A conversation with Master Life Coach and author, Cara Alwill Leyba, about her new book and how you can live with more confidence.
Thanks for being here today! Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast.
Today’s episode is special because I’ve invited a woman I admire to come on the show and share some of her wisdom with us.
Listen in today as I speak with Master Life Coach, Cara Alwill Leyba about confidence. Her new book, “Like She Owns The Place,” is filled with personal stories and insights about what it means to live with more confidence and ignite our inner magic. I have so much admiration for Cara as an entrepreneur, an author, and a podcaster! I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
Be sure to check out Cara’s new book, “Like She Owns The Place” – available wherever books are sold!
As always, my goal is to make it quicker and easier for you to access more ease, joy, and intention in your life…because happy looks really, really good!
If you’d rather read than listen, here’s transcript of episode #23:
LIKE SHE OWNS THE PLACE –
A CONVERSATION WITH CARA ALWILL LEYBA
Annie Kip: “Like She Owns The Place” – that’s a state of mind and the title of a new book by Master Life Coach, Cara Alwill-Leyba. I’m interviewing her today and we’re going to talk about redefining what it means to be beautiful, limiting beliefs, and how to get out of our own way, the difference between being happy and being comfortable, and taking charge of how we feel so we can do great things with our lives. Stay tuned.
Annie Kip: Welcome to the style with intention podcast where we talk about how to use your personal style choices as a tool to create a life you love. We believe choice is empowering. Complacency is boring and happy. Looks really, really good. I’m your host, Annie Kip and I’m so glad you’re here today. We have a great episode, which is an interview with master life coach, podcaster and author Cara Alwill-Leyba. She’s written a new book called “Like She Owns The Place,” which I think is a terrific title. We are going to dive a little deeper into the things that she talks about in her book. Things like how you can just take charge of how you feel. This is basically a map to living with more confidence and igniting that inner magic that we all have. It’s something we talk about on this podcast all the time that it’s an energy from within that is magnetic and draws people to us.
Annie Kip: So without further ado, I am going to jump right into my interview with Cara. All right, Cara, welcome to the show. I’m really happy to have you here.
Cara: Hi Annie. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Annie Kip: I really enjoyed your new book. It’s called “Like She Owns The Place” and it’s coming out July 10th. Is that right?
Annie Kip: Oh right. And that must have been a big process to get that sort of done and out into the world.
Cara: Oh my gosh, you have no idea. It has been like I’m so used to self publishing all of my own books. All my books before were previously self published and I kind of like did the whole process from start to finish in like a four to six month window. So this time around it’s been different working with a publisher, which has been a great experience, but the book has been a year and a half in the making, so I just so ready to get it out.
Annie Kip: I bet. Yeah, I bet that’s going to be great. That’s great. Well I love the title that you picked because I feel like like she owns the place really embodies this feeling that some of us have had like in our lives, we know what that feels like. That moment of wow, I really, I’m rocking this. I, I own the room kind of. So we all want more of that. So I love the title of, of the book. How did you come up with that?
Cara: So it’s a funny story. It’s a, it’s actually a really cool story. I, if anyone has followed me for a little while and social media and you may know this Annie, I love Soul Cycle. Like that has been like something in my life that has really helped me develop a lot of confidence and it’s odd because it was never fitness person, never liked somebody who enjoyed working out.
Cara: But I found Soul Cycle a couple of three years ago. Actually. I’m almost about to hit my 500 class, which is crazy. Oh Wow. When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. I did not feel fit. I felt so uncomfortable in that room and I felt so nervous on that bike. But that entire experience really played a huge role in shaping my self esteem because it was a slow process. It was a challenge that I had to overcome and learning how to be comfortable there. And one day I’ll never forget, this was probably about a year and a half ago because it was right around the time that I was coming up with the concept and the title for the book. I walked into the studio that I ride out often in Brooklyn and I and I was greeted by my instructor who my friend and couple of the writers and some of the staff and everybody was giving me a hug and a kiss and you’re like, oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you.
Cara: And there was a girl who was signing in for the first time and she was filling out the waiver and I saw her kind of look over at me and I thought to myself, she’s probably looking at me going, this girl thinks she owns the place to myself. You know what I feel like I do, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s not a negative thing to exude that level of confidence and to really own who you are and own a room that you walk into. And I think a lot of times we can see that as a negative and other women, we can be intimidated by someone’s confidence. We can be nervous to express our own confidence because we feel like someone else may think where you know too full of ourselves. So the book was really like a play on that phrase and I really am trying to shift the conversation around developing real sustainable confidence and teach women that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, to feel good about yourself.
Annie Kip: I’m with you and you do such a great job with that on your podcast. That’s why I love reading whatever you put out there, you do a great job and thank you. This book, it seems like it’s sort of mapping out a path to confidence because you offer so many really actionable insights and tips and different ways of seeing things that can help someone develop their own confidence and really just take charge of how they feel. One of the things that, going back to the soul cycle thing is I, I really loved how you are trying to redefine beauty as energy. Can you talk a little bit more about that? I think that’s so intriguing.
Cara: Yeah, so I was really adamant about writing a book that kind of covered the gamut of confidence, right? Because Girl Code was my last book that sort of put me on the map and a lot of people know me as a champion for women in business and I want to see, you know, all women entrepreneurs succeed and I do, but I felt like I wanted to talk about more than just business in this book and I really wanted to talk about who we are as women and how we’re showing up as women and how we feel about ourselves because ultimately the way we feel about ourselves as a woman will impact our business.
Cara: So beauty was a topic but aging, body image, all of those things that so many of us have struggled with. And I noticed like a time in my life where I felt more beautiful in a time that other people started to, you know, make comments to me of like, Oh, did you lose weight or your skin looks great, or what makeup do you have on? When I did not lose weight and I did not have makeup on, I had done nothing different except change my level of happiness. I’m winning my fulltime job and pursuing my writing career and my coaching career full time. So I started to think about what makes a woman beautiful and I know that for me like I have, you know, been in the presence of some women who may not be classically traditionally beautiful according to society’s terms, but to me they were stunning and they own the room and they just like were just breathtaking to watch.
Annie Kip: Yes.
Cara: I really wanted to bring that up in the book and talk about the fact that like confidence is an inside job and beauty radiates from within us and we have to undo a lot of the programming that we’re taught that, you know, we need to be a size two or we, be shot up with botox and we have to wear a certain kind of purse to look good or a handbag or, or clothes or whatever. Shoes! So that was an important thing for me to address and I really hope that it helps women really shift their perspective on our appearance and really start to just own who they are from the inside out.
Annie Kip: And we have a similar take on this where it’s okay to love your Chanel handbag. It’s okay to want to wear cute shoes and have your hair blown out, but it is all about how it makes you feel and the feeling you have is the thing that creates the energetic magnetism that some people have when they walk in a room that makes heads turn. It’s all about how that woman feels inside. So I love how you articulate that.
Cara: Thank you. Yeah. And like the Chanel bag is not going to make us happy. The Chanel bag can be beautiful to look at and a gorgeous item to have and, and you know, Rog and style, but like it’s not the answer. So just kind of like helping women realize that like there’s something deeper that needs to go on and through the book I hope to kind of guide them on that journey.
Annie Kip: Yeah. And one of the other things you talk about that I really liked was talking about how in order to get over those limiting beliefs that we all have, you know, everybody has different ones that we have to take, you said consistent action to make our new beliefs a reality and that sort of means leaping before we’re ready and a lot of ways. And you know, I, I know that you started a music magazine when you were 17 years old and you left your MTV job for, you know, pursuing your own business and you dyed your hair pink and just moving from Brooklyn to Manhattan, like you’ve done this. So you’ve walked the talk. What’s sort of next for you, I mean you’ve just gotten this book finished. I know you must be just still kind of basking in the relief of that, but are there other things that you’re sort of seeing as the next frontier of overcoming limiting beliefs? You know, I know you were doing some fitness things recently.
Cara: Yeah. I mean I don’t really have like a five year plan, much less like a one year plan. I kind of let my intuition guide me and I sort of let myself, you know, discover things kind of as they interests me, especially as somebody. I really consider myself a very creative person and artist almost before and entrepreneur, you know, it’s really just flowing with what comes up for me. One thing though that I had been super passionate about is having this clothing line for women and I’ve done a couple of. It actually started out just purely as an accident. I wanted to make a sweatshirt. I’m one of those sites, I think it was private party was the company where you could design your own sweatshirt and it was just a black sweatshirt and I wanted it to say like she owns the place because I was in the middle of writing the book and I thought this would be an awesome sweater to wear. So I made it and I posted it on instagram and it got like hundreds of comments from women who were like, I need this, like I have to own this.
Cara: And we wound up creating that sweatshirt. I found a manufacturer and I found a screen printer and I had my husband designed the artwork and it was a whole new frontier for me and it was really exciting to learn about a new field and then I started letting my imagination run wild, which is my favorite thing to do and I started picturing like this whole line of clothing first, you know, for what I call the self expressed woman for the woman who doesn’t want to have to say why she wants respect, she just gets it, you know, by the way, she just kind of walks into a room and that for me has been an exciting thing and I have plans and in and having these pop up parties and stuff. So that’s been something that I’ve been toying with and something I’m definitely going to dive into once the book launch is sort of off the grounds.
Annie Kip: Yeah. And kind of do more. Are you planning to do more styles or more items?
Cara: Yeah, definitely. I kind of see it as a really boutiquey kind of line where I don’t have like 57 different things available, but like I kind of have these certain designs that go through seasons, so we’ll see what comes next and not really sure.
Annie Kip: That’s great.
Cara: Yeah, it’s been fun to think about it. Especially the kind of all in theme with just really like putting on a shirt that has a saying like I just did one that says “strong minded woman” in the pink letters on a black top and that’s a conversation starter. You know, people see someone in a shirt that says like she owns the place or I did a facebook ad that just says upgrade across it and you can’t really wear that without feeling confident. You’re gonna put something like that on that. Someone’s going to it literally they turn heads these. What does that say? So it’s just really fun to now kind of branch out into like the fashion world with my message.
Annie Kip: Yeah, I love that. I love that you’re doing that and I also love that you don’t have a five year plan that you are sort of more, I think you’ve said wellbeing based in your goal setting and it’s more sort of what do I need to do to feel good right now and the if the sweatshirt and the clothing line is taking you that you follow it, I think that’s great.
Cara: Now I’m all about getting into high vibe and then creating things from that high vibe as a path, like setting these external goals and then feeling like I have to rush to get this goal done or check this thing off my list, but instead of we can just focus on what makes us feel good. I think we create our best work from that place.
Annie Kip: Yeah, I heard you say that and I take it to heart. It’s hard to do. You know when you’re not in that high vibe to get yourself there. So what are some things you do to get yourself into that higher vibrational state so that you feel good?
Cara: So I have a really simple exercise and this is gonna sound like such a no brainer, but it really worked. I just take a piece of paper or a journal or notebook and I make what I call a high vibe list and the low vibe list and the high vibe list or just things that make me feel good so you know, whether it’s going to see a jazz band perform or going to an art exhibit or you know, taking a weekend trip or just going to get my nails done or going to the museum and then I make a low vibe list. So high vibe list, all the things that give me energy and make me feel inspired and the low vibe list are the things that drain me. So maybe that’s spending too much time on social media, you know, not eating foods that fuel my body and my mind enough sleep, like going out too many nights in a row and overextending myself. That’s kind of what I do. And I use those things to help me build my goal. So if I look at that list and I’m like, okay, on this list there are these five things that I really love to do at the top of this list, when is the last time you actually did those things? And then I go and I, you know, make a commitment and I set a date and I go do them. So it’s not as hard as we make it out to be. Just pay attention to really what makes us feel good. You know, it sounds so basic, but it works.
Annie Kip: It’s so true. Just do what feels good. I mean, things get done if it really does actually become more productive when we’re following that.
Annie Kip: So I also love that you are so real and you share who you are in your a girl’s girl and we get to feel like we really know you through your podcast and I been wondering like at at some point, I mean that you still feel vulnerable of course, I assume. And the more sort of success that you have, does it feel more vulnerable, you know, to be putting yourself out there? Does it feel like there’s higher stakes, you know, how do you know how much of yourself to share at a certain point?
Cara: So it feels more vulnerable when I start paying attention to the negativity, you know, intention goes where energy flows, right? So if I sit there and I look at every negative comment or every negative email that I get when I share something that can suddenly all of a sudden make me feel vulnerable and make me feel unsafe and make me feel anxious, but if I shift the focus and I focused on all the women that I’m helping and serving and all the positive comments that I get in the amazing emails that I get that like, you know, literally can bring a tear to my eye when you, when you form that connection with someone just by sharing yourself, that is what fuels me. It just comes down to what we want to focus on and where we want to spend our energy. And, and for me, getting inspired by looking at the impact I’m having is what gives me the strength to keep doing it.
Annie Kip: Yeah. That’s great. And then, you know, you talk about self love, which I also think is a huge part of this confidence thing and I’d love that you were pointing out that it’s not about indulging or being a kind of falsely telling yourself you love yourself. It’s about making a commitment to yourself. And so when you talk about not paying attention to the negative comments as much, I feel like, you know, that takes a bit of commitment to say to yourself, I’m not going to let this get to me.
Cara: It does. I actually just had this moment, like 15 minutes before we got on this podcast. My husband pulls up girl code on audible. Did you know that you have over 2000 reviews? It’s like, it’s, you know, almost a five star rating on Amazon. Oh, I didn’t know that. I’m like, that’s so cool.
Cara: So I took his phone and I looked at the reviews and the first two that came up, I guess it’s like the algorithm, you know, these were the most, quote “most helpful” reviews were like slamming the book. And I look and you get it. I mean it’s fine. It doesn’t bother me, but like the fact that that was the first thing that I saw after he was trying to like make me feel good. I looked at them and my gut reaction like most of us was to be like, oh my God, what is this person talking about? They don’t even get it. They don’t know me. Right? I thought to myself, what would my higher self do in this situation? What would the best version of Cara do right now? That version of me would say, okay, you know what? I’m not going to let that ruin that joy that I felt when he told me there were 2000 reviews and I’m just going to hand the phone back and I’m going to go in and do what I do and get lost again in my work, and so it’s. Those are the moments where I’m able to really develop my confidence through those actions, those repeated actions and it sometimes it’s easier than others. It can be difficult on days where I’m feeling a little bit extra run down or tired, but it’s like you just have to decide what you are going to give your energy to, if that’s like one takeaway from this whole book, it’s like you could focus on feeling good and you can focus on building your self worth or you can focus on just the narrative in your mind that tells you that you’re not enough, but it’s really on you to decide which way you want to go.
Annie Kip: Yeah, and I think people get it. It seems counterintuitive, but I think sometimes it feels more comfortable to people to just stay in that sort of negative state. It takes actually some strength and some effort to kind of, as you’re saying like rise above it and decide to get out of familiar, which is sometimes that uncomfortable, like unhappy place in order to get into a happier place. You talk about the difference between comfort and actual happiness. Yeah, let’s talk about that. I love that there is a big difference.
Cara: There’s a huge difference and I’ve asked people that before you comfortable or are you happy and people are just like, like mind blown when they think of it that way. They’re like, oh my God, I don’t know like which I am? Right? And for me like comfortable is just feeling safe, feeling like I’m not stretching myself. It’s feeling like it. Everything is just kind of status quo and just going along and there’s no challenges and happiness to me is the result of being present through the journey and having perspective around the challenges and being able to come through the challenges and feel really good no matter what’s going on in my life. To me that’s the real definition of happiness versus comfort. So it’s for anyone listening right now who’s, who finds themselves in a situation where maybe they have an inkling that like, hmm, I don’t know if I’m, if I’m pushing myself or stretching myself enough, like really asked yourself that question. Am I comfortable or am I happy? And I think if you can be honest with yourself, it’s scary, but you’ll know the answer and you’ll know immediately. Like what the next best step for you is?
Annie Kip: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes it’s that tension between realizing that you are saying you want to be happy, but you’re not actually willing to get out of comfortable. That tension is the thing that can sometimes propel us into doing bigger things when you know, when we come to terms with the fact of our own truth, you know, what we really are living, you know, that’s not who we want to be.
Cara: Yeah. And it’s not to say like we should always be in a state of, you know, like tension or uncomfortability, like because I think those moments are temporary to those moments pass, right? We move through them and when you do it enough, you start to move through it quicker to get to the other side quicker. But yeah, happiness really is a result of those repeated actions and putting yourself out there and taking those risks and really following what it is that you truly want to do. Like it’s not the destination, it’s not the arrival point that brings the happiness. It’s the magic is just in that journey.
Annie Kip: Yes, and a lot of people that I talk to are sort of at a point where they’re at a transition in their life and they don’t necessarily know what they want at this point, you know, they want to be happy in general, but they don’t even know what that looks like. So I was intrigued with your happiness board. Talk to them about that. Tell people what that is for you. It’s different than an inspiration board.
Cara: I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve, you know, I’ve studied the Law Of Attraction in great detail and they believe so much in it. And one of the things that I picked up along the way was creating a vision board and I would create this vision board every year, every January or December 31st. This would be my ritual and I would put all these goals on this board that I wanted to accomplish in the coming year. One day I was rearranging my apartment and I looked at the board. It was, it was probably around June or July, so halfway through the year and they looked at this vision board and nothing on there resonated with me anymore. Nothing on that. I was like, who created these goals because this is not who I am. Hmm. So I started to think about the place I was in when I set those goals and where they really truly what I wanted or were they things that were making me happy were they things that were I felt like I should be doing. I decided to get a cork board, you know, just one of those like from staples word pushpins and I decided to print out and collect and just curate this board that represented all the things that made me happy and the reason I did the cork board because I used to do a vision board and have it professionally framed and that would be my thing for the whole year. The reason why I chose a cork board is because we are dynamic as women. We are constantly evolving and changing and the things that bring us happiness are constantly changing and I think they should be, but I wanted something that could, I could interchange images with. I could put up new things, I could take things down that maybe weren’t serving me anymore and that is where the concept of happiness board came from. It on there. There’s like pictures from birthday parties, there’s parts from clients, there’s articles I was in, you know that I’m proud of that I have a magazine clipping, you know, they’re literally concert tickets. Broadway show take is anything that I felt at that point in my life was making me feel good. It’s just been a fun thing to look at. It’s just for me, that’s what life is about. Life is not about chasing these goals. It’s about doing what makes you feel good. Right. And getting into that higher state, you know, more of the time. Right. So I love that. That’s an evolving sort of inspirational board instead of just this static thing. I love it. It’s great. I just looked over at it. Right now I’m sitting in my office and I just smiled and it’s like everything on there, it just feels good. There’s pictures of Marilyn Monroe, there’s pictures of me with my pink hair, which I love and they’re just like, you know, just so much cool stuff. There’s a polaroid. I took the day, I sold my book and got my book deal. Like it’s just, that puts me in. A lot of people refer to as like the vortex champagne bubble, you know,
Annie Kip: The champagne bubble. I love that!
Cara: Yeah. It’s like nothing can penetrate it. No negativity can get it. It’s my own special little dreamy world and we all have that in us. Yeah.
Annie Kip: The other thing that we have in common, you probably don’t know, but we both like eighties music and we love all that Madonna and George Michael and I like the R and B a lot too and that’s something that can totally raise my vibration. If I’m feeling down, like put on some music and dance, I, I, I want to kind of put together a playlist actually to share with people because that’s, I mean, you, you love that music too, right?
Cara: I have a whole Spotify channel of playlists and for awhile I was actually sharing. I would do something because of my facebook group is called “Slay Baby.” That’s where my whole community gathers, I’ve got like 12,000 women in there and I was doing a thing for awhile called Slay Baby Radio and it was fun weekly playlist of songs that put me in a high vibe and it was all eighties mostly, some nineties. Yeah, cute. Like that. I don’t know if it’s just, it’s nostalgic or if it’s feel good or whatever it is, but I can just hear a song and it can just transport me to a completely different level and feeling and frequency and it’s just like,
Annie Kip: Absolutely it’s like, it’s like magic. I mean, in my car I could, I definitely like on my way to a meeting or I play tennis, like on the way to a match. I make sure I’m listening to these songs that make me want to dance in my seat.
Cara: Yeah, that’s awesome. Music is so important.
Annie Kip: It is so important. You know, this is what I’m taking away from your book is that this is such an inside job that this competence that we are all looking for is an inside thing that we have to do it. We can’t just pretend it into being because that will never hold up. We just have to really find our own way of finding that place inside of us that makes us feel like we “own the place” and doing that inner work. I mean you’ve been doing that for years, so it’s.
Cara: And I think also like what I really, you know, kind of try to drive home in the book is I’m not an expert on confidence. I am not. I don’t think there are any experts in really anything. I think we’re all human beings just kind of in this world together. And there are some of us who have maybe figured some things out and that’s what I always try to stress, like there’s no one size fits all approach to confidence. There’s no one size fits all approach to finding yourself. I share things that have worked for me and that I’ve worked for many of my clients and my readers, but it really just comes down to, you know, empowering the reader to figure it out for themselves and help guide them there. But like I can’t tell you exactly what makes you feel good. And I think there’s a lot of confidence building in and of itself, like learning to trust yourself.
Annie Kip: You are so generous with your stories and your insights and sharing the journey that you’ve taken to become the woman that you are and you’re so relatable. And “generous” is the word that comes to mind. You’ve just shared so much of yourself in this book and it gives everybody sort of an idea of what they can do to get that same feeling for themselves.
Cara: Thank you, so much.
Annie Kip: Yeah, and you share that confident women help each other and you are walking your talk girl, you are being that one who shows, you know, lifting people up with your own experiences and sharing that. So this book is a real gift to everyone, so thank you for that.
Cara: Thank you for saying that. That means a lot to me. I think that is the way that we grow and that is the way that we help each other is by sharing and if more of us could be more vulnerable and that’s a big theme throughout the book. If we get a little bit more vulnerable and be willing to talk about the things that don’t always work out and share what happens when we do have those breakdowns and we do feel insecure. That’s where like real connection. It’s not in pretending everything’s perfect and flawless and filtered. It’s really just being like, oh my gosh, I had this mental breakdown. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, but you know what I did get out of it and here’s how I got out of it.
Annie Kip: Yeah, that’s it.
Cara: That’s the gold right there.
Annie Kip: That’s being a girlfriend, that’s being a true girl friend is walking alongside other and helping each other do what we want to do with our lives. Thank you for sharing this message. Tell us how people can get in touch with you, how they can find the book, tell us all of that.
Cara: Sure. So they can order the firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s available July 10th, so if you’re listening before that you can preorder, but as of July 10th, it will be in bookstores everywhere. You can get it online www.likesheownstheplace.com and find your favorite retailer and if you want it to connect with me and check out my blog and my podcast and my Slay Baby community and all that good stuff, I am at thechampagnediet.com.
Annie Kip: Excellent. I am a big fan of Cara’s, so all of you should go on out there and find her on social media and follow her and get the book. It’s a great book!
Cara: Thank you, Annie.
Annie Kip: Thanks for being with me today, Cara.
Cara: Thank you so much for having me and thank you everybody for listening. H
Annie Kip: Have a good day. Thanks Cara.
Annie Kip: So there you have it guys. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Cara. I’ll will labor and I hope you’ll go check out her new book like she owns the place. It’s a great title and I really got a lot out of it. She has great stories and really actionable tips on how to live with more confidence. You can also come over to the style with intention podcast.com website where I have a list of songs for you. These are my psych up songs that I go to whenever I need to get in a better mood whenever I am cooking dinner and want to dance around my kitchen or when I am going to something where I need to kind of be in a higher vibrational state. These are the psych up songs, so come on over and download that list and use them yourself when you need to psych up. Thanks for listening today. You guys and I will catch you next time. Have a good day.
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