4 – Sierra Boggess: Light Lessons from a Leading Lady

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00:00 Sierra
Every single practice has to do with gratitude. Somewhere in there. And I think with nature, it's just all gratitude.

00:15 Tony:
Hey, hey, it's Tony Howell. And I want to thank you for listening to my podcast. Greetings from Bali. This is #EarthFutureMonth. And I knew that the perfect guest for this show would be Sierra Boggess. She is deservedly one of the world’s greatest and most beloved leading ladies and her musical theater talents are something I don't want to gloss over. Just highlights, include Originating Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid, Christine Daaé in Love Never Dies. And most recently, Danielle, in the new musical Ever After. She's an Olivier nominee and I do hope that you get the opportunity to see Sierra perform live. It is something magical to witness.

But today we are going to dive into her love of the planet. So if you can, I would love it if you would go outside to listen to this episode. Go for a walk, a hike, a jog, a run, or go for a drive. But I really want you to go surround yourself with natural elements, trees, sunlight, plants, bugs, and animals, whatever you can find. Sierra has so many light lessons for you inside this episode. And it is my hope that you walk away with brand new ways to share your light on this earth. Enjoy.

01:40 Tony:
Hi Sierra.

01:41 Sierra:

01:43 Tony:
It's been like a year since we've seen each other.

01:45 Sierra:
It feels too long to me.

01:47 Tony:
Amen, but we stay in touch.

01:48 Sierra:
We do.

01:49 Tony:
On the interwebs. Tell me what's happening.

01:52 Sierra:
I just got back from Atlanta. I was doing a show in Atlanta. It was Ever After. We'll get to that probably. And so I just came back and so I've been gone for three months and I literally came home and did the tidying up, Marie Kondo.

02:09 Tony:
It looks very spacious up in here.

02:11 Sierra:
Thank you. It feels spacious. Doesn't it feel energetically good?

02:15 Tony:
It's definitely more open.

02:16 Sierra:
Yes. And it's going to get even more because I've only been back since like Monday, it's only been like a few days.

02:22 Tony:
You've been busy.

02:23 Sierra:
I have been busy. My closet looks like, oh my God. I love this so much. But I feel like it's important to do, especially if you've been gone because you're like, I was gone for three months. I didn't need this, this, this, this and all of this. So what am I actually holding onto?

02:42 Tony:
I just moved into storage and now I'm traveling around. So I have very little to hold onto.

02:47 Sierra:
Yeah. And so when you come back and want the stuff from stores, you're probably going to do another cleansing.

02:52 Tony:
That's the thing, I'm basically going to land with like two pairs of jeans and a t-shirt.

02:58 Sierra:
Let's be honest. We only wear one to two pairs of jeans and we don't wash them because then they don't feel so good.

03:05 Tony:
Now we know, she got on stinky jeans.

03:07 Sierra:
That's right. She's stank jeans.

03:10 Tony:
Alright. So let's dive in to Ever After, how was that? Magical?

03:15 Sierra:
Yes, it actually really was. Ever After is a show I've been involved with for like eight years and it's one of those shows that's like, I've had so many of them actually that's like, this is the one that's going to come in or whatever. And then it never does. But for me Ever After was one of those that it doesn't make sense to me that it hasn't come in yet. It's so beautiful. And also Danielle, the character that I play is one of those, that I connected with her the moment that I knew it was a musical. I feel like it's very on trend right now to be like, “It’s the modern-day Cinderella,” but it really is. This one is not a gimmick, she is cool as hell. She sword fights people. She's punching people out if she has to save someone. She's climbing trees, she's saving the Prince. She's saving herself, she's saving her family. She's trying to create a relationship with a mother figure.

There's all kinds of stuff in this. It's so very now. And it really is a true female heroine at the front of this story. I haven't also had a role like this since Little Mermaid, where it's like physically demanding, I'm dancing, I'm doing all of the fighting, climbing trees, literal trees on stage. I'm shooting a bird for dinner, doing all kinds of stuff. And then emotionally the journey too, that she goes on is out of this world. So much is demanded of me. And I'm renewed with the fact that I love what I do because this type of role is what I set out to do. It's why I set out to do this business. So it feels really good.

05:14 Tony:
So do we know what's happening yet?

05:18 Sierra:
Yes, because by the time this podcast goes, it's going to have been announced. We are going to St. Paul next. The end of this year we're playing at the Ordway. And then we just have to keep our fingers crossed because I've been in this position so many times, where it's a show that I love. And then it's like, you never know. And real estate is a real thing here on Broadway and all that stuff.

05:46 Tony:
And in New York.

05:47 Sierra:
And in New York. So I don't have any control over any of that stuff, but all I know is that we just got to keep doing our work. So maybe by the time this podcast has aired, we will be on another level of this.

06:06 Tony:
I'm putting it out there. I'm asking the listener to do the same.

06:09 Sierra:
I will also ask the listener to do the same. Thank you.

06:14 Tony:
So this has happened to you before, so let's say best case scenario, it opens and it sweeps.

06:23 Sierra:
That is best case.

06:26 Tony:
She gets an award, honey.

06:27 Sierra:
Oh honey, yas queen.

06:29 Tony:
Worst case scenario. You've dealt with this before. So, for the listener who doesn't get the job after the final callback or doesn't get the offer after the out of town, how's that handled?

06:43 Sierra:
Well, the great thing is that worst case you still get something out of it. And there's been plenty of things that have happened where it's like, I'm sure I'm getting this. I'm sure I'm getting this or something and it completely goes the other away. And what I’ve learned is that I love the work. And if the person that's going through this, or hasn't got something, what they deemed they should get, there is a whole universe working out there.

This is not what our human self can grasp of what we think that it should be, what we think we should be doing. It has to be about the work. It's like the reason that we're on this planet is to work to figure out even why we're here. You know what I mean? So there was a show a while ago that I auditioned for, and I was in final callbacks, and it was like, it didn't make sense that I wouldn't get this job.

07:41 Tony:
It had your name all over it.

07:42 Sierra:
It had my name all over it and I didn't get the job. And it was circumstances that I couldn't argue with. There is nothing you can do about it. And that day that I had that devastating news, I had to go and teach a class for young, hopeful musical theaters. And I was thinking why have I just had this devastating thing happen? And I still want to go there and teach these kids and I don't feel like I want to go there and be like, “Don't do this you guys. Turn back,” like warn them. And so I talked to them and I said, I wanted to come here because even in the devastation, I still want to do this.

So having that desire is a really good thing, but then you have to want to be in the work. And I lost nothing by having done the amount of work I did to do the audition. The same with Ever After, too. I lose nothing by having gone in 100% and having done the show and at the Alliance where we just were or go to the Ordway and say that we don't get to move on. You lose nothing. Unless you have said yes to a job that you don't want and you're doing it for the wrong reasons, or I call it not playing clean in the universe.

Something manipulative or something like, you can fill in the blank for yourself of what those things would be. Or a lot of times what I find is people taking jobs just for the money, especially in our industry. It's a tough one. And I know like people have feelings about it because you do have to.

09:20 Tony:
Get insurance.

09:22 Sierra:

You got to, but I think it's important. Yes. Take a job for the money. And… there has to be an and. Or the weeks like for our insurance weeks. For the weeks and…. And that can be as simple as… and to practice having grace. Practice my gratitude when I'm with people, practice being empathetic, practice being loving. It can be as simple as that. So go out of town. Maybe you're in a place that you don't want to be or something, but you need that money, but figure out something else besides just the money to work on. You might as well.

10:04 Tony:
And to learn.

10:04 Sierra:
And to learn. Dammit.

10:09 Tony:
You talked about in my world, the magic word purpose. That it goes beyond the musical theater schtory that we're telling, the schtory. So how did you find all of these real spiritual, meaningful layers to the work? Or it found you?

10:33 Sierra:
It did find me. It found me during one of the times, one of the many times that something hasn't come to be, that I thought was going to come to be. And this is when we invoke our friend Wayne Dyer, who is the one who woke me up with the sentence. I'm not what I do. I'm not what I have, and I'm not what other people think of me. And that is, as you know, that's a really tough thing for especially performers and trained performers to understand, because we've been trained the opposite, that you are your reputation, you are what you do, you are your resume.

11:05 Tony:
You're only as good as your last job.

11:07 Sierra:
You're only as good as your last job. That's some psychological stuff there. Now I understand on a level what that means and what those teachers or people are saying or colleagues, but there is a higher level than that because it can't just be this. So I think one of the days that I woke up too, I was like, I don't get it. I can't seem to get where I think I should be going. And I remember waking up feeling so low and I literally Googled, why are we on this planet? What's the point? Why are we here?

And a Ted Talk appeared and the Ted Talk was like, I will help you find your purpose, you have to answer five questions. And I was like, you got it. And it's so basic what you do. And the first question is who are you? And that's just your name. So it's who are you? Sierra. Two is what do you do? And to answer that, if you're struggling with, what do you do, it's what do you feel supremely qualified to or uniquely qualified to teach? So I wrote, act a song. That's what I said I'd do for a living, which is true. And then the third is who do you do it for? And my first instinct was myself but that isn't so, because I think what's ingrained in me is, it's like no, make sure that it's not about the other people, but it has to be.

No matter what it is that we do, it has to be, or else you are just doing to make money, for the money for me. So I ended up putting down my second choice, which is the audience. The fourth question is and what do they need? And I wrote escape, they need to escape. And then the fifth is, and what happens to them as a result of you doing what you do? And I said, they feel better. So then he says the answer to what is your purpose is number five. And so when someone asks you, what do you do? So what do you do for a living?

13:24 Tony:
I help make people feel better.

13:25 Sierra:
Correct. As opposed to I'm an actor. It's so limiting. Wait, I think I want to write that on my next travel, landing card, they give you on the airplane. It's like and what's your occupation and I’ll write, “I help people feel better.”

13:42 Tony:
That you do.

13:43 Sierra:
How about that though?

13:45 Tony:
As you were talking, I thought of this Ava DuVernay quote that I just read, that's so amazing, that if your goal is only focused on you, it's not big enough. So you have to make a goal that involves other people, because yes, we all have an ego and yes, it's all about me. But it's you in relationship to the 7.8 billion people on the planet.

14:08 Sierra:

Yes. And Tyne Daly, the great Tyne Daly says, she always has some pearl of wisdom before we would go on stage or something. And one of the things that she says is get off yourself and get on the other. So if you're going on stage even, and you're thinking how does this make me feel, my character and stuff? It's not enough. Get on the other, listen to the other. It can't just be for me, me, me, me. But that said self-care is important. I've been talking to a lot of actors lately and that's one of our main questions and people and my therapist asking me all the time too, what does taking care of yourself look like? And that's really tough for us to answer because we are people pleasers. But that's when we start figuring out if the way that I'm supposed to, for a living, help people feel better. I have to know those things for myself. I have to wake up and not look at my phone, break those addictions, stuff like that. Social media, all that stuff.

15:09 Tony:
Taking care of yourself. So we did a whole hour-long Oprah interview on that, which we'll link to, or put below this episode. But if not, they can search for us on YouTube and find that. So you've addressed a little bit, but has anything changed since the last time? Any experiences where you had to say no ,or establish a boundary, or pick yourself up off the floor in broken pieces in the past year, 12 months?

15:35 Sierra:
Oh, in the past year. It's good, because two years ago was my year of complete brokenness.

15:41 Tony:

15:43 Sierra:
Yes, that was that word last year. So now I can say what the word is because I never say the word for 2018. So I can say the word for 2018 that I did was integrity. It was a year of integrity.

15:57 Tony:
You have it.

15:58 Sierra:
Yes, it's tough though. It's like, as soon as you put that out there, that's like, this is what I want. So saying for example, to your question too, so then what do you say yes to, or what did you say no to, or what was happening? And then I had to always filter it through, what does my integrity tell me to do? And I guess in the middle of the year, I was doing a workshop of Secret Garden sort of.

16:24 Tony:
With Ramin.

16:25 Sierra:
No, he wasn't in that, that was the Lincoln Center one. We're trying to revive Secret Garden and we were slated to go. They kept saying that we're going in the fall and all this stuff and then it just kept not happening and not happening. It didn't make sense to me why? Because Secret Garden too, is one of those shows, like we need this show right now. And one of those shows as well, for me, that's like a dream. But because it didn't go, my highest dream was that it's going to be. Because it didn't, I could then go and do Ever After, the show that I couldn't do before. I had sort of stopped that journey for myself.

17:08 Tony:

17:09 Sierra:
Yes, that's better. I didn't stop it. I had detached from that when I was doing It Should Have Been You on Broadway. So I wasn't available to do another out of town of it. So I could finally do an out of town of this show that I also love. So because of that, and I did, I called my agent and my manager, and I'm like, okay, I want to do this. And it's like, really? Because going out of town, it's less money, you're away from New York, all these things. But there was something inside of me that was like, that doesn't matter. It's the “Yes, and…” again. The work was more important.

17:51 Tony:
Going back, you had talked about social media and I got to see a lot of Ever After through your social media. I unfortunately did not get to go see the show because I wasn't able to, but hopefully I'll be seeing you here in New York. One of the things that really resonates with me from our time working together, is you said there's a difference between being a star and being a leading lady. So for the young man, leading man or leading lady or just leader in the group, what are some things that one can do to enter a company and really establish the difference of leading?

18:27 Sierra:
Yes. So different, what you were asking is, has anything else changed from the last time we talked? I also now want to put a difference between ingénue and leading lady. I think that you should, or not should, but I am still an ingénue but a leading lady. And I think sometimes saying that you're ingénue, it's almost like you're relieving yourself of that duty.

18:50 Tony:
No maturity.

18:51 Sierra:
Yeah. It's like the word itself has these connotations, that's like, you're a waif, you don't know anything. And let someone else take care of the people. But I'm technically the ingénue in Ever After, for example, but you better believe it, I'm the leading lady. And that's how I want to conduct myself. So the way that I've learned this and how I am still honing, like you can do that forever. Figure out how you want to be the leader of your company or whatever. There's a balance of, I guess I hear this with parents, too. There's a balance of, you don't want to be your kid's friend, but you also need to be like authoritative, all that stuff. But there is a balance of how much you hang out with everybody because you also have to maintain the integrity of the show.

And for example, with Ever After, my character is on stage pretty much the whole time. I can't go out with everyone, especially if there's environments where there's like smoking or anything. I can't even be around it or whatever. But it's like finding that balance. You make sure that everybody feels comfortable and that everybody feels like a unit. You establish that from the beginning and that everybody is equal — to establish how important the work is. So my integrity as the worker bee in the room is important.
And we learn this as dancers, too. That's like, if you're sat down, you better have a huge injury. There's one of the guys in the show, who's a dancer and it's like, we would joke all the time. It's like, are you dead? No. Then get up. We're rehearsing. Because you don't sit down until you have a break. And another thing that I'm starting to realize, is I'm making a rule for myself now that's there is a “no cell phones in rehearsal” until I'm on a break, then I check my phone.

So you can be rehearsing for an hour and a half and I will not be using my phone. I will not be texting. It's something I learned from Doug Hughes, who is our amazing director for Age of Innocence. And because Age of Innocence took place in the time it did, it was a no phones policy in the room whatsoever. And I loved that because also then you're engaging with people. And for me, I know as the leading lady, I'm not going to have time later. I'm not going to have the energy later to get to know people or whatever. So I'm going to use my time in rehearsal to be observing. But being present with what is and all that stuff.

21:48 Tony:
I think that it's about showing integrity, your word and then I also think that it's being connected at all times to the community around you. And the team and the shared goals.

21:59 Sierra:
Definitely, shared goals is so good. And there's a quote, I don't know who says it, but I love it all the time, which is, “Remember why you started.” And we can forget that with anything. I mean, that applies to every single job that you do.

22:16 Tony:
Every role that you play in life.

22:18 Sierra:
Yes. Remember why you started and there has to be something. Nobody's here by accident. There is something within us that we started for a reason. There is no one on this planet that is here, that's like, oh, probably not you. We have to learn as much as we want to say that and be like, no, probably not them. But it's like, no them, because they are teaching us something. So remember why you started

22:47 Tony:
Last time, we talked a lot about social media. And you brought that up and you're doing a lot of social. So I'm asking on behalf of audiences that I speak to a lot. And we can talk about our upcoming conference together. How do you build, how have you built this huge community that you have?

23:08 Sierra:
One of the first things is, I got off of all social media a long time ago.

23:17 Tony:
2009. In London.

23:21 Sierra:
It was 2009. So you can all listen to that interview that we already did about it. But I did, I got off all social media as you know, and then I rebuilt. Because it was controlling me, but we didn't have a handle on it. We still don't, technically.

23:36 Tony:
It's a danger… it’s crazy.

23:38 Sierra:

It is. I mean, look, what happens, you say one false, like, oops. I wrote something, like I even misspelled a word. I mean, people are ready to take you down. And they're also ready to, I hope I just burped right in this mic. I hope that we keep that. Thanks. We're so real. So now what I did when I got back on social media is like, what do I want to be about? I have a platform. I didn't know how big it was going to get, but it's like people are listening to what I'm saying. So what do I want this to be about? And I don't even remember if there was something specific that I was like, yeah, I want this, but I knew that I wanted to have some sort of positivity and light and stuff.

So that's where I operate from. I have some rules for myself and I pass them onto everyone, which is, I don't follow anything unless it brings me joy or informs me.

24:46 Tony:
So Marie Kondo your feed?

24:47 Sierra:
Marie Kondo, your feed. Or Sierra Boggess your feed. Yes, honey. But it's true. And it's like, go through and whenever I teach this, too, especially to like the young kids, they're like first, some people have resistance because it's like, no. And then it's this crazy thing where you're like, but I don't want to offend someone if I unfollow them. I'm like, it's not real. None of this is real. And you get to choose the actual word that you're going “I’m following.” What does that actually mean to you? You are following, so therefore you know this awful habit that we have, which I also encourage people to break. And something that I also did last year.

It was like, it takes like 21 days or something to break a habit, but to roll over, you wake up in the morning, you roll over and you check your phone, you go through your email, your texts, your Twitter, your Facebook and your Instagram and whatever. Don't do that. But notice that if you are doing that, what are the things that you're putting into your mind and your body from the moment you wake up? And a lot of times people are following things that it's like, they're following them to mock them or they're following them and they're jealous and they have like envy and all this stuff.

26:12 Tony:

26:14 Sierra:
Competition. So rid yourself of that, because you have control over what you're putting out into the world and you also have control over what you're putting into your mind and all that stuff.

26:26 Tony:
So we get to go talk about all of this, coming up. Thanks to your friend and my new friend, Mr. Ken Davenport. Amazing podcaster. Amazing human. He'll also be on the podcast, in a couple months. So you want to talk about that conference?

26:45 Sierra:
Yeah. He's a really smart business man. Don't you think?

26:48 Tony:
When I worked at MTI, I remember when he produced Godspell, I was like, there's someone who's breaking the rules and doing things in his own way. Yes. And Bravo to that.

27:00 Sierra:
So we're doing this conference. It's called Promote U. And we're going to talk, I have to get really clear on, I have to be like, she's got to be like with bullet points. But we are talking about this stuff. This is a question people are interested in, is how to promote the self. But one of the things that I've said to them too, that I'm going to make sure that I'm talking about is the spiritual side of that.

27:27 Tony:
I just raised my hands for the listener. Praise the Lord.

27:30 Sierra:
Because it can't just be, or else we are going against everything we've already talked about, which is, it's like, we are not what we do and what other people think of us. And so how do we find this balance or whatever. And it's important, but I will be for sure talking about part of the thing is, who are you following and why? And you get to have that come to Jesus with yourself about that stuff. But it is a thing nowadays of how, because social media is very real and how many people do you know in your life that are like, I'm taking a break from social?

28:05 Tony:
So many.

28:07 Sierra:
Or like I've deleted it off of my phone at least so that I, because we're addicted. And it's because actually, we've changed. It's like the same as doing a drug or eating something. We are giving ourselves constant rewards, rewards, rewards, and it's like chemical in our brains. I've got likes. I have hearts.

28:28 Tony:
It’s the dopamine hits.

28:29 Sierra:
It is. So it's like, it's not our fault.

28:35 Tony:
No, you've been a target. This free thing that you've been using, they've been using you.

28:39 Sierra:
Yes. So once we have the information we get to choose, I think. It's like with all those documentaries that came out about like our food industry, watch them, have the information, and now you take responsibility. Now you choose. So if you're getting upset by all this stuff, how are you changing for yourself? That's why they always say, like, it starts with just one or whatever. So no, it's not your fault. Oh, this is an awesome one. When I was doing Ever After we had, I had to do fight calls. And so for the listener that doesn't know what that is. That means that if there are, any fighting that you see on stage and I had sword fighting, I had to slap someone, all this, it's all very choreographed.

And so we have fight captain and we do these things called fight calls about 45 minutes before each show so that you safely are practicing these things. And I had this huge sword fight that I had to do. And my fight captain said to me one day, because I had to be very aware of what was going on and with the other person and all that kind of stuff so that it's safe. And he's like, he said to me, one day he goes, “Listen, it's not your fault, but it is your problem.” We were laughing. It was like a joke, but it was also like, that is actually brilliant. That is spiritually brilliant. And that's for all of us, on all the levels that you can think of, it might not necessarily be your fault, but it is our problem.

So meaning another like maybe lighter way to say too is where can you take responsibility? So yes, we've been targets, but now take your power back. How may I serve myself? Take responsibility.

30:23 Tony:
And service is a big word, because the last time we talked about how can I serve?

30:28 Sierra:
All the time.

30:29 Tony:
Yeah. And you do that every single day because of your integrity word.

30:34 Sierra:
Oh, such a good year.

30:37 Tony:
So it's earth future month in the Tony Howell community. And before we go there, let's talk about the Sierra Boggess community and how great that is.

30:46 Sierra:
Should there be a Sierra Boggess month I feel like?

30:49 Tony:
Oh, absolutely.

30:53 Sierra:
My community, you want me to talk?

30:54 Tony:
It's growing, yeah. It's doing so well.

30:57 Sierra:
Yeah. Like my Light Lessons?

30:59 Tony:
Light Lessons. And on the website, your social, your email.

31:03 Sierra:
Everybody knows that Tony did my website, right? Now y'all know.

31:08 Tony:
Now we do. Now we know.

31:10 Sierra:
It's my favorite though. Everybody and Ken, that's why Ken Davenport was like introduce me to the guy who did your website. That's how this all happened because I had a meeting with him and he's like, who did this? Because this is one of the best actor websites I've ever seen. My manager, everybody. Your work is unbelievable.

31:28 Tony:
And I'll be teaching websites at the Promote U conference.

31:30 Sierra:
They are going to eat you up.

31:32 Tony:
I mean, I'm excited and for the listener, it's like, it doesn't have to be complicated, but it just has to be smart and done well.

31:40 Sierra:
it is. And this one is like, yeah. And it's clear and I don't know. I love it.

31:44 Tony:
Well girl, a lot of people do, too. They're like, oh my God, I love Sierra's website.

31:49 Sierra:
Remember when we figured out that I need to make an entrance into my own website, that my home page is my entrance. No, she can't just have a picture. She had to enter.

32:02 Tony:
We made magic together. So the community: earth future month let's rewind and go back to Colorado because is that where it started for you, this connection to the earth?

32:14 Sierra:
I guess so because, I mean, Denver, Colorado is where I grew up for 18 years of my life. And all we did was go hiking and camping and climbing trees and just living outside. All my socks were always filthy because I was always just running outside in them and that's it. Especially when you grow up with something like that, it's like when people grow up around the ocean and then they sort of don't even see it. And that was sort of how it was for me because I didn't really see… musical theater as a reference. I didn't miss the mountains until I missed the mountains.

When I came back to Colorado for the first time after I had been in Decatur, Illinois for school, then it was like, oh my God mountains. And there was something always pulling me about the earth and I didn't realize much I needed that. And how much a part of my life it was until you don't really have it. And especially in New York. I have always gravitated towards where's the park and picking where I live, too. It's like, well, where is Central Park in relation to where I'm going to live. And it's no coincidence too: the very first apartment I ever saw in New York was David Zipper's apartment. But he used to live on Central Park West in the penthouse. It was like Central Park West and like 60th.

33:49 Tony:
So very low expectations.

33:50 Sierra:
Yes. I was like, and I even told him, I was like, I'm buying this from you one day. Having no idea what that actually meant, in my like 23 year old mind. He unfortunately already sold it to someone for ungodly amounts of money, so whatever. So it was like this apartment that overlooked all of Central Park. And to me that is everything, if you're going to live in New York. So I will often, when I'm out of town too, doing these shows out of town, I have to find where the green is. You can just look on maps on your iPhone, like where's the green? And then just like travel to that. That's how I center myself. That's how I refresh myself. That's how I get clear about things or feel also like, I don't even have to have the answers when I'm in nature. That's a new one for me. The trees, the grass, the whole thing is just like, yeah, what's up, come join us, this is what it is today. Do you know what I mean?

34:59 Tony:
I do. You just sort of drop back and listen.

35:03 Sierra:
Yeah, you don't see any trees that are stressed. They're just like, what's up? This is what it is today. When I landed after having been in Atlanta, it was pouring with snow, but because I'd been gone for so long, I was like, awesome. And I went into, and I was like looking at the trees in Central Park. And I was like, they're all silently, too. Just like, yep, this is what it is. Next day, blue skies, beautiful. And the trees are like, yep, this is what it is today. So I don't know. There's something to that, too.

35:37 Tony:
Yeah, definitely, taking maybe the Buddhist approach of just acceptance.

35:44 Sierra:
Yes. And that can sometimes maybe be like, people might hear that as like, is that depressing? It's like, whoa, this is what it is. But no, you get to decide if that is so. I feel like it's more of like a beautiful, it's a gratitude. There is nothing I've read. You know this too. It's like anything you read or see or listened to that doesn't have to do with gratitude. Every single practice has to do with gratitude, somewhere in there. And I think with nature, it's just all gratitude.

36:19 Tony:
For climate change and all of this crazy stuff that's happening. Are you like a very conscious person in that world?

36:27 Sierra:
I've always been because I grew up, I mean, my mother was a hippie, so we grew up with bucket showers. It was like, we had buckets that caught the extra water. It wasn't like we were showering just like that. No, it was like in the normal shower or not a normal shower, a Western shower. Then we had buckets that caught the extra water and then you water the plants with that or whatever. I can't even imagine to this day, throwing away like an aluminum can. And also cutting up like if you get a six-pack, cut the plastic. I learned that as a kid, that's the first thing you learned how to do with scissors.

There is no part of me that would ever, and then as I've gotten older and lived by myself and stuff there's things now that I do as well, and living in New York that I've discovered much later. And maybe it wasn't offered, but like compost, for example, that's a real thing. And so I finally last year got my own compost bin and I go to the farmer's market. It's just part of my routine now, every Sunday. I go and I drop that. It's my weekly thing. And of course lights on and all that stuff, it's always been in my consciousness, but it was interesting actually being in Atlanta, recycling is not a thing.

38:02 Tony:
It's not, it used to be, I was just in Indiana and it used to be a thing. And now everyone's like, no more.

38:08 Sierra:
That is bizarre. I was like, this is really crazy. Like you have to find places to recycle. And I think that was my ignorance, is that oh this is a common thing. Of course that is. And people aren't, it's just they are choosing to be lazy. But no, they're not making it available to people and that's a crisis.

38:32 Tony:
If anyone in the city is listening, it's hard to find a trash can around here to dispose of things.

38:37 Sierra:

38:39 Tony:
And so that's why there's a lot of liter because people are lazy. They'll just throw it out.

For the person who's skeptical, who doesn't identify as a hippie green person, what are some easy, practical ways that they can help the cause?

38:57 Sierra:
Being conscious of, if you don't believe in climate change, you know that what does exist is famine and people who don't have clean water and you can see plenty of pictures about that. And there is actual evidence if you're not even looking at the planet. So if what you care about is your fellow human and you know that there are people who don't have enough to eat or water, that should be enough to make you think about not turning your shower on for like an extra 30 minutes to let it heat up, which people do all the time, just the wasting of water.

Just start being conscious of, well, at least for my fellow human let me turn the water off because the truth is we do take for granted, we have this plumbing and we're not thinking about where our water comes from. So turning off your lights, it's just sort of, to me is common sense. It's like, if you're not in that room, it doesn't need to be illuminated. You can do that, like later when you go in there, stuff like that. I guess that's a start, I'm just trying to think as basic as possible.

40:22 Tony:
So I watched 60 Minutes with my mom. It's one of our favorite shows and this idea of plastic, it doesn't disintegrate. And so what happens is it all just ends up floating around in the ocean, and the ocean looks like trash now. And just seeing that visually, people can go look at that episode. I'm like no plastic bags, paper bags. But I have to complain for a moment because the grocery store doesn't put handles on their paper bag anymore. Maybe because it's more expensive to make a paper bag. So they're cutting corners. And so it's like, we've got to do something.

40:54 Sierra:
Well, we do.

40:57 Tony:
I'll get my own bag for the person who's like, well why are you using their bag?

41:01 Sierra:
Well, that's what I was going to say it's one of the easiest things to do. Everybody, especially like we have bags with us, we have purses or whatever, get a bag, have a cloth bag with you at all times. I mean, I do, I have a bag that I carry as soon as I leave the house. It's like you have your wallet, your phone and your bag, your reusable bag. That is easier than getting plastic bags. Think of that because if you get a plastic bag, you have to unload the plastic bag. It doesn't hold as much first of all, as the cloth bag. Second of all, you have to wad it up and put it somewhere, usually under your sink, let them pile up and then you have to dispose of it at some point.

All you have to do, if you have a reusable bag, is have it, that's it. There is nothing else that has to happen. You don't have to wad it up, you just put it back in your bag. That is it. So it's eliminating other steps that you don't need to have just by having a reusable bag.

42:06 Tony:
Maybe Sierra needs to come up with a reusable bag.

42:09 Sierra:
She sure does. Great merchandise. That's a good idea.

42:16 Tony:
Speaking of merchandise, before we talk about Light Lessons, on this same topic of just caring about your human, I think we would be remis. We're living in crazy times, the craziest in our lifetime. We don't know where we're going to be in April when this debuts, but how are you handling the global politics, current events, like the hoaxes and such, how do you process that and then get through?

42:45 Sierra:
I process it by everything that we've talked about already. I am also learning more and being conscious to look at the news more than I ever have. When all of this started happening, I actually went to a Marianne Williamson speaking event in New York because I didn't know how to process because I was one of those people that thought if it will upset you, don't look at it, which is still true.

But when it's our political climate and it's our country, being ignorant about this stuff isn't the way to go. There is like making sure that you're not adding too much into your life. I already, for example, I know what's going on climate-wise and polar bears and stuff. I don't need to go and search out pictures of animals being abused or seeing skinny polar bears. I don't need to see that visual. I'm already aware of that. So I don't seek that out.

With our politics, there was a lot of things that I didn't know, but I don't need to watch certain politicians speak because I know that that will upset me. So I don't need to see the details, but I need to see a recap. I've actually been specifically getting a lot of my news from watching Colbert. It's one of my favorites because it's sort of, for me personally, and this is again, world according to Sierra. It's not the law, but this is what's working for me, is that I need to still find the humor and I need to know that things that make me upset it's okay to laugh at. And to know that it's like, that is actually crazy. Whatever's going on is crazy or something. So sometimes I'll watch, it's not all the time, but sometimes I'll watch that and be like, okay, great, thank you. That's helpful.

44:41 Tony:

44:44 Sierra:
It's true because you are learning something and it's like, wait really? And it's like, yes, really? So I do that. But then in those times when you do feel like what is the point? Because it gets so dire and so dark, the way that you counteract the darkness is to bring light. Darkness cannot exist without light. I mean, darkness cannot exist if there is light. So you have to keep doing this stuff and even small things like, or it seems small to us, it's like, well I'm just doing a show, but it isn't just doing a show. And the final song in Ever After is called out of the darkness and into the light, like it is legitimately about this.

And so when people are coming to see this, whatever your political beliefs are, whatever it is, it doesn't matter, you're all sitting in a theater for this amount of time. And you're having an experience and you're feeling better and on whatever level that is. So it is very important to be tuned in, tapped in and turned on to what it is that we are up to on this planet individually and be grateful for that being your calling and that that's what your soul is calling you to do. And then do it.

46:11 Tony:
One of the practical tools that you've literally made for everyone so beautifully are your Light Lessons. Talk to me about that.

46:18 Sierra:
Light Lessons were created… I had started pulling a word like years ago when I was in London. I pulled a word to help me focus when I was doing my show because when you're doing 8 shows a week for a year or year and a half, you want to keep it fresh. And sometimes your mind, whatever your day was, you bring that with you. So to help me focus myself, I would pull a word to focus on, like confidence or belief or strength, something like that. So I decided all these years later because I would do that all the time then because it would expand in my life from just to focus for my career or my show to actually my career or my life, my day, my year, whatever it is.

And I've realized through the power of social media that people are responding to this. And I'm like, now hold up a second, because I want to do this from me. This is completely from Sierra. And I partnered with Jane Jordan who runs Fit for Broadway, created Fit for Broadway. She's incredible. And she's somebody like you. It was the same year where I was like, I want good people in my life that are willing to put out my message and behave with integrity the way that I would want people representing me and all that kind of stuff.

So I brought Jane Jardon, we met for a coffee and I told her my idea. And she's like, this is something that I've been wanting to do with you. Each word on my card has a special drawing. Her sister drew them. It's beautiful. And her sister was pregnant when she was doing these drawings, too. It’s so endowed with literally creation. It is incredible. So I came up with 20 different words or phrases, that is something that I'm known for, that I responded to and that people I felt like they needed and there's 20 of them, each has a specific drawing. And then there's a really cute bag with a tree, every single thing.

48:33 Tony:
Cute. I love it. I sent it as a gift already.

48:36 Sierra:
It's a good gift, isn't it because everybody needs it? It's like a really simple way and they're called Light Lessons. That's the other thing, because I was meditating on what do I call these things? And I was out, down by the Hudson River in the summertime in New York. So the fireflies are out and I was like, hold on. And I was meditating on the Firefly and just go with me on this.

49:05 Tony:
Natural elements.

49:07 Sierra:
Yes. Outside of course. These bugs that you would not notice during the daytime, that they are just like regular looking like black beetle looking things. And you'd probably be like, “Eww… what’s that.” But when the darkness comes, they illuminate their butt. It's actually their abdomen but I think it's funny to say their butt. Their butt lights up. But their body is lighting up. So I was like, now this to me is a gift. Again with the gratitudes, it's like everything here is on purpose. You cannot tell me that somebody didn't create this and whoever created this had to have thought about that there is going to be now this tiny little bug, that's going to bring us such joy that will literally light up, that we can be reminded for ourselves.

So how do we apply that? It's that when it gets dark, there are little lights inside of us. And that is what you need to remember, that you can change your day and someone else's, whatever it is. So that is why they're called Light Lessons.

50:16 Tony:
That's beautiful. You're a little redheaded bug. So we should pull some cards. And I'm also here. I have to throw a shout out to Connor Lynch, my podcast producer, who does the magic behind every single episode. And he's going to pull a card for our listener.

50:33 Sierra:
So how I suggest to people as Connor's pulling, to use the Light Lessons is they come in a bag, you can just reach your hand in a bag or you can pour them out on the floor, focus on a question, something not a yes or no, but something that's like, what do I need to know? What do you need me to know about this time? Or what do I need to know about this day? Or how can I look at a situation? So for the listener, what does the listener need to know?

51:02 Connor:
Go ahead and reach down. Grab one. Empathy.

51:06 Sierra:
Oh, that's so good. That's a really good one. What's the drawing on empathy too. Oh, the world.

51:12 Connor:
It's a little planet earth.

51:13 Sierra:
Yes. So the drawing, the special drawing that's part of empathy is the world. And that's what we're doing here.

51:19 Tony:
Earth future month, #EarthFutureMonth.

51:22 Sierra:
I mean, that's the thing, it's so right on. Isn't it.

51:25 Tony:
It's perfect. And before, should we pull new ones or we're going to talk about what we drew before our interview?

51:30 Sierra:
And then we'll pull new ones.

51:32 Tony:
Okay. What did you pull?

51:33 Sierra:
I pulled Light Worker.

51:35 Tony:
Hmm… Audience:. was Sierra a Light Worker today? That little bug over there. And guess what I pulled, listen. I can do better at that. I will do better.

51:45 Sierra:
I feel like you're really good at that because you let me talk, but you're engaged and you're also like driving this. It's such a skill and you're really good at that.

51:57 Tony:
[Kiss sound.] Okay. Should we pull new ones?

51:58 Sierra:
Yes. Let's pull new ones because now we've shifted the energy.

52:05 Tony:
We have to pick something to focus on, right?

52:07 Sierra:
Yeah. What do I need to know? I always like to ask, what do I need to know? Fully present.

52:18 Tony:
Openness. Those go hand in hand.

52:20 Sierra:
They do. Of course they do. Because we sort of have to release this now.

52:26 Tony:
Mine has a window.

52:28 Sierra:
And mine has a little three leaf clover because we thought it would be too cliché to do a four leaf. Even though I find four leaf clovers all the time. People who know me know this, like literally all the time I find four leaves. But part of being fully present is that you have to be present with the three leaves to find the four leaves. None of these are accidents y'all. It's all meaning something.

52:51 Tony:
So what's next for you this summer? We've got the conference coming up, what else is happening?

52:56 Sierra:
I'm doing tons of concerts. So I'm doing a concert next. I'm going on a cruise first with Seth Rudetsky. So that's to the Caribbean. So that'll be nice. Then I'm doing a concert in Utah, concerts in San Francisco and then the conference. I'm going to do a masterclass in Italy. I'm doing a concert in Germany. West Virginia somewhere. So concerts everywhere, which is nice.

53:26 Tony:
That's great. So you're going to be all over the place. People can find you.

53:29 Sierra:
They can find me. And I always bring my Light Lessons so people can purchase them.

53:34 Tony:

And if they want to find all of those items, where should they go?

53:37 Sierra:
They should go to www.SierraBoggess.com designed by the one and only Tony.

53:44 Tony:
I love you.

53:46 Sierra:
Love you.

53:51 Tony:
Thank you so much for listening and thank you to Sierra for sharing her light and her lessons with us. I think that my biggest takeaways for this episode are to let go of what no longer serves you. You have to focus on self-care and that allows you to then be of service to the other. So it is the “yes, and…” principle she talked about. Then it's really great to “Sierra Boggess” your social media, to really be conscious of your intention, your consumption, as well as your production. Then we talked about finding gratitude in nature, whether that's through conservation, upcycling, recycling, composting, but we have to do our part, each one of us, to take care of our shared planet. And then finally stay aware that in times of darkness, you have to counteract that with light. So if you enjoyed this episode, I would love to hear your takeaways. And I know that Sierra would as well.
So please take a screenshot of this episode and tag both of us with your thoughts, use the hashtag #EarthFutureMonth. And yeah, just let us know what you think. Personally, I would love it if you would please rate and review this show in the iTunes store. Now for more on Sierra, you can definitely go check out SierraBoggess.com to see everything she has going on. And to learn more about me, come over to TonyHowell.me.
If you want to join Sierra and myself in New York with Ken Davenport, Tyler Mound, Ryan Scott Oliver, and other incredible Changemakers, use the code PromoteU, that is case sensitive and included below and you'll save $50 on registration. You can easily get more details and find that promotion code on my website at TonyHowell.me. So thank you so much for listening. Thank you for sharing your light. Please reach out. I am listening with openness.

In this exclusive interview, Broadway star and social media influencer Sierra Boggess shares her light and lessons. Discover your purpose on earth, how to find gratitude and inner peace from nature, balance service and self-care, and use social media with more intention and success!

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