Unshakable Self-Compassion:
 An Online Learning Adventure for Midlife Women



The biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is because they are afraid
they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line.
– Dr. Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion




Imagine your life if you . . .

  • Knew your true value
  • Trusted your intuition
  • Understood the beauty of your uniqueness
  • Accepted yourself just as you are
  • Stopped comparing yourself to others
  • Forgave your mistakes and learned from them
  • Made peace with imperfection
  • Reached out to others when you felt isolated

And you could . . .

  • Create the life you deserve
  • Make decisions for your best interest
  • Use your unique gifts more fully
  • Take excellent care of yourself
  • Have more self-confidence
  • Be more resilient and productive
  • Easily release feelings of shame
  • Practice compassion and nurture connections


Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?  Mary Oliver

It’s your time. Your life. Your choice.



Unshakable Self-Compassion is a nine-week online adventure in making self-compassion part of your daily life.

Kat Tansey will guide, coach, and support you through a series of proven processes to:

  • Help you discover what is holding you back and let it go.
  • Teach you how to observe your thoughts without judging them.
  • Show you how to be kind to yourself, especially when life is tough.
  • Encourage you to be supportive for yourself and other participants.
  • Empower you to live your wild and precious life with unshakable self-compassion.

Each week, a new module will be released for you to view at your own convenience.  Materials will be delivered through a combination of e-books, online videos, a private Facebook Group, weekly email messages, as well as a live webinar session every three weeks. You will also receive a Course Guidebook which will be updated with new exercises and tools each week.

While it is most beneficial to do the exercises with the group each week, self-paced materials are available 24/7.  You are encouraged to visit the private Facebook Group regularly to see what other participants are up to and share your own experiences during the course.



Kat Tansey has been helping individuals and organizations implement change for over forty years.

Many of us are fearful of change. Changing careers, changing homes or changing ourselves in any way. We are afraid of making mistakes; and are unable to open up to new experiences. So we struggle with change, and we continue to struggle in life.

On the other hand, those of us with a strong sense of self-worth, who treat ourselves with compassion rather than criticism, have a much easier time adapting to change. Over many years of working as an agent of change, Kat has observed people who are open to new ideas, optimistic about the future, and excited to learn. They ask for help, get support, allow themselves to grieve and to be imperfect human beings. As a result, they navigate change with relative ease.

These observations put Kat on the path to create this course. 

Kat’s career and personal experience are woven throughout the lessons she teaches:

  • CORPORATE CHANGE EXPERT. Kat has guided large and small companies through successful implementation of computer systems, training programs, and organizational restructuring.
  • CAREER CHANGE EXECUTIVE. As a corporate recruiter, Kat sought out executives who were the best fit for important positions. Later in her career, she provided corporate outplacement consulting for individuals who were laid off, reassuring them, helping them pinpoint their strengths, and ultimately move on to new and often better positions.
  • PERSONAL CHANGE COACH. On the personal side, Kat has worked with women to help them leave abusive relationships, coached people in improving their health and fitness, and trained artists in how to overcome their resistance to promoting their work.
  • AUTHOR. Winning the Change Game is a story about a young systems manager who learns important principles for implementing change from Alexander Hamilton, co-author of the American Constitution and leader in getting it ratified. Kat formulated these principles based on her many years of helping corporations implement organization-wide system changes.
  • AUTHOR. Choosing To Be. Winner of the IPPY Bronze Medal, the book chronicles Kat’s journey to becoming a meditator while recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The book was later picked up by Findhorn Press, and has been translated into Dutch and Chinese.
  • INSTRUCTOR. With a colleague, she created and taught a highly popular course for three years on Organizational Power and Politics at UCLA’s Evening Management Program.
  • ARTS ADVOCATE. Serving as Executive Director of Inner City Arts in Los Angeles, Kat worked with business executives, teachers, and artists to bring art programs to inner city children.
  • RESEARCHER/INTERVIEWER. Kat developed and co-hosted a radio program called Finding Magic in Midlife for five years to explore how women from a wide variety of disciplines successfully navigated and thrived through major changes in their lives.

Welcome to the land of Unshakable Self-Compassion!

It will change your life!

Join Kat as she leads you through the steps to change your life to one filled with self-compassion.



We’ll be using variety of activities in this course.
Read the descriptions for each week to get an idea of what we’ll cover.

Week One. Welcome to the Land of Self-Compassion

We’ll begin our adventure by helping you clarify what brought you here and what you want to achieve during our time together. Then we’ll look at what self-sabotaging behaviors look like and what they’re costing you.  I’ll demonstrate how to use our Self-Sabotage Turnaround Worksheet, and you’ll create one of your own for a situation from your past. We’ll also introduce you to a powerful one-minute tool that you can use to loosen the grip of your thoughts and beliefs.


Week Two. Getting Out of Your Own Way

This week we begin preparing for the obstacles you’ll face during your journey. We’ll look at where you are now in the three areas of self-compassion. You’ll learn a quick and easy practice to comfort yourself when things get tough. Then you’ll learn how to tap into the power of the Hero’s Journey by writing about yourself in the third person. Knowing how to rewrite history is an incredibly powerful tool for change. We’ll end with a quick look at the superpower called mindfulness and a brief meditation.

Week Three: Mindfulness Rewires Your Brain for Self-Compassion

Why is Mindfulness so important for self-compassion? Because you can’t change what you can’t see. Learning to meditate and practice mindfulness in your daily life increases your self-awareness and helps you become more conscious of what is influencing your moods and behavior. We’ll experiment with a variety of meditation practices to help you find what works for you. You’ll design your own practice and begin your Meditation Journal to track and report on your progress during the course. And you’ll get a laugh listening to a brief audio I made of what sometimes goes on in my own mind while meditating.

Week Four: Self-Kindness Teaches Your Heart How to Love You

Self-Kindness begins with awareness, paying attention to what we are saying to ourselves. So we start by teaching you how to catch those thoughts, those messages that have been running your life. You can’t change what you don’t hear — sound familiar? We’ll look at the self-talk of our case study and discuss ways to help her. Then it’s time for you to help yourself by exploring the origins of your self-talk, learning how to let it go with kindness, and deciding what you want to create to take its place. I’ll share two of my powerful tools: using art to get my inner critic and my compassionate voice to talk to each other, and taking a walking pep talk with my inner team.

Week 5: Common Humanity Gives You the Courage to Be Vulnerable

Our ability to be part of common humanity is influenced by our beliefs and self-talk. Once we learn what is keeping us isolated, we can begin to change how we react to it. One of the biggest barriers is our old friend shame — so we must learn to make friends with her, to help her feel safe enough to be vulnerable. We’ll share a safe “shame” of our own and write about how that feels. And we’ll also learn how to be good “shame-sharing” partners. We’ll build our courage to be vulnerable one small step at a time.

Week 6: Anticipating Obstacles on the Road to Unshakable Self-Compassion

Now it’s time to start putting the pieces of what you’ve learned together, to move from experimentation to practice.  This week we’ll focus on how the skills you’re learning fit together by dealing with real life obstacles here in the group. You also learn some new skills as events require them. You’ll write about yourself as the hero of your journey and describe how you are overcoming your own obstacles, and helping other heroes overcome theirs. This is a powerful week!


Week 7: The Battle

Our fears make the practice of self-compassion a true hero’s journey. Sooner or later we will face a big battle — I’m talking Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in The Alien kind of battle. Remember when she climbs into that huge piece of machinery and takes on the Alien in an epic battle? This happens to me, and it will happen to you. Certain events will trigger your amygdala to set off an alarm, one that says something like, “Who do you think you are to try changing like this?” You will learn a variety of tools for dealing with this. I’ll share my own Ripley battle that occurred while I was creating this course, and how having the hero’s journey deeply embedded in my mind helped me win it. This is a lively and fun week!

Week 8: The Road Back

You’ve opened your mind to new ways of seeing the world, and you’ve learned skills to help you be more self-compassionate.  However, there are many more skills to be learned, so here is where you’ll evaluate what is going well for you and where you still need help. I’ll provide an array of brief lessons and tools for you to choose from so you can pick those that fit your needs. After you use each one, you’ll write about how it worked and how it will help you. This way we all learn from each other. You will gain confidence in your ability to succeed, and you will receive positive feedback to reinforce your belief in yourself.

Week 9: Return with the Elixir

Re-entering the real world is tricky. You’ve changed as a result of your adventure. Now you need to create a new story to remind you of who you have become, and create a plan for how you will continue to use the skills you’ve learned. You’ll play with your stories, sharing them and getting ideas about how to make them even better. The most important part of this lesson is developing your plan for how you will keep using and reinforcing what you’ve learned. I’ll suggest ways to do this, and provide feedback on your plans as you share them. 

Three Live Webinar Meetings.

The first meeting is during week three. We’ll explore how mindfulness helps you improve your self-awareness and self-acceptance.

The second webinar occurs in week six. We’ll focus on your hero stories and troubleshoot your plan to deal with obstacles.

The third webinar is at the end of week nine.  You will talk about what you’ve learned, and we’ll discuss ideas for how to share your hero’s journey with important people in your life.

Here is what you’ll receive during the course:

  • Unshakable Self-Compassion Coursebook and Quiz
  • Awakening to Your Own Hero’s Journey Ebook
  • Access to our on-line course on The Hero’s Journey
  • Case Studies in implementing Self-Compassion
  • Online Q&A at the end of the lessons
  • Private Facebook Group for group discussion and support
  • Live Webinars with Kat during weeks 3, 6 and 9
  • Weekly emails with encouragement and reminders
  • Videos, worksheets, practices, and more . . .


Kat Tansey is a nurturing guide on the journey toward self-compassion. Her ebook and course are powerful experiences toward connecting with our unlimited ability to transform and create all that we can imagine.

— Jeanine O’Neill Blackwell, President/CEO, 4Mat 4Business

I never thought about being compassionate to myself until Kat introduced me to this idea. I found it strange that I would never allow it. As I become more compassionate I notice I become stronger and more confident. Who would think that self-compassion would make such a difference?

—Janet Vanderhoof, Artist

Kat Tansey has relevance and deep wisdom to share with mid-life women. Not only has she been there and done it in corporate America, she has honestly and openly experienced life’s battles and crippling self-doubt (all very common events experienced by today’s female) that have led her down alternate paths to explore and imagine what is possible. I can’t think of a more authentic role model and trail guide than Kat.

— Cassie Schindler, MBSR Instructor (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), former corporate management

Kat Tansey has made it a long way down the path towards self-compassion and has a story to tell, one with a positive outcome. I’ve watched her shift from fitness as her primary focus to self-compassion — and the journey is been remarkable. It’s also the basis of so much growth and possibility. We all can benefit from her experience. The realization of self-compassion — she is a living example.

— Suzie Nixon, Non-Profit Development and Program Design

Kat’s work comes straight from the heart, with a sharp eye and instinct for what will help midlife women. She brings huge passion, enthusiasm and warmth to her relationships. Whenever I listen to her radio interviews, I have a sense that she’s read their work with inquisitiveness and an open mind, and is prepared to be astonished and delighted.

—Ann Lewis, Leadership Coach


Q & A

T H E   H E R O’S   J O U R N E Y

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
― Joseph Campbell

Click on the plus signs to see answers to the questions below.

How much time should I plan to spend on the course?

Two hours per week plus some time spent on assignments. I encourage you to set aside enough time to keep up with the group, as you will get more support this way. If you should fall behind, the material is always available (except for the live webinars, which will be made available as recordings).

I haven’t taken an online course before. Tell me more about how it works.

You simply sign in to the course, and access your lessons from a menu. As you complete a lesson, you check a box that says “mark as complete” — of course you can always come back and access the lesson again. This just gives me an idea of how everyone is progressing in the course.

You will be able to watch any videos or audios right on the lesson page, and any materials you need for the lesson will have download links there as well.

At the bottom of each lesson there is a Discussion section. I usually pose a question for everyone to respond to, so you can learn from each other and I can help clarify anything that is confusing.

We will also have a Facebook Private Group, which is a wonderful resource that allows you to interact with other women, exchange ideas, and support each other. This is an important part of the course — it helps us feel more connected, the way we might in a live course.

And there are three live webinars, after weeks 3, 6, and 9, where you can ask questions and share your progress.

It seems like this is a topic that needs more interaction. How will this happen?

There are three ways to interact with me and with other members of the course.

At the end of each activity, there is a Discussion section. I will often post a question or share an observation to start the conversation, and you can jump in with your thoughts and additional questions.

There will be a private Facebook Group where all the members of the course can share their experiences and progress. I will be an active participant in the group also. This is where much of the learning takes place, because we learn a lot from each other.

And there are three live webinars, after weeks 3, 6, and 9, that provide an opportunity to ask questions so I can respond in real-time, and allow further discussion about the questions if needed.

My goal is to make this course as interactive and real-time as possible, and I will be depending on you to help me create a lively, supportive, and rich learning experience for all of us, me included!

What research have you done on the practice and benefits of Self-Compassion?

My research has revealed many benefits we receive when we practice self-compassion. These include increased resilience, strength in the face of failure, practicing healthy behaviors, optimism, productivity, creativity, courage, well-being, self-worth, curiosity, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, self-acceptance, and more.  

I chose to use Kristen Neff’s three-part model of self-compassion, which consists of Self-Kindness, Mindfulness, and Common Humanity. My research on Self-Compassion took a broader view because of this. And as a result of my own research over the years and my curious nature, I also found other sources that helped me make important connections I would not have made otherwise.

These are some of the more significant resources I’ve drawn from in putting together my ideas and approach to teaching Unshakable Self-Compassion. Since this is a course and not a book, it is beyond the scope of my work to compile a huge list of research sources, so I am instead pointing you to the Notes sections in these books that document research conducted on topics related to various aspects of self-compassion. The author’s names in bold type are women I’ve interviewed on Finding Magic in Midlife.

  • Joan Anderson, A Year by the Sea
  • Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
  • Angeles Arrien, The Second Half of Life
  • Cat Bennett, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind
  • Sylvia Boorstein, Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
  • Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart
  • Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  • John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame That Binds You
  • Brene Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me
  • Brene Brown,  The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  • Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You (plus many other helpful books from Pema Chodron)
  • Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Richard Davidson, Sharon Begley, The Emotional Life of Your Brain
  • Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
  • Mark Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker
  • Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement
  • Christopher Germer, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
  • Paul Gilbert, Mindful Compassion
  • Paul Gilbert, The Compassionate Mind
  • Marshall Goldsmith, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts
  • Elisha Goldstein, Uncovering Happiness
  • Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom
  • Heidi Hanna, Stressaholics
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child
  • Rick Hanson, Hardwiring Happiness
  • Rick Hanson, The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain
  • Joyce Hawkes, Cell Level Healing: The Bridge from Soul to Cell
  • Kathlyn Hendricks, Conscious Loving
  • Rosanna Herndon, The Line From Here to There: A Storyteller’s Scottish West Texas
  • Mark Horowitz, The Dance of We: The Mindful Use of Love and Power in Human Systems
  • Jean Houston, The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz
  • Cheri Huber, There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate
  • Kathy Jordan, Becoming a Life Change Artist: Seven Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself
  • Byron Katie, Loving What Is
  • Joan King, Code of Authentic Living: Cellular Wisdom
  • Kathy Kolbe, Pure Instinct: 5 Rules for Trusting Your Gut
  • Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart
  • Ellen Langer, The Power of Mindful Learning
  • Tracy Latz and Marion Ross, Shift: A Woman’s Guide to Transformation
  • Ann Lewis, Recover Your Balance: How to Bounce Back from Bad Times at Work
  • Sonja Lyubormirsky, The How of Happiness
  • Gabor Mate, When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection
  • Peter McCarthy, Adrenaline Nation
  • Susan Chernock McElroy, Animals as Teachers and Healers: True Stories and Reflections
  • Sharon Melnick, Success Under Stress
  • Ceci Miller, Sacred Visitations: Gifts of Grace that Transform the Heart and Awaken the Soul
  • Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey
  • Kristen Neff, Self-Compassion
  • Maria Nemeth, Mastering Life’s Energies
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Women Who Think Too Much
  • Meg Daley Olmert, Made for Each Other
  • Judith Orloff, Emotional Freedom
  • James Pennebaker, John Evans, Expressive Writing: Words That Heal
  • Candace Pert, Molecules of Emotion
  • Ann Quasman, Conscious Conversations
  • Karen Reivich, Andrew Shatte, The Resilience Factor
  • Theodore Rubin, Compassion and Self-Hate
  • Sharon Salzberg, The Force of Kindness
  • Friedemann Schaub, The Fear and Anxiety Solution
  • Cassie Schindler, The Alternate Path
  • Brigid Schulte, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time
  • Tony Schwartz, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working
  • Abby Seixas, Finding The Deep River Within
  • Daniel Siegel, Mindsight: The New Sciences of Personal Transformation
  • Jason Siff, Thoughts Are Not the Enemy: An Innovative Approach to Meditation Practice
  • Jason Siff, Unlearning Meditation: What To Do When the Instructions Get in The Way
  • Susan Smalley, Diana Winston, Fully Present: The Science, Art and Practice of Mindfulness
  • Hal and Sidra Stone, Embracing Your Inner Critic
  • Kat Tansey, Choosing To Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master
  • Kathy (Farrell) Tansey, Winning the Change Game
  • Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
  • Curt Thompson, The Soul of Shame
  • Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  • Sheila Weinstein, Moving to the Center of the Bed: The Artful Creation of a Life Alone
  • Mary Welford, The Power of Self-Compassion
  • Mark Williams, Jon Kabat-Zinn, et al., The Mindful Way Through Depression

Why a course just for women? Are women less self-compassionate than men?

It’s been my experience throughout my career that women are more self-critical than men. There are a number of studies about this — here are two of them:

“The finding that women are less self-compassionate than men is consistent with past findings that females tend to be more critical of themselves and to use more negative self-talk than males do.” (DeVore, 2013; Leadbeater et al., 1999).

“Unfortunately, this tendency on the part of women (to be self-critical) has also been associated with a higher incidence of depression among females (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1987). These findings suggest that it may be particularly important to help women learn how to be self-compassionate rather than self-critical in order to enhance their psychological well-being.”

What is the difference between self-acceptance and self-esteem?

Self-esteem is often related to your accomplishments and achievements.  It’s more about DOING.

Self-acceptance is feeling good about yourself, just as you are. It’s more about BEING.

Self-compassion is being able to extend compassion to yourself in times of suffering, failure, or perceived inadequacy. This may be difficult if you are hooked on the self-esteem model — because you have to be DOING something in order to be ok. If you are operating with the self-acceptance model, the good new is that just BEING is enough to deserve self-compassion.



Do you have a question that isn’t answered here?
Click here for our Contact Page, enter your question, and Kat will respond right away.



The Unshakable Self-Compassion Course is closed for 2017.