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Don't Tell Me What To Do

Don't Tell Me What To Do

By Jori Saeger
In the age of social media and choice overload, we're constantly bombarded with opinions on the "right" and "best" way to live a fulfilled life. Eat this. Live here. Go after this job. Buy this. It goes on. But what happens when you want to pivot? How do you navigate all the advice — internally & externally? Don’t Tell Me What To Do dives into conversations about pivoting from the advice you’re given and charting a new path. This season we're diving into relationships, family, politics, finance, work life balance & more to share a balanced perspective on living a life YOU want.
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That Time You Ignored Your Family's Advice

Don't Tell Me What To Do

What We Don’t Know About the Beauty Industry and How It’s Affecting Our Health
Today we are diving into the topic of the beauty industry and the effects on our health. We’re shown millions of cosmetic ads yearly telling us to buy products to take away our wrinkles, die our hair, cover our face, and more. But did you know that many of the cosmetics that we use in the U.S. have been banned in Europe due to toxicity of the chemicals? Neither did I. It was only this year that I really started to think more holistically about what I was putting on my body besides food and started to learn more about all the other chemicals that we bring into our lives in our cleaning and beauty products. To talk about this today I brought on Sarah Strickland - Sarah began her journey into her health career by attending Bastyr University, where she received her degree in Nutrition & Dietetics. Rather than following down the path of solely nutrition, Sarah decided that this health journey needed to be much more encompassing & began diving into many of the other health gaps of today’s society. This holistic view on women’s health came to include not only diet, but alternative remedies such as essential oil use, reducing environmental toxic exposure through the products we use on our skin and in our homes daily, and challenging many of societies “norms” when it comes to what we consider “healthy” and how we treat illness. You can follow Sarah on Instagram at @momandbabebeauty. You can shop with her at Beauty Counter here: Resources: EWG - Environmental Working Group app Nourishing Traditions of Baby and Childcare - Sally Fallon Safe companies to check out: Beauty Counter Primally Pure Branch Basics Honest Company Follow the podcast on Instagram at @dontellmewhattodopodcast. Or at the website
February 11, 2020
New Ways To Think About People Management and Leadership
Today we are diving into the topic of people management. A manager can make or break how you feel for so much of your day — yet some of the things we’re taught about management are so antiquated. This is a topic I’m personally so passionate about as a people manager and love talking about new ways to think about how we interact and run teams. To discuss this topic today, I have Derek Gillette - who is the VP of marketing at Leadr - a new kind of people management software - designed to help companies grow leaders. In today’s episode, we talk about Derek’s journey to people management as his very first job. We dive into his decision to leave operations and take a risk to follow his dream of becoming a marketer. And we talk about how he took a chance, quit his job, and eventually landed his gig today years later as VP of marketing We dive into practical tips for any manager or someone thinking about management — Themes like focusing on strengths vs. ironing out weaknesses. We talk about coaching and mentoring vs a focus on tasks and compliance. We debate 1:1s and who really owns it (manager vs. employee). We talk about how to give ongoing feedback vs. relying on performance reviews. And we talk about the importance of really specific recognition. To cap it off we dive into the best advice Derek’s ever received as a manager and some hard lessons learned. Manager resources: Radical Candor - Kim Scott 9 Lies About Work - Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall Connect with Derek on LinkedIn. Learn more about Leadr here. Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
February 04, 2020
Navigating Conflicting Advice On All Things Nutrition with Tracey Grant, RDN, CHWC
Today we’re diving into the complicated — yet oh so important — topic of food and nutrition. I’ve always loved cooking and eating healthy food, but this year in particular, I’ve begun to really tune into the effects my food intake on how I feel, how I show up at the gym, how I show up at work, and how I show up in life. It’s led me down a rabbit hole of researching about nutrition and our food systems. But it’s felt like the ultimate “don’t tell me what to do” in that there are SO many opinions out there and sometimes they are so conflicting. In this episode, I’m less interested in diving into what you SHOULD eat and more discussing how we navigate and approach our health in a holistic way without getting overwhelmed with all the messages we get daily. To speak with me on this topic, we have Tracey Grant, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified wellness health coach who shifted away from the conventional approach to nutrition to use food as medicine to support her own healing and the health of her clients. She has overcome SIBO and Hashimoto’s and now works with clients virtually to help them optimize their health and wellness using diet and lifestyle. We dive into Tracey’s evolution from teaching conventional nutrition to arriving at a more holistic approach and the big lightbulb moments with her clients and herself that led her there. We talk about how it’s much more than food that makes us healthy. We dig into the biggest nutrition myths out there — like fat is bad, calories in equal calories out, the amount of protein you really need, and share that more restriction is NOT better. To wrap it all up, we talk about how to navigate all the fad diets out there and how to bring mindfulness back to how we approach our food. Follow Tracey on Instagram for great health inspiration @wholedailylife. Subscribe to her newsletter or work with her by visiting her website at Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
January 28, 2020
Reframing Fitness to Longevity with Seattle Strength Coach Josh Hunter
Today we’re talking to Josh Hunter, Seattle strength coach and podcast host of Treat Yo Health. We go back to the beginning and talk about Josh’s journey from management to fitness 10 years ago. We also chat about what he learned about himself through quitting the business and returning. We talk about changing our mindset on fitness to think about how we’re setting ourselves up for the future vs. exercising for short term gains. You’ll hear all about Josh’s new podcast - Treat Yo Self - and dive into the topic of his first episode on longevity and fitness. We dig into the difference between aging and decaying and how to promote physical health for the long term. We also dig into what Josh has learned through his podcast books and share insights on finance and relationships. —— Follow Josh at @thefitnesshunter. Follow his new podcast at @treatyohealthpodcast or the website The first book of the podcast that we talk about today is Younger Next Year. You can listen to the first episode here: Learn more about our gym Fuelhouse that we talk about here: Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
January 21, 2020
How to Find Your True Authentic Happiness With Mona Lee Locke
Today we have a very special episode with Mona Lee Locke. She has held many different titles throughout her life and career including journalist at King5, former First Lady of Washington State, Executive Director of Susan Komen Foundation and most recently, the Chief Communications Offer at Swedish hospital. Today’s topic centers around identify. We talk about Mona’s identity as a child of Chinese immigrants. Her identity as the governors wife and her identity post divorce as she struggled to define who SHE really was — not how she was defined against others. We also dig in the role of family and duty. We talk about how you might be able to have it all — but definitely not all at once. We talk about how women need to lift each other up. And we talk about how to truly define who you are on your own terms. To read Mona’s #MeToo essay that we discuss, go here: Follow Mona on Facebook here: ---- Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
January 14, 2020
Turning Your Passions Into a Money Making Side Hustle
To kick off 2020 and inspire new ideas and ways of work, we’re sitting down with Jenny MacLeod - from Jenny Girl Friday - to dig into everything side hustles and entrepreneurship. Jenny is a Seattle resource for self-employed women. She coaches, speaks and writes incredible content. Today we talk about how to take that first jump into starting a business. How to track your expenses and invest in yourself. How to combat the fear of failure. We dig into how to navigate work life balance when you’re starting a new business on the side. And much more! Contact Jenny and visit her website here: Here’s a link to joining Sidekick Services — Offers a complete walkthrough of prepping for IRS taxes. Includes printable tools and lots of cheerleading. Here are a few of Jenny’s favorite resources: The First Chapter of: The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau And Jenny’s book: How to Become Self-Employed In Seattle: A Guidebook, Companion, and Reference ---- Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
January 07, 2020
Why Are We All So Burned Out?
Todays episode is all about boundaries — creating and setting boundaries in your work and personal life so you can focus on what makes you happy and fulfilled. But you can’t talk about boundaries without first talking about burnout. We usually need these boundaries because of the burnout we face. This conversation seems to be everywhere but we’re always talking about extremes — the extreme of burnout, and the extreme of self care culture to combat. Today, we’re diving into all of this with Jen Hope, a leadership and executive coach (listen to her personal story on Season 1, episode 2). We try to define what the heck burnout even means and how it manifests so that we can truly understand it. We dive into boundaries and how to first get a sense of your time before you decide what boundaries you need. We talk about shame and the shame you might feel in how you want to spend your time vs. how you feel you “should” you spend your time. We also talk about how to get to know yourself better with respect to burnout and boundaries and we share frameworks for how to communicate to others. Follow Jen on instagram at @HeyJenHope and her website Follow the podcast on Instagram at @donttellmewhattodopodcast or visit the website
December 10, 2019
Giving Yourself Permission To Be A Relationship Novice
Today we’re diving into the topic of romantic relationships and love. This is a topic that seems to bring up so many opinions from so many sources — internal, family, the media, friends. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, how do you navigate all this advice and pursue relationships that are right for you? Theora Moench, Portland-based dating relationship expert and educator, joins us for a conversation where we dig into the societal myths around partnerships. We talk about what we truly want versus what we’re told to want or think is available to us. We talk about creating passion and resonance versus waiting for it to happen to us. And we talk about why this process is so dang hard. Follow Theora on Instagram and check out her website at Follow the podcast on Instagram @donttellmewhattodopodcast!
December 03, 2019
Fertility Talks - Technology, Ethics And Our Own Biology
Today we’re talking about fertility with Alexa, a nurse practitioner that works at a Pacific Northwest fertility clinic. As IVF technology has advanced, women have been empowered to live their own “don’t tell me what to do” story when thinking about when to start a family. But sometimes this technology is advancing faster than our ethical standards. And sometimes this technology isn’t advancing fast enough to combat our basic biology. Today we get into debates surrounding new gene editing technology. We talk about the controversial case in China this year on gene editing for HIV. We talk about who should be responsible for creating new ethical standards as technology advances. We also dig into egg freezing as well as advanced maternal age and mourning the ability to have your own children. Lastly, we chat about how it’s virtually impossible to be an anonymous sperm or egg donor and how this has changed views on what information we might need for our own spiritual growth. For more information or to find a fertility clinic near you, visit 
November 26, 2019
Let’s Stop Fearing Money Talk
Today we’re diving into the black box of finances with Tori Dunlap. She’s a financial coach and millennial money expert who was featured on Good Morning America for achieving her ambitious goal of saving 100K before she was 25. I personally find it so frustrating and strange that we have a society of college educated millennials with expensive degrees, but with such a gap in financial education — especially for women. Today we’re talking about why and what to do about it. We talk about the fears we have around educating ourself on our own finances and how we can more easily bring it up in our relationships. We talk about finances and the workplace and how to advocate for yourself. And we get into some super practical tips as well. Follow Tori Dunlap on instagram at @HerFirst100K and check out her website at And here is a link to the money resources we talk about in the episode:
November 19, 2019
Season 2 Trailer
Welcome to season 2 of the Don’t Tell Me What To Do Podcast. As we talked about in our season one re-cap, We’re taking a slight turn this season and digging deep into specific "don't tell me what to do" themes on topics like relationships, family, politics, finance, food, healthcare and more to share a balanced perspective on living a life YOU want. Our first episode of the season launches next week! Subscribe today so you can get weekly episodes.  To learn more, head over to our website: and follow us on Instagram:
November 13, 2019
Recapping Season 1 & Looking Ahead to Season 2
In today’s episode Amy and Jori reflect on season one of the podcast. We delve back into the moment that kicked off this adventure and what we set out to do together. We share our favorite moments of the season and what we learned from our amazing guests. And we share what our plan is for season two and how we want your great ideas to make it happen.  We want to hear from you! Jori and Amy are taking a small break this summer to dig into some new stories and build a stellar lineup for DTMWTD Season 2. Our big question: who is an expert that you want to hear from in upcoming episodes? Do you want to be a guest on the podcast? Connect with us here. Thanks for listening to Season 1! Please review us on iTunes (it helps others find our podcast) and share with your friends!
May 30, 2019
Forging A New Path in Living With Chronic Illness
What happens when you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness and medicine just isn’t working? In this episode we talk with Carly Brawner, a health coach and wellness advocate based in Austin Texas. We talk about what happened after she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s — a thyroid disorder — and how “ditching her endocrinologist” catapulted her into a new career to help others live a more holistic and healthy lifestyle. Once Carly started asking hard questions and "why" with her health, she started approaching everything else differently as well.  This episode is for anyone who has taken their health into their own hands or has watched a love one battle an autoimmune disorder. We dig deep into what it means to passionately advocate for your health and be highly communicative in your relationships to have a wholehearted life. Connect with Carly on Instagram @frolicandflow and on her website at To learn more about Hashimoto's, visit Carly's website or the American Thyroid Institute.
May 14, 2019
What To Do Next After a Breakdown-Breakthrough Moment
In this episode, we’re serving up real talk on anxiety and depression with Seattle strength and fitness coach Anna Clausen Williams. We talk about Anna’s “breakdown-breakthrough moment” during a yoga class that precipitated her decision to leave her acting career behind after the realization that her career was at the root of her anxiety and depression.  Anna talks about how she got the courage to walk away from an acting career she had been building since she was a child and pivot into a life that felt more true to her. She finally asked “what do I want” and “who am I in this world” instead of asking everyone else around her. What followed was her commitment to help others find their joy through movement and connect with the badasses they are. You’re going to want to lift some heavy shit after this one.  If you’ve ever felt you might be living your life for others, or feel afraid to try something new, this episode is for you. We talk the hard stuff, but we also laugh (a lot) along the way.  Follow Anna on Instagram at @AnnaClausenWellness and check out to learn more about how to workout and train with Anna in Seattle (and to subscribe to her Feel Good Friday emails!)
May 07, 2019
Reframing The Narrative On Women And Physical Weakness
Dr. Ellie Somers, founder of SISU Sports Performance and Physical Therapy, is working to reframe the narratives that women hear around healthcare and injury prevention. She’s bucking the traditional medical system by listening and empowering her clients to break free from injury because of weakness and empowering them to believe they’re enough in their own strength. Fueled by her own “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” moment from childhood and learnings as she’s built her own practice, Ellie is raising her voice and passionately focused on how to help women discover their own power and strength. Hear more about Ellie’s driving mission and how she’s advocating for female athletes in this week’s episode.   Connect with Ellie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter,  or visit SISU Performance online at
April 30, 2019
Confessions of an Unemployed CEO
In this episode we dive into the messy middle of what happens after you sell a company and don’t know what happens next. Last November, tech entrepreneur Kristen Hamilton sold her latest company. As the funds crossed the wire, she shut her laptop and froze, asking herself: “what do I do now?”   What followed was a period of pressing the reset button in a way she had never done before. She realized that after this intense change, she needed to be still in order to determine what was next. She entered a period of blank space — one that gave her complete panic, but became a period that was so important.  As a high achiever with her identity wrapped up in tech entrepreneurship and as a CEO, Kristen needed to get super clear on her value moving forward. Listen in as we dig into what this process looked like and empathize with Kristen’s assessment that self-love is so f-ing hard.  Connect with Kristen Hamilton on LinkedIn here:
April 23, 2019
Bringing Black Girl Magic to Wellness
What happens when you look around on your social media feed and see no one that looks like you? Shouldn't someone do something about that? For Lestraundra Alfred, it was a moment where she realized that someone was her.  After building her online community with The Balanced Berry for almost five years, Les knew she needed to make a shift and tell stories of health and wellness for women of color. In this episode, Les unravels how this pivot to create the Balanced Black Girl podcast helped bring more clarity in purpose and mission for herself and her online audience. She also unpacks why it was somewhat taboo to go in this direction — and yet, she did it anyway. Not only is her podcast amplifying new voices in wellness, but it’s also elevating conversations about diversity and inclusion in today’s world.  Find more about Les and Balanced Black Girl Podcast at You can follow Balanced Black Girl Podcast on Instagram at @balancedblackgirlpodcast and follow Les @BalancedLes.
April 16, 2019
Navigate Anxiety & Depression by Telling Fear to F*ck Off
Building a strong community in a 24/7 always on, frenetic world isn’t easy. For Molly Kieland, creating a family that combined her love of strength training and a community that relentlessly supported each other was exactly what she needed to do at a time when she felt like something in her life was out of place.  In 2014, she made it happen: shifting her life from the corporate world to creating FUELhouse, a community built around group strength and conditioning classes. Four years later, Molly had yet another “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” moment as she grew the community but noticed something about her own life wasn’t quite right. Identifying she was in a period of depression became a wakeup call that reshaped how she viewed her days and her team. Listen to more of Molly’s story and how her mindfulness practices and whole-body routines have had a ripple effect with her FUELhouse team and her greater community. Learn more about Molly and FUELHouse at and
April 09, 2019
Ignoring Your Inner Critic
Sometimes the hardest advice to ignore is our own. Those internal voices that try to guide us in a different direction than we know is right for us. But when we push away our fears and insecurities, we can actually hear the true voices that matter and follow our truth.  Erin talks about how this process of truly listening to herself led her to make huge life changes that ultimately led her to where she is today. We hear about her decision to leave college and travel for a year, to pick up her life and move to Germany, to start a hostel in Bolivia and ultimately her decision to walk away from it all and start something completely new. Learn more about Erin’s empowerment coaching services here: Follow her on instagram here:
April 02, 2019
That Time You Ignored Your Family's Advice
When the people we love the most give us advice, it's pretty dang hard to ignore — especially when it comes to family. In this episode we meet Jen Hope, executive coach and badass fitness lady. Her "Don't Tell Me What To Do" story spanned a decade of advice from trusted family members, and going against the grain helped pivot her to her current success.  What happens after you say "yes" to entrepreneurship? Jen talks about the mess, the muck, the joy, and when you just want to throw a meditation pillow. Learn more about Jen and work with her here: Follow her on instagram here: 
March 26, 2019
Finding Your YES
We've all had the feeling that others want to put us in a box — the mom box, the career woman box, the friend box and more. What happens when you don't fit perfectly into that box? Today we talk with Samantha Willing, an HR professional turned freelance coach and podcaster, who recently left her traditional full-time role to navigate life on her own terms. Listen to what happens in the grey when you take the leap and go for it.  Listen to Sam's Podcast, Imperfection Wins: Follow Sam on Instagram:  
March 19, 2019
PILOT: Don't Tell Me What To Do
Today we're launching a new podcast: Don't Tell Me What To Do, brought to you by Seattleite 30somethings — Jori Saeger and Amy Kugler.  Many stories of success start with the moment that precipitated future greatness and jumps to the end. But what happens in the middle? What led to a new direction? How do you navigate all the advice — internally and externally — that comes during a huge life change? Don’t Tell Me What To Do will dive into those conversations about pivoting from the advice you’re given and charting your own path.
March 19, 2019