Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy – You Can’t Outrun Yourself (346)

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Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy

Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy is The Happiness Coach.  As the CEO of Embrace the Lead LLC, she is passionate about empowering business leaders and leaders of their own dreams to strive for inner fulfillment. Tarryn coaches business owners across the globe on self-empowerment, empowering their teams to ambassadors of their dreams, and how to redefine success to find happiness in work and, ultimately, their lives.

Tarryn is also an orthodontist and co-owner of Mbrace Orthodontics in Maine, having grown it from a scratch startup to the top 1% Invisalign provider in the country in 4 years. 

Tarryn hosts her own podcast called, “The Business of Happiness.” Her goal is to help her listeners find meaningful purpose in what they do so that they can feel inner fulfillment with who they are – because “when you feel good, you can do good!” [ Not too long ago, Mike had the pleasure of being a guest on the Business of Happiness Episode #97. ]

Tarry has a happiness quiz that she happily shares with anyone. Text “Happy” to 2076002699 to take the quiz and find out where you fall on her Happiness Scale, and learn how you can improve your happiness in work and in life.

She also has a course designed for physicians and dentists called “Radical Happiness for Practitioners.”  

Be prepared to be wowed by Tarryn!

To learn more about Tarryn, please see the links below:

And now here’s Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy.

Full transcript below

Video With Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy – You Can’t Outrun Yourself

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Podcast with Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy. You Can’t Outrun Yourself.

Tarryn MacCarthy __ HIH

Thu, Dec 01, 2022 4:08PM • 59:59


people, happiness, success, life, Tarryn, feel, business, blame, lights, happy, patients, learned, opportunity, thought, day, find, shame, selfish, world, mike


Tarryn MacCarthy, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:02

Hello, Tarryn, welcome to the show.

Tarryn MacCarthy  00:28

Hello, Mike. Thanks so much for having me.

Mike Malatesta  00:33

It’s good to hear your voice. You’ve got such a great voice and I haven’t heard it in a little bit. So it’s really nice to hear your voice again. Good to have you here.

Tarryn MacCarthy  00:42

That human connection thing really matters, doesn’t it?

Mike Malatesta  00:45

Yeah, it kind of does. Yeah. So everybody, you got a little taste of Dr. McCarthy and my little episode and intro, but here’s a little more about her so you can get as excited as I am for this conversation. Dr. Tarryn McCarthy is the co-owner of Mbrace Orthodontics. She’s the CEO of Embrace the Lead LLC. She’s the host of The Business of Happiness Podcast, which I was fortunate to be a guest on episode 97, if you want to check that out. She’s a motivational speaker and a dreamer. One day, Tarryn woke up, looked around at the amazing life she’d built and realized that she was miserable. There’s got to be more than life than this, she said to herself. And that question started her journey and helped codify her belief that three words should guide everything she does. Appreciate, Allow and Amplify. You can find out more about Tarryn at thebizofhappiness.com. That’s their website and the Instagram handle is the business of happiness. And Tarryn, I start every show with the same simple question. And that is, how did happen for you?

Tarryn MacCarthy  02:16

Such a powerful question. I love it. And thank you for the intro, Mike. Beautiful. You did fabulously. I love that. I love that. Yeah, I think you told the story of how it happened for me, you know, I imagined success since I was little. I’m an immigrant from South Africa originally. So we came to this land of opportunity. And imagined success for myself in the marriage of two things I love, which is science and artistry. And dentistry for me spoke to that. And there’s this promise of entrepreneurship and leadership and you know, building a business and giving back to the community. It was such a beautiful amalgamation of all the things that were deeply important to me. And so success to me looked like becoming a dentist. And really where it all happened for me was this one fateful day. When I’d finally achieved all my dreams, I had the practice, the dental practice in the dental world, we always say we put our shingle on the shake, hang our shingle, and then patients come and see us. So I’d hung my shingle. And I had the house, the fancy car, the fancy bank account, the fancy kids, the fancy hell, even the fancy dogs. I had been acquiring all the things that told me that I would be successful. And I was absolutely miserable. And what misery looked like to me was escape, I just needed to escape. Every day, I was just pushing through the day to get to the end of the day to get to bed. Every week, I was just pushing through the week to get to the weekend. And I was escaping at night into alcohol. That was one way of escape for me. Another one was excessive exercise. I was the queen of having two martinis after seeing a full day of patients, and then getting up at 430 in the morning to work it out and run off the hangover on the treadmill. And I realized I was just trying every moment of my life to escape, to run away. And I didn’t even recognize the person in the mirror anymore. And I think for me, it also was blanketed in a ton of shame. Because I’d acquired the life of my dreams, theoretically, and I was miserable. And I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. You know, I was comparing myself to them, family members who hadn’t, quote unquote, succeeded to the extent I had, or people I’d left behind in South Africa who didn’t have the opportunities I had, and the sense of what’s wrong with me that I can’t find joy and happiness in this success. And that was the beginning of my journey of beginning to understand what success is, and learning what that meant for me.

Mike Malatesta  05:30

I don’t know if I knew that you came here from South Africa. But before I get to that, I kept hearing in my mind the word trapped when you were talking about your experience there, so I was hearing trap. So what was what was the trap? 

Tarryn MacCarthy  06:01

You’re spot on. At the time, I think what I would have said I felt like I was on a treadmill that I had built that I couldn’t get off of. So it was a life I had chosen, I chose every step of the way. Nobody forced me into dentistry. Nobody. Buy a business, but the business itself had started owning me. My patients, it was my perspective, my patients owned me, my team owned me how I even felt like my children owned me. And every day was such an overwhelming stress, that I wasn’t able to take the time for myself. And I thought I was taking the time for myself here, I was exercising, I was having a martini with my husband at night. But I wasn’t able to get in touch with what mattered to me and to access me and it did feel like a trap. And I think that’s where the shame said in Mike, I think you hit the nail on the head there is the perception is well, you aren’t trapped. Tarryn, you’ve created this yourself. And yet, it feels that way. Like you’re a victim of your own circumstance that you created. And I think that’s where the shame compiles. And, you know, what I realized was, I’m no good to anyone. When I’m in that space. I wasn’t a great leader. It’s definitely not a good business owner. I was not a great mom, or a great wife, and all of those areas, you know, I think when we are high achievers, we want to be the best. And when we’re pushing, pushing, forcing ourselves to be the best and showing up short of that, that also adds more of that sense of inadequacy or not being good enough. Right. And I think that trapped feeling puts you there.

Mike Malatesta  07:58

Well, you so you said a couple of things that really resonated with me there, first of all, the the choice of being trapped. So you, you know, you get what you asked for in life, typically. And I know my experience in in business has been similar, where I came along to a spot where I was very frustrated about where I was, but there was an I was looking for someone to blame, Taran, but there was no one to blame. And, and ironically, or maybe not ironically. But the the, the, nobody knew that I was feeling this way either. So I wanted to ask, because I was putting on this, you know, I have this persona that I need to be you know, so no matter how I’m feeling, I can’t like, come in here and tell Pete That’s weak. I can’t come in here and tell people I don’t know what I’m doing or that I’m not happy with what I’ve actually created and stuff. So. So that was hard for me too. Because when do you admit? Or when do you ask for help or whatever. So I’m wondering with you, were you similar where no one no one was saying to you turn what’s wrong?

Tarryn MacCarthy  09:12

Absolutely. And I think this is an epidemic in our healthcare system, to be honest with you, is as a business owner, or a doctor dentist who’s relies on people trusting them having confidence in them. I mean, I needed to put up this front in order to have people work for me. i No one would work for me if I express that I was a mess. You know, if I let on this the truth, patients wouldn’t come to see me. You know, establishing a sense of self confidence and holding it all together was imperative to my success, I thought, and I think that you know, many of us don’t reach out for help for that exact reason. The shame is a big part. word of it, you know, I think I compared myself a lot to the community I had left behind in South Africa in terms of my opportunity, who was I to complain about the opportunities that I had available to me when so many people I knew and love to didn’t have the same opportunity. So I think shame prevents us from telling the truth or asking for help. But also, in terms of business, we have this idea that I have to look like I’m holding it all together, otherwise, my business will fall apart. I felt very tenuous, if I dared ask for help. What if someone were to find out that I wasn’t as excellent as I was trying to portray. And I think holding it together was a big part of my falling apart because we eventually were holding up this house of cards. And at any moment when one falls down the whole house tumbles down and the and that’s really what it felt like. Interestingly, when you said the, the aspect of blame, I think we do that to feel a little bit better. Blame feels a little better than hopelessness. You know, complete defeat and victimization, blame feels much better. feels a lot better. Yeah, yeah. And it’s actually a great way to crawl up the ladder of emotional the emotional vibrational ladder. So if you imagine at the very bottom of the emotional vibrational letter ladder is this sense of hopelessness and despair. And if we kind of crawl up to more empowering emotions, we get to blame and anger, and frustration. And eventually, we can climb all the way up to empowerment and love and gratitude. But we have to start small. So actually, blame felt better for me and blame was actually a win for me. And the trap about blame is, you can find many people to join you in blame. And so I think a lot of us get stuck in blame, because it does feel better. And then we find friends who will join us in blame, whether we’re blaming the economy, we’re blaming insurance companies, we’re blaming the people who work for us, we’re blaming, there’s a million things that we can find to blame. And it’s easy to find other people who will join you in the blame game, and prevent you from doing exactly what you said, which is taking ownership of your own responsibility for your situation.

Mike Malatesta  12:44

Yeah, that’s a there’s a lot of company available when you want to get into the into the blame game, a lot of company. And then it’s reinforced, of course, everywhere you look, you know, on, particularly in politics. Our leaders are blamers. Right. So yeah, I mean, they’re setting the stage every day to make it okay to blame somebody else for what’s happening to Yeah. So you had this epiphany, which is great. A lot of people have the epiphany. But this miserable epiphany, but so many of us just go well. That’s just I guess that’s just the way it is. You didn’t do that. Why not? And how did you not?

Tarryn MacCarthy  13:32

Well, what I actually did was I ran away from everything I actually did, I actually got to such a low space that I thought, I’m not capable of this. And I sold my practice as quickly as I could, sold my house, went to a divorce attorney went to a bankruptcy attorney. Because as part of the dental world, we have very high student loan debt until we get ourselves up on our feet. I tried, I ran left the state fled the state bike. I draw on the land, I was on the land. That was the only you know, that was the ultimate expression of fight or flight. I was done fighting. And I thought now I’m just going to flee. And the fascinating thing is the one person I couldn’t run away from was myself. And that was where my rebuilding and re connection with myself began. I started getting very quiet. What was actually really interesting is I I have three children. My first two were born in this era of anxiety and overwhelm, and I was back to work seeing patients before my due date. So that sounds crazy, but I said it right. My children were because I was washing my body and cortisol and stress and anxiety. Add, they just couldn’t hold on to pregnancy. So my two first babies were born very prematurely. And because I had to get back to work, I was back to work seeing my patients before my due date. And so when I fled, I swore when I was pregnant with my third, I wouldn’t do the same wouldn’t repeat the same pattern, and actually started a course in hypnobirthing, which was hip, self hypnosis of how to have, how to go through labor, without medication being really present using your mind body connection to walk through labor. And that taught me an art that I really credit to turning my life around, which was meditation. And I think it wasn’t so much that meditation has a secret silver bullet, it’s just the skill of getting quiet, and learning how to regulate your own nervous system. Because I was very capable. I would find out later as I rebuilt new businesses and went back into the orthodontic world and treated patients successfully and led a much bigger, more successful team. But what I hadn’t learned yet was how to regulate my own nervous system, so that I could be more present in the moment and access that intelligence that was there all along. what was actually happening is my fear and anxiety was Hijacking My intelligence, Hijacking My presence. And I was making decisions left and right out of a place of reactivity instead of response or proactive decision making.

Mike Malatesta  16:52

And how long were you on the lam? Let’s say how long were you fly? How long were you flying?

Tarryn MacCarthy  17:00

Did not very long, because I got bored very quickly. Which was also a great lesson I learned I can’t be a stay at home mom, for me. That’s that doesn’t light me up. So it lasted about four months, and then realized that I needed to be in some entrepreneurial venture, creative venture, building a business again.

Mike Malatesta  17:25

Got it? Yeah. And the Hypno birthing allows you to have your third child without any medication, or you just Yeah,

Tarryn MacCarthy  17:34

it was, it was really cool. But that wasn’t actually the biggest benefit, the biggest benefit is I was able to that pregnancy, she was two weeks late. I mean, my, my body was now an environment where she could survive, you know, and I had learned a technique of how to calm myself. Which was so amazing, because then I was able to build on that and, and give myself a chance to get quiet with myself and ask myself those deeper questions like, what does success look like to me? Because I realized, what I had done was really live out someone else’s algorithm of success, and thought that that success would bring me happiness. But what really mattered was paying attention to my own happiness. And then success flowed. I mean, it was so interesting, when I learned how to take care of myself and take responsibility for my own happiness. My relationships in my life got better, I was able to lead a team in a more impactful, empowered way, I was able to grow a practice, to much greater success than I ever thought possible. And really, my focus was less on the success and more on taking care of myself. Ironically, when we take care of ourselves, we can be better for other people.

Mike Malatesta  19:04

So this may sound like a dumb question, but how did you know? Or how did you come to know? What made you happy? Hmm,

Tarryn MacCarthy  19:13

lots of introspection, lots of introspection and undoing what I thought I knew. So I think there was also a lot of trial and error. So for example, when I was so miserable in that first business venture of mine, I thought, what will really make me happy as being a stay at home mom, that was the story I told myself, and then when I went there, it wasn’t the truth. So asking myself what lights me up and not doing it from a veil of other people’s judgment or expectations. So what I think a good mother should be or what I think a good orthodontist should be or what I think a good business owner should be, but really what lights me up, and I realized things like work life balance, you know, everybody’s looking for work life balance that actually didn’t light me up. Having a balance of, of being at home so many hours and work so many hours wasn’t exciting for me, what lit me up was pouring my heart and passion into a pursuit and getting completely involved in it and diving into it headfirst that lit me up. And when I gave myself permission to be different from everyone else, and to establish those values and that success definition for myself, everything changed. When I stopped saying, well, a mother should look like this, or an orthodontist should look like this. And I took that word should out of there. And just listen to what thrilled me, I became a better leader. I mean, even as small as you know, at one point, I wasn’t a big fan of technology. And now I love it. But at one point I that didn’t light me up. So learning to delegate the things that don’t wake me up to people who are really good at it Sure, felt so much better. I mean, that seems so simple. But asking myself, Is this fun? Is this enjoyable to me. And, you know, now, my definition of success is how many hours a day I spend feeling the way I want to feel. So the moment I’m in a space where I think, oh, this doesn’t feel so good anymore. I asked myself, Is this really what I want to be doing, and then I pivot, or change, I give myself permission to do differently. And sometimes that means change changing the entire business model. But every time I allow myself that permission to feel good, I find enormous success, it becomes easy. I step into flow that that magical place we’re all hunting for is really found when you’re paying attention to what feels good.

Mike Malatesta  22:12

It was interesting what you said there the it was almost like when you define balance as rigidity, meaning chunk, chunk, chunk that did not light you up. And now, if I hear you, right, you’re saying that when you are feeling in the flow, or when you’re doing something that lights you up that provide you if that’s balanced for you? In other words, when you’re not doing that, then you’re off balance.

Tarryn MacCarthy  22:41

That’s interesting. That’s an interesting way to put it, Mike. Yeah, I

Mike Malatesta  22:44

don’t know if it’s right or not. Yes. Does that resonate at all? Or is it just like, that’s not even close?

Tarryn MacCarthy  22:50

You know, I think I am so resistant to the word balance. Now. Yes, I don’t seek balance. I love thrill. You know, I like to go on adventures and, you know, hike mountains and do exciting things. I love doing that. So for me, balance almost feels boring. I love passion and excitement in my life. And when I find, oh, you know, I’m really missing being spending more time with my family. I allow myself that. And I dive into that. And I give myself permission to do that. I think you’re right about the rigidity in terms of expectations. And I think that that’s where we get hung up on this idea of work life balance, just show me what that looks like, or show me how to do that. But it’s so individual. It’s so personal to each one of us, it really is not something that we can compare with one another. And I think it’s also changing throughout our life. You know, I think when I was 20 It looked very different from now at 45. And I’m sure it’s going to change when I’m in my 60s. So you know right now, we live in this big home beautiful home. I’m so grateful we could have all our family over here for Thanksgiving that feels like success to me. But I know that one day I’m this home will be too much for me and it won’t feel like success. It’ll feel like a burden. So giving ourselves permission to change that definition of success through our lives and to allow our values to be fluid is huge. I think that when you mentioned earlier those three A’s of appreciation and allowing the allowing part is something we I think we overlook is allowing ourself to grow and change and giving ourselves permission to be someone different today from who we were yesterday.

Mike Malatesta  24:54

Why? So why why do you think that is?

Tarryn MacCarthy  24:59

I think That rigidity steps in again, because we have a very rigid sense of what success is we create an idea for ourselves of what success should be, whether it’s success and family, or business or love or financial success. But even financial success can look different from from year to year.

Mike Malatesta  25:19

Yeah. Yeah, I sometimes think of it like, when allow means, like, it’s what I’m supposed to be. So that’s why I don’t allow because I feel like I’m supposed to be certain things. And if what I’m supposed to be is outside of what I want to be, well, then that’s supposed to be wins, because that’s what I’m supposed to be. Totally. Yeah.

Tarryn MacCarthy  25:45

Yeah. And I think we expect other people to have the answer to. And I think, really, the answers are always within us. And I totally know what it feels like to not be able to access those answers. But the truth is, nobody knows what is most important to you. Nobody knows what will work for you only you do. And that’s where that skill of getting quiet. Allah and learning how to regulate your nervous system to quiet the noise in your own head to access that intelligence that is there. I do believe every single one of us has that within us. It’s just a matter of accessing it.

Mike Malatesta  26:33

So 10, if we knew you when you were on this road to miserable illness, what would be the end? We knew you now? What would how would the differences in you map b be externally observable or manifest manifest themselves externally? So that would be like, Oh, that I used to know turnout, but she’s nothing like she used to be.

Tarryn MacCarthy  26:59

It’s really interesting. I wonder how different it would be to other people. I mean, still an orthodontist, still married to the same incredible man still have the same kids living in a different house in a different state? My practice is much more successful, but probably you wouldn’t know it. I probably look very similar. Maybe back then I was running more marathons? I don’t know. I’m not sure. Externally how different I would look. But I’ll tell you, my entire reality changed. I think I’m definitely able to be more present. And that’s magic. You know, being present, as a health care provider is such an important thing I’ve learned that is when I can be present for my patients, I can be better for them. I mean, isn’t that what we all want from our health care providers? Wouldn’t it be a magical world where all your doctors knew how to take care of their own trauma response so that you didn’t elicit one in your in your fear and anxiety as a patient. I mean, that’s what I dream for my profession is that we could learn as healthcare providers how to find that calm within ourselves so that we’re not looking for validation from our patients who are going through their own thing right now, or validation from our team members from the our employees, or even from our children or my husband. I mean, the moment I realized that it’s not my job, to make my husband happy, and it’s not his job to make me happy. It gave me so much freedom, it, it allowed our relationship to be so much richer, because we weren’t responsible for each other’s happiness, I’m responsible for my happiness. When I didn’t expect my assistant or my front desk, or my office manager or my virtual assistant to bring me happiness, or my sister in law. When her actions didn’t impact, my lived experience, it was enormously freeing. I realized, Oh, I get to get back into the driver’s seat of my own life and find my own happiness for me and then show up for the people I serve.

Mike Malatesta  29:29

I’m right with you can’t you can’t outsource your happiness and and sometimes it takes a lot of searching to find it. You find what lights you up or what. But But The search goes on. Oh, yeah, no, no one’s going to like just come down into your life and put a spread of happiness in front of you like Thanksgiving dinner or something, you know, it’s just not gonna happen.

Tarryn MacCarthy  29:54

And isn’t that such a gift of this human experience? I mean, before we started the inner View we were both talking about things we’re excited about in our lives right now. And both of us mentioned something completely new, a brand new pursuit that we know nothing about, and how exciting that is. I mean, that lights me up now is the curiosity factor of new adventures and new learning opportunities. That growth, for me has enormous value. And that’s one of the things I learned about myself is, I love to grow. Not everybody does. But giving myself permission to have that value is enormous, because it allows me to, to wrap my arms around opportunities when they come along, and that speak to that value. So have there been relationships in my life that have not lasted because we haven’t held the same values? Yes, it doesn’t make those relationships, less beautiful, important in the moment, but there’s definitely relationships that are temporary, because our values don’t continue along the same trajectory. And that’s okay, allowing for that to be true, is also something that I have come to value in my life is just allowing for things to be and not feeling like everything has to have a meaning attached to it. We’re great meaning makers. And often the meaning that we attach to events in our lives can undermine our success or undermine our happiness and realizing that not everything has to have a meaning attached to it has been very freeing.

Mike Malatesta  31:39

Can I go back with you for for a minute, the you know, this, this coming to the to the US from South Africa, you mentioned a couple of times sort of comparing might not be the right word, I don’t know, comparing to what the advantages, I guess that you had as a result, compared to some of your people you knew, or people, you know, who who are still there? How did you? How did you come to come here? And what was it like, there, I want to get a sense of what those differences are that you were talking about.

Tarryn MacCarthy  32:17

So when I came to America, in the 80s, South Africa was just politically going through some very big changes. It was the end of apartheid, where we apartheid hadn’t quite ended when we left, but the writing was on the wall. And I think my Father, I thank my I thank my father, because he made enormous sacrifice to bring us to America. He anticipated there’d be a lot of political turmoil as the country did what it needed to do, which was turn over and change the oppressive legislation that was in in power at the time. So he brought our family over here and sacrificed enormously. It was really enormous. I’m so grateful to this day, so grateful to my dad for doing that. And it was very difficult for many people to do that there was a big brain drain out of the country. So they put a lot of limitations on how much money you could take out. And the opportunities were very difficult across the world. So the rest of our family stayed and went through some very hard, challenging times. And I think, you know, it’s interesting, the in 1995, US News and World Report, I believe it was in 95. They were looking at where the happiest countries were in the world, and one of the countries that keeps coming up in it. And I think to this day, still, one of the top few is Denmark, they interviewed the Danish and they said, What is it about? Happiness? Why are you so happy? And why do you think Americans are so unhappy? And one of the answers they got was what feeds unhappiness in America is the American dream, chasing the American dream. That was their perspective. So in Denmark, they said, We don’t expect to do better or get better. We’re just happy with what we have. And it’s really interesting when we look at cultural expectations of success and happiness, and it’s really fascinating when you move from one country to another, and you experience that societal understanding of success, a societal understanding of happiness. And when we came, it was before internet. So Africa was a very different place to Americans than it is today. When I came I was 10 years old and no one had an idea that white people Well, at least in my school system, nobody knew that white people could live in Africa that it didn’t compute to a lot of the kids. So the culture shock was one thing. But we came with this very real expectation that we better do well, we’d been gifted this opportunity, people had sacrificed to make it opportunity, we had better make it and make it really well in America, because because there was this opportunity for the American dream that my cousins in Africa didn’t have. And when I speak to a lot of immigrants and children of immigrants, I get the same perception that you better do it. You better be successful, you can’t you don’t have a choice. Many of us come and work our, you know, work our as hard as we possibly can and even identify as being the hardest working person in the room. Maybe I’m not the smartest, maybe I’m not the fastest, but I will outwork everybody here. And that temperament is a big part of our undoing. Because when we face a challenge, we just do more, just kind of do more mentality. And doing more does get you a certain level of success. There’s almost this little feedback that gets you to work even harder, because if you show up consistently, the compounding effect will bring you have a certain level of success until you burn down. Yeah. And that’s once again, where we come back to that story of shame. And I think the shame aspect of it is, I’m here, I get gifted this opportunity. Why am I messing up so badly? Why can’t I find happiness in this opportunity that other people don’t have?

Mike Malatesta  36:55

And in the mean, at the same time, you’re, I’m assuming that your parents and your cousins and everyone else were like, super proud of what you accomplished, right? What you were accomplishing what the dream you were living that American dream, you that you were chasing? You’d actually caught that?

Tarryn MacCarthy  37:15

I think absolutely in their eyes. And and you know, here’s another interesting thing. Eleanor Roosevelt said, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I’m sure you’ve heard that quote before many times. And I love to just change the words a little bit. No one can make you feel anything without your consent. And that is true about inspiration or happiness, no one can make you feel successful. without your consent. It might look like you have all the things in the world. But if you don’t feel it, it’s you’re not successful. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. So yes, in my cousin’s eyes, I had made it in my brother’s eyes, I had made it. But that was, I felt anything but successful. You know, I felt like a complete failure in all aspects of my life. And what’s really cool about no one can make you feel anything without your consent is we have the power to feel anything, despite what anybody else says. So there’s a, there’s the other side of that coin is that we actually are the one that decides how we feel. So we get to choose again, which is a really interesting seat of power, is that just by choosing victimhood, we also get to choose empowerment.

Mike Malatesta  38:42

Right. And I very much agree with you there. And I’m thinking about people now who think that that choice is stressful. Like, she’s choosing for myself, to be who I want to be, is stressful, because it doesn’t it may not fit into, like we were talking about before into this supposed thing, or I guess I’m merely thinking about, you know, all the things that come at you from, whether it’s social media or whatever, that are sort of reinforcing this supposed or this, whatever, it’s that it gets hard sometimes to just sit there and say, That’s not who I am, this is who I am. And make that deliberate choice or this is how I I’m going to feel about this. Because I say that to my daughter all the time because she gets bummed out if like somebody cuts her off she’s in a car she’s she’s a bad she’s like embarrassed like, well, I don’t know what I did. And I, she like wants to make it right with the person and I said the person’s forgotten you. Just, this is just just be okay with this, this, these kinds of things happen and then you choose how you want to react to them. Just, you know, it’s over. It’s done and it’s nothing. Just move on.

Tarryn MacCarthy  40:00

Yeah, I think what you’re what you’re touching on here is that perception of judgment. Yeah. And what else? Yes. And that idea of, oh, who said it so beautifully. I’m worried about what you think I’m thinking. And you know, that crazy mind talk that we have right cerned about what other people think we think we know what they’re thinking. And, you know, I think it’s interesting, because I’m gonna relate this back to my story of coming from South Africa. When I came to America, I felt very different. I felt like a complete outcast. I felt like, nobody understood me. And that story is not unfamiliar to most of your listeners. I think so many of us at one point in our life feel so different from everyone else, nobody understands me, I’m so different. And we spend our lives trying to be the same and accepted by people. And actually, our superpower lies in being different. It’s like, banging our heads against the wall, why am I so different? Why am I so different, and then if you can just stop and appreciate and allow the uniqueness of you, you find the freedom. So then you get to own your definition of success, your own values, if they look very different from someone else’s, I think, trying to conform into somebody’s description of success is what is so limiting. And when we can finally just see ourselves as completely unique human beings. I mean, as you know, in business, that’s a superpower, if you can set yourself aside, apart from everyone else be completely unique. That’s a winning business model. It’s when we’re trying to always conform to a certain standard that we limit ourselves. And when we’re constantly worried about what other people think we deny ourselves that unique ingenuity that’s within each of us.

Mike Malatesta  42:13

It’s hard, though sometimes Right? to not care about what other

Tarryn MacCarthy  42:16

people think it’s courageous.

Mike Malatesta  42:19


Tarryn MacCarthy  42:20

It’s yeah, it’s courageous. And, you know, courage, you can’t be courageous without fear. So you have to be a little scared to make to take courageous action. And I think, I think we’re worried about being perceived as egotistical or selfish. That’s, that’s what I hear from a lot of people is, if I take care of myself, if I put my attention on my own happiness, if I create something, that’s just what lights me up, then that’s me being very selfish. And my argument is that we, it’s, it’s actually the greatest gift you can give from a perspective of a healthcare provider, and a mom, and a wife, and a team leader, a leader of my team of my, my employees, the greatest gift I can give to them is taking care of myself. Because that gets that responsibility out of the way. I don’t need you to make me feel good about myself anymore. Now I can see you as the whole person that you are, and I can be present for you. Without all the excess baggage, I’m taking care of myself. So I think, you know, as educators, as teachers, there’s nothing more important than learning how to take care of ourselves and our own happiness, and learning those tools and being willing and courageous enough to show up as the unique human being that we are, so that we can start breaking that paradigm for our children so that they don’t feel like they have to conform. You know, we have so many I admire kids nowadays that are willing to see themselves differently, who are willing to challenge our paradigms, even of like gender identity, identity. I mean, how crazy is that? To our generation, but I admire that questioning. I admire that curiosity of why do we have to fit into a binary understanding of gender? I don’t know. That’s a great question. Who am I to judge but when I allow myself to stand up as my own unique self it gives other people permission to do the same.

Mike Malatesta  44:45

That selfish thing that I mean there’s it’s almost like he pitched me a softball there because my The subtitle of my book is how getting selfish got me unstuck and it’s That’s right. I I am a very big selfish advocate, but not in the way that we have been taught to define the word but in a much more positive light. Not it’s not it’s not ego, it’s not narcissism, it’s, it’s about knowing yourself, knowing what you want, and being the best you can be, because that’s the only way that you can be the best for the people around you. The only way,

Tarryn MacCarthy  45:28

and it’s a responsibility. Yeah. Yeah, truly, it is, it is a responsibility more than so much more than, than just the societal convention of selfishness. It’s a responsibility. I mean, imagine if everybody took that responsibility of their own happiness, and their own self. Yeah, we wouldn’t have the problems that we have of taking advantage of one another or pushing, putting someone down or blame, we would each take up the ownership of our own responsibility of our own lives and take action on it. So I do see it as a responsibility.

Mike Malatesta  46:10

So you’ve your career is very interesting to me, because you’ve, you kind of took us through how you changed and how you just changed your outlook changed everything about you, but you continue to be a practicing orthodontist, you’ve got a thriving practice. And yet, you’ve you said well, I’m going to use this wherever, basically, I’m going to use all the skills and experiences that I’ve had to get here and, and I’m going to help a bunch of people I think I read that your purpose is to help a million business leaders to help empower dream that dream them to something I don’t know exactly what so I’m, where did that come from? Karen, what so, you know, I think most people would be like, Okay, I’ve got a life that I like, now, I’m gonna just take more time off, or I’m just gonna do something other than, you know, dedicate my life to not only having, you know, this great career, but having an another career path or addition to it.

Tarryn MacCarthy  47:19

Well, I think that, you know, what happened was during COVID, so some COVID was so enlightening for so many of us. What I saw in my dental colleagues, and medical colleagues, were these incredible men and women who were literally putting smiles on children’s faces on a daily basis, holding their teams together, you know, when we furloughed, our, our teams, small businesses did, especially in healthcare, we were we were forced to do so. We had to put our team members on unemployment, these people who we had been asking for decades to be brand ambassadors for our dreams, and literally put them on unemployment. And I watched my colleagues go into enormous fear, and anxiety, we didn’t know what was around the corner, what our businesses would look like on the other end, but they were holding it together, and paying for their team members healthcare insurance, despite them being on unemployment without knowing what was coming around the corner, or, you know, investing in their businesses so that they could welcome their patients back. I mean, incredible efforts and dedication and passion, and so much misery and unhappiness in these incredible men and women. And I thought there has got to be a different way. And I noticed that in myself, when I showed up with that responsibility of my own happiness, I could be better and the shame, I could drop the shame because I could show up as the great provider I knew I could be where I was noticing a lot of my colleagues who were living in fear, they were still hiding behind a wall of shame because they were living in so much anxiety and unhappiness and I thought there’s got to be a different way. And you know, once I started working, I started studying neuro linguistic programming and cognitive behavioral therapy and I got a coaching certification Robbins Madonna’s studied anything and everything I could get my hands on, just how do we access this happiness for ourselves, and started coaching some of my dental colleagues. And it was amazing to me that when we have those tools for self ownership, we can do better for our patients and I sound like a broken record, but it means so much to me when You feel good, you can do good. And so this passion became something of mine in a bigger way, because I was starting to see people transforming and really loving their lives. You know, in, in 2016, my brother took his life. And in the wake of that, I realized that he didn’t have the tools to be able to live in a world of owning himself, and appreciating this beautiful, precious moment that we have in our lives. And I’m so grateful every day for the learning that I have from my brother’s passing. And I’m so grateful for to him for the lessons that I’ve come away with. But I wish for all of my colleagues, and for so many people that they could have those tools to not only enjoy, and love and feel the happiness of this life, but I know that when we do so we can change other’s lives around us. So it’s one thing being an orthodontist and transforming people’s lives with their smiles, and I know the impact of that. But it’s another thing to be able to support, other health care providers, that ripple effect, having ripple effects, and making a real change in the world in terms of how we take care of ourselves, so that we can take care of one another. To me, there’s no important more important work than creating a new understanding of success and happiness.

Mike Malatesta  51:44

And do you find, do you find that the these colleagues that you work with, you find that they feel like, often feel like you’ve felt before you ran away?

Tarryn MacCarthy  51:55

Absolutely, absolutely. I think the medical system, the way that we don’t learn how to take care of ourselves, we learn how to take care of other people. But we don’t learn that fundamental, that skill set of how to take care of ourselves. I mean, having gone through medical and dental school myself, nobody taught me. And, you know, now I can see how important and valuable that lesson really is.

Mike Malatesta  52:25

So the Why don’t you tell us about your podcast, and in this course, that you’re that you putting together you talk about the beginning before we before we wrap this up? Because you do have a wonderful podcast, and I do want people to know about it.

Tarryn MacCarthy  52:39

Thank you so much, Mike. Yeah, it’s the business of happiness. And like I said, it was birthed during COVID. And I just started interviewing incredible people like you, Mike, to find out, you know, what is the secret to being successful and happy? That was really the question I started asking. And it’s been such an amazing journey. I’m so grateful for the podcast, because I’ve just met so many wonderful people, and so many new perspectives. And then the course was birthed from, from putting together all those learnings that I had from experts and from all my studying. And it’s really a course for health care providers, dentists, and doctors of how to find happiness. It’s called Radical happiness for practitioners. And it’s the how of how to access your responsibility for your own happiness, not just in your life, but also in your practice. So I believe deeply as an entrepreneur, that our entrepreneurial journey is, in itself a tool for personal development, we learned so much about ourselves in the entrepreneurial journey. And especially in medicine and dentistry, we have this great opportunity to do so. So our practice can actually serve our happiness instead of feeling like it’s constantly drawing from us. There’s a way to go to work, get fueled by your work during the day so that when you come home, you’re fully present for your family, instead of feeling like you’re drained constantly. And it’s that magic that I encapsulated in this 12 week course I’m so proud of it, and it really is transformative. But it’s it gives the how of how to find happiness as a health care practitioner,

Mike Malatesta  54:34

and how to practice if someone’s listening and they want to learn about that. Where did they go? Oh,

Tarryn MacCarthy  54:39

thank you so much for asking, Well, if you want to you can text the word happy to the number 207-600-2699 That’s 207-600-2699 just text the word happy and what you’ll find is actually a hat. Penis quiz to find out how happy are you really. And that will lead you to the waitlist for the next cohort of my course. But I think, you know, if you’re wondering, well, am I really happy, this quiz is a great way to find out. And also, the questions themselves make you just wonder, ask yourself, you know, where are my values right now? And what matters to me right now. So even just taking the quiz is a great opportunity for personal insight.

Mike Malatesta  55:33

And anyone can take the quiz. Anyone can take the quiz. You’re welcome to it.

Tarryn MacCarthy  55:37

Yeah. All

Mike Malatesta  55:39

right. Well, thank you for leaving us with that. I will take the quiz. Oh, I’m excited, Mike. Just fabulous. So turn doctor, Dr. McCarthy, thank you so much for joining me today. Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you would like to leave with our audience? Or share? Or are we are we good?

Tarryn MacCarthy  56:03

I would love I would love to ask you a question, Mike. Okay, go. What is your definition of success now at this point in your life?

Mike Malatesta  56:14

Well, I, I think it’s options, not obligations. I try to you know, so there’s a selfish component to that. But it’s, it’s really, it’s really so being an entrepreneur is about freedom. But in its like, in its in its raw form, that’s what it’s about, you become an entrepreneur to be free. Trouble is, so many of us don’t feel free at all, whether we’re entrepreneurs or not. And I, I would, you know, we’re in this supposed thing that should thing and all that. And that’s, it’s hard to break free from that sort of gravitational force. But you’ve said it all along in this. And I think it plays right into that options, options, not obligations, you have to know what lights you up. And then you have to put constraints in your life around to the extent that you can, and to as often as you can around what led you up in place. Often you have obligations in your life, and you will be happier, and you will be more productive, and you will have more of an impact than you otherwise would.

Tarryn MacCarthy  57:30

Absolutely. Beautiful. Thank you.

Mike Malatesta  57:34

How’d I do?

Tarryn MacCarthy  57:38

I loved it. I loved it. I love hearing your perspective, because I think it you know, the way you say it speaks to some people and the words you use and then the way someone else says it speaks to someone else. But I think it’s a beautiful way of phrasing it that options speaks to freedom. Whereas obligations do feel constricting and limited. So I love I love that perspective. Yeah.

Mike Malatesta  58:05

Thank you. So for everyone listening takeaways for today. Be selfish. Make your future your property. Okay. Get clear about what do you want your future to look like? And then make it your property the future that you actually want to own? And until next time, for joining?

Tarryn MacCarthy  58:35

Tata. Go, yeah, yeah, I’m here.

Mike Malatesta  58:51

Alright. I thought it was good.

Tarryn MacCarthy  58:53

That was great. That was wonderful. Thank you. Thank you for your very insightful questions. And thank you for the opportunity to share my story.

Mike Malatesta  59:05

Yeah, my pleasure. It was really good to see you. Really great to hear you again. And thank you for being on. I’ll share this with you. It’ll come out in January. Right. mid January, maybe. So awesome. In the meantime, let

Tarryn MacCarthy  59:20

me know because I’d love to share it with my audience as well.

Mike Malatesta  59:25

Oh, great. Thank you. Yeah, please do. Thank you. Thank you and have a have an outstanding holiday season. Thanks, man. Happy New Year. Wonderful. And, of course, thank you. How happy I am. Yeah. Wonderful. Happy holidays to you too. Mike. Thank you again. Thanks, Darren. Yeah, bye bye.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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I help entrepreneurs get unstuck, take back their power, achieve their life objectives, and create the futures they want.

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