We had the good fortune of connecting with Tara Olson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tara, how do you think about risk?
I don’t need to tell anybody what risk makes you feel. We all know that it can be both terrifying and exciting and that for any kind of growth risk just has to be involved in the process. In my case, risk has played a major role in my life and the calling that is on it. None of this will make any sense if I don’t first say that I am a Jesus follower, for real. It’s not a religious thing, it’s not some set of morals that I have or my parents gave me, it’s an intimate relationship with the living God, LOVE Himself. Because of that, everything stems from Him and on this topic of risk, I would say that some of the biggest risks I have taken are the ones where you actually don’t go. They are the ones where you have to check your ego, your intent, and your heart under God in order that HE is the focus and that HIS purposes are what takes the front seat. So, saying no to things that sound like they will zoom me into “success” and showing restraint when I’m tempted to run ahead of Him, yielding my heart to His will and His way… this has been the most difficult risk to take. To take myself off of the throne and trust God’s timing and goodness when so many around me are pointing me in the same direction, but the Lord says “no, not that way” or “wait”, or one of the hardest ones….”stay”. When all of the temptations of personal glory are so loud and seem so much easier than keeping those eyes fixed, that has been tough. The thing is though, I get to trust in the King of Kings. I GET to. There is no greater honor or luxury. I actually just finished a conversation with my sister about how being able to genuinely trust God is the biggest luxury I have in my life. It’s really nice to not have to be tormented by doubt and fear, and that’s what He has for us, a genuine freedom. So yes risk is a big deal and yes I take risk every single day, it just might sound a little different. On the flip side, when He does say to go, I get to go with the one who can’t be stopped.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am from Newport Beach and spend a lot of time from there down to Laguna so here are my tips:

Breakfast/coffee:
-A Market
-Haute Cakes
-Cest Si’ Bon Bakery
-Zinc Cafe
-Kit Coffee
-Sidecar Doughnuts
Lunch:
-A Market
-Zinc Cafe
-Bear Flag Fish Tacos
-TK Burger
Dinner:
-Another Kind Cafe in Laguna Canyon. Owned by the sweetest couple on the planet who happen to make the best food you’ll eat
-Broadway in Laguna if you are a food snob
To Do:
Newport is all about the Harbor and the beach so get head down to balboa Island, head to Dad’s and get yourself a Hippo Cookie or a Bal Bar (Balboa Bar). One of the coolest things you can do is get on the water and see the wildlife out in the ocean and nobody does it like Newport Coastal Adventure. It’s not a big whale watching boat, it’s old navy seal boats, they are small and fast so it feels like you are rocketing across the water. You get way closer to the animals than you could normally in a larger boat and these guys know the ocean better than anyone so you will come back having seen something special and you get the bonus of a thrill ride too. The beaches in Newport are connected by the boardwalk so grab a bike and cruise around or head to Laguna and honestly go anywhere. Tablerock beach is beautiful, it looks like the Amalfi coast.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I love a good shout out. I would love to dedicate this one to the people who keep pointing me to Jesus and the ones who encourage the creative gifting I’ve been given in a way that keeps it moving in the right direction for the right reasons. My husband Greg deserves a major shout out and so does my mom Julie. The rest of my family, my best friend Steph, Jamie and the men and women who have taught me, guided me, battled with me and prayed with me and for me. I also really want to show some love to my buddy Charissa Kroeger. She started as my student and has turned into the most dear and irreplaceable friend, inspiration, and mentor. She is someone who always makes sure I know the importance of what I do, encourages me where I am true to who I am in it and actually makes me feel like it just might be good, and special. I think as artists we all need somebody like that.

Instagram: taraolsondance

Youtube: Tara Olson Dance

Image Credits
Image credit for the one of my back with the two dancers sitting on the prop: Carly Sharp

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