Creative Superheroes Interview: Bari Tessler

Wow, you guys. We’re on a roll here. Today’s creative superhero is Bari Tessler! and I adore this woman.

I took her Conscious Bookkeeping class almost 10 years ago and she taught me so much about my relationship with money– where I hold shame and fear, the source of my “money style” and how to createa bookeeping system to match my values and spirit. I could tell she was onto something big… and I am so happy to see that she has blossomed her work into a super successful online enterprise as well.

If you have soul work to do around money (don’t we all?) she’s the one I trust. She is compassionate and gentle, wise and generous.

I saw her at WDS in July and we excitedly hugged. Then she stared at me with those pretty pale blue eyes with such love and presence that it made me cry, right there at the cocktail party.

I’m so honored to introduce you to another member of my soul tribe, Bari Tessler.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is the art of un-shaming.

We humans can shame ourselves and each other about almost anything. There’s a lot of un-doing that needs to happen here. In my professional life, I unshame through the lens of money, but it touches everything else in our lives. The art of un-shaming is about bearing witness, unconditional love, forgiveness, and moving forward. It’s about safe containers full of compassion, insight, intelligence, playfulness, creativity and big love.

Amazing things happen when we un-shame ourselves and each other.

What are your obsessions? and how do they make their way into your creative work?

I am obsessed with:
Chocolate. Oh, Chocolate, how I love thee. Chocolate is everywhere in my teaching, my copy, my daily life. I eat it every day. I invite my students to nibble on it during their money practices (try it, it really helps).

I am obsessed with listening to the body’s messages. The body knows everything. I first learned to listen to my body through my Authentic Movement Practice and went on to earn my masters in Somatic Psychology to understand how the body can help us heal from the deepest emotional and spiritual place. My body is my path. In my money work, I teach my students what I call the “body check in”. It is the starting point for bringing awareness to our money story and patterns (and just about anything else, by the way.)

I am obsessed with crafting a lifestyle for our little family on our own terms. Honing the subtleties of being a dual entrepreneurial family, working from home, working on the road, working in and contributing to each others’ businesses. And parenting. Oh, I’m so in love with parenting my little guy. This obsession informs almost every choice I make in my work – it all feeds back into creating and designing a life that helps us thrive.

The list goes on. I am so lovingly obsessed with . . .
Picking up the bones of our past. Grieving. Forgiving. Shedding the old. Birthing the new.
Learning practical systems and skill sets, like bookkeeping (who would have thought?!). And incorporating those practical solutions in a sacred way.

Lighting candles. Listening to music. Nibbling on chocolate. Doing body check-ins.
Creating pyscho-spiritual practices that bring in our dreams, visions, and next steps.

I have put all of these obsessions into my work, and my Conscious Bookkeeping method (Money Healing, Money Practices and Money Maps). These “obsessions” are the foundation of my 3 doorway method of my money work. I live them, I teach them, I return to them, always.

What are the top 5 things you’ve learned so far as a creative entrepreneur?

1. Know your strengths and what you suck at. We all have both. For a long time, my mantra to help me remember this was: “All I have to be is myself. Nothing more. Nothing less.” Bring on a team to fill in your gaps. Collaboration is where it’s at.

2. You can run a business from a deep + intuitive place, and be successful. This one is easy to forget, and essential to return to, again and again.

3. Your business model can, and must, change with you and your life. For example, I went through a phase of working all the time to grow my biz. I had a business partner, a team, lots of services, and lots of overhead. Then I became pregnant with Noah, and chose to work only 10 -15 hours during my son’s first 2 years. My entire business model had to change. I scaled back to a team of one (me). I spent my time on the most fun, simple and lucrative aspects of my work. I shifted from being a locally based business, to 100% online. In the last year or so, the desire and energy to grow and revamp have returned. I’ve stepped into a growth phase again, and hired a small team to support the growth. The point is to always stay awake to how your business can support your life, and when it’s time to shift.

4. Infuse everything with the spirit of experimentation. Be playful! No one really “knows” much of anything. Trial and error. Leaps of faith. Flirting with possibilities.

5. Bring together your support team. Find your teachers, your business coach, your therapist, your acupuncturist, your dance teacher. Find your people, and tap into their love and wisdom.

Tell us about a time when you had to practice courage.

During my home labor, it took a tremendous amount of courage to put on my orange sundress after hours of terribly painful contractions and tell my midwife and husband that we were going to the hospital. It went against all of my ideals and plans for a perfect home water birth. I had to face my fears of going to the hospital. I had to listen to my intuition; I knew something was off, and my body was sending very clear signals. Yes, that took a lot of courage! And it saved both of our lives.

I believe that vulnerability is a superpower. Tell us a story about how embracing your vulnerability. What were the gifts on the other side?

Several years ago I landed my dream gig with a publishing company. I was given the opportunity to record my work and method, to be sold as a multiple CD set. It was very fancy, and I was over the moon excited.

Long story short, I fell flat on my face. Massive failure. I sat in the recording studio with nothing to say. I felt so naked and inadequate. So vulnerable!

This threw me into a bit of a tailspin as I let myself sink into all that vulnerability and doubt. I questioned everything and considered giving up my work and my teaching altogether.

Somehow, I found some courage (courage is always partnering with vulnerability!) to name and honor who I am and who I am not. I sunk my teeth into the vulnerability of seeing where I sucked! (Teaching to an empty recording studio, for example.) And in the face of that failure, it was so vulnerable to honor myself and continue moving forward and shaping my work.

I came out of that painful experience crystal clear that I need live students to teach at my best. So, I tapped into my strengths and produced a Home Study Program with live recordings from an amazing group of students. I collaborated with a phenomenal team to write a comprehensive workbook and so many resources to accompany my teachings. Bingo: Vulnerability + Failure led me to my vibrant creation, built on my own terms.

I came out the other side with so much more strength and confidence than I had had before. I came out with clarity about my path, and the knowledge to set myself up to thrive.

What are a few things people wouldn’t know by looking at you?

This is tough. I think of myself as such an open book, and am very revealing about who I am and how I do life.

But! Here are two tidbits I don’t usually broadcast:

I dislike wearing thong underwear but I do it for my husband every once in awhile as a gift :)
I shaved my head just as I was turning 30 years old so that I could challenge my beauty beliefs.

What did you believe as a kid that you no longer believe?

I thought I was too sensitive, and that I had to become tough. I have always had strong feelings and strong sensations. I’ve always been super sensitive to the energy around me. I used to think it was too much for me to handle (and too much for the rest of the world to handle!).

Thank god I’ve learned that this sensitivity is one of my greatest gifts, and it influences everything I do.

What is your current mantra? Tell us about the last time you used it.

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Every day I use this mantra – without effort, it shows up. Reading books in bed + cuddling with my son, opening my laptop to do work I love, hiking just outside my door on the beautiful mountain, holding my husband’s hand. It’s everywhere in my life. Yep, there it is again.

 

Bari Tessler, M.A., is a Financial Therapist and the founder of the Conscious Bookkeeping Method: Tools For Financial Transformation™. She offers online money programs as well as private Financial Therapy for women, couples, and creative solopreneurs.

Bari holds a Masters in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University. She originally worked as a body-centered therapist, leading authentic movement groups, working in Hospice and later ran a bookkeeping practice.

In 2001, Bari founded Conscious Bookkeeping, based on her 3 Doorways for Financial Transformation: Financial Therapy, Values Based Bookkeeping and Life Vision Planning. The business quickly grew from a one-woman operation into a team of six other accounting, psychology, coaching, and investment professionals. Then, with the birth of her son in 2008, Bari successfully evolved back into a one-woman rockin’ show as a mommypreneur, updating her business model to honor the importance of spending lots of time with her family.

Her teaching combines practical action steps, a wealth of therapeutic experience, and game-changing inspiration to help her clients transform their relationships with money, body, mind and spirit.

To learn more about Bari and her work, go here: http://baritessler.com/

16 Comments

  1. Posted September 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    LOVED this interview, both the questions & the answers.
    Reinspired. Thanks.

  2. Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful interview with a beautiful woman, inside and out. Thank you for always inspiring me with your words, Bari and thank YOU, Andrea, for this series!

  3. Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Could very well be one of the best interviews I’ve read! incredibly authentic and real while also incredibly useful and full of insight. Thank you!

  4. Terra Rose
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    This was a wonderful interview! Thoughtful questions and great answers! Thank you!

  5. Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Lovely interview! Infused with wisdom, honesty, and zest for life! Looking forward to reading more on her website! Thanks!

  6. Julie Burns
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful and inspiring interview, great questions and fabulous answers. It got me thinking about how I would answer those same questions. I feel privileged to have read it. Thank you!

  7. Erin
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I adore you both and it warms my heart so to see you here together! Yay!

    Thanks for the work you do, both of you, in such a heartful, genuine way.

    Both of you are such a blessing in my life. xo

  8. Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly what I needed to read! What a wonderful interview!

  9. Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Awesome- so easy to feel you and your essence. And what an *awesome* superpower that the world needs more of!

  10. Jeni driver
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    This was so beautiful and inspiring. Your description of your superpower brought tears to my eyes. Such a blessed gift for this culture.

  11. Terrilynn
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    This interview is compelling and right on time for where I am in life. It is inspiring and hopeful! Currently, I am in the sub-basement of my financial life–I am seeking to create a financial healing/practice that will allow me to ascend.

  12. Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    So inspired by this interview! LOVE Bari’s story, especially how she has weaved motherhood into the picture. GRATITUDE indeed to you two for creating this post! Now I’m off to share
    :-)

  13. Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    i keep running into this woman and all the wonderful-ness that she is..needing to figure out a way to work with her. thank you for sharing her with us.
    xx

  14. Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Such a wonderful post Bari! I’m so glad to get to know you a bit more in addition to B-School. Now off to sign up for your newsletter. I LOVE the Superheroe Blog. It warms my heart to know that there are so many good people “out there” doing such amazing and important work, changing the climate of work and impacting the world. Thank you!

  15. Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the authentic and vulnerable stories of your life you share here. They have touched and inspired me in deep ways I may not even yet recognize. Love it.

  16. Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    This interview was like eavesdropping on the conversation of old friends. So lovely to hear the realities of life mixed with business in a blending beautiful way. Crashes through the norms of competition and striving. Thank you ladies. :)

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] I’ve been reminded me of the ‘failed’ publishing event that sent me in a huge tail spin. (I wrote a little bit about it here, in response to this: “Tell us a story when you embraced your vulnerability and came out the [...]

  2. [...] wanted to let you know that the amazing Bari Tessler (interviewed a few months ago as a Creative Superhero) is currently registering for an incredible year-long class called The Art of [...]

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