“Being mindful means choosing which opinions, ads, emails, and influences we allow to affect us—staying true to what you know is right, even if it means standing alone.” —Tabitha A. Scott, Trust Your Animal Instincts
As a therapist said to me a few years ago, “It’s a shame that we all feel the need to be brilliant at everything because it puts us in this sort of manic state, rather than just enjoying the moment.”
In the deliriously fast-paced reality we call 2021, there is more being projected onto us than ever. It isn’t just our family’s guidance that we have to sift through but social media, 24/7 news, and general pressures that are just par for the course. It can be difficult to decipher between our truth and someone else’s. Or, in other words, what speaker, author, and advisor Tabitha A. Scott coined the “Should monsters.” I’ve spent a lot of time in the self-help book aisle so I was stoked to consult on Scott’s first book Animal Instincts, wisdom that really should be taught in schools (and should definitely be a recommendation on Oprah’s book club list!) Honoring our feelings, protecting individualism, and staying connected to who we are when all the world wants is for us to conform are at the core of Scott’s teachings. In other words, she only believes we can reach our full potential when we are being totally authentic. With life getting speedier by the second, it was no surprise to me that Animal Instincts shot to number one on Amazon the week of its release and was honored with the Nautilus Award in 2020 for igniting spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive change (a trophy that’s also been given to household names like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness Dalai Lama.) Awareness is steadily increasing around how the outside world affects us, and that it is more important than ever to stand still, get quiet, and stay in touch with what’s happening within. As Scott articulates through her own story, no amount of success, money or perceived stability can provide inner peace. That only comes from doing the work. Scott, an executive whose efforts in renewable energy have been recognized by the White House, is at the cutting edge of grounding more esoteric concepts, like energy renewal, in science. Equal parts narrative and guidebook, Animal Instincts resonates with the most logical thinkers and provides an easy-to-navigate route to rejuvenation.
When did the idea to write your book first arise?
I was running on a trail in the Costa Rican jungle when the idea first occurred to me to write this book. This was two months into my self-imposed isolation from the modern world and after doing an ancient Samurai warrior technique, which was envisioning my own death the night before. I reached this emotional tipping point where I felt completely connected to nature, the animals around me, and myself. Goosebumps covered my body from head to toe.
It took many weeks of reading, contemplating, practicing yoga, and disconnecting from the barrage of information I was used to receiving on a daily basis to let the “Should Monsters” of the past fall away. There they sat next to the dried-up leaves on the jungle floor. You should be able to heal your son’s disorder, you should have a perfect marriage, you should be able to save the environment, you should fit in with the other moms… At that moment I realized we are all born fully free, but allow ourselves to conform over time. We are all inextricably woven from the same energy that allows us to be reborn throughout the ages. This is the energy source behind every major religion, self-help book, and business methodology. It just all “clicked” that there was more power inside of me than I could have imagined. My next thought was, everybody has the ability to reconnect like this. I wanted to share what I’d learned the hard way, which is that one energy source creates life, controls our emotions, and powers our communities. I wrote this book so anyone can recharge their own life and ignite their personal power.
How did the vision for it change over time?
Working with a wonderful editor, Lauren Helmer, and receiving feedback from experienced authors like you was instrumental in my growth as a writer. Coming from an executive background, the tone of Animal Instincts was initially more in line with a business book. However, at the encouragement of other writers I pushed myself to be candid and share what led to my burnout and adventures in Costa Rica, including a budding romance. The techniques I describe to connect with your intuition became more concrete and less abstract when I used my own life as demonstration. Hopefully, it helps the reader achieve renewal, creativity, and inspiration just as I did—without having to leave the country!
What was the writing process like for you as a first-time author and someone who was
walking between two worlds: corporate America and a more new-age audience?
Oh boy, it was very difficult! I’ve published many business articles and textbook submissions
for my work on behavior change, renewable energy, innovation, and sustainability. That was
my comfort zone and I knew my audience well. Writing to people interested in the mind-body-spirit connection was very different. I was very concerned that writing something New Age would draw criticism from my traditional audience. Since I’m certified in both electrical energy, through the Association of Energy Engineers, and in human biofield energy, I’ve been exposed to both worlds for many years. It was cathartic for me to “bridge the gap” between spirituality and science, and use my own experiences to share theories in a way that’s understandable.
What do you hope is the primary takeaway from reading Trust Your Animal Instincts?
My hope is that the reader will realize everyone has the ability to recharge, at any time, and reconnect to their intuition and vibrant, joyful energy. Your religion, political party, ethnicity, race, economic status, or personal preferences do not control or defines your spirit. We all have identical access to intuition and the shared energy that pulses through our physical bodies. Here are three take-aways that can help you recharge and ignite your power: 1) Stop “shoulding” on yourself. This will immediately reduce stress and avoid burnout. To do this, identify and let go of things that make you feel disconnected or negative. 2) Achieve wellness and balance by doing what you love. Science proves low vibe thoughts create fear, stress, illness, and division. High vibe thoughts, conversely, create wellness, balance, and unity. As simple as it sounds, wellness and balance come from spending more time practicing high vibe thoughts and activities. 3) Embrace change by taking risks to get what you want. Change is never easy. You may feel afraid of failure, looking stupid, or asking for what you want. But, learning how, and when, to take chances by listening to your own intuition will accelerate your success in life and career.
What was it like to be so vulnerable in your own writing and reveal moments of your life that were perhaps particularly painful?
It felt weird and uncomfortable to talk about myself as well as topics like abuse and cancer, which women are often taught to hide. However, my hope was that sharing my own suffering would help others relate.
Especially in the South, there is still a strong double-standard for women. Being submissive,
polite, and appropriate were quintessential female attributes where I was raised. It can be
hard to go up against tradition. By identifying the “Should monsters” we can detach from the pressures of religion, family traditions, work, and social expectations. Depersonalizing the things that create anxiety allow us to deal with in a healthier way.
What did it feel like to be nominated for Nautilus Award—especially as a first-time author?
This was my first book, so I had to learn everything from scratch. I was criticized by some folks for choosing to publish independently yet, I felt a sense of urgency to get my message out rather than trying to sell a million copies. The goal was to help readers, and working women in particuar, lead
happier, healthier lives (without having to quit their jobs, give away their things, and go
live in the jungle!) I was shocked and deeply honored when Trust Your Animal Instincts received the 2020 Nautilus Award. It was the affirmation that writing and publishing my book was worth the risk because of the positive social change it could generate. Still, helping people feel powerful is the biggest reward.
With the success of your first book are there any others on the horizon?
I’m just proud that I completed the book, which is a culmination of many years of learning, experience, studying, and observation. It felt really good to see it emerge in the flesh as a complete body of work. Who knows what the future will bring regarding writing another book?! In the meantime, I’m putting those lessons learned into helping other authors bring their own ideas to fruition.