This week’s inspiring conversation is with Tiffany Bisconer.
It is not often I meet people who are successful at being both an artist and an analyst. Tiffany shares her battle to combine each aspect of her gifts into her life so that she feels whole.
An intriguing conversation of reinvention and her struggle with worthiness in both realms of her brain.
This is another inspiring conversation in our series with women learning what it means to thrive. Don’t miss it. I invite you to watch our video conversation on RHGTV Network—the Empowered Connections Channel…
or read the transcript of our conversation below:
from Upside Down to Right Side Up: Tips for the Transition
Tiffany Bisconer: Self-integration & the Myth of Duality
~María: Hello, and welcome to from Upside Down to Right Side Up: Tips for the Transition. I’m María Tomás-Keegan your host, and this is my continuing series of conversations with brilliant resilient women who have inspiring stories of transformation to tell and they’re brave enough to share them with us, here.
I am so delighted to introduce to you today Tiffany Bisconer. It is not often I meet people who are successful at being both highly creative and analytical.
So when I met Tiffany, I wanted to have her share her story which intrigues me a lot because she’s battled with the effort to combine the artist and the analyst in her life.
We call this episode Self-integration & the Myth of Duality. Hello, Tiffany and welcome.
~Tiffany: María, thank you so much for having me.
~M: I am excited to hear how this search for integration began for you. So, would you share that part of your story with us?
~T: Absolutely, so I feel that the search for integration began once I started realizing that I was actually segregating myself. I grew up as an artist and an activist in San Francisco, and I always led my life in a way where I was trying to follow my higher truth, and experimenting with life as it were. When I was 27, I went through my Saturn Return, for anybody who knows astrology, and I moved from the West cost and East Coast to start my life all over. And in that moment, I had to now set a foundation for what I was gonna do to make a living and how I was gonna retain the artist in me, and continually feed the part of me that craves creativity and expression.
And as I started that journey, I started to feel myself drift a little bit at that time — but I was so focused on making sure that I was surviving that I was getting the money that I needed to build my life again. I started focusing on private corporate accounting, working in C- level jobs and really putting my energy into that to make a living. And then on the flip side, I was always doing something either in dance or in painting or in writing that would help feed my soul and keep me moving forward.
And what I started to notice as I went down this path throughout the years, basically, is I started to feel this divide where I was one way in the professional world — the way that I needed to be in that world — and then the creative side of me was always there, and always nagging always important to me as a woman. But I started to feel this seed slip in in between the two parts of me and two major parts of me: basically the creation of my own being as a whole being with those two parts. But like you said, the analytical and the creative.
So that’s kind of where I started realizing there’s a shift coming and obviously I went further down that path of feeling with this segregation and so I realized that I needed a whole overhaul.
~M: That intrigues me so much, and here is why: I consider myself a creative person, and I know that I have in the course of my life — when I needed to make a living — I put it in the background. I said it aside to do what was expected of me to be a good wife, to be a good career woman, to meet the expectations of everybody else around me. How did that work for you? How did those outer influences of expectations … how did that affect your journey?
~T: That is a really great question, and that is your internal and external worlds are what help formulate your path. And for me, I think there’s no tougher critic, no harder battle that I’ve ever met, basically, than the one within myself because I’ve always had extremely high expectations of what I was capable of, what I needed to do in order to endure, and with staying adversity in order to continuously follow a path that I felt was true to me.
And I think that initially growing up as someone who has high expectations with myself — I started working when I was 10, I started creating businesses and entrepreneurial platforms before that even — and I haven’t stopped since. So for me it was almost like myself, definition was wrapped up in this idea of being a hard worker, being somebody who is dedicated to pushing forward and luckily or un-luckily, in the US specifically, that’s something that’s very focused on, as far as your worth, is how hard you work and how hard you work to move up this ladder.
And so, as I started moving myself into the professional sphere of going to getting my CPA license and following the path of trying to create that stability, is the challenge for me of creating all this incredibly technical knowledge and figuring out a way to use it. It was actually really fascinating to me.
But when you go into the corporate structures, for me it was this expectation now I had to fit this role. Now, my worth was my title. Now, my hierarchy of existence was based on this pre-established way of going from Point A to Point B, and you can’t really go outside too much of that box because you might threaten the whole system. And I just don’t work like that. My brain doesn’t work like that. I started feeling an incredible amount of pressure internally because I felt this discord. I was like, “No, I wanna be able to be who I am, but how can I stick myself in the system?” It just doesn’t work.
So that battle for me, was a multiple years of trying to unravel and figure out: How am I gonna do do this thing and be me.
~M: Well, I can just so imagine the struggle. I can feel it. I can feel it as you’re just describing it. I can feel the pull and the push and the screams, I imagined from your creative side going, “What are you doing?” And you have the voices on both shoulders, right? And the analytical guy, or woman, is saying, “You gotta fit in the box in order to be successful. You gotta do it. You gotta do it.” And I heard you say at one point that your brain wanted to explode when you felt that. That’s great … That’s a great description.
And you also talked about the dual stigmas of the struggling artist, not being good enough and that if the CPA perceived as not being smart enough because you’re an artist. So there a whole range of emotions around all of that, and I would love it if you would go deeper into that piece of your journey, that emotional journey in our next segment. Would you do that with us?
~T: Oh absolutely.
~M: Perfect. Alright, so we’re just gonna take a brief pause here, take a breath, and we will be right back with the next part of my conversation with Tiffany Bisconer, on from Upside Down to Right Side Up: Tips for the Transition.
~M: Today’s inspiring conversation is with Tiffany Bisconer who shared her story about having both creative and analytical gifts and skills and she struggled to make sense of how to put those together in one life authentically.
We call this episode Self-integration & the Myth of Duality. It is always an honor to share inspiring stories like Tiffany’s. These women are figuring out how to move through life’s inevitable trials and the tribulations and come out on top in their own unique version of triumph. They help us to know that we are not alone when our own world turns upside down.
So I appreciate, Tiffany, that you’ve chosen to share your story with us.
~T: Thank you so much.
~M: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. And I would like to ask you now to take us into a deeper view of the emotions that you were feeling when you were going through the struggle to be the artist and the analyst at the same time. Tell us what it felt like to not be understood for what you were trying to do and while you sought to blend those two pieces together, how did you go about doing that blending?
~T: So that’s the heavy stuff, I would assume. And that’s a lifelong process, really, for me. And I feel that everything you just said is obviously all the major touch points of what you kinda go through internally in order to “become.”
So you have in our lives, and as women especially, we go through so many transitions and so many moments. We’re questioning: Are we on the right path? Is this really what I need to be doing? Am I being honest with myself? Am I actually looking at the things that I’m doing in my life and are these the best reflection of me that I can possibly adopt and dive into? And I think for me, my questioning brain would always go back to “Okay, am I where I’m supposed to be?”
And I think nothing is more painful than being inside a body where you can tell that there’s extreme amounts of discord and not really knowing how to bring yourself out of it, because at the end of the story, were the only ones that can make the decision to look at life the way that we look at it.
I know the huge turning point for me was when I had started my public accounting career, and the art in me could never die, but it would sit and just knock. So I would have to work the 70 to 80-hour work weeks and then figure out where I’m gonna stick the time for myself and this time for the ability to express and actually being myself and the further away we are from being able to spend that amount of time in our daily life of feeling completed, feeling whole, feeling seen as we are, the more that discord starts to become just a deep-rooted depression almost. And a feeling of just being totally stuck in this world that doesn’t reflect who you are.
And I feel that I’m very lucky. I have a partner that’s incredibly supportive of me and can always say, “Okay hey, you need to jump out of this. I don’t know what we’re gonna do next… I have no idea what the next plan is, but you need to remove yourself.”
I’m lucky to have that kind of support external but internally, I have a really, really hard time being kind to myself. And not being super cool to the inner voices of failing or not continuing a process that I’ve signed up for. So after spending years of getting my CPA license and going through the whole process of going to the boards and succeeding and doing exactly what I wanted to do, learning all this information, going into the industry and then basically being like, “Okay this is not feeling right.” I guess for me, internally, the struggle was more of a “I don’t see a way out,” in the sense that everybody kinda tells you you can be one way or the other.
And as you mentioned before, the artist side of me, the creative side of me… I didn’t see a way to integrate that into my professional life, because every time you would go to try, you start hitting triggers on other people, hitting triggers in the system, hitting triggers that just start making you feel like, “Okay, so I’m just basically the one that doesn’t fit here.”
So instead of taking that and being like, “Okay, I’m the total failure,” I had to retrain my mind and say, “No. This path did not work. I don’t know what I’m gonna do next but I’m jumping out and I’m gonna figure it out.”
And I think that for me, when I took that leap. That was the transition point for me that said, “You’ve gotta jump into the uncertainty even if you don’t have the answer for where you’re at now.” If every core in your body feels like the relationship or the business relationship or whatever it is, isn’t right and isn’t feeding your soul, you gotta take those jumps. And so that’s how I had to coach myself out of it. But it took a long time. Not as long as it could have; I got there. But in the sense of a lot of tears, a lot of just uncomfortable situations where I felt like I needed to now re-evaluate my whole life plan.
And it’s scary because I’ve lived my whole life trying to make sure that I was independent… A strong woman… That I could create my own living, that I have something to fall back on. Always knowing that it was me that was the answer, and me that was the problem, so whatever I needed to fix it was on me.
But when you’re in a situation where you try to, force yourself to go somewhere where your body is responding in a way that doesn’t go right, you start getting health issues, you start feeling like your drains are infected with this constant conflict and discord. I just felt like there needed to be another way.
~M: Boy you hit on a lot of stuff there. What I heard, if I were to synthesize it down to one or two things, is that the big thing underlying all that is the fear. And there are so many of those kinds of fear, right? It came in a lot of flavors for you.
So you’d already picked yourself up from the West Coast to go to the East Coast, to make a major life change. And now you realize that that wasn’t it… It wasn’t the perfect fit and that you needed to change yet again, and the fear of not knowing what was gonna come next. So that fear of the unknown. I imagine, and you talked about the fear of failure and you really had to shift your own mindset so that you didn’t get dragged down that rabbit hole. There’s just so much there, Tiffany.
Having done it once before, reinventing yourself into a CPA who was also an artist, who is never not an artist… I’m wondering which comes first, and can they live together, and how do they live together? There’s just so much there and I admire in you so much. The resilience that you demonstrate is amazing to me. So this all just fascinates me, can you tell?
~T: Oh you’re amazing, thank you.
~M: I am certain that there are lots of lessons that you learned along the way, so I would like for you to take us through some of those life strategies that you’ve learned that you can apply to your life today that will also help others by learning them and by hearing them from you. Would you share those nuggets of wisdom with us in our next segment?
~T: Oh absolutely, I would love to.
~M: Perfect, thank you. We’re just gonna take another brief pause here, so please hang with us so you don’t miss any of Tiffany’s great wisdom.
~M: Hello again. I love to say that we’ve saved the best for last. This is why we call the show Tips for the Transition.
So before we get to those tips though, I’d like to share a bit more with you about Tiffany Bisconer. So you’ve heard that she is a CPA and she has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and tax. Now she consults and educates business owners and leadership teams to identify opportunities to utilize tax credits to improve cash flow, which is a great thing, right? So, that’s the analytical side of Tiffany To quiet her mind and feed her soul, she also dances, sings, does photography, writes, and paints to express what’s in her heart.
It’s a beautiful example of integration and she’s gonna tell us a little bit more about how she does that. It’s women like Tiffany, I believe, who are role models for the rest of us when it comes to learning to thrive.
Tiffany, thank you for sharing your story, for helping us to understand that it’s possible to have and live creatively as well as be able to make a living and do something using the other side of our brain, equally well, and in balance. I’m sure lots of the people in our audience are gonna wanna listen to your nuggets of wisdom. So, would you share some of those with us now?
~T: Oh, you bet. Thank you. Thank you again for your kindness and the way that you express things ’cause it actually is interesting listening to another person kind of explain your life and who you are. And I think that I don’t anticipate that I’m any more wise than anyone else, and I feel like my life path has really just been a continuous active discovery, which will continue until I pass on to the next world. I think for me, one of the biggest lessons that I had to learn was I didn’t always need to endure. That I could actually have principles and values that dictated what I endured. And what I can. And that was one of the harder lessons for me because I just always thought if you kept climbing up the mountain, you would get to the top. And if you kept pushing forward, and you don’t listen to the voices inside you that say “stop,” you’re gonna succeed at anything you try to do.
And I think the beginning half of my life, that’s what I had to prove to myself. I can do this, I can do that, I can do anything I set my mind to. So I had a very strong idea of what I was as somebody who endured and achieved, but I had no idea what it meant to actually surrender. To actually make these choices of letting go and giving up things that were not made for me.
And for me going into that world was almost as if I had to totally crack myself open and start from the bottom again and figure out, with every decision I make, contemplate, “Is matching my higher purpose? Is this matching my higher self? Is this something that is a reflection of truth of who I am?” And if it’s not, I need to gently release it and allow somebody else to fill that gap. And universe to match what they’re looking for. When I started doing that, my whole paradigm of life kind of shifted, and I think it was almost scarier for me to release surrender and to be soft, then it was to plow through and to really just try to dig my teeth in and survive.
I think the moment I kinda did that… It’s beautiful how things happen in the world where when you make the decisions to base your life of the values that you feel are the most important, everything else kind of dissipates and things become a lot clearer. Also, people come into your life that I feel are a beautiful match to what my soul is trying to learn and accomplish and create in a world much deeper than any other tangible quest to become a CPA or to become an artist or to become all these things.
To me, at this point, even all of those labels for me, I kind of just release. I’m not attached to them. I understand the battles I went through my life. I understand the knowledge I have and even moreso, I understand the knowledge I don’t and that’s always gonna be greater than whatever it is I think I know. So if I look at life in a way that I’m trying to uncover joy or I’m trying to uncover knowledge or I’m trying to meet people where they are, and also dive as deep as I possibly can with them. I feel like all of these paths start unfolding in a way that’s more honest to me at a deep level.
~M: Again, a lot of stuff packed up. I love it. You know, Tiffany, we’ve talked about this before. I believe it is so important when things are not working for us — when it feels like life is a struggle — it is often because we’re trying to do things that are compromising our values and when we really examine that and we think about what we truly value most… And does this choice or decision honor our top values.
If the answer is no, it should be an easy way to say that’s what I’ll set aside. That’s what I’ll not focus my energy on and I’m gonna focus my energy on the things that do align with what I truly believe and value most in life. That is such a huge lesson and it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s a simple concept, but it is not an easy one to apply.
So thank you for sharing that. That’s what I share with clients all the time, and I feel very strongly about it. What else has he got for us?
~T: I would say just another part of that whole concept is that I don’t necessarily need to know why or the how of how I’m gonna move forward, I just need to know how my intuition is saying basically, how I feel I have to stay sensitive to my body signs and the things that I’m seeing and the things that I do in my life. I think we’re way more intelligent than our intellect.
So it’s kind of just deciding that while I might not know why this doesn’t feel right… I might not be able to nail it down 100 percent and I might not know how the heck I’m gonna get out of here and what I’m gonna do next, but just knowing that I have that in my mind as a value system that I’m gonna focus on doing what I can do that cradles my full potential and I’m gonna listen. I’m just gonna keep listening and I’m gonna take those courageous leaps and to see what’s next.
Those are the biggest things for me. Allowing the uncertainty and allowing the next step and allowing time to ruminate in the world that moves so fast that they want you to make up your mind about everything immediately. And just being okay with myself in my own process… Knowing that I might not fit for everybody’s view of what you’re supposed to do in your life. That I might not fit in every situation, and I might not be able to connect with every single person, but I’m gonna do my absolute best to live in a compassionate way for myself and for those around me. That to me is just kind of the quest now.
~M: And a beautiful quest it is. Thank you for being who you are. I have a special place in my heart for you and I love what you’re sharing with us. It is so important and it’s again, it’s a simple concept and not easy to do to just listen and allow things to happen the way they’re supposed to happen, rather than trying to force them. And listening to our inner wisdom takes practice. And it takes getting quiet. And it takes not allowing outside forces to compel you to make snap decisions, snap judgments, and choices that you’re not quite ready to make. Allow yourself the timeto sit back, take a moment or two or three. And listen. I love that you share that as well. Tiffany, we could talk for hours, and we have in the past.
This has just been an especially enlightening conversation. I hope our listeners have enjoyed it as much as I have, and I’m sure that there are people watching who are gonna want to connect with you in some way. So would you just share with us the very best way they could do that?
~T: Yes. They can email me. I’m also on most of the social media arenas, Facebook and on Instagram. My personal page would be my full name and that’s my handle almost everywhere (@tiffanybisconer). So Facebook, Instagram, and that would be a great way to connect.
~M: Okay, that’s wonderful, thank you so much. And I wanna thank everyone for watching and for being a part of our community. This series of conversations with women who inspire me, is inspired by my latest book, Upside Down to Right Side Up: Turning Transition into Triumph. My book, the articles I write and these conversations are intended to share stories from the heart and life strategies that can help others. I invite you to share them with the women in your life. So none of us will ever again feel like we are alone. Many of us… most of us… have gone through similar experiences and we’re here to support you.
I believe it’s our time to thrive. Will you join me on that ride?
I’m María Tomás-Keegan. ‘Till next time.