How many people do you know whose life has turned out the way they thought it would? Or anyone that was even close? Meet a Gen X woman whose life is absolutely nothing like she had planned it to be but who decided to look at every experience as a sign that it’s all part of her journey.
Her name is Tara Geraghty- a Gen X woman, entrepreneur, author, Ted X speaker, coach, content creator, and the leader behind the growing Clubhouse community Hey Girl, You Can. She’s also a survivor of domestic abuse and has a daughter who’s a cancer survivor. She has experienced pivotal life events that have steered her life in a completely different direction than she had planned.
Tara shares that she “did all of the things that you’re supposed to do to be successful and give you a good life.” This is a common theme amongst many Gen X Women. She did well in high school, went to her college of choice and graduated early with top honors. She got married, moved away from her hometown and thought she was on her way to having a big family. But that’s not how it worked out for her. “Sometimes we have to let go of our plan. I stopped saying ‘I never will’.” After everything she’s experienced, Tara learned to embrace the journey.
We talked with Tara about some of the milestones in her journey; her success creating a community elevating women’s voices on Clubhouse, her impending status as an empty nester and why she let her hair go gray.
The Hey Girl, You Can Movement
Tara is no stranger to coaching women and building community. So when a girlfriend encouraged her to download the Clubhouse app, she went ahead and did it even though she didn’t even know what it was. She had no idea how big this was going to be for her.
At the encouragement of her sister-in-law, Tara created a club and named it “Hey Girl, You Can”. It was the first thing that came to mind, and she went with it and she barely made the cut off process for club approval. Tara says she was in the right place at the right time since there were a small number of clubs at the time. Her experience combined with those two components and “divine intervention” saw 10,000 people join the club in under 45 days.
Tara says that she built the club on two pillars. She created a positive space where “women can feel elevated and affirmed” and a platform that enables a woman’s voice to be heard. “I really believe every single person is significant and valued and that their voice has a right to be heard and should never be silenced.”
The club also has accountability circles. This is where trained leaders focus on helping members with goal setting and building confidence week over week. It’s about setting yourself up for success. And then to come back and share your success story and how it changed your life. Tara says this is what she’s most excited about “because I feel like that will start to individually change people’s lives.”
Tara feels a personal responsibility to the members of her community. She strongly credits the women running the rooms on Clubhouse for the club’s success. “They make the other women who are coming into that room for the first time or who are checking out the club for the first time, feel so welcomed and feel so significant. And it’s a ripple effect.”
The Club has grown to almost 38k members, so it’s working!
Empty Nester- Something to Look Forward to
Like many Gen X women, Tara is finding herself close to sending her daughter off to college. She started to get depressed as she began thinking about what she herself was planning on doing with her life once that happens. But she quickly began to ask herself, ‘What will I do with the rest of MY life?’ Noting that she feels like sometimes people think their kids exist for them. Tara feels strongly about giving her daughter space and not putting that responsibility on her. “I need to have my own life. I need to have my own things that fulfill me and give me joy.”
So Tara decided to look more strategically at what would make her happy and excited. “I think a lot of people get to this point where we’re raising our kids and we say what’s next? So, rather than feeling like this is the end of the season, there’s just an equally exciting season to start.”
Tara admits that she hasn’t lived in many places or traveled much. When she thought about what she would enjoy she came up with the idea of living in eight different cities for each of the eight semesters her daughter will be in college. “I thought it’d be really fun to go into different cities, get to experience them, meet people, see the sights and kind of figure out where do I want to live when I grow up.”
This adventurous spirit is what kept Tara going on her journey and she doesn’t have plans to stop anytime soon.
A Gen X Woman Embracing Her Gray
We couldn’t help but ask Tara about her gray hair since she’s a Gen X woman who seems to be embracing it. Tara says she jumped on the gray hair bandwagon before the pandemic hit and it was trending to embrace the gray/silver. She started dying her hair when she was 29. She had to commit to dying it every four weeks in order to maintain her black mane. Once she started growing it out people definitely had opinions about it. Many people told her that it would affect her business since she worked in the beauty and skincare industry. After trying some other options, the only way to fix it was to dye it black again.
Fast forward to one morning at 42 years old. She woke up one day and realized she didn’t even know what she looked like with her natural hair color. This realization is what drove Tara to wave goodbye to hair dye for good. The opinions came rolling in again. This time she said the most interesting thing were the positive reactions and comments she received from strangers. One woman even said “Oh my gosh, I so wish I could do that.” Tara’s response? “You should try it and see what it looks like.”
It took two years for her to fully grow it out and she embraced the whole journey, resisting suggestions that she have a hairdresser help her transition the color so it wasn’t such a harsh look as she grew it out. But she resisted. “The purpose for me was not to find out what I looked like with gray hair. And so if I went to a salon and they gave me this beautiful silver, it was still not going to be my hair. So, I literally went cold turkey.”
For Tara this was more than just about her hair. It was a journey to finding herself and her confidence. She says she decided, “I’m just going to be ok with who I am.”
She’s a Gen X Woman On an Adventure
Tara is all about what you learn in your own journey and also about building resiliency. She challenges others to be open and ask themselves, “If I die tomorrow, what would I feel like I can’t leave until I do this? Or until I share this? Or until I create this?” She also notes it doesn’t have to be something monumental and encourages everyone to find their calling.
Of her own journey she says, “I’m along for the roller coaster. Let’s see what happens. It’s an adventure.”
Tara has spent over 23+ years in leadership development leading a team of women across the nation. She holds a degree in theater, has a background in improvisation and is both Counseling Practitioner and REBT certified. She is the founder of Hey Girl, You Can a community of 38,000+ women from around the world. Tara is a sought after Top 5 TEDx speaker, a TEDx Play Series Performer, the Author of Making Cancer Fun: A Parent’s Guide (Amazon #1 New Release), and has been featured on MSNBC, GMA, 5280 & Reader’s Digest to name a few. She is a contributing author on Every Entrepreneur’s Guide to Running your Own Business, a contributor to Conquer Magazine: The Patient’s Voice, and can be heard on podcasts worldwide. Tara lives in NJ with her miracle kid daughter Emily Grace. You can find Tara online at www.heygirlyoucan.com and www.makingcancerfun.com
Note from Dena & Megan – Co-Founders of GenXWoman
The guest stories that we share on igenxwoman.com and our social media outlets are uniquely amazing. However, they do highlight a similar current that we have uncovered through our conversations with these amazing women; there is a shift that happens right before we turn 50.
In this crossroads moment marked by unhappiness and dissatisfaction, many women are faced with the decision: Should we “stick it out” in our careers and relationships or make a radical change and choose a different path; a path that we create not one that was suggested, dictated or forced upon us.
With responsibilities spanning two generations (parents and children), high debt and a society that in many cases still equates women’s viability and desirability to their age, many Gen X women opt to remain where they are, defeated and feeling they have no other option but to endure.
With features such as Tara’s story, we hope to inspire more Gen X women and women of all generations to say YES to the road less travelled and YES to their own version of “having it all”.