#24 Tambra Wayne: Founding Om Matters Took Purposeful Pause

Tambra Wayne is a woman that is both a powerhouse and who takes purposeful pause. Having established herself in commercial real estate, easily striding alongside her male counterparts, she rose to great peaks in that world. Ten years ago Tambra took her first pause from Real Estate, feeling misaligned and needing to break, breathe and to explore the world. After a year, she was enticed to come back to Real Estate, but it wouldn't be for good and for many years thereafter she knew she needed to get out. Tambra explained, "I wanted to leave my job (for good) years before I (finally) did.  But I didn’t feel that was the responsible or the smart thing to do." 

Very focused on achievements in the career realm, Tambra was living a results-based day to day. She shared, "Commercial real estate is a great industry, but it is all about sales and your “value” is primarily tied to how much money you make."

When Tambra dove into regular yoga practice, she began to "soften," arguably easing up the hardness she applied to herself. She spoke with me about a heart-opening experience where her perception of what she wanted from life began to change. It was around this time that she aligned with her beloved, marrying him at age 47.

With this shift, she found an increased intensity of inner conflict surrounding the values of her current career. In another moment of pause, she got clear with herself, Tambra had a desire to create something that made a difference in others’ lives and to share the teachings of yoga. It was time to align action with her purpose-driven vision. 

In 2016, Tambra started OM Matters, an eco-friendly yoga clothing company for women that contributes 10% of all proceeds to fund yoga for at-risk youth. Through the thought-provoking clothing line and events for at-risk youth, she aspires to inspire people to bring mindfulness into their everyday and to bring an awareness that every action we take matters.

Tambra connected with me through the 180 community and shared her shirts from the graceful, sweet, watercolor-like-design and super soft-threads 8-Limbs of Yoga line from OM Matters. We got to know each other over emails and eventually Skype. Our Skype call ignited my day: there's nothing like celebrating the success of another woman when she's living boldly, courageously surrendering and diving deep into learning: training in yoga philosophy and dharma. If you speak "yogini," you'll understand what I mean when I say that her Shakti was palpable. Translated: she was so lit up, grounded in the beauty of who she is, what she's up to and living in love that during the call my friend Anna was literally hiding around the corner so she could listen in, eyes bright, wanting more. 

So here's the more. The what it took from Tambra to 180 her way into a career aligned with her desire to contribute and to share, in her unique way. What held her back, her biggest fears and her grand triumphs. Huge thanks to Tambra for sharing so openly with us!

You knew you wanted to leave real estate years before you actually did. Why did you decide to stay in it despite the knowing?

I wanted to leave my job years before I did (but) I didn’t have a strong desire to do anything else either.  I stayed and put focus towards reigniting passion. I hired two different business consultants to motivate me to get excited about my job. I worked with an energy clearer to try to get rid of my negative feelings towards my career.  I saw a psychologist once a month to try to figure out what was "wrong" with me. At one point I even relocated my office to distance myself from negative people that were surrounding me.  After awhile I just started working from home more frequently. I always felt that I was a circle trying to fit into a square hole. I just didn’t fit there anymore and I needed to stop trying to fix me or the situation.  So I changed my focus with my team of consultants to help me find my true passion.  

The last year before I left (the last year of my contract) was difficult for two reasons: 1) I knew I was leaving the company which made it hard to stay engaged with the work and 2) there was an incident at the office that solidified my desire to leave. A colleague of mine who also had signed a 5-year contract was not happy either.  However, he decided to break his contract and go to a competitor.  This was a big deal and disrupted our entire team.  The way leadership handled the situation was shocking and disappointing.   I needed to leave at that point, but didn’t feel it was right to not honor my contract (plus I’d forfeit my final pay-out which was due at the end of the contract---“golden handcuffs”).  There were a lot of tears that year.  

How much did you plan for your transition to starting Om Matters? How did you set yourself up for success in your life with this big career shift?

I had only done a little planning prior to leaving commercial real estate.  It was a big decision just to leave my career.  I knew that once I “retired” from that career I needed time to decompress, to truly relax and take some time just to play, be a wife (we were only married one year at that point) and explore. I knew I needed to slow down and reconnect to myself before my true passion could bloom and have a chance at being a success.   So, I let my heart be my guide---not something you do in commercial real estate!   There was no pushing or trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I was committed to chill out for the first time and try not to force things anymore.  The first thing I noticed was my feminine side started to surface.  I wrote a family cookbook dedicated to my grandmother who passed a few years prior, I started an organic garden, traveled, practiced yoga and began weekly private “dharma-talk” sessions on the philosophy of yoga.  

It’s important to note that I really couldn’t have done all of this without the amazing and loving support of my husband.  It makes a difference to have support when you take big risks.  I had always done everything on my own and this was the first time I could take a deep breath and calm down.

During this time, I determined that I wanted to start something that matters.  Something that makes a differences in the lives of others, similar to TOMS shoes wherein there is a give-back component that is part of the brand.  Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS actually wrote a book Start Something That Matters ----- this was my guide for developing OM Matters.  

OM Matters at a yoga event for at-risk youth, a cause close to Tambra's heart

OM Matters at a yoga event for at-risk youth, a cause close to Tambra's heart

Is there anything you wish you had known before you left your job? Would you have done something differently?

No.  Sometimes I wish I had left sooner, but I believe it all played out the way it was supposed to.  I have no regrets for leaving---I was ready.  

What was your biggest fear in taking the leap? 

Not bringing in any income for a period of time and relying on someone else.  Being independent was my primary goal in life since I was 15.  Growing up we didn’t have much money and I saw the struggles my mother went through---she was a single parent most of the time.  Plus she didn’t always pick the right men or pick them for the right reason----love.  On several occasions the relationships ended badly.  I left home at age 17 and was determined to have a different life.  Not only was I going to be financially independent, I would only marry someone because I was madly in love.  I’m happy to report I achieved both of those goals!

So letting go of a lucrative career was a big step for me.  While I had a substantial savings, I was still going to rely on someone else, my husband, to support me.  Yikes!  It’s still a struggle.  But, as I’ve shared, my husband is very supportive and generous.  I couldn’t have picked a better person to go through this with.

Tambra with her husband Mark

Tambra with her husband Mark

What do you love most about what you're up to now? What makes Om Matters special to you and to your customers?

Tapping into my feminine side---being creative, learning new things, writing, practicing the 8 Limbs of Yoga, encouraging others to live more mindfully and introducing yoga to at-risk youth.  Seeing the kids doing yoga for the first time is so adorable and heart-warming.  At one of our Farm to Yoga events one kid said it was the best day of his life---now that’s just awesome.

I feel that I get to explore life more—I mediate every day, focus on my breath (I didn’t even understand the power of our breath before), experience different styles of yoga (kundalini blows my mind), learn how to cook vegan (I’m not 100% but heading there), being in nature more and just being more open to experience all aspects of life.  From this state I feel that I can be a positive influence on those around me.

What has been the hardest thing for you during your 180?

Not making the money I’m used to and feeling that I’m not contributing financially.  I realize that OM Matters is only 7 months old and that it takes time.  I know my husband is proud and supportive of the work I’m doing.  I’m having fun and am happy with what I’m doing.  BUT it still gets to me---it’s all ego, right?  It really bothered me when I learned that a few of my prior clients at my last job started growing and expanding their real estate portfolio significantly.  I realized I could have had a record income year, but I had left.  I got a little down and knew it was something that I needed to process.  It took a few weeks to get over it.  I kept remembering how unhappy I felt the months leading up to my departure and I realized that in that unhappy state I probably would not have manifested abundance and I most likely would not have made that much money.  I’m sure my stress would have affected my new marriage too.  

Did your career 180 impact other areas of your life - relationships, family, health and financial?

Okay, so I’m not making the money that I was used to---yet.  But the positive effects of leaving my career in real estate and starting OM Matters significantly outweigh the money.  I’m stress-free.  I have a wonderful marriage wherein I can participate fully and not be distracted or stressed about work.  Creating a company that has a give-back component is so motivating and rewarding.  I’m meeting so many amazing people.  I feel that I’m making a difference in people’s lives.  I haven’t been sick since I left the business 3 years ago.   Life is awesome and I’m very grateful!

What practices, habits or routines have supported you in the transition?

Practicing the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  This includes daily meditation and making gratitude lists. Doing yoga and cardio exercises 5 days a week. Studying about the 8 Limbs of Yoga through private dharma talks with my yoga and meditation teacher, taking on-line courses and workshops.  I also really like listening to pod-casts on the Law of Attraction.  All of these practices are so important to keeping our mind, body and spirit healthy and happy.

If you could go back and visit a younger Tambra, how old would she be and what would you tell her?

I need to talk to me now!  I talk to myself all the time and remind myself to: not be so serious, be more vulnerable, express yourself, and focus on having fun!  Life is meant to be fun!!!!  

Any books, retreats or resources you recommend we read? Tell us about them!

Self-development is my passion and I get a little nugget from everything I read or do. Here are a few recommendations that have helped me through my transition:

Michael Stone -  He is a yoga and meditation teacher and a psycho-therapist.  Great combo, right?  I have read his books, I really enjoy his podcasts and I took his Embodying Ethics and Vows in Modern Life On-line Course. I absolutely loved this 10-week course and even wrote a blog about it.  Through this course I could see how his psycho-therapist background really helped me to understand the true meaning of embodying ethics (the 1st limb of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, the yamas).  It was really quite powerful.  I truly learned how my thoughts and actions affect everyone and everything around me.  This course is available each year and he has many more offerings that I plan on taking in the future.  

The Yoga-Sutra – As soon as I started my active studies on the philosophy of yoga, I instantly became fascinated with learning as much as possible about the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  My yoga and meditation teacher had me read two books on this subject: The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali translated by Chip Hartranft and Threads of Yoga by Matthew Remski.  At times we would have the two books side-by-side comparing each of their translations.  It was so interesting how they differed.  I felt Remski’s version was more poetic and romantic while Hartranft’s was more factual.

Abraham-Hicks on the Law of Attraction – Esther Hicks is the spokesperson for Abraham-Hicks.  She delivers the concepts of Law of Attraction---“the essence of that which is like unto itself, is drawn”---in such an engaging, impactful and often funny manner.  She gives various examples of the concept so that we can truly understand the meaning and, therefore, begin to practice it daily.  I have read most of her books, listen/watched her podcasts and YouTube videos, get their daily quotes via email and have seen her speak in person.  

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie - One of the first things I did when creating OM Matters was to identify other people and companies that I could model. Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver at TOMS, was that model and he actually wrote a book about how to do it!  It’s a great summary of how and why to start a business that has a give-back component and was very helpful and inspirational in the development of OM Matters.  I wrote a blog on this book too!