Dr. Lycka and Tonya Comer Talk About How You Can Be Successful And Still Hit Rock Bottom…Don’t Miss Out On This!

Below is the transcript from the FAMOUS Dr. Al’s (Dr. Allen Lycka) interview with Tonya Comer on the How to Live A Fantastic Life Show, syndicated through Brushwood Media Network with seven million listeners a month. In this episode, they talk about how this amazing woman, a visionary – was named as one of the Top 20 African American Interior Designers in the U.S., and is also the author of “Dream It.” Even with all her success, she hit rock bottom because of self-doubt, and more. Now, she guides people out of pain, shame, and self-doubt so that they actually have the courage to believe in their dreams. Read Tonya’s bio and connect with her after the transcript. The conversation the two of them have will help you pull on strength you did not know you had! Read on, or listen in here. 

Dr. Allen Lycka 

We have a very special guest today. Her name is Tonya Comer.  She has been named as one of the top 20 African American interior designers in the whole United States, by the Black Interior Designers Network. As a visionary who is bringing design Tonya writes, speaks, coaches, leads, designs, and loves. Now her path has not been a straight upward path. It’s been more of a spiral with ups and downs, and it was only when she reached rock bottom that she realized what she wanted to do. And still she has some issues with their success. Now we’re gonna go into all of that friends. Welcome, Tonya.

Tonya Comer 

Oh, it’s so wonderful to be with you, Dr. Lycka, thank you so much for inviting me.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

So, share with me a little bit about your journey, and how you got to where you are now.

Tonya Comer 

Absolutely. I’ll start with the rock bottom place if that’s okay with you.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Sure, because there’s only one place to go from there and that’s up.

Tonya Comer 

Yes, I hit rock bottom. And what got me there was this idea that I was, I felt like an imposter and fraud. So, prior to hitting rock bottom, people would have recognized me or identified me as someone who was semi successful and maybe even had a fairytale life. I had grown up in a government housing project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And I managed to build a career in broadcasting career and climbing the corporate ladder. And then also eventually building what seemed like a very successful interior design firm and I even married my prince charming. But I didn’t believe that I was deserving or worthy of any of the success I had. And ultimately, this was the reason for my rock bottom moment.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, it’s tough to hit rock bottom. I think quite often with women that occurs because of a couple of things. You know, in the corporate environment it’s hard to use the most important word in your vocabulary. And that’s the word no. Oh, and women often acquiesce to everything, until all of a sudden burnout happens. And it just mushrooms to the point that a person can’t do anything else.

Tonya Comer 

Yeah, there’s a lot of people pleasing that happens, I believe, on the side of women. Yeah, probably much more so than men.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, and I think another thing that happens is through that spiral, you don’t get a chance to determine what you want. It’s always what they want.

Tonya Comer 

Absolutely, again, it’s people pleasing. It’s a default for many reasons. Every person wants to survive in the world, and we adopt behaviors, to do so. And one of those is to people, please. And I certainly did a lot of that.

 

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah. And you were a highly successful developer, you know, an interior designer, yet you couldn’t see it in yourself, that you were really successful. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Tonya Comer 

Right. It attaches back to shame. So, as a little girl growing up in a government housing project, as I mentioned, I didn’t know what it was. I had no idea that there was another world beside the world that I knew. And as I grew up and began to get exposure, there was still inside of me, the little girl who believed and identified with not mattering in the world, because she had been bullied in school because she grew up in a government housing project, because she was raised by a single parent, because she didn’t fit in, in the world around her in her view. So, that little girl inside of me believed that she didn’t matter. And so, as I was having all of this success in my life, I didn’t believe I was deserving of it. I didn’t feel important enough for it. I didn’t believe I was significant enough to have that success.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, but you know, you did have that success. And you grew it with this amazing sense of humor. In fact, your book is called In High Heels on a Ladder. Tell us about that title, and how you came about developing such a unique title.

Tonya Comer 

Thank you for that question. There. As an interior designer, there are some stereotypes that people hold, particularly the construction trade holds of interior designers. And I realized that to fit in with contractors that I actually had to pretend as if I could be one of them. And it wasn’t really pretending because I really could do it. So, at some point, usually when I would meet contractors on a jobsite Dr. Lycka, I would show up with this big shiny, polished silver chrome tape measure. And at some point, I would whip this tape measure out and start measuring something, and I wore high heels intentionally because I liked the idea of being able to look most men in their eyes. So, I would wear high heels, and I would roll out this tape measure. So, I’ve used the high heels to my advantage to measure tall spaces, etc. And usually, it’s someone within the group with eventually say, let me help you with that tape measure. Well, I would respond in as if it were comedic timing, I would say I can do anything you can do in high heels while standing on a ladder. And eventually, if everyone would laugh, and at one we favor with the guys, and there’s truth to it Dr. Lycka, I can do a lot of things in high heels. I can handle power tools, I can handle a tape measure, I can nail, screw, drill, pound, I can do it all. But I found a way to bring humor to a situation in which I felt like I needed to force myself to fit in.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

But isn’t it so much easier to beat that male ego with a bit of humor, rather than confront it right on. You know what happens? They just turn it off and they just say oh, yeah, right. Bye.

Tonya Comer 

Or I would just fit the stereotype. You know, that would be that would be the default in that particular situation. But absolutely, yeah, exactly.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends, I have a real interesting guest today, her name is Tonya Comer, and she is one of the top 20 African American interior designers. Now, Tonya has some really interesting things, insights from her book, In High Heels on a Ladder. Now, her first insight in chapter one is Own It. Tell me a little bit more about it.

Tonya Comer 

Sure, oh, man, chapter one is the basic foundation of this book. And it is so important. Own It is about taking, recognizing that we have created the stories that we live our lives by. And that we are responsible for owning the stories we create about our lives. So, I mentioned earlier that I was a little girl who believed I didn’t matter. Because I was bullied, I grew up in a government housing project, I was abused by a family member. All of these things convinced me I made a decision, I made a decision that I didn’t matter in the world. And so I’m responsible in order to have my evolution in this world of growth in an emotional intelligence, I am responsible for recognizing I created that story. And by doing that I can now guide my own path to healing that story and transforming my own life. When I recognized I created the story, knowing I’m not a victim of someone else’s infraction. Really?

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, and I think that’s the important thing. You know, one of my biggest models is It’s not what happens to you, It’s what you do with what happens. Now, that was a saying, of a Greek philosopher from around 2000 years ago by the name of Epictetus. He’s very famous say, but that saying permeates my book, The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life. And it permeates my whole show here. And this is how I carefully choose my guests because they show you that it’s not what happens to you, It’s what you do with what happens. And Tanya epitomizes that, because she came from a very undeserving background, a housing project to be one of the top of her field. Now, chapter two is Choose It. Tell us about that.

Tonya Comer 

Absolutely. So, Choose It is now taking what we’ve done, we’ve owned the fact that we’ve created our stories. Now in choosing, if we own the fact that we created a story, we can actually rewrite that story. So, Choose It is about choosing the story that you actually want to live your life inside of what’s the construct that you actually want to live your life and if you’re willing, and I hope you are, willing to accept that the stories you’ve created are actually not true. So that’s what Choose It is about.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Excellent, the third Chapter, Forgive It. Now that’s important because I think so many of us carry around baggage that we don’t forgive. Nelson Mandela, when he was put in for prison for 20 years, was asked by a famous person in the United States, weren’t you angry? And he said, Of course I was angry but if I never forgave I would never be free. Now I think people are always carrying around this baggage, and they’re drinking poison think it’s going to kill the other person. Forgiveness is really the path out of that cycle.

Tonya Comer 

Dr. Lycka, I couldn’t have said it any better. Absolutely. And there’s one thing I just want to add is, I believe most of us are looking for something to bring us closure, the so-called notion of closure, which is you know, if the thing we need to forgive is someone’s indiscretion or a breakup or a divorce or something like that. We’re looking for something else to convince us that we can forgive, or we’re looking to make someone else wrong, and we choose not to forgive. In either case, the critical thing I believe that we benefit from in life, there are two things actually accepting circumstances, things, people as they are, and to recognizing that we’re all human Dr. Lycka, we’re all human. And we all make mistakes. We are all flawed, and we are all deserving of a second chance.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends, I have a very special guests, Tonya Comer, who has been named one of the top 20 African American interior designers in the United States. Tonya, the next one of your chapters, Chapter Four is Dream It. And this is where I’m going to take exception with you. Because I would have put this chapter as number one, you know, if you can dream it, you can achieve that. And before you can own it, you got to dream it. And so I think, in my vernacular, and my thinking, dreams are the most important. And that comes from my belief, and what Napoleon Hill taught us, the author of Think and Grow Rich, that dreaming is important. Now, it doesn’t come without action. But dreaming is the first fundamental step.

Tonya Comer 

I couldn’t agree with you more. Dreaming is the first fundamental step to creating a life you love. Many of us are unable to connect to, recognize, honor, or own our own dreams, because we’re still stuck in the pain in the past. So in my book, I’m actually guiding people out of the pain and shame and self-doubt, so that they actually have courage to believe in their dreams. And so that’s why Dream It comes after that hard work of that deep inner work of actually recognizing what is the block to us being the best we can be.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, and I think those dreams have to be big, I think they have to be as big as the mountains, they have to be as big as the skies. Because dreams are important. They’re the power plant to make it happen. But, you know, not all your dreams are going to come true. If you want to be a hockey player and can’t skate, well, it’s unlikely you’re going to be a great hockey player. But you know, you could try, you can learn to skate. But if you don’t have that physical ability, and you’re not going to make it. If you want to be a violinist and are tone deaf, I’m sorry, It’s just not going to happen. No matter what you produce for that violin is just going to be noise, it’s not going to be a beautiful symphony. So, dreams are important. They are so important. They are the things that power you to get to the next level.

Tonya Comer 

Very true. Absolutely.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends, we’re dealing with a very special guest today. A lady who has a great sense of humor, a lady that has realized that she was ashamed of her success, and came to it, despite the fact that she was shamed. So, tell us a little bit more about success shame, and where does it come from and how you overcame it.

Tonya Comer 

I coined this expression succession because many, particularly women, but it is the case for men as well, Dr. Lycka that we live as imposters, or believing that we are fraud, imposters, phonies, and we are afraid or unattached to the real success that we’re experiencing in life. We’re either afraid of it, we avoid it, we overlook it, we deny it or we resist it. And so I’ve decided my next book, it will be about success shame specifically because I know that this is a critical thing that’s holding a lot of very successful, courageous women back from being their best and living their best lives.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Friends, like this show is called the How To Live A Fantastic Life show. Tonya, how do you live a fantastic life?

Tonya Comer 

Yes. Well, it starts with, I follow the seven steps that are outlined in my book In High Heels on a Ladder, the seven power tools for designing your life. Now, I had to hit rock bottom multiple times, in order to learn some critical lessons. And I outline those lessons in my book, finding a way to a fantastic life, in my opinion, it’s a series of choices, choices to recognize what’s holding you back from living that life. It’s making a choice to define a new life for yourself that’s not attached to the self-limiting beliefs that we form of the notion that we are limited in any way that we’ve experienced some loss, that we have some kind of lack or loss.  Lack and Limitations hold us back from living our best lives. So, when we choose not to attach to those things, we build a vision for we choose to live a new life, we build a vision for our lives. And then we actually embody and embrace this notion we can be anything we choose to be based on the life that we’ve been meant to live. Believe we’re all put on this earth Dr. Lycka to live a certain life. And we can find that life by beginning to detach ourselves from the things that are holding us back from being our best self. So, for me, that’s the journey I took. And the next series of choices is making a daily decision, a conscious decision every day to choose to live the best possible life no matter what circumstance, situation lack, loss, or limitation I’m experiencing every day, I have to choose to live my best life every day.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Yeah, and I always find it easy to do, because you should boil it down to three things you want to accomplish that day. You know, I used to have a list of pages and pages and pages. And I found that that led to frustration because you’re never really totally accomplishing everything. So, if you boil it down to the three most important things to accomplish, that really makes it simple, because those are the only things you got to do today. And tomorrow, you can have another three things. And the day after that, another three things. But that is how you make every day fantastic. And every day of your life should be fantastic because you’re only given so many of those days.

Tonya Comer 

That’s great advice. I love it.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

This show is now John enjoyed by over 7 million people a month. Do you have any further advice for them?

Tonya Comer 

First of all for you, congratulations. That is quite an accomplishment. That means you’ve done some things extraordinarily well. So, Dr. Lycka congratulations to you have. And for the listeners, what I like to offer you is one piece of advice. Your self-limiting beliefs are big, fat lies. They’re not true. The truth of who you are, the truth of what is meant for your life is something that you actually get to choose, you have a say in it. And I invite you to consider that you can live your best possible life by making some different choices. It’s that simple. It takes effort, but it’s really simple.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

You know, that really is important. Well, Tonya, couple of things, how can people get in touch with you? And how can they find a copy of your book?

Tonya Comer 

Oh, thank you so much. Yes. Best way to reach me is via my website. It’s tonyacomer.com. That’s my first and last name. You will find information about my book there you will find information about how to contact me for interior design services, speaking engagements, podcast interviews, and even to purchase my book.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Tonya, I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this show. And how magic this show turned out to be.

Tonya Comer 

I think it’s our like minds and our common hearts. I would say Dr. Lycka we both have an interest in having people live the best lives so we can bring our best selves forward to do that. So, thank you for your kindness and love and fostering in a space where we can conserve your listeners.

 

Dr. Allen Lycka 

And even though the Gremlins tried to disrupt the show, it came out perfect.

Tonya Comer 

It did, a few audio problems. But yes, thank you for your patience. It’s so lovely to be with you today. Thank you so much for everything. Thank you.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Well, I’ve learned that in this business we’re in as long as the sky isn’t falling and that everything is able to be overcome. And there’s this magic thing called editing that puts it all together. And it always turns out perfect.

Tonya Comer 

That’s absolutely correct. It seems that there may be no do overs in life that you can always learn lessons. So, we just have to benefit in this particular venue we are using this medium we’re using to edit but in light, maybe we don’t get that privilege. But we do have choice in the matter.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

And you always have the chance of a redo. Remember, things if it didn’t go right the first time, there’s always a second time. All life is testing you try something it doesn’t work go another path.

Tonya Comer 

That’s right. That’s right. I was having a conversation today with a friend. As we were talking about some work-related challenges we were both experiencing. And it was very great because we found an analogy about basketball. You know, some of the best basketball athletes, if they miss one shot, they don’t choose not to take the second shot. They’re going to take the second shot. If they miss that shot, they’ll take the third shot. If they miss that shot, they’ll take the next one. So, there’s this notion that you always have a next shot to take. So, it’s just about making the next play.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Well, there was a famous hockey player by the name of Wayne Gretzky that said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Tonya Comer 

So true. And I know Wayne very well. I’m from Pittsburgh, so we had a love of hockey.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Ok, friends, if you want to know where you are on the journey to a fantastic life. Take the test, I put together a little questionnaire at www.lifequalityassessment.com.  There’s 25 short questions there. That’ll take you five minutes to do. And it’ll show you exactly where you are on the journey. And there’s a manual that’ll show you how to get to the next level. So, take that test at www.lifequalityassessment.com. Thank you, Tonya.

Tonya Comer 

Thank you, Dr. Lycka, I really appreciate your time today.

Dr. Allen Lycka 

Bye for now.

Tanya Comer’s Bio and Social Media:

TONYA COMER has been named one of the Top 20 African American Interior Designers in the United States by the Black Interior Designers Network. Prior to owning her award-winning design firm, she served many roles in broadcast and corporate America. She is also the author of In High Heels on a Ladder: The 7 Power Tools for Designing Your Life. As a visionary who is bringing design to life, Tonya has a dream for a world where women, united in wholeness and love, use their feminine strength to cause magnificent change on this beautiful planet. She calls this the Global Love Revolution. To realize this vision, she writes, speaks, coaches, leads, designs, and loves. And when she isn’t doing all of that, Tonya Comer is an adventure-seeking, rollercoaster-loving, jump-out-of-a-plane-first spirit who lives life out loud. Learn more on her website here.

Facebook Personal Page: @tonyacomermba
Facebook Business Page: @tonyacomerinteriors
LinkedIn: @tonyacomer
Twitter: @tonyacomermba
Instagram: @iamtonyacomer