Tonya Phillips: On Chasing the Dream, not Perfection

April 12, 2021

Tonya Phillips: On Chasing the Dream, not Perfection

More and more, I’m fascinated by women who move beyond the dream phase and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Whatever “it” happens to be for them.

Tonya Phillips is one of those people. I’ve been talking for a billion years about launching a podcast and never have done it. (I suck, I know). And here’s Tonya who got sick of waiting… and decided to just buy some equipment and go for it. Doesn’t that just inspire you? It does me.


Janel Broderick: I’m in awe of people who take the plunge. So, when you reached out and told me about your podcast, I was so impressed that you’d decided to go for it. Can you tell us more about what led up to that decision and what you’re hoping to provide to your listeners?

Tonya Phillips: I started my podcast for several reasons. First of all, I love meeting new people, listening to their stories and learning new things.

The concept and name of the podcast I chose, Not So Darlin’, is rooted in the fact that life isn’t always darlin’! I’ve been living in a world of perfectionism and I want to break free and share with my listeners that life isn’t always perfect and that striving for perfection is, in my opinion, lame! You see, I had been struggling with an eating disorder after a medical diagnosis; I was hiding in shame but wanted to share my story with others in hopes that it would help someone else through their journey to feel heard, be seen, and to know that she/he is not alone.

Janel: Wow, that’s incredible. So, how do you decide which topics to cover and which women to interview?

Tonya: Initially, I asked people that I knew and found interesting. Those who had incredible stories to share and that I knew would help someone listening. Nowadays, I actually reach out to people on social media, and I have been very fortunate when they to agree to come on, especially not knowing me. It has been a huge self-confidence booster! For instance, I always loved your designs and never thought in a million years you would say yes, but after we began chatting, I got to know so much more about you that I would’ve never known and which I found to be so motivating and helpful in my journey.

Janel: Ha. When we did the pre-call, I hung up thinking, “oh, I could talk to her for hours!” Did you always want to start a podcast? Can you share with us a little more about your own background?

Tonya: No. Especially not in a year like 2020! At a very early age I dreamed of becoming a judge or lawyer, but when I was a teen, I was drawn to fashion. I wanted to be a part of the industry. Whether it be in beauty/style, clothing, home design or even on the cover of a magazine as a model. However, I lacked self-confidence and motivation and never felt good enough; or settled in to what felt most comfortable. I also always wanted to be a mom and a housewife, and I love taking care of others and making them feel special, but in the midst of things I lost myself. So, this podcast launch was for me a big rejuvenation.

Janel: That piece about being lost really resonates with a lot of us. Like waking up one day wondering whose life your living. And I’m always so inspired when I see women make a change and start pursuing ideas they have. Even if they do so imperfectly—because we don’t know how to do things when we first start, and there’s a temptation to delay action because we know there’s a learning curve. What was this process like for you? How long between the idea and the launch?

Tonya: This idea started maybe a month or two before I actually took my first step into taking a class here locally that help women achieve goals - Level Up Louisville - and I hit the ground running. My husband got me my equipment for Christmas and within a month I was recording. I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back! I was pushing through because previously I had always given up on my dreams. I never felt educated enough, smart enough, or good enough and at this point in my recovery I knew I was determined to not let anything stand in my way! I was going to prove to I’m writing this I’m literally tearing up because I am good enough and I did do it!! So I now pat myself on the back, LOL.

Janel: It breaks my heart that you’d ever doubt yourself. Or your ability to conquer what you set out to do. What would you say your biggest lessons have been along this journey? 

Tonya: My biggest lesson is to stop caring about what others think about me. Sharing your story is so liberating and being vulnerable isn’t weak. Additionally, to delegate tasks I’m not always the best at, which equals good content and my sanity!

Janel: Let’s explore that a little further. What advice would you give someone who has a dream in their heart but isn’t sure how to put it into motion? They can’t get moving. What would you say then?

Tonya: Dip those toes in the water and don’t be afraid to take that jump! Or you’ll wind up looking back on life with regrets. It’s never too late! Look at me at 43, living a live I love.

Janel: I could ask questions all day. And if I ever take your advice and launch a podcast that would allow me to explore more of these types of conversations, I will have you on and we can keep going! But for now, I will link the podcast episode where we visited a few weeks back.

Where can people find you if they want to get in touch or subscribe to your podcast? Where can they follow you on social media?

Tonya: You can find me on Instagram at @notsodarlintonya or check out my website,

I’d love to know—do you like reading things like these? Want to read more? Drop me a line and let me know!

Also in blog

Kim Ditched the Drink + Discovered A Shiny, New Life
Kim Ditched the Drink + Discovered A Shiny, New Life

March 09, 2021

"When I decided to quit alcohol, I was clueless. I didn’t see myself as having a problem but, at the same time, I knew something was wrong. Alcoholism runs in my family and I never saw myself in some of my relative’s shoes. I didn’t drink and drive, I wasn’t arrested for fighting in a bar. You know the things, that Hollywood and society classifies as a drinking problem or glorifies."

Continue Reading

Life Lessons From my Sensei
Life Lessons From my Sensei

January 14, 2021

“Train me like a real athlete,” I said. “I’m your Karate Kid, you’re my Mr. Miyagi!” I almost said. 

Fast forward 4 weeks, working with the Sensei has taught me more than correct form and rope pulls.

Continue Reading

Finish Strong: Mia
Finish Strong: Mia

December 29, 2020

"Kindness." That's the word Mia's choosing to guide her into the new year.

Continue Reading