't taste great together. And to me, I think I grabbed this quote, because this you know, we're limited by how Oh, we see not by what we're looking at. In that moment, I recognize like the power of that idea and why now it's going to be a book three years after sort of building the project around it, is because it's such a transgression, because it's looking at some two things that don't belong together in a way that amplify one another, you know, and, and I got the sense, like, I'm like, Okay, why is that have energy for me? And I think there's two steps here. One is, we have to see something in a certain way that is a new lens, a fresh way, a way that is uniquely ours, that maybe is not allowed, you know? And then we have to have the courage to speak it. Can you talk about that, like the does that show up in your audiences and for collaborators you work with, you know, folks that you might consult with that there's sort of two heads, we have to see something differently, we have to do the trespassing, that lets us see something differently, and then have the courage to speak it?


Tania Katan  11:01

Well, the first thing that comes to mind DIA is that courage doesn't just happen, I feel like Courage is a muscle that needs to be exercised. And when you do it enough, when you sort of speak up, speak out, when you address those things that seem like scary to address over and over again, you know, I come from theater, we call it muscle memory, you'll just remember how to do it, I'm sure when you're auctioneering, you know, there's a rhythm, a tempo, a beat of like doing it, and you don't have to think about it anymore, you're like, I'm gonna speed it up here. No, your body just knows how to speed it up, how to raise your volume and stuff like that. So in terms of trespassing, and really like stretching that courage muscle, it really is about, you know, taking those risks, and maybe they're incremental or small at first. And also, it's, you know, something I write about in the book is, is forming your own personal board of directors, you know, I call mine the Legion of SuperHeroes, because I want us to join forces to do better in the world. These are people I invite into my world to check me and balance me and challenge me when you know when an idea is like crappy, or it's not serving the people that I want to serve. And, and so with that becomes a kind of a safe network to try things out to see, you know, raise your hand and say, Hey, guys, what do you think? Like, I'm thinking of asking for a raise. Um, but I'm not sure how institution I asked about blah. So number one is assemble your Legion of SuperHeroes, the people that you trust, not just to always support you and cheer you on. Yay, great. Yeah.


Dia Bondi  12:40

Great idea. That's dumb.



Yeah. Well, I'm not that hard. I didn't see that. That was a you know, great idea. And did you think about this, if you're trying to impact a global audience, you know, like, did you think about X, Y, and Z.


Dia Bondi  12:54

So I would just jump in here to say like, I think this is really critical, especially for folks maybe in their early careers, when they're noticing maybe they see things is easy for them to quickly see things differently than those in the room, or those that are, we're all looking at something together. And there's maybe some consensus and you're not on board with it internally. Like to build that confidence. I think courage and confidence are kind of related to build that confidence. It's about you know, stepping into those moments to go actually, it's not I don't see it, what if how I see it, like through this lens, or here's what's present for me when I look at that, or how about that to kind of positively challenge the status quo that has been established that can get established in an order of instant of seconds, particularly when there's hierarchy present. So really, in our careers, to be able to step out of those moments to find your your Legion of SuperHeroes wherever we design for ourselves to go like to test to get practice to have at bats at saying, here's how I saw it. Is that outside? Like is that even useful? So that when it's when you're actually in the hot seat, hot seat, and it does matter, and you're pushing up against, or challenging the powers that be are inserting your voice you've, you've had some at bats outside of the room?


Tania Katan  14:10

Absolutely. Well, there's, you know, I'm going to talk about the flip side of that, because I work with a lot of sea level clients who their their struggle is, you know, I'm, I'm bored in my job, I feel like I'm doing the same shit over and over again. And I just want to feel alive within that context again, and and there's sort of two things, there's an exercise that I'm thinking about that I challenged them to do, which is, you know, you become a cultural anthropologist of your work and in your job. And so when you hit those walls of not being able to see anything as exciting or new or whatever, you walk in with a field guide, a notebook and you approach your job that maybe you've done for 510 15 years, as if you've never done it before, as if you never stepped into the office before. And you record it like, I walked into this weird Angular building. And I've studied the strange nomadic habits of these people called Project Managers and software engineers, or whatever your field is. And in in taking those notes, what you you do two things, you start to develop that muscle of seeing not just looking at things looking as passive seeing as active, right, it's engaged in like, Oh, I see this thing I pass every single day. You know, for example, the, the campaign that I helped create, it was never address, which was reimagining the women's bathroom symbol. How many times have you walked into an office or a mall or anywhere, and you look to go to the bathroom, because you have to be, and then you saw a woman in a triangle dress with a dot for a head, and you don't think anything about her. And if you start to develop this muscle, where you go into these seemingly mundane spaces, and you look at symbols, you've overlooked a million times, and you start to pay attention in as if you were a cultural anthropologist, you could go, Huh, I've never noticed that the angle of a dress, there are many things that are shaped in that triangle. capes are shaped like that, you know, so. So this practice of seeing the mundane or the every day and mining it to find the extraordinary will help you see, and tap into your innate creativity, and everybody's creative. And we could talk more about that if you want to. But B, it also gets you out of these ruts like these moments where we feel stuck, you are never stuck. And you actually planted a seed dia for another exercise, or really, it's just two words together, that artists are trained to do and to creatives at large. And you can always have it in your back pocket, which is the phrase What if, you know, asking that question allows for possibilities beyond this moment, beyond this time, and space, what if and, and I encourage people to take it to the nth power, a lot of times, when people are exploring things, they think they need to be gentle, like, I'm just recording, get dirty, get like yucky, nobody's going to you know, your boss isn't going to judge you on what you wrote down, you're just you're just expanding your creativity muscle.


Dia Bondi  17:18

And in doing that, aren't we also so this shows called Lead with who you are right? And, you know, I think about the folks in that profile, you were just mentioning, folks who are at executive level been doing this thing for a long time, you know, they've applied the thing that they do to multiple different industries, it still feels the same, right? And, and, but in some ways, for folks who might be in that transition between being a doer, and being a leader, not that doers aren't leaders, but there's like I'm talking about in terms of your job description, you're not building the product, you're leading the initiatives and helping, you know, make way for others to build things, that in some ways, it can be. I'm not gonna say life or death, life or death, but it can be life or death and your career to recognize that that what if that fresh, seeing is a big part of the value you bring? Oh, to the room and to others? Yeah.


Tania Katan  18:14

It's really your I mean, if you're talking about like VP level up, and first of all, I just want to be very clear, I don't believe in hierarchy. And so even though right, currently, my position is Senior Vice President, what I say see SVP, just to keep things like for real, like, Yeah, but the whole value of being at that level in any organization, is that you develop so many wild and wonderful skills from outside of that corporation, that they want you inside. And your job is also to continue to develop those skills, get the hell out of the office, go for walking meetings with your team, go to a museum, go to a play and bring what you learned and those processes back into the office. I just had to not lay off but furlough my entire team. And uh, let me tell you, it went so well. And, and, and so it's back to this point. And the reason why it went well, dia it's not like I'm like blissed out to lead people to tell people they're not going to get paid. But it's because the skill that I brought to the Senior Vice President of Marketing is coaching, I decided that instead of approaching it as a hierarchical, I would approach it as what I've been doing for the last several years, which is as a coach and a consultant. So we are thought partners, we are in conversation. I'm not going to say shit, like, I want to be transparent. I'm just going to be transparent. And so


Dia Bondi  19:44

Yeah, don't talk about the thing just do the thing right so we


Tania Katan  19:47

talked about you know, in creative writing my early learning was in clear creative writing and we talked about this thing called show don't tell you know, when you're writing something and you're like the the the gentleman walked into the crowded room And sneeze He used that just tells you something. But if you're like he walked in, fell to this floor and started clutching his nose in horror, you're like, What do you start to feel something? So yeah. So to that the furlough, when I brought was, we had regular meetings, we had walking meetings, we had talking meetings, we had coffee meetings where we would share as if we were all equals, because we were. And, and and when it came time for the furlough. Before that moment, I had conversations with my team, where I said, listen, here's where I see some of the direction in which we're going. And if we are laid off furloughed, etc, you have access to any contact I have on my LinkedIn page, if you want an introduction I'm in. So I started sharing resources ahead of time. And so by the time we got to furlough people thanked me because I didn't leave anybody high and dry it. And also, I fought to let them know in advance, so they had time to process, there was a larger faction that wanted it to just happen in 24 hours. And so I brought dignity to a process that could have been very cut and dry.


Dia Bondi  21:08

And how is that creative trespassing for you?



Yeah, because the the company and the way in which that information was going to be delivered was going to be a 24 hour notice. So I use creative writing and trespassing, to write a thoughtful letter to the CEO and to my boss. And I did some research that I didn't have to do. And I included that and I said, Hear how companies are creatively furloughing their employees in a way that makes them feel enlivened and alive. And like they want to still be a champion of this company, and not just feel like they want to curse the company on social media. And I and I had that moment dia of feeling scared to send it, I was like, nobody's gonna listen, I don't know. And then I realized, no, this is why I'm hired, I'm hired to raise my hand and speak up when it feels uncomfortable for maybe others to speak up. And when others don't even know that that's on the table. And so I sent it really in the middle of the night, and I didn't think anything would change. And it did, I got I got an email back that we would allow for a longer period of time. And that was a win, not just for me, but for a whole team of human beings who are smart and, and neat and neat to know.


Dia Bondi  22:22

What a beautiful example of like using some using an awareness of, of noticing a moment where some creative trespassing might be really impactful and useful as part of a leadership toolkit, being able to sort of sense make around you Around what the situation might need to really see what mattered using a coaching and consulting voice to bring it to the fore. And then using your own leadership voice as sort of a snowplow for making something you know, carving a path for something possible that was going to be more maybe I'm these are my words, not yours more, have more humanity in it, and more possibility for folks.



Yeah, and you know what that is, that's a creative process, a creative process, like anybody who's listening right now who's like, I really need a creative idea for like, you know, I'm a founder, and I thought we were doing this but we need to pivot or whatever, or, or I need to switch careers altogether or whatever, it's a practice, you're not going to come up with a brilliant idea to do that today. And that's fine. But you know what, you're going to go to the creativity gym, and you're going to flex your muscle a little bit. And so this process of communicating with my team, allowing a safe space for people to share ideas, brainstorming, celebrating, that was that happened the first day I came on the job. So by the time we get to furlough, it's not like wait, what's going on, it's all been open communication. And that's a creative practice as well. If you train for something you show up and you're able to do it and it without your brain getting in the way and you can you can connect emotionally and and and see the people in front of you and really respect and honor who they are and what they need.


Dia Bondi  24:05

So I've been feeling pretty stuck lately. So I folks who have been listening to this show since it was a different version of itself know that I have this group of women we call ourselves the bitch and white group. We get together on Sundays and we bitch and whine we don't solve any problems we just bitch and whine that's all and and all of us are noticing we do annual backpacking trips and other stuff which is you know, the sort of Uber the super supercharged which unwind the multi day marathon bitch and whine and we were all noticing and I guess this also sort of infused the message that I sent to you originally to invite you onto the show just that there's weird words but like there's a sagginess in the air right now where we are live in the San Francisco Bay area and there's just a tiredness and like a and we're all mid career, you know, Mom types and feeling and I'm finding a strain and like trying to do all the things I use Do that help wake me up and they're not working. Even the things that are the deepest places that I go of being, you know, losing myself in nature for a day or things that I'm like, it's like a guaranteed bank withdrawal for you know, joy and like, I know I can get it there is just not been having does not have the reserves it's had for me, it's not doing the thing I need it to do for me. And I was thinking, again, going back to this quote that I grabbed earlier that it's not about what you're looking at, it's about how you're seeing it. And I recognize that the joylessness that sort of, in and around many of us right now I work with a lot of founders who are, you know, in in credit, making incredibly difficult decisions, etc, and feel tired. And like, we got no place to go, that it is about it's not about changing what I'm doing. It's about taking, losing losing myself in the in nature for the day, and experiencing it, seeing differently. And inviting myself to do that, instead of just doing it and hoping that that that thing shows up, you know,


Tania Katan  26:09

yeah, you're reminding me of a moment that I was, I was working at a job. And I felt like they were paying me like more money than I'd ever made maybe in my life. And it was probably like $40,000. And, and good for you get it? Yeah, nonprofit watch. And I remember thinking that I found myself sort of like treading water and tried to like doo doo doo. And really, like, prove my worth to myself to them, whatever. And then I had this moment of like, I'm just, I'm trying so hard that I'm not producing my, the best work I can. And so I wrote on a little slip of paper to myself, do less, be more. And I was like, Huh, okay, you know, I mean, like, Yes, I have a Buddhist practice. So that's aligned with that. But the point is, is, you know, is if you're trying stop, it's opposite day. And so this is this is, you know, I coach a lot of a lot of high, high achieving high achievers. Yeah, like yourself, like myself, we were a big problem for ourselves. I know, I love it, hey, give me this, this. I'm fine with it. No, I mean, I am too. And so you know, it's this reminder of like, think about, you know, where your best instincts come from where your best work, when you're actually seeing the audience that you desire to serve. It's not when you're like, Oh, my God, I've got it, you're, you're not in panic mode. It's in a mode where you're being more and you're doing less. And so I say that, you know, it's opposite day, every day. And this is also a helpful trick for, you know, generating creative ideas, is, you know, you sort of when, when I was in school and learning creative writing and playwriting, we had to take characters like villains, and we had to find really positive loving traits in them. Because you can't create a dimensional character that's just one sided, right? And so when you find yourself doing one thing, what's the exact opposite of that? So let's go to you do. So when you find yourself like trying, trying, trying, and then you're like, Okay, I'm hiking, but I'm still trying to be in nature and avoid and get unstuck. So what would literally be the opposite of you? Trying? What would be the opposite of that?


Dia Bondi  28:16

Well, I find meditation in movement. You know, like, if I run up, what is the this idea of like, high effort, low skill requirement? So so I'm going to run up a hill, okay, to get out of my head, right? So it would probably be going to Blake gardens and just sitting on a bench,


Tania Katan  28:35

Right. Okay. Are you going to do that today?


Dia Bondi  28:38

They close at four o'clock. So it's tomorrow, tomorrow?


Tania Katan  28:43

You know, look, I mean, here's the reality. It's like, we have these, like deep grooves, these neural pathways in our brains that we carved out ourselves, because we think and do things over and over and over again. But the reality is, we can carve new ones. Isn't that awesome? And so this is, you know, in those moments where you're feeling struggle, and you're feeling like you're, you're doing Freud's definition of insanity, where you do the same thing over and over again and expect Why isn't a different outcome. It's been proven. And so I just I challenge you to do the positive opposite. And this is something else that I've done.


Dia Bondi  29:17

I'm gonna I'm gonna interrupt you because you're the positive opposite. Yeah. So it's not about I hear that as it's not about turn your back on what you've been doing. It's a it's a yes. And but it's a it's a exercise in the polar Yeah, unlock something.


Tania Katan  29:34

So and I'll give you the second part of that which is so it's an exercise I sort of developed when I was when I was working with a coach and then I'm like, Oh, I love that and then I kind of tweaked it, but it's a limiting belief one that will help so carried around for like weeks a notepad and make two columns. And on the one of the columns, the head, the heading is limiting belief, and on the other is unlimited. possibilities, okay. And so think of the limiting belief, right is I can't get unstuck, or I can't come up with an idea, or I can't fix my failing business, or I can't ask for a raise or you know, that can be small, medium, or large, you know, limiting beliefs. And I know everybody who's listening does as well, unfortunately. And then the unlimited possibilities are the positive opposite. So for example, if my limiting belief is, I can't ask for a raise, the positive opposite is I can ask for a raise, right? So that's sort of simple. But then you can kind of go deeper into it, I'm actually I have the skills that they hired me to do. I know what people in my field are making, I can't ask for a raise. So you can kind of like deepen that connection to the positive opposite. And I swear to God, this is about creating a new default thought pattern. And it happens, I promise, like, why I've thought, Ah, there's no way I can get over my limiting beliefs. And then one day after practicing, I'm like, Oh, my default is like positive and awesome. And not all the time. And that's fine. I can always rely on this exercise to kind of pull me out of it.


Dia Bondi  31:06

I love that. And it also doesn't mean I have to, for me, they are the example of like, don't run up the hill into the forest, like go to Blake gardens and sit down, it's not actually abandoning the context that I feel most connected to. I'm not, it's not a departure from who I am. But it's an it's an it's an opposite expression, or opposite way of being in this space that is already aligned to who I am.


Tania Katan  31:32

Yeah. Because what it is, is it's just set up to disrupt your habits and patterns that are keeping you stuck. You know, actually, in the book, I came up with the phrase to kind of undo it, because I was trying to understand, like, what does that mean? And and I wrote doing research, I realized, Oh, well, you know, in order to be productive, you have to disrupt those habits and patterns. So I call these moments of exercises in the book, productive disruptions, because you actually get Do you remember that worship done, but I hadn't thought about it until just now. But that's, that's the reasoning behind it. You know, we think that if we just just do it harder, I mean, this is, this is a lot of startup culture, which is like, fail, fail fast, fail harder, fall down, get up, get a bloody nose, do it again, punch somebody else. You know, and that's, you know, not the most functional way of doing and being.


Dia Bondi  32:22

So, um, what are you optimistic about right now?



You're getting me at a very interesting time. I'm actually, I'm across the street from a hospital, where my mom has been for three weeks. So I will tell you two things that I'm optimistic about. One in real time, I'm optimistic that my mommy is incrementally getting better. And there was a moment where I thought that she might die. And so that's just that's the, the reality of being in the world. And this is something I've learned in terms of being a creative trespasser. It also means like bringing real the like what's really happening in your life, into every context and in a way that makes sense for the people that you're connecting with. So that's, that's really happening right now. And so I'm optimistic about that. And I'm also optimistic about I'm starting to talk with universities, about creative trespassing, you've heard of your first and we'll see what happens, but about creating pathways, because I feel like not just myself, but so many of us people who are trained in the arts, in visual art, performance, art, you know, writing of dancing, you know, we found ourselves in in these weird and wonderful jobs in technology and all industries. And I want to create a clear pathway so that, you know, companies understand how important and vital it is for them to hire creatives, and that people who are creating pathways for creatives out into the working world, say, Oh, look, you can do seven different things. Because you know, percentage wise, if you major in painting, for example, you might be one of the 3% who make a living doing that. And if companies are smart enough, and painters are smart, they realize, Oh my God, those transferable skills are actually what we need right now. So that's what I'm really optimistic about is creating those pathways.


Dia Bondi  34:15

Yeah, I hear you saying that, like, you're optimistic also, like inside of that is sort of like a hopefulness around sort of the role creative tresspassing can play in the next generation of problem solvers.


Tania Katan  34:27

Yeah, because you know, and no, no knocks on design thinking go D School. However, I think it's okay for there to be a more activist, and more art centered approach in the mix of thinking and doing and being in the world and I feel like creative trespassing you know, it's the foundation is visual art, writing, performing arts, all that jazz. And there are a lot of people in that space who've been inspirational, not just for me, but to for future generations. to come. So if we can tap into that, maybe we can create the next gen of people who are bringing more creativity into less over creative spaces. And I'm excited about that.


Dia Bondi  35:10

Beautiful. So to wrap up in a few sentences, how might you answer the question for you? What does it mean to lead with who you are?



it means to practice all the depth and breadth of who you are every single day, spiritually, intellectually, creatively, and to be so in tune and attuned with those skills, that when you find yourself in front of an audience, and I just say audience about any other human being, the audience could be your co workers, the audience could be online at the grocery store, that you know what you need and what they need in that moment, and you can tap into your reservoir of skills. I think that's what I mean. You know, yeah, is developed is developing those skills, having some self awareness and knowing what's what's needed. You know, sometimes you need to shut up and listen, sometimes you need to say, you know, tell an inspirational joke. And sometimes you need to just observe.


Dia Bondi  36:14

Beautiful. Where can people find you and what can they do with you, Tania?


Tania Katan  36:19

I like to snuggle I'm usually a little spoon. No. They can send me a bunch of French Bulldogs because I'm a big fan. I'm not gonna lie about that. Okay, that's good. Yeah, you know, as as you send the beginning, do I love Instagram? So you can follow me at Instagram at the unreal, Tanya Catan. Because Tanya Catan was taken, whatever, anyway, but you also are so unreal. I know. Totally unreal. Totally. Because I actually love that space to communicate words and images of inspiration and creative exercises. You can get my book, I can read you to sleep. I did the audio. The book is everywhere books can be found. Uh huh.


Dia Bondi  36:59

You read it beautifully, by the way. Oh, so bonus on that one.


Tania Katan 37:03

It was really fun to make to make and to, to envision the audience in my mind's eye. And, and then, you know, I coach and consult light. So really, if you're a company or organization that's looking for some coach salting for your teams and your global or local, that's the way I like to play and as long as there's alignment with what we're focusing on. That's another way we can play.


Dia Bondi  37:28

It's been a joy. Thank you for saying yes to my cold call. My one in a million cold call.


Tania Katan  37:34

Thank you so much. Okay, now I have an idea for you. Oh, okay. So I have been asked to basically be a de facto auctioneer so many times, just because I like I but I don't know how to do it. I'm just a faker. I'm a faker who talks about my $5 $5 You know, like, just bullshit, bullshit, auctioneer. And then what I realized in being an audience member and go go having the privilege of going to like fundraisers and paddle raises and all that stuff, that if you don't have an emcee or auctioneer who feels confident and comfortable at making the ask, you are effed. You're not going to make the money you can make. So here's, here's my little addendum, I think that it's a ask up, ask up. Okay, so it's like speak up, it's ask up. Because people always ask under based on their own value system, if you're not a professional auctioneer, ask up, ask for more money, speak up, get the Okay, that's all I have. That's my pitch well formed.


Dia Bondi  38:30

It's interesting that you say that because the fundamental model of what it means to ask like an auctioneer is to actually make the kinds of asks that you are pretty sure are going to get a no, because as an auctioneer, what do we do? We if we say yes to the first paddle in the air, we've left money and opportunity on the table, but most of us shape all of our asks based on what we think we can get. We aim for a yes. And when we get a yes, we congratulate ourselves. But if we do exactly what you said, which is asked up have the courage to actually ask for what we think will get rejected and then negotiate down we'll end up with more in our hands. But we don't do that. Because everything between a guaranteed Yes. And that medicine no lives in a place I like to call the Zone of Freaking Out Tania. The ZOFO is the reason we won't ask up.

Tania Katan 39:16

"Do you have ZOFO?" I think I took that for anti nause in one of my chemos? No, that's something else. ZOFO, that's awesome. Yeah, yeah, you're right.


Dia Bondi  39:24

Everyone ask up, you're totally right.


Tania Katan  39:26

You are totally right. We are right together.  It was so great.  Thank you so much!


Dia Bondi  39:32

Lead With Who You Are is a production of Dia Bondi Communications and is scored mixed and produced by Arthur Leon Adams the third. Have a question or an inquiry? Reach out to us at You can like share, rate and subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite shows. Go to for the show notes to find our tools, frameworks, content and programs to help you and your team aim speak powerfully and lead with who you are.

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