Introducing Tomi Llama
What, may I ask, is your superpower? Do you relate well to others and have an especial knack for helping people make decisions? Are you an avid learner who reads books by the dozens? Are you a multitasking wizard or perhaps a multi-instrumentalist? Maybe you are an athlete, or possess the ability to fly? Or perhaps your superpower is none of these things – something else – some magical combination of several elements making you truly unique. Or is it that you know what your superpower is but only vaguely, if at all, where it is so dimly shadowed that you aren’t sure how to utilize it fully and to live in the abundance of your talents? If you are like me, finding your superpower isn’t necessarily as easy as looking in the mirror or pondering for a few hours over tea: this process takes work. However, finding your superpower should not be your life’s work. Using it should be!
Tomi Llama (pen name of Dr. Tomi Bryan) is a distinguished leadership and human development specialist; her superpower is to connect unseen or hidden patterns in order to facilitate personal transformation. Dr. Tomi’s latest book What’s Your Superpower tells how, among other things, one can identify their top-five values and how one can align their decision-making with what is important to who they are. Her book is an invitation – the friendly extended hand of a guide. Her book provides a method, a framework for understanding what it means to be you and how to become the highest version of yourself. What’s Your Superpower shows how to identify and nurture your own unique superpower (and there are worksheets at the end of the book to aid in this process). In the fourth chapter she includes sets of questions one can ask oneself (about their life choices, patterns, habits) as well as mantras for raising one’s vibrations and transcending limitations both self-imposed and external. Tomi’s invitation is a real, accessible, no gimmicks and proven, and relatively simple method for increasing abundance in one’s life and giving spark to that which is inherently radiating in all things. I sat down with Dr. Tomi Llama the other day to talk about her wonderful new book.
You recently published a book called What’s Your Superpower? that tells how people can find and, more importantly, use their superpower in life. What was your purpose in writing this book and what did you feel was missing in the world of books that needed to be said?
Purpose In writing this book: I spent 20 years of my adult life trying to understand, find and be my authentic self. I refer to that time as my 20 years in the desert. As part of the journey to find my inner self, I began to do what I was taught as part of the Ph.D. dissertation process: research a topic until you start seeing the same information over and over. When that happens, you have most likely reached the bottom of the barrel on that topic. As an avid reader, I devoured every book I could find on the topic of purpose. And when I felt like I still didn’t have a good answer, I cast my net wider and wider in concentric circles: books and workshops on forgiveness, past lives, soul coaching, meaning, management, leadership, religion, eastern thought, quantum physics and numerology. I went endless places looking for possibly unanswerable questions about life, purpose and meaning.
That crazy 20 year journey revealed a method for finding your highest contribution to humanity and leaning into that with all your might each and every day. That method is to know yourself, grow yourself and clear yourself. If you do these three things, the layers of complexity and "change blindness" that cloud our path fall away. We shouldn’t spend our whole lives trying to understand ourselves. The superpower model and the accompanying lean-ins, clearing processes and instructions shorten that journey. Because finding your superpower shouldn’t be your life’s work. Using it should be. If what I have shared in this book helps shorten the journey to authenticity for only one other person, I have been successful.
What did I feel was missing? As I said above, I spent 20 years searching for answers. That 20 years involved reading and listening to over a thousand books and CDs; attending over 60 workshops, classes and seminars that included multiple certifications and professional designations; and a Ph.D. in leadership and organizational change. I did it because that journey taught me no one person, no one workshop, no one book, no one CD set, no one degree and no one certification offered me a blueprint for finding my highest contribution (of course, I learned this lesson only after doing all of these things). Because I kept looking for it in the hazy and nebulous place known as “out there.” For years, disappointment was the only thing I kept finding “out there.”
I discovered that the disciplines of self-help, management, leadership, religion and spirituality still lack a clear system for maximizing human potential. This oversight is not due to a lack of information. It is more attributable to the fact that the existing data has yet to be synthesized into a paradigm usable by individuals, consultants, coaches, organizations and leaders alike. I used my superpower - connecting unseen or hidden patterns to facilitate personal transformation – to take all the bits and pieces I had learned and create a new system for personal transformation.
For whom is your book written? The book is for readers who know there is something bigger out there with their name on it yet they can’t see the path to that larger existence. This book is for people who have enough life history to know what they are doing isn’t working for them and they don’t know what to do about that. This book is for anyone who wants to live an authentic life.
What’s Your Superpower? has a section towards the end with clearing statements and questions that are almost like mantras. Could you explain a little of what these are and how they are meant to be utilized?
These clearing statements and questions serve two important purposes. Before I drop down into that conversation, though, I think it is important to first understand what drove me to find and use these clearing processes.
Even though I worked hard to understand myself and grow in the direction of my superpower, some days I started in the exact same spot as the day before. Despite my best efforts, I stalled in places or went in circles. Like my finances. As soon as I got a little bit ahead of the debt curve something happened, and then, I was behind again. Year after year I played the same dumb “I’m going to leave you” game with my spouse. I’d lose 25 pounds and then I would gain it back. I had a side of me I deemed “Warrior Bitch.” When she showed up, look out. She is capable of destroying a person with her words in 60 seconds or less. My brother Mike used to joke that I could go from zero to bitch in 3.7 seconds — faster than anyone he had ever seen. As someone who believes in building people up, watching myself destroy others crushed me in the wake of one of Warrior Bitch’s visits. The sad part? I engaged in these same behaviors over and over. I couldn’t stop myself.
One of my idols is the Jungian psychologist Dr. James Hollis. He said “No, we do not stand before the mirror in the morning and say, ‘Today I will do the same stupid, self-defeating things I have done for decades.’ But by day’s end, we will have, predictably, done exactly that.” Yep. That wasn’t going to work if I wanted my superpower to grow and flourish.
Dr. Susan Campbell, relationship coach and author, said:
I am not alone in this game of limiting ourselves in the interests of staying safe. It is part of the human journey to start out whole, then to continually cut off parts of ourselves in the response to real or imagined pain, and to spend the rest of our lives searching for what we have cut off, buried, and forgotten about.
To pile on, Dr. Hollis said “the past calls the shots, at least until it is flushed out into the full light of consciousness.” What I wanted was to find the way to welcome back into my life those parts I cut off, buried and forget about. I also wanted the past to stop calling the shots. That meant addressing my shadow. It meant managing my emotions. It meant many things. Thus, the clearing processes are intended, in a respectful and honorable way, to address those hidden forces from the past that keep us stuck and limited. By using the clearing statements, we invite ourselves to unravel the hidden patterns and heal the past so that we can be released from the limiting effects of the past.
A second use for these clearing processes, and specifically the clearing questions, is to open ourselves up to the field of infinite possibilities. Author Sandra Anne Taylor wrote that “In quantum physics, the uncertainty theory reveals that you live in a state of unending possibilities that are of your own making.” I wasn’t really liking what I was making. I wanted to make more, bigger and better happen in my and I knew a grand life – one bigger than we can even imagine for ourselves - was resting in that field of infinite possibilities. I had read about that field and I didn’t know how to get there. I discovered that the clearing questions are the gate to that field; the place where our lives can be filled with the daily wonder of magic and miracles. And who doesn’t want that?
Are there any golden nuggets of inspiration, of wisdom (books, art, talks, etc.), that you found integral to the creation of your book that didn’t actually make it into the final copy?
Most certainly! The foundation for this book arose out of two great pieces of work: Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline and Tim Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Tennis. Despite their impact on my thinking and the way I see the world, they are not even mentioned in the book. While that was disappointing, there really just was no place in the book for that additional level of detail.
Is there anything you would like to say about your book or about yourself that the book alone does not (or cannot) convey?
I hope the book conveys the importance of humor to a fulfilling and authentic life. Laughter truly is the best medicine. I also have to say how much I love the llamas that are a part of this book. A great idea from the great minds at Beaumonde and truly awesome art work by LadyFawn designs.
You’re doing a Virtual Release Party via Facebook Live on December 2nd - it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
Oh, it is going to be such a grand time. You will “ride” the party bus with us to the Divine Llama Vineyards in Eastbend, North Carolina. You will get to see some live llamas, check out the tasting room and have an all-around grand adventure with us.
What’s next for Tomi Llama besides the Facebook event? Do you have any other events coming up or things you would like people to know about?
I am so excited to be doing a What’s Your Superpower? program for teams for a Fortune 500 company! I am also giddy about some new products we have on the way – values cards, sticker packs and emojis. We will also be doing a Valentine’s Day contest. So lots to come which is why I recommend folks sign up for the newsletter – new events, merchandise and ways to win stuff you don’t want to miss!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am humbled by the actions of so many people who have helped bring What’s Your Superpower? to life. Grateful to them for choosing to use their superpowers on this adventure.
Beaumonde is excited to help Tomi Llama share her work and incredible insight with the world. Join us on Dec. 2nd for the Virtual Release Party via FB Live, or buy a ticket to ride the Llama Party Bus and join us at Divine Llama Vineyards for the in-person release event. Sign up for Tomi Llama's newsletter here: Subscribe To The Llama Times.
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